The first time he must utter it very softly like one who hesitates to enter the palace of the king to ask a gift of him whom he fears to approach; the second time he may speak somewhat louder; and the third time more loudly still, as one who is accustomed to dwell at court and to approach his sovereign as a friend.And so it is with the Phillies and the playoffs. The first time, against Colorado in 2007, we were giddy and thrilled to have snuck in on the last day. By the fourth time around, and with one WFC belt already, the city is full of confidence and swagger and no one expects less than a third straight return to the World Series.
But it's not just repetition that provides confidence. This team may not have scored quite as many runs as its predecessors (though injuries have played a part), but it's given up far fewer. Having Two Roys and the Boy on the mound for potentially 17 of 19 playoff starts is a weapon that we've never had before -- indeed, you have to go back at least to the mid-aughts Astros of Clemens-Oswalt-Pettite to find any team that had starting pitching like this for a playoff run. Moreover, it's the way they won the division crown this year with that blisteringly-awesome (yet Rollins-free) stretch run that makes me believe that on my 38th birthday, November 3, I'm either going to need my World Series Game Six ticket or I'll be at a parade. As the 700 Level suggests, Welcome to Doctober:
The postseason in South Philly is where Brett Myers walked and Shane Victorino hit a grand slam. It's where Joe Blanton hits home runs. It's where Pat Burrell's final Philly swing sent one bouncing off the high wall in center. It's where Brad Lidge remained perfect. It's where Harry called the game of his life and Wheels celebrated like Wheels. It's where "Get me to the plate boys!" happened. It's where "Jimmmmmmmy!" was born. It's where Chase Utley joins the likes of Reggie Jackson. It's where championship pipe dreams become a reality.[Predictions: Phillies in 3, Giants in 5, Twins in 5, Rays in 4.]
The games simply mean more in the postseason. As the ticket gods may have it, the people who appreciate that meaning tend to, one way or another, find their ways into Citizens Bank Park when it matters most.
And they will get loud.