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Beyond All Rhysonable Doubt: Phillies 8, Marlins 1

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Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
The choice is clear: Rhyson or a Halter, Phillies fans
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In this mid-September, dreary slog of playing-out-the-string-baseball, as you breathe in the slow murderous soup of tropical air hanging over South Philadelphia, it is easy to believe that nothing you see is all that real. Mirages appear to the desert traveler out of a sense of will; the psyche wants the unattainable.

Additionally, there is often no explaining what the psyche wants.

After five hours and 15 innings of weird baseball the night before against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies set the stage for yet another game like so many out-of-shape 5K runners stumbling to the finish: Selling out to the Lowest Common Denominator.

Ahh, now that may sound harsh and unkind, but is it also untrue? Yes, Springton Lake Middle School is probably a fine place to learn, but I’m interested more in the tie-in to bits of slaughtered pigs, stuffed into sleeves of intestines, steamed and slapped into a bun, wrapped in colorful foil-paper and sold for scraps of engraved paper unbacked by any precious metal whatsoever: May I introduce you, metaphorically, to Delco, Mon Amour? For I have lived here all my life, save a few years in the Midwest. And I returned because it’s, well, better than the Midwest. It is. It. Is.

Despite the dreary post-industrial landscape of battered inner-ring suburbs, jet fuel and trash-to-steam besotted air, our opioid scourge and underemployment, we folks from Delco want you to look down your noses at us, because we know we have the sweetest commute to the airport and the city and the sports complex. So go screw yourself, Bucks County, and pretend Levittown’s just so much better. Pfft. And you keep quiet, Montgomery and Chester Counties. No one likes you. And you folks in Jersey? :laughs derisively, because that’s what we do best:

And yes, we are fiercely human. We succumb to all the emotions. I envy the Marlins’ magnificent outfield. Giancarlo Stanton is a majestic, throbbingly good baseball player. Ozuna and Yelich, too, fine players. I’m jealous, but I also feel genuinely thus: You can have them. Look at this thing we got here. The hell if we know how real it is, but for right now, for right now, it’s a hell of a better dream than your current reality.

Look at this poor sap, the opposing pitcher, look how Hoskins has owned him soooo hard that his head is spinning! I mean look at this jerk! LOL

His manager, a former Yankee, with alladem goddamn flags and trophies and whatnot.

Yes, I lived through May and June of this year. In #Delco, we call those months every ding damn Tuesday we live in. But when these blips of Philadelphia joy show up on the radar, we know how to party: Platter of cold cuts from the Acamee and a little something to buzz on:

So yes, Hoskins is wonderful, and if it were just him, that would be enough. But through this mist of a lost season, they’re gathering, a host of young, and so far way cleaner and more athletic baseball players who sound the same kind of relentless on-base approach to that last era, or even that improbable 1993 team, the #Delcoiest Phillies team that ever #Delcoed. Tonight the young core was all at it, Aaron Altherr, J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, and Hoskins, of course.

Now, you’ll miss my point here if you believe that #Delco Phillies fandom is perfect. It is decidedly not. It is grotesque. Because during this game, centerfielder Odubel Herrera, who is - and I believe this is important - neither white, nor from this country, nor a proficient English speaker, nor especially predictable, and has the audacity to, in spite of these things, flaunt his individuality, did this to a baseball, sending it to the upper deck in right field. He’s got a 21-game hit streak, and since waking from his own offensive nightmare has the best batting average in baseball since June 1.

And yet, while I don’t know if this particular Tweet comes from #Delco, I’ll pretty much bet, after reading years of “Sound Off” columns and unmoderated comment threads in the Delaware County Daily Times’ stories about shootings in Chester that there’s a connection, somewhere. If you hear takes like this, you’ll make more money than you’ll lose betting that it originated within a 15-minute walk off a stop on the 101 Trolley.

But! Grotesqueness aside: We revel in obscurity, and now that this core is here, we can get to them in less than 20 minutes by car, and the parking lots are once again mercifully clear - and - did you see it’s eight dollars off a ticket? Pile the kids in the car and let’s get to see the Phillies game before all those wealthy losers make going to a Phillies game a pain in the ass again. We can say we were first, we got the best seats on the bandwagon, when the team sucked so hard and everyone in the country was talking about the Cleveland Indians for some reason or another.

Look, Aaron Nola was the truth tonight. Pitched to his 11th win, got 11 strikeouts. Handled a pretty decent Marlins lineup - I mean, that middle is not easy to pitch to. But look at him, look at his face coming off that mound. Go get your fancy stats elsewhere; we in Delco feast on narrative.

That is a tired face, to be sure, but definitely ticked off a little too, getting cocksure, laboring in baseball’s obscurity, and working out its many frustrations at long last. I believe that’s what the Spanish means. Don’t insult me, I marked you holding the door for you on your way into the Wawa, and I know what car you drove into the parking lot.

:gives you the finger while saying: GO PHILLIES