Ten years ago this past Saturday, a group of about ten devoted Phillies fans started this blog. We were stats-oriented analysis-devoted dissidents from the Philaphans message board who believed that Bobby Abreu was better than Aaron Rowand . . . much better. This made us unusual among Phillies fans, who were mostly raised on the belief that grit and hustle were the most important attributes of baseball players. We committed to fighting The Good Phight on behalf of our hero, Bob Kelly, and everything he stood for. We knew that in order to win over the masses, we had to have not only excellent analysis and argument but also smart, witty writing.
That first group of The Good Phight bloggers was led by dajafi. Peter Lyons and I were among the writers. Over the years, all of the other originals dropped out of writing for the site, Peter took over bloglord responsibilities, and other writers joined on. Now, with Liz at the helm and a veritable gaggle of supremely talented writers by her side, we are embarking on our eleventh year of covering the Phillies and fighting for smart Phillies fandom. I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of this blog for the past decade and look forward to another decade ahead.
To mark the occasion, I am writing two posts - this one with the top ten moments of the past ten years for me as a Phillies fan; and the next one, with the worst ten moments of the past ten years.
10) The individual player awards - Within the past ten years, the Phillies had the franchise’s greatest run of success ever. The team successes will be covered later on this list, but we can’t forget the individual accomplishments. As much as the analysts in us knew that others may have deserved to be recognized more, Jimmy Rollins (2007) and Ryan Howard (2006) won MVPs which was great for the Phillies. Howard also won a Rookie of the Year award (2005), and Roy Halladay was Cy Young (2010).
9) Coming back from 7 games down with 17 to go - The first hint we had that something special was upon us was when the Phillies came back in 2007 to win the NL East. And they did it in dramatic fashion. With 17 games to go in the season, the Phillies were 7 games behind the Mets. A combination of Mets incompetence (LOLMets!) and Phillies streakiness brought the Phillies into first place on the last day of the season. The franchise that hadn’t been in the post-season in 14 years was back, and it was back in fine style.
8) Jimmy Rollins with the all-time Phillies hit record - As much as his time here was marked with all sorts of unfair criticism, it is undisputed that Jimmy Rollins is the greatest shortstop to ever play for the Phillies and one of the all-time great players of any position for the franchise. He solidified this position long before last year, but took the team’s top spot for all-time hits on June 14, 2014. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy and a more entertaining player to watch over his career. We are all so excited for the three-game series in early August when he comes back to Philadelphia. If CBP isn’t sold out for those games, the phans will have let him down.
7) Attending key games with fellow TGP writers - For me, part of the thrill of being a part of this blog has been getting to know the supremely talented, funny, and smart people who write with me (and regularly put me to shame for my much-more-pedestrian writing). Occasionally, we get to come out from behind our keyboards and actually meet each other in person. And sometimes, those occasions include very important Phillies games together. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the NLCS with Peter Lyons in 2009, the World Series with Peter, dajafi, and jonk in 2009, and the fated Achilles game with Wet Luzinski in 2011. All three games were memorable for being with my fellow TGPers, but in particular, the elation of Jimmy Rollins’ game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS in 2009 and Peter and me jumping up and down hugging as CBP shook below us was one of the great moments of my in-person fandom.
6) Roy Halladay’s no-hitter and perfect game - In 2010, Roy Halladay was in his first year as a Phillie and he didn’t disappoint. His perfect game in Florida on May 29, 2010, was his announcement to Phillies fans that he was different. His playoff no-hitter against the Reds on October 6, 2010, was truly spectacular.
5) Wilson Valdez in the 19th inning - Over the course of ten years, there are lots of wacky games. Roy Oswalt playing left field and Ryan Howard charging an umpire was one. Jeff Francoeur pitching two innings was another. But the wackiest was probably the 19 inning affair with Wilson Valdez pitching and notching the victory. These games are made all the better when I’ve been able to watch along with the great commenters here at TGP, which I did late into the night for the Valdez victory. I’ll never forget that game.
4) Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies - When Cliff Lee signed his free agent contract with the Phillies in December 2010, it was truly a sign that something was different in the world. Yes, years before Jim Thome had chosen the Phillies as a free agent, and that was a big deal too, but Cliff Lee choosing the Phillies over the Yankees was a sign that the Phillies were the franchise that players wanted to play for. There’s all sorts of cold water we can throw on this sentiment with the hindsight of four and a half years, but at the time, not only was this a supremely enjoyable moment, but it was proof positive that our franchise was finally one of the big boys.
3) The catch - On April 15, 2010, I was enjoying a beautiful afternoon Phillies game with my son and my mom when, well, you can watch for yourself. Thanks to everyone here at The Good Phight, who immediately posted a still of the catch and then helped capture the video and post it online, this catch went viral. It was immensely fun to see the response from around the world. And it’s still, five years later, one of my parenting highlights. I mean, in the eyes of my son, how could I top that?
2) 102 wins - 2011 was a historic season for the Phillies. Their 102 wins were the best in baseball. Their rotation of Four Aces was dominant. The team was everything it was supposed to be . . . except for a playoff winner. But baseball playoffs are a cruel enterprise, and the fact that the Phillies didn’t make it out of the first round doesn’t change that this season was a highlight of my time as a Phillies fan.
1) World Fucking Champions - But 2008 was the #1 highlight of the past ten years. I was fortunate enough to be at both parts of Game 5. Following, analyzing, and celebrating the World Series with everyone here at The Good Phight was simply a ton of fun. As was riding my bike home from Game 5, part 2 all the way up Broad Street. Philadelphia was a special place that night.
Given the state of the franchise right now, it’s a bit hard to remember all the good times over the past ten years, but there have been many. Share yours in the comments if you’d like.
And later this week - the worst 10 moments during The Good Phight’s reign.