Tim Spellman - My Dream
For 28 years, I longed for a World Series, a championship of any kind for that matter in Philadelphia, the major metropolitan center of my youth. Last year, I finally got it when the Phillies demolished the forgettable Tampa Bay (Devil)Rays in the World Series. Now I'm greedy. I want more. I want the Phillies to win the World Series into perpetuity. However, I guess I could settle for a repeat. What could be the only thing sweeter than a simple repeat though? Beating the Yankees in the World Series. They are the professional sports team I despise the most. Strike that. I deplore the Dallas Cowboys a little more and I abhor Chelsea FC a little less. So, sandwiched between Cowboys and Chelsea boys rests the Yankees. Dear San Fernando Valley, I'll be expecting my royalty checks after offering you the best idea for a gay porn since Free Willy in that previous sentence.
But let's get back to the heart of the matter and that matter is why the Phillies beating the Yankees is my World Series dream come true. My distaste for all things pin-stripped was hammered into my precious begoldened head as a wee lad. First, we lived outside of Philly, not outside of New York, so you have to love all things Philly. Second, you can't be indifferent about the Yankees because they win all the time. The same team winning all the time is downright annoying. Look, I know I said I would love to win the World Series every year until Kingdom Come, but that's not going to happen. It sort of does happen for the Yankees and that's not cool. I once told my dad that I wanted to be #7 on my little league team because that was Mickey Mantle's number. That was the only time my father hit me. Just kidding. Seriously, my dad never hit me. Shit, maybe I should take that out. He was perplexed.
"Yeah, Dad. He was a great hitter and I want to be a great hitter. Plus, there's something aesthetically pleasing about the shape of the number 7."
"Timmy, Mickey Mantle was a womanizer, a drunk, and a bedwetter. Is that what you want to be?"
"I already have one out of three there, Dad. Just ask Mom. She changes my sheets."
"He also played for the Yankees. You're not allowed to like the Yankees because they win all the time, they're arrogant, and they're so rich that they can just keep buying the title over and over. My father told me the same thing and now I'm telling you."
It was at this point that I told people that I liked to be number 7 because of Eric Cantona. All were confused.
This all happened in the early 90's when the Yankees were relatively shitty and before interleague play, but I decided to spurn them anyway. When they won 4 World Series between 1996 and 2000 my prejudices were justified. Not only did they win constantly, but the players and the fans annoyed the bejesus out of me. The players because they acted like a bunch of overpaid babies, and still do. The fans because they all looked like loudmouth, smelly criminals. When I moved to this fair city, I was proven correct yet again. You know, it's hard to speak out against stereotyping people when your stereotypes keep being confirmed. Other than Republicans, litter bugs, spitters, and loud talkers, the only thing that gets my blood boiling more is seeing someone in Yankees paraphernalia. Don't get me wrong. I love this city and love living here, but I wouldn't trade being a Phillies fan for anything.
Here we are in October of 2009 and the Phillies are going to play the Yankees in the World Series. My dream come true. A chance to finally take down that obnoxious legacy. If only there was a way to eliminate Joe Buck from ever announcing another sports game in the process. I guess you can't have everything.
Matt Toder - My Nightmare
Well, the worst has happened. If you're me, that is. Look, I'm not going to pretend that I can write about this year's World Series from an objective stand point, so I'm not even gonna try. As a Mets fan, there's little that can be worse than this particular match up between two of our arch rivals. Actually, the feeling that this is the most evil World Series in history is so prevalent that even the NY Times had a little piece about it yesterday.
I hate to be repetitive, so I'm not going to delve into the reasons why these two teams represent a depths-of-hell match up for me and my fellow brethren in orange and blue, especially considering the season we've just had. The truth is, I haven't even really been thinking about it that much; besides the match up itself, there isn't too much to complain about. Both the Yankees and the Phillies were the best teams in their leagues, the only real potential challenger to either of them, the Red Sox and Cardinals respectively, didn't make it out of the Division Series, and while there was certainly a call here or there that helped both teams, the umping this post-season has been so universally atrocious that making the argument that either team's World Series berth is undeserved is mostly futile. The point is there's nothing to say against either team; no matter how unnatural it feels to say that out loud, it's simply the truth.
I've spent a lot more time in the last week considering how the Mets ended up having so many rivals; in fact, my issues with this post-season began long before the World Series was staring me in the face. Of the eight teams that made the playoffs, three were absolutely hated rivals (Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers), one was the team that beat the Mets in 2006, a loss that still stings (Cardinals) and one was a team that I've always had a contentious relationship with (Red Sox). On top of that, it's awfully hard to root for the Twins, even though there's nothing wrong with the team per se, because their owner is a total jerk who doesn't seem as interested in winning as he does keeping his overhead low. That left the Angels and the Rockies, poor prospects no matter how you cut it. Yes, there was virtually no way this would end well for me even when the post-season started some six weeks ago.
As noted in the Times piece above, some Mets fans are chosing to ignore the 2009 World Series. I can't do that. I can't because I love baseball and it's kind of hard to avoid when you live in New York City and talk to Tim everyday. My only hope is that both fanbases can learn a little bit about what I have to go through all the time. Maybe the fans of the "Sillydelphia" "Frillies" will understand how difficult and demeaning it is to go against the Yankees every day of the year, no matter the season or situation. Should the Yankees lose a game or two behind a late-inning Phillie comback, maybe they too can be treated to all the "choke artist" shit talking the Phillies players enjoy engaging in (because what's more classy than winning the World Series and immediately talking trash?). But I somehow doubt that will happen. Instead, no matter what the outcome, the story will be the same as it has been for the last few years: the Phillies are the team to beat (in baseball or the National League) and the Yankees are the Kings of Gotham. When they're done with each other, they will inevitably turn back to address their old whipping boy, their easy target. And we'll be here waiting, ready to take it once again.
Come on, Eldrick.