Thursday, October 22, 2009

4 More Wins

That's the challenge, and this Phillies team is relishing it.

For the first time in more than 125 years, the Philadelphia Phillies are returning to the World Series for the second consecutive year.

The task before them is significant. The Yankees appear to be the Bronx Bombers of old, the team that uses two words ("so far") to show their attitude toward baseball's biggest prize. Those two words, used in the phrase "26 World Series Championships so far" express an expectation.

While Philadelphia fans spent the larger part of the past 25 years wondering whether their teams would ever win another championship, and Phillies fans in particular have suffered through the most ignominious history of all sports teams (10,000 losses!), Yankees fans have become gradually more agitated that they were stuck on 26 titles.

The difference between franchises could not be greater, but this Phillies team is determined to erase that difference. Their goal was not, has never been, to get to their second consecutive World Series. Their goal is and has always been to win the World Series.

That gave last night's celebration a familiar feel. The party on the field wasn't reminiscent of the 2008 NLCS victory, and not simply because this time it was celebrated at home. No, the celebration last night reminded me much more of the Division clinching victory just a few weeks ago.

This team was happy to have crossed off another item on its To-Do list, but this wasn't a culmination of anything. There's still more work to do.

It's not given that the formidable Yankees will be their World Series opponents. Though the Angels are in a tight spot, they're not to be taken lightly, and certainly this Yankees team won't do so. And if they do manage to come back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Yankees and take on the Phillies in the Series, the Angels will be riding high on a wave of their own expectations.

Regardless of the opponent, this Phillies team is ready, because they know their job.

Four more wins.

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