The Philadelphia Phillies
2008 World Series Champions

I know, I know, the rest of the country just … doesn’t … care. Believe me, after watching and waiting for the last 25 years for a championship for any one of our four major sports teams, the Phillies or the Flyers or the Eagles or the Sixers, I–and the rest of the people in Philadelphia–know exactly what it is like to watch some other team win, some other city celebrate.

Damn it, though, tonight it’s our turn!!

When I played Little League as a kid, I remember being disappointed year after year because I always drew the Tigers, or the Yankees, or the Dodgers, or the Orioles — any team but the Phillies. Every kid wanted to be a Phillie.

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan and an Auburn University alum, I’ve always loved football. Growing up in the northeast, hockey has always been huge. Still, at the end of the day, it is baseball, America’s pastime, which makes me think of simpler times when my parents were still together, when I knew nothing of mortgage payments or health insurance or busted water-heaters, when politics was something that angry grownups talked about.

This photograph was taken when I was just a kid, shopping in a department store and lucky enough to run into the Phillie Phanatic. My goodness, it was an absolute dream. It occurred to me tonight, watching my two-year-old daughter watch and laugh as her father hopped around the room (she called me a “hop-hop,” meaning that, to her, I looked like a rabbit), just how long it has been since life has been simple, since the greatest cause for concern or celebration was a bunch of guys in red and white pinstripes.

You know, I’m usually the first person to disparage sports, much in the same way as I do the cult of celebrity and the eye-rolling superficiality parade which is American Idol, as a distraction from the things which truly matter. Tonight, however, as I look at the images on my television set, I see coming together and celebrating together and jumping and dancing and hugging and screaming together a city which, just six days from now, will most certainly be viciously–and perhaps irreparably–divided.

Sure, there may be some rioting and disobedience in the streets of Philadelphia tonight, but for the most part, there is far more love tonight in the City of Brotherly Love than there has been for a long while, and will be for some time to come.

There’s something to be said for sports.

There’s something to be said for victory.

And there you have it — even on a night where pinstripes take precedence over politics, it becomes apparent that there is always a lesson to be learned.



  1. Anonymous says:

    no offense Jeff, I’m sure you’re excited but I think I speak for many when I say “yawn”.

  2. Quinn Nii says:

    Thanks for posting this one up for Phil and Jeff, Phili hometown Men! Now the real challenge now is to Get Phil and Jeff and Philadelphia on the National Map Radar on Election Day!

  3. Bet says:


  4. 10 Ninety-Six says:

    Update to the “Curse of William Penn” a/k/a “Curse of Billy Penn”:

    The Curse of William Penn WAS an alleged curse used to explain the failure of professional sports teams based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to win championships since the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn’s statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. The curse supposedly ended on October 29, 2008 when the Philadelphia baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, won the 2008 World Series, four months after a William Penn figure was attached on the top of the new Comcast Center, the new tallest building in the city. This curse has gained such prominence in Philadelphia that a documentary film by the same name, The Curse of William Penn, has been produced about it.

    Origins of the curse

    Atop Philadelphia City Hall stands a statue of William Penn, the city founder and original proprietor of the then-British colony of Pennsylvania (meaning “Penn’s Woods”) [3]. For many decades, an “gentlemen’s agreement” stated that the Philadelphia Art Commission would approve no building in the city which would rise above this statue. This ended in March 1987, when a modern steel-and-glass skyscraper, One Liberty Place, opened three blocks away. One Liberty Place dwarfs City Hall by 397 feet (121m), rising 945 feet (288m) in height compared to the height of Penn’s hat on city hall, 547ft 11-3/4in (167m). The measurement of the height of City Hall is usually rounded to 548 ft, which coincidentally matches the career number of home runs hit by Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt. Its sister skyscraper, Two Liberty Place, at 848 ft (258m), would soon follow.

    Philadelphia sports teams had just before then enjoyed an enviable run of success: Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies had won the 1980 World Series and the 1983 National League pennant; the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers had won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, and were a regular presence in the finals (to wit, 1976, 1980, 1985, and 1987 as well as 1997); the National Football League’s
    Philadelphia Eagles had appeared in Super Bowl XV, losing to the Oakland Raiders; and the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers had won the championship in 1983, as well as making the finals in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 2001.[4] In fact, before 1980, the Phillies had appeared in only two other World Series, in 1915 and 1950, and the Eagles had won no NFC conference championships since the 1966 agreement that had created the Super Bowl, while the 76ers won NBA titles in both Philadelphia and in their prior incarnation, the Syracuse Nationals. Construction on One Liberty Place began in 1985, two years after the last championship season in Philadelphia.

    Unlike other “curses” that seem to strike particular teams, such as the Boston Red Sox’s Curse of the Bambino, the Chicago White Sox’s Curse of the Black Sox (both of which seem to have been lifted), the Detroit Lions’ Curse of Bobby Layne and the Chicago Cubs’ Curse of the Billy Goat, this curse is said to have struck four professional teams in the same city and is sometimes extended to include other sports.

    The Curse Lifted

    On June 18, 2007, ironworkers from Local Union 401 helped raise the final beam in the construction of the Comcast Center at 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Philadelphia. The Comcast Center is currently the tallest building in the city at 975 ft (297.2 m). In an attempt to end the curse, workers John Joyce and Dan Ginion attached a small figurine of Billy Penn to the beam, along with the traditional American flag and small evergreen tree.

    On October 29, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series in five games against the Tampa Bay Rays. There were fears that Billy Penn had taken his final revenge on October 27, when the fifth game was suspended in the sixth inning due to a rain delay with the game tied at 2-2, and the Phillies leading series 3-1. However, the game resumed on October 29, when the Phillies rebounded with a 4-3 win. With this victory, the curse seems to have been lifted. A parade through Philadelphia is planned for October 31, 2008 to celebrate the victory; it will be the first ticker-tape parade down Broad Street in Philadelphia since 1985.


    In spite of the curse, when Philadelphia sports teams have reached their league’s finals, Penn’s statue has often been decorated to support that team’s success. For example, after the Phillies won the 1993 National League pennant, Penn was fitted with an oversized red Phillies baseball cap; when the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1997, the city adorned Penn with an orange-torso-with-white-shoulders Flyers jersey (at the time, the combination was the Flyers’ road jersey).

    When the Sixers faced the Lakers in the 2001 NBA Finals Billy Penn was not decorated. Pat Croce, Philadelphia celebrity and part-owner of the Sixers, said he would have “decked out” the statue had the Sixers won but not before.[6] Billy Penn was also left untouched when the Eagles went to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

    While several other skyscrapers have been erected since Liberty Place, it should be noted that Penn’s statue faces northeast. As local sentiment goes, Penn may not be pleased, but at least his view of the Delaware River remains unobstructed. In 2005, construction started on Philadelphia’s current tallest edifice, the Comcast Center office building, located two blocks west of City Hall and completed in 2008.

    Currently, there are plans for a new 1,500 ft. tall skyscraper, the American Commerce Center, that will be located adjacent to the Comcast Center and will be 500 ft. taller than the Comcast Center when completed in 2012.

    Let’s just hope they put a Billy Penn statue on it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is It’s about time!

    To the poster with the print size problem: If you’re using FireFox, hitting Ctl-+ will increase the type size. There has to be a way to do it in Internet Explorer too, but since I don’t use it, I can’t tell you how.

  6. 10 Ninety-Six says:

    Thought you might enjoy seeing the curse put to rest. From one North-East Philly guy to another, Congrats,
    Luke Sanderlin

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Mets fan so I can’t say I’m happy…but you run a great blog here and for that I send you my congrats!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes…there is something to be said for sports. They teach you how to play as a “team”, to learn to get along with those you might not otherwise, to learn how to win and lose, they provide an outlet for extra energy, they keep you busy enough to stay away from other troubles,they teach you how to manage and balance time. I have always believed if certain cultures, especially those in the middle east adopted sports,they would not have the anger and hate they so often have. There would not be a pool of young men and women to cultivate into suicide bombers, terrorist etc. I know it sounds a bit silly at first, but think about it!! Sports provide some fundamental building blocks that we all need to succeed, however, our society has come to make more of it than necessary, especially on the professional level. Anyway…congrats!!! I hope we are all “hop-hop”‘s in our living rooms next week :)

  9. Greg Goss says:

    As a long time Boston sports fan I understand how you feel. Congrats and enjoy it cause you never know when the next one will come around.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How did you go from that happy, laughing, kid, to the nasty bigot you are today?

  11. Anonymous says:

    For Font size on Internet Explorer, go to the top and click on view, from there click on text size, then choose a larger size.

    Hope that helps!

  12. Jeff Schreiber says:

    “How did you go from that happy, laughing, kid, to the nasty bigot you are today?”

    I love that I cannot question a presidential candidate’s judgment or ideology without being called a bigot. How enlightening.

    If I were a “nasty bigot,” I’m sure the transition would have come as a result of being exposed to bitter liberals like yourself.

    Wake up and smell the socialism, my friend.

    – Jeff

  13. Ken says:


    The best of luck to the Flyers.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Socialism isn’t inherently evil; even the Jesus you supposedly worship advocated it. Some of the most prosperous countries in the world are “socialist” by your definition. They also have very long-lived and healthy populations.

    I would classify myself as a capitalist, but I also recognize that some socialist ideas are beneficial. In particular, socialized medicine is extremely helpful for chronic diseases such as asthma. Compare asthma deaths in Canada versus the US.

    It’s not that you simply “question a presidential candidate’s judgment or ideology”; it’s that you back utterly crackpot claims with no discrimination, simply because they’re against Obama. Citing the WorldNutDaily and NewsMax as reasonable sources? Get real. Obama as another Hitler or Khomeini? That’s insane and ahistorical.

Speak Your Mind