The Long Road

There is a current race in Major League Baseball Records. Will the Barry Bonds get to 756 home runs to break Hank Aaron's career mark before the Phillies get to 10000 losses. Right now Barry Bonds has 748 home runs and the Phillies have 9990 losses. This is the most in the history of professional team sports.

I am hoping that the Phillies get to 10000 losses first. I have been asked by some people how could I celebrate this? How can I celebrate being a fan of a team with so many losses? Sports are about winning. How can I be happy about how many time the Phillies have loss?

In the end, this is a very Philadelphia thing. Bad things don't happen because sports teams lose games. The crime rate in Philadelphia would not be any lower if the Phillies only had 8300 loses. The city would not be any nicer if the Phillies was 28 World Series. The schools would not be better if the Phillies had won 13 divisions in a row. In the end baseball is still a game. I love baseball, but it is not curing cancer.

The A's, who are currently in Oakland and still better than the Phillies, where the good Philadelphia team for the first half of the 20th century. They were the team that won 9 Pennants and 5 world series while the Phillies where dwelling the the cellar and racking up more 100 loss seasons (13) that willing seasons (11). Yet is was still the A's that pulled out of Philadelphia for a city of their own.

I do wonder if I and Philadelphia would have been different if the Phillies left and the A's would have stayed in Philadelphia. I wonder if I would have been an American league fan. I wonder what it would have been like for the Philadelphia team to be beaten by the Yankees all the time. I know this is an impossible question, but I think things would have been different.

I know some Phillies fans who are proud of 10,000 losses. It is not that we are proud that our team are losers. We are proud that the Phillies are still our team. We did not have to seal them from another city and they never left us. They have always been a Philadelphia team. Bad season after bad season we have been willing to come out and see them play. We cheer for the good times and boo for the bad times.

As a Phillies fan the team has broken my heart more times than I can count. In 1993 I sat in my car and cried when Mitch Williams gave up that home run to Joe Carter. But that 1993 season was the most fun I ever had as a baseball fan. If the Phillies won all the time, that season would not have been as fun. Every coach in the world will say that you learn more from losing that from winning. I think that is the reason that some people what to celebrate 10,000 losses.

In the end the Phillies are Philadelphia. We love the team 10,000 losses and much fewer wins, the same way we love the city. Philadelphia is not New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, but it would not want to be any of those places. There is something about the Phillies and their 10,000 losses that fits well into the history of the city they call home.


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