It is 4:38 in the morning on an unseasonably warm night here in Philadelphia for November. Moments ago I sat down at my desk, before I drank my coffee, before I clocked in, before I realized that it's election day, I thought of the warm breeze that whisked through the parking lot and it hit me -- it feels like an early spring morning.
A spring morning, ha!
It seems almost crazy to say that after the South American like monsoons with Arctic like temperatures that swept through the region less than a week ago, stalling, but not washing out, a dream, a yearning for a championship that this city has so painfully waited to have that it's spring-like.
Yet tonight's weather is nothing compared to that of last Wednesday night, when Mr. "Lights Out" Lidge illuminated the city into an all night, all day, all year, celebration that began with thousands of mindless rioters that flooded Broad and Patterson streets clear up to North Philly's Temple University.
That night, as I recall, was the most gorgeous night of my life. It was almost as if the weather was non-existent. After Game 5A, which took place two nights earlier, the setting, the climax was only intensified, as if William Penn posted high atop City Hall needed one last laugh before the curse was broke.
Twenty-five years the city waited for a World Championship, a 2.5 million-man parade and one Harry Kalas call later, the city can finally rest.
This is the first time in my life that I have seen the beloved Philadelphia Eagles take a backseat to, well, anything. The Phillies were playing deep into October and quite frankly, it seemed as shocking as seeing a tailgater eating hummus in the parking lot over nacho cheese dip.
This just doesn't happen.
But I can say for a fact, that despite those horrid conditions in Game 5A, where we were herded like cattle in an El Paso ranch, then abruptly told to "go home," not one person by his own free will, missed 5B, not for the weather not for the inconvenience of a rescheduling, not for anything in the world.
The unpredictability of the game is what makes baseball. One pitch, one mistake or one weather forecast can change everything. That is the beauty of the game -- the elements of man and earth, the elements of surprise.
Nothing is more beautiful, more gratifying than having your team at home in your city because then the elements seem to be in your favor. That home field element is as sacred as gold.
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To consider any other location besides hosting the Fall Classic in front of the hometown fans would tarnish the sport more than steroids, more than $6.75 Buds and more than the other Bud's (Selig) absentmindedness stares.
Baseball brings people together. After the final out, everyone, I mean everyone, no matter race, creed or political standing became one. We were the city of brotherly love and My God was it nice.
To suggest that there be a neutral site, or a shortened game or a game more tightly squeezed than a suicide bunt around a television schedule, is an injustice to the game and an insult to all that represent that game.
Baseball has sold itself out and for what -- some of the worst ratings in World Series history? Nevertheless, what this championship means to this city can never be hindered by ratings, rules or any other outside force.
I will always cherish that I was at Game 5A and B. I will become that grandfather who tells tales of the Whiz Kids, of the collapse to the Dodgers and of the mullet mangled '93 team that every blue-collared man in the country could relate.
But, my stories will be of a Giant, of a pump fake to first, of a slider so devastating it made grown men wish they were playing t-ball again.
There was the baseball version of the Biblical battle of David and Goliath in the Divisional Series, and yes David won again and lastly, of a 24-year old Californian that captured the heart of a city.
Nothing can take away from what we won. And, for the first time in 25 years, Rocky's "Yo Adrian" can take a backseat to the city's new favorite quote, because as now immortalized Chase Utley so honestly put it, the Philadelphia Phillies are "World F******* Champions."