Phillies fans: The most wonderful time of the year is oh-so-close to coming back into our lives. Playoff baseball will be returning to Citizens Bank Park in just a few days, and I am over the moon stoked. It’s time for Red October.
I was born in 2003, so my recollection of my Phillies fandom came at the tail end of their 2007-2011 dominant season. Granted, I was 6-7 during this time. I was a fan, of course, but I was still at an age where I didn’t fully comprehend what I was watching. I was also too young to remember the 2008 run.
I really started to remember games in 2010 and 2011 and I was heart-broken and crushed when Ryan Howard tore his Achilles on the final play against the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS. Of course, that was the last time the Phillies made the playoffs until more than a decade later.
In the prime of my baseball fandom, the Phillies have not been good. 2012-2018 were some dark years of aging stars and postseason-less play. When the Phillies signed Harper in 2019, that excitement finally came back only for the Phillies to be the Phillies in Harper’s first three seasons in red and white pinstripes.
After an 11-year drought, finally the Phillies made the playoffs. At 19 years old, I could finally understand the ins and outs of the game of baseball and the playoffs that accompany it. I was in 2nd grade when the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in 2011. 11 years later, I was a sophomore at college.
And that 2022 playoff run was one the most magical experiences I ever had as a fan of Philly sports, just behind the Eagles 2018 Super Bowl run. Playoff baseball, I came to realize, was absolutely, one hundred percent electric, especially at Citizens Bank Park. It was the most raucous I ever saw the stadium and I loved every second of it.
I specifically wanted to come home from college during Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves, the first playoff game at CBP since Howard’s injury. I wanted to experience it with my dad. And when Rhys Hoskins hit that three-run home run, my dad and I shared one of my favorite moments of my Philly sports fandom. We immediately started jumping up and down in the living room, hugging each other. It was so special that it made me teary-eyed.
The day after, I attended Game 4 of the NLDS with my cousin for my first ever playoff baseball game. It was the best hundred-or-so dollars I ever spent in my life as I got to witness Brandon Marsh’s go-ahead 3-run home run and J.T. Realmuto’s iconic inside-the-parker. Seeing the Phillies advance to the NLCS and listening to “Dancing On My Own” live was surreal to me and something I’ll never forget.
I was seated (and nervously standing) for every out of the NLCS against the Padres at college, jumping for joy every time the Phillies found success (which was often). I looked forward to every game of that series. Seeing the victories and counting down the games we needed to win to clinch a World Series berth was so thrilling.
Bryce Harper’s go-ahead 2-run blast in the bottom of the 8th against the Padres in game 5 was one of the most incredible sports moments I have ever witnessed in my life. I sensed a big moment was coming when Harper stepped up to the plate, so I put my phone camera on the TV shelf and my reaction to one of the biggest homers in franchise history was priceless.
When the “swing of his life” happened, I remember screaming “GO! GO! GO!” and then when I saw it find the seats, I remember jumping up and down screaming “Oh my God!” repeatedly. Unfortunately, my roommates right down the hall had to listen to me scream and yell with no clue what was going on. But I didn’t care. My Phillies were on the verge of a National League pennant.
I was so excited after Harper’s homer that I entered a full body feeling of numbness. I was a little panicked at first, but a quick Google search told me that when one feels a large burst of excitement, that will happen. But I calmed down and took in the moment. The Phillies were going to the World Series.
Every game against the Astros, I remember being in disbelief that the Phillies were in the World Series. The 21-29 Fightin’ Phils actually did the impossible.
When Kyle Tucker caught the last out, I was crushed. Devastated. But deep inside I knew that that Phillies run would be one of the most memorable, remarkable things I ever witnessed as a sports fan. Something I would cherish forever. It was so magical and one I’ll never forget. Deep down, I knew this was the start of something new for the Phillies who hadn’t seen any success for years since then.
I cannot wait for the 2023 playoffs. The Phillies secured the top spot in the National League Wild Card standings and will have at least two playoff games at home in front of the amazing Citizens Bank atmosphere. I cannot wait for more iconic Phillies playoff moments and am itching for that same dopamine I felt last fall. When Johan Rojas hit that walk-off single to send the Phils to the playoffs, I felt that same happiness I did a year prior. But I want more.
This 2023 Phillies team is for sure better than the 2022 team. With added arms and bats, the sky’s the limit and I will be there every step of the way for Red October. Let’s do this.