October is the best time for sports
October is the best time of the year for sports. The NFL is in high gear and playoff scenarios are shaping up. The college football season is getting into the rivalry games, like last week's Texas-Oklahoma matchup, with many more to come.
The best of October is of course, the fall classic. America's past time will soon be crowning its 2009 champio. The Phillies have clawed their way back to defend the world championship currently in their hands.
If successful, the Phillies would be the first National League team to do so in 35 years. With the talent locked up and the potential to lock in starter Cliff Lee, the opportunity exists to be on top of the standings for years to come.
Such success would give the Philadelphia faithful the long awaited "Dynasty" they feel they deserve.
The TIMES-NEWS has graciously granted me the opportunity over the past six years or so to watch this current team come together.
Memories back to the seeing the young Jimmy Rollins at Reading, the 2002 trip to Lakewood where Ryan Howard was taking his hacks, and even the going to Scranton to see Chase Utley, a player who skipped two levels of minor league baseball on his path to the majors.
Most recently, I've had the pleasure to meet Cole Hamels and a slew of other Phillies like Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz and J.A. Happ in their growth through the Phillies' minor league system.
It was an honor to have a front seat for their rise to the baseball elite. Their 4-1 win over the Dodgers in the NLCS and the team's flair for the dramatic make the Fightin' Phils the favorites, even if they face the New York Yankees.
In fact, the Yankees would make the perfect victim in the Phillies rise to stature that would warrant the dynasty label.
The last National League team to win back-to-back World Series was the great Cincinnati Reds.
We fail to remember that the Reds had a similar fate in the years before the titles as the current Phillies.
The Reds lost the '70 and '72 series and suffered losses to Mets ('73) and the Dodgers ('74) in the NLCS before their spectacular win over the Red Sox in 1975.
The Phillies came close to the post-season for years before finally reaching them in 2006. The Rockies made short work and swept Philly out of the playoffs.
Now, we reach the parallels between the two teams. In 1976, the "Big Red Machine" faced the New York Yankees who had returned to the fall classic for the first time since era of Mickey Mantle.
That season, the Yankees celebrated the re-opening of Yankee Stadium.
For two years, the old ballpark had gone under a great face-lift and appeared as if they rebuilt the stadium with shorter outfields, blue padded walls, and a super sized scoreboard in centerfield. (Sound familiar?)
The Reds steam rolled those Yankees four games to zero. They celebrated on the infield of the "New" Yankee Stadium and into history as one of the greatest teams of all-time.
This year the Phillies will more than likely face the Yankees. A team that will return to the World Series for the first time in some years and had not won it since 2000. They also celebrated the "New Yankee Stadium" to much fanfare.
Phillies fans should be salivating at the chance to anoint this Phillies team as one of the greatest all-time teams.
This Yankee team has one of the greatest semblances of talent the game has ever seen. After a slow start, they methodically pulled away from the rest of the league since June, playing near .700 baseball.
If there is a team that can knock off such a talented team, it will be this Phillies team. Fans that held signs that read "The New Big Red Machine" could right in their assumption.
A series that would include these two teams could be one for the ages one that we'll want to talk about for years to come.