I grew up watching sports peripherally at best. My dad worked out of state and overseas for a good portion of my childhood. I had a short love affair with the 49ers in middle school (the end of the Niner dynasty) that fizzled out when I started high school and had more important things to worry about. Namely making the volleyball team. I was plain old too busy to pay attention to sports on TV or go to games, despite having six major teams in my backyard (49ers, Raiders, Giants, A's, Warriors and Sharks. All within an hour). My high school boyfriend was an A's fan. Over the 4 years we dated I watched a handful of games, usually under protest. My biggest contribution to the games we watched was usually "I like the Giants colors much better. It reminds me of Halloween" (yup, I was That Girlfriend -- and I still really like things that remind me of Halloween).
I became a "real" sports fan in my early 20's. I lived in LA for a year and spent that year dating a Philadelphia transplant. I became a Philly fan by default (the only team I've retained any local loyalty to are the Warriors). I got my first Eagles and Phillies gear for Hanukkah that year, we watched games nightly, including the last game ever played at The Vet. Somehow I'd become a real fan in the few weeks we'd been dating and I cried like a baby. We had plans to go back east and go to a game at Citizens Bank Park but the relationship ended when I moved back to the San Francisco area.
Since my lone Philadelphian I've dated half a dozen guys who have been as different as could be, except one thing. Every single one of them have been Giants fans. Every single one of them have given me shit over it, mostly good naturedly. I don't hate the Giants, I really don't (I may harbor a not-so-secret crush on Brian Wilson. And maybe one on Buster Posey. I can neither confirm nor deny). I might go so far as to say they're my NL west team. But I fell in love with the Philadelphia Phillies of Philadelphia and they've been good to me. I come across a lot of people who think that I'm not a real fan because I didn't grow up bleeding red and white, because I'm not from Philly, because I've never been to a game (yeah, yeah, I know. It's changing this season, I swear), because I have the Giants and the A's in my backyard and why not them?
Because. Because a sweet boy spent his afternoons and evenings teaching me about baseball, and the NL vs the AL (and like any good NL fan I think the designated hitter is crap), and that the Phils are the oldest one-name, one-city franchise in all of American pro sports. Because of Hamels, Lidge, Howard, Utley (OH, CHASE), Halladay (and his PERFECT GAME IN MAY), Oswalt, Victorino, their 4 consecutive NL East titles, because the entire team is in the middle of an eternal love affair with the fans and the city of Philadelphia. Oh, and that little thing that happened on December 15, 2010 when that beautiful blue eyed Clifton Phifer Lee turned down more money from the Yankees (can we all agree they're the Devil?) to come home to Philadelphia saying "I never wanted to leave in the first place." Cliff, it was mutual. I have never been as excited for baseball as I am this year. I believe Zoo With Roy probably said it best with their OMG! Ask me about our pitching staff t-shirt.
I'm not one for making predictions, but this feels like our year. Just saying.