I've been a Phillies fan for a long time. I was born and raised a Phils fan, and so I've continued the tradition with my children. Rob came from New York, so he converted for love of us.
(Football is another story. He will never forsake his New York Giants.)
You might say that this weekend was a little bit of a bummer. I really thought they would pull it out, but it was not meant to be this year.
I can remember going to games at the old Veterans Stadium with my grandparents. I'd be sprawled in the enormous back seat of their powder blue Caddy, and we would drive from the suburbs to the city. Center City, as they say in Philly.
(I never knew that other cities say "downtown," until I met Rob and he asked me, "what's a center city?")
My grandfather would stop and buy soft pretzels from a guy with a rusty shopping cart in the middle of the highway. Those are still the best soft pretzels I've ever had.
We ate peanuts and hot dogs in the park and that's where I learned all the words to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." When we couldn't go to the park, we would watch the game on television. Or sometimes we'd listen on an old radio, mostly when we were "down the shore" and we had no tv.
("Down the shore" - another thing people from other places don't say.)
As I grew, I didn't really follow the Phillies closely, but I'd still feel that little tug of hometown pride when I'd see them win a game. They have always been my home team.
I guess that's why it tickles me that Bun has become such a big Phils fan. The other kids root for the Phillies, but Bun has really picked them as his team.
During the summer, Rob and would sit in the evenings and watch the games while chatting or working around the house. Bun, who is a little wanderer at bedtime, started coming down to the sofa and watching a little of the game with us before we took him back up to bed.
I think that's when Bun started to fall in love with baseball. There was just something about the sport that immediately drew him in, and it didn't hurt that he got his parents to himself for a few minutes while watching.
Even before his speech started increasing, he would point to the television and say "beeball!" before cuddling up on the sofa. He quickly learned to recognize the Phillies logo, and he called them the "P-stars," since he couldn't say Phillies and they dotted their i's with stars.
Without any kind of deliberate plan, I noticed his inventory of baseball themed clothing growing. A Phillies cap here, a little red jacket there, and of course his beloved pajamas that I picked up on a whim (and on clearance!)
He even picked sheets with baseballs for his move to the big boy bed this summer. Oh yeah, he's a fan of America's Pastime.
So for now we will have to cheer on those red-hot Texas Rangers. (Seriously, after watching those guys together how can you not get a little lump in your throat?)
But come the spring, I know just who Bun will be cheering. And I love it.