Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

John Kruk and Darren Daulton.

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

For about 35 years of my life, these people have been as much a part of my life as family members. In some instances, they've probably been more.

While it's up to you whether that's a sad statement or not, the fact remains it's true.

Ever since I can remember the Phillies have been a part of my household - first as a kid at my parents and now as an adult with my own family.

From 10 years old until the present, my "wardrobe" has always included something with a red "P" on it.

The scrapbooks with clippings from the paper - which include game stories, injury reports and trades - are probably still in the closet of my old room.

And my bedroom currently is home to bobbleheads, baseball cards and programs.

Whenever I talk to my father, the topic of "What did you think of the game last night?" always comes up in the conversation. And my mother, who often reminisces about trips to Connie Mack Stadium, also follows the team closely.

Other Philly fans my age may or may not have similar tales to tell but they have experienced both good times and bad ones in their lifetime.

They can recall the glory days of 1976-78 when Danny Ozark guided the club to three straight division championships only to come up short in the playoffs.

They know exactly where they were when Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson in the 1980 World Series to give the team its first championship.

Despite trying to forget, they can remember the late 80s and the decade of the 90s. Except for that one glorious season in 1993, that 12-year span produced 11 losing campaigns.

Whether you're young or old, though, or somewhere in between all Phillies fans need to pause, take a breath and appreciate the present.

While there's no telling what state the team will be in 5-10 years down the road, it's probably a safe bet to conclude that these Phillies of the present are the best it's ever going to get.

Barring a collapse that would make 1964 look mild, the Fightins should clinch their fourth consecutive National League East title in the upcoming week. That's something the team has never done in its history.

The recent success, coupled with the beautiful new stadium they play in, has resulted in 120 straight sellouts - another unheard of figure for the team that sports the most losses in the history of baseball.

With arguably the best top of the rotation they've ever had in Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt and an offense that gives opposing pitchers migrains, the Phils are again set up for a deep run into the postseason.

And if they can get back to the World Series, it would mark the first time an NL team has won three consecutive pennants since the Cardinals did it from 1942-44.

No matter what happens - a loss in the division series that would crush most Phillies fans or another championship that would culminate in another parade down Broad Street - this fan is just relishing the current time frame and all the success.

Years down the road, when the Victorinos and Lidges are retired and the drawn-out cries of Choooooch and Raaaauuuuul are but a memory, the chances of losing seasons will be a reality.

And during those times, we'll all look back on the late 2000s and the early 2010s and remember them as the best time period in Phillies history.