Too much time has passed for me to remember exactly when or why I started visiting TGP, but I think I can at least reconstruct the basic outlines. It was in '05 or '06. The Phillies were in the midst of a long stretch of frustrating above-averageness. I had become a sabermetrics enthusiast by reading Rob Neyer in college, and this was pretty much the only place I could find on the Internet where statistically inclined Phillies fans congregated. It was also the era of sturm und drang around Bobby Abreu, and it was practically the mission of the main posters to defend Abreu against the WIP hordes (see archival footage, below - ed.) . I felt right at home.
There were probably no more than a couple dozen regular commenters back then, and posts were pretty infrequent. It was pre-Twitter, pre-smartphone, and almost pre-Youtube. (And we wore onions on our belts, because that was the style then.) More generally, the experience of being a Phillies fan was just very different than it later became. It wasn't, shall we say, cool to be a Phillies fan who actually cared. The days hadn't yet arrived when young people would dress up nicely and head down to the ballpark to party. None of my IRL friends were particularly interested in the team. For me, it was either chat about baseball online or not at all. So finding an outlet where I could do that without being surrounded by trolls and talk radio types was pretty great.
Things have obviously changed a lot over the years. The team became great, and then bad. The TGP community grew exponentially as the team improved, and the blog became a much fancier, sleeker operation. Acceptance of sabermetrics has become much more widespread, and has probably become correspondingly less of a focus of this blog - it isn't needed as much anymore. So I've been trying to think of the one constant through all the years that has kept TGP a special place in the midst of so much change, and there wasn't really a profound answer. It's really just very basic: for whatever reason, this blog always attracted fans who, by and large, were smart and nice and had a sense of humor. And that's it. It may not sound like much, but in truth it's really hard to come by in this world, let alone online, let alone online among Philadelphia sports fans. (You might find smart or nice, but hardly ever both.)
It feels rather dorky that a non-negligible number of my favorite memories of the Phillies' run at the top of MLB were conversations I had in the comments sections of this blog, but what can I say, it's the truth. Even though I've never actually met any of you in person, it made the Phillies' run way more fun to know there were people out there who rooted for this team in the same way that I did. So cheers, TGP, and happy 10th. Even though I can't hang out here as often nowadays, I still think this place is unique, and I hope to be around more often sometime in the future.
Favorite posts? Off the top of my head: David's interview with R.J. Swindle, WL's Pat the Bat series, whichever post it was that led to the discussion thread the day of the trade for Pence, and the fanshot of General Sherman with the Phillies cap. And I know I'm forgetting a lot of others.
(Note: Illustrations and links added by Wet Luzinski. -ed.)