Welcome Guest | Register | Login

Phillies’ ticket sales make you realize how great things are, and how BAD they used to be



If I had a dime for every time I was brutally razzed on the school playground in the 1980’s for being a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, I wouldn’t have started a website to try and make money because I’d be pretty rich.

After all, Randall and the Eagles were just starting to take flight, the Flyers were playing in the Stanley Cup, and Dr. J, Sir Charles and Moses made a pretty decent front court for the Sixers. It didn't matter. Through thick and thin, bad season after bad season, the Phillies were always my team.

To this day, I truly don’t know what it was that actually attracted me to the Phillies. Maybe it was because I briefly batboyed for the Fightins a few times and saw guys like John Kruk, Darren Daulton, 1982 Topps Sticker BookTerry Mulholland, and Curt Schilling up close and personal. Maybe it was those old Topps sticker books from the early 1980’s with Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose that my dad bought for me. 

I only briefly remember the Phillies being REALLY good while I was a kid. My good friend Dan Baker  as well as my dad would tell me stories about the 1970’s when things were coming together as well as 1980- when the Phillies finally won the big one. They told those stories with great pride, but that was the late 1980's-early 1990's, and you couldn’t help but feel that they too wished for better days ahead.

Did YOU Miss Out on Phillies Tickets Thursday? Don't Worry, get them NOW at BestBuyPix.com

Truth be told, it was kind of embarrassing for me when casual baseball fans or acquaintances from out of the area would ask me how many championships the Phillies had won. For years, ALL you could say was just one. It was like a broken record. ONE stinking championship in 100 plus years! And believe it or not, it still took a while for me to soak in what I was actually saying when I now tell people they have two. All we had was 1980 for so long. Two? Really? That happened?

Let’s put this in perspective: In 128 years, the Phillies have won two World Series titles, and the second one was just three years ago. 99.9% of ALL Chicago Cubs fans have never seen their team ADVANCE to the World Series in their lifetime let alone win it. Astounding. Most of them would literally sacrifice one of their toes to witness what we saw on October 29th, 2008.

We’ve had a long, hard road Phillies fans. But compared to some teams, we’re actually lucky. Our streak of futility, which started right around July of 1984, took little breaks in 1986 and 1993, and ended in 2001 makes us look like the Yankees compared to the Pittsburgh Pirates!  Believe it or not, the Phillies are tied for second in baseball for overall World Series appearances since 1980 (5) with the Cardinals and Braves (Yankees are first, in case you weren't sure).

For decades, we couldn’t GIVE Phillies tickets away. Now at least twice a week, my dad and I look at each other and shake our heads in amazement that we would ever see the day when our Phils would sell (as of Thursday the 17th) 3.3 million worth of ADVANCED tickets for a season that hasn’t even started yet. That we would rush home from lunch to watch a national press conference in spring training featuring our five horses that are widely regarded to be among the best that have ever played the game. That we would be both jumping around like school kids on a playground where I am now the one laughing because our Phillies landed the biggest pitcher on the free agent market (Cliff Lee) at 12:00 midnight just before Christmas.The Phillies' five horses are widely regarded to be among the best that have ever played the game. Wasn’t that supposed to have been us when Kirby Puckett was “rumored” to sign with the team in 1992?

Like Dr. J’s windmill dunk against the Lakers, the Flyers upsetting the Bruins in Game 6 at the Spectrum, and the Phillies’ fight to the death against the Astros in 1980, I will look back and tell my kids someday about the Phillies’ mad dash to the finish line against the Mets in the summer of ‘07.

There's also Shane Victorino’s grand slam against the Brewers, Matt Stairs’ game winner against the Dodgers, both of Roy Halladay’s no-hit efforts, and Brad Lidge looking to the sky- ending a quarter of a century title drought in this town.  

It will never be as bad as it once was with the Phillies, but there will be a time when this all ends and the clock strikes midnight.

I believe that in most aspects of life, you must have a realization of how hard things once were so the roses smell as sweet as they do when things finally get better.

In the case of my lifelong love affair with the Philadelphia Phillies, this becomes more apparent each growing day.

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com

Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Philly2Philly

Topps Photo: cardjunk.blogspot.com

Aces: Eric Gay/Associated Press