By J.C. MOORE
Champagne was spraying throughout the locker room. Catcher Carlos Ruiz was wearing swimming goggles to keep it from his eyes. Manager Charlie Manuel, whose mother had recently passed away, had immediately escaped to his office to keep from the messy excitement.
Phillies fans had already witnessed this same celebration exactly one year ago. So what made this occasion any more special? This time the Phils were moving on to the 2008 World Series after a convincing 5-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Emotions in Philadelphia couldn’t have been stronger. Thousands of fans had crowded the city streets in celebration. The excitement of the local team has also carried into CCC.
Freshman Taj Wesley loves the look of the Phillies. “They have a serious shot to win the World Series. I hope they do it. I’ve never been a serious baseball fan, but the team is getting me interested.”
Red Phillies hats and jerseys have been making appearances around campus more and more the last few weeks. It’s not a surprise. Local sports fans have had little to cheer for in recent years. Many students where not even born when the Phillies last won a World Series in 1983. Some students were only toddlers when the Phils last appeared in a World Series game.
Today’s fans have now found something to cheer for with this new team. Led by hitters Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies have become one of the most exciting teams in the league. Pitcher Cole Hamels, who took home the National League Series MVP award, has given solid outings all year long and is a key piece if the Phils wish to continue their postseason success.
Some students even take offense when they see locals wearing anything but Phillies gear.
“It makes me mad when I see people wearing a New York or Boston hat,” sophomore Jared Mosley said. “Philly is in the the playoffs. They’re our team. Represent them.”
“They’re a fun team to watch,” said recent Cumberland Regional graduate LaToshya Cox. “Watching a World Series with the Phillies is going to be really exciting.”
Some students are still a little skeptical of their recent success.
“Even with the Phils going to the World Series, Philadelphia sports teams are known to disappoint,” freshman Caleb Pratts said. “But this team is different because they have a lot of talent. I believe they can get it done.”
Confidence is shining through in both the team and the fans. The Tampa Bay Rays, who just finished their seven game series against the Boston Red Sox, await the surging Phils in the last seven game series to decide the best team in baseball. It’s win or go home from here on out.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in,” Pratts said. “My team is about to be fighting for a championship. I can’t wait.”
The team has turned casual fans into diehards and non-believers into believers. Hopefully by the end of October, CCC continues its makeover into a Phillies community.