A Letter to My Son, the New Phillies Phan

Dear Josh,

I took you to your first Phillies game this past weekend, and we had a great time.  It was a beautiful afternoon, and even though the umpires and the Phillies' porous defense blew the game, you had a blast being at the park.  You wore your Phillies jersey with pride, delighting in seeing all the other people wearing the same thing.  You loved the Phanatic.  And the fans cheering.  And the music.  And the food.  And the playground.  You even managed to stay through 6 innings, which was much more than I ever thought you would given that the game was right during your nap time.

In short, I think I've succeeded in creating a new Phillies phan.

And yet, I feel like I should be arrested for doing so.  Or at least you should be taken away from me by the City of Philadelphia.

You see, child abuse is an awful thing.  And I would never ever try to hurt you physically and will try to keep you mentally sound throughout your life.  But somehow I feel it's ok to raise you as a Phillies fan.  This makes no sense.

What it seems that I'm dooming you to is a lifetime of misery.  This franchise that you are becoming a fan of has lost more games than any professional sports team in the history of organized sport.  Yes, that signals longevity, but there is only one championship to balance out that awful record.  I'm lucky that the championship came in my lifetime, but there's no guarantee that you'll be so lucky.  And you're just 2.

Maybe by the time you're older, this team will have enlightened ownership and management.  But, I have no reason to believe that.  I wish I could tell you otherwise, but this team is owned and managed by those who worship at the altar of tradition over progress, of talent over performance, of scrap and hustle over production.

The best I can realistically hope for for you is that you get to watch great players on this team like the ones I've been able to root for:  Mike Schmidt, Curt Schilling, Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, etc.  Being able to call them your own will be a great thrill.

Unfortunately, anything more than that, like a pennant or a championship, is not something I can promise you or even realistically encourage you to hope for.  The life of a Phillies fan is one of low expectations.  And broken hearts.  And dashed hopes.  And miserable endings.  And awful trades.  And busted free agents.

For your sake, I hope I'm dead wrong.  I've resisted your New York grandparents who want you raised a Yankees fan.  If I let that happen, I'd probably be on firmer ground with the state, as no one can really claim that's child abuse (despite their not having won a championship in 8 years - awful!).

But I'm going to let you enjoy, as much as is possible, being a Phillies fan, as you loved the game this past weekend.  And I can grow old knowing that I've got you to share in the misery with.

Love you,

Dad

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