A Letter From a Father to All Phillies Fans

Request from a non-native: Accept my daughter into your fandom

Don't get me wrong, I love baseball. Heck, I cry everytime I watch "Field of Dreams."

I played organized ball well into my early 20s and broke my right pinky in 22 places while pitching in a college summer league when I was 32 years old.

But cheering for the Phillies, getting on the bandwagon now, it doesn't seem right. I don't cheer against the Phillies, but not being from here, I didn't grow up a Phillies fan.

Somehow I became an Orioles fan.

I think it's because in the early 70's, when I was a kid who loved baseball, the Orioles were huge. They had Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer. They were it.

And growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, we didn't exactly have a Major League home team. Even though Cincinnati was a pretty good team then and just 90 miles to the north.

But back to the Phillies. The other night it happened:

Something I thought about 8-plus years ago when I moved to Chester County with marriage and kids around the corner: What would I do when all the "other kids" were cheering for the hometown teams, the Phillies, Eagles? Would my kids become fans or would I teach them to support all the teams that dad loves?

So, I rushed home last Wednesday, listening to the Phillies the entire 55 minute ride to Kennett Square. Roy Halladay was outs away from a no-hitter. Unthinkable.

As I ran into the kitchen and saw my three little ones all sitting there with their dinner again barely eaten, I said, "Hi everybody, daddy wants to see the Phillies really fast."

Usually my 3-year-old son has reserved our downstairs hi-def to watch the latest adventures of "Iron Man." But not tonight.

I turned on the TV and there was Roy, in the top of the ninth inning. A no-hitter just two batters away. But before Halladay made his own history, my 5-year-old daughter made her own mark in time.

"Hey dad, go Phillies, I love the Phillies," she yelled out.


My daughter then smiled and said, "And dad tomorrow is wear red day in school and I need to wear my Phillies shirt."

Again wow.

It hit me that I didn't own one single Phillies thing, not even a cap, much less a girls youth size red shirt. So I told my wife, "You give the kids their bath, I'll clean the kitchen and head to the store."

She said, "Where are you going?"

"To Wal-mart, I gotta' get Grace a shirt."

One hour later, my daughter had her first Phillies shirt and she was so happy. It was laid out on her dresser, ready to wear Friday morning.

Dad was pretty happy as well. I had succeeded.

So, my request is this Phillies fans:

It is too late for me to join the club, to get behind the Phillies and hop on the bandwagon. I wish them a World Series ring, but I understand if I am not allowed to become a real fan. It's cool.

But please accept my daughter. You'd like her. She's smart. She's very inquisitive, which is her favorite word. She's the sunshine of my life.

And now, she really loves the PHILLIES.

Dave Parker is the Assistant News Director for NBC Philadelphia

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