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It’s up to us

Game seven. Do or die. Every Phillies fan needs to lay it on the line tonight.

Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v. Philadelphia Phillies - Game Six
No excuse for the fans not to bring their A game tonight
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We screwed up. Last night, the Phillies had a chance to clinch the National League Championship Series, and as you know, it didn’t happen. It would be easy to blame Aaron Nola, Trea Turner, and the rest of the players who didn’t show up, but that’s too simple of an explanation. The fans deserve a large part of the blame too.

I’m not just talking about the fans in attendance, although they certainly deserve some scorn. I realize you bought tickets expecting to see a celebration, and I acknowledge that the first two innings were deflating, but that was not a good performance by the Citizens Bank Park crowd. Where was the constant noise? Where was the buzz on every pitch that we’ve seen in past games? Merrill Kelly should have been relieved to have been pulled after five innings, not arguing to remain in the game.

And what was up with people leaving before the game ended? When you buy a ticket to a playoff game, that’s essentially signing a contract that you’re going to stick it out until the bitter end. If there’s any chance you’re going to utter the words, “Let’s beat the traffic,” then do all of us a favor and give your ticket to someone who understands the assignment.

But I also need all the fans watching the game on television to do a better job. Because I’m sure a lot of people - myself included - looked themselves in the mirror last night and admitted that we weren’t on top of our games yesterday.

I’m not sure exactly why the fans had a collective bad day, but I have my theories.

Maybe we took victory for granted. After winning game five, I think a lot of fans believed the series was essentially over. The Diamondbacks had looked hapless at Citizens Bank Park up to that point, so there was no way they were going to come in and win a game. I think some of us had this notion that Bryce Harper was going to blast a three-run home run in the first inning, and the next eight innings would just be a long celebration.

The earlier start time didn’t help. I realize the Phillies have played and won at 5:07 during this playoff run, but coming off a run of 8:07 games, it felt a bit too early. Especially on a Monday, and especially after many of us were up cheering for a different team the night before.

Yes, the Eagles deserve a share of the blame. There’s a healthy amount of crossover between Phillies and Eagles fans, and it’s obvious that the Eagles soaked up a lot of our energy with their kelly green-adorned win on Sunday night and the trade for Kevin Byard on Monday afternoon.

A lot of would-be Phillies energy was spent on Twitter ragging on whiny Dolphins fans and reporters and analysts crying that the “tush push” is the greatest travesty ever seen in the National Football League. I understand that the Eagles are once again looking like the favorite to reach the Super Bowl, and that’s very exciting.

But the next Eagles game isn’t until Sunday, and the Super Bowl isn’t until February, so for today, let’s turn our full attention to the team that needs to win tonight to make it back to the World Series.

Here’s what I’m asking from everyone: If you have a lucky shirt, jersey, socks, or anything, you’d better put that thing on, because if they lose, you’re not going to want to wear it tomorrow. If you have a lucky seat on the couch, then you’d better plop your butt into it. During the game, if you have to use the bathroom, and the team rallies while you’re in there, then you’re going to have to spend the rest of the game on the can. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.

While watching the game, be confident, but not cocky. This team has its share of comeback wins this season, so remember that an early deficit is not a killer, and you don’t have to start doom posting the second something goes against them. On the other hand, don’t start declaring that the game is won as soon as the Phillies take a lead. Chickens should not be counted until the 27th out is recorded.

We got this, people. We know our jobs, now let’s go out and do them. And if we do our part, the Phillies players will surely do theirs.