Schmuckfest & the Fighting Phillies in the World Series

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So I’m home tonight after the Peter Schmuck roast (I worked “blue”…I was surprised by how many people don’t know what that term means but the FCC never allowed it and the Comedy Club did…it was a goof and Schmuck is a great guy), and I’m watching Pat Gillick, who was run out of Baltimore in disgrace right around the last time the Orioles didn’t suck.

Or least not suck as bad as my attempts at humor tonight. LOL.

So, while the Schmuckfest was a wonderful affair to benefit a nice cause, Cool Kids, it’s strange that roasting a guy who I know through baseball led me to stay up late to watch the Philadelphia Phillies go back to the World Series for the first time since 1993.

The Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series.

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It’s been a strange week for me. We’re at the finish line to launching the new website and the images of everyone from John Steadman to Mike Fiorelli to a major tragedy we endured in our inner circle of friends last week, it’s been a wild week to turn 40.

Because everything significant in my life is marked by baseball, it’s just strange. I realized while talking to Mickey Cucchiella and Pete Eibner tonight that it was 25 years ago today that I drove to The Vet to see Game 4 of the World Series, Phillies vs. Orioles. I also told a guy today, whose birthday is today, that it’s Jim Palmer’s birthday today as well. By the way, Happy 63rd birthday to Cakes!

I went to that 1983 World Series Game 5 with my best pal, Kevin Eck (better know for “Ring Posts” at The Sun), a schoolmate named Kenny Andrews and my 10th grade English teacher, Miss Monday. Her adult name was Susan Monday and the last I heard she was doing morning AM news radio at The Big Talker WPHT 1210 in Filthy. She was a Phillies fan, even then. She was also one of my first interns in 1993 when I was doing sports radio on WWLG-AM 1360.

So, tonight I’ve been thinking about the old days of my love for the Phillies. And once Curt Schilling wound up there in 1992 (and there’s a long history there…just go read the book!), it was even more fun being a Phillies fan when Schilling left tickets for me and my son whenever we wanted to go to games.

Hell, I hope the Phillies win the World Series just for Miss Monday and anyone who stuck it out through Bill Giles bad days as an owner 10 years ago. It’s been a long time since Tug McGraw and the 1980 Phils “believed” and beat George Brett and hemorrhoids. The fans there and that ballpark deserve a chance at a championship. They’ve done a very, very nice job in Philadelphia lately with that baseball team. Utley, Howard, Hamels, Rollins – how do you root against these guys?

The Phillies were my favorite team as a kid – even moreso than the Orioles for a little while there when I had a twisted fascination with Veterans Stadium and artificial turf. They must be going crazy in Philadelphia tonight. I really wish I still loved baseball the way a few of my old baseball friends do.

Sadly, I kinda feel like the Orioles treatment of me, my business, my co-workers and the city in general (not to mention countless former employees I know) has made me not even care so much even about the Phillies any more.

I’ve moved on. I’m watching college football, hockey, the NFL, U.S. Soccer – all sorts of things. But, man, do I miss baseball. It’s just tragic, this loss of connection between the Orioles and Baltimore and here tonight is one more giant “F-U” from a guy who got back to the World Series with no help from Peter Angelos.

Pat Gillick, who not coincidentally was the general manager of the Orioles in 1996 and 1997 (if you can remember that far back) and the Blue Jays the entire time they were kicking our asses in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But no one here even writes about that stuff anymore.

Gillick is back in the World Series.

Even Davey Lopes, who I knew very well back during the summer when O.J. Simpson was on trial, is back in the World Series with the Phillies. He watched the trial in the clubhouse every day and was a fun guy to talk to and I rooted for him when he was the Milwaukee Brewers coach because he was a good, smart, decent guy.

I’m watching Joe Torre give his concession speech. He’s such a class act.

I’m not going to Philadelphia this week. Or at least I don’t think I am. I wish had “the fever” but I don’t. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wind up on the field there next week?

But the postseason has been a little boring this week. The Red Sox are getting killed (which isn’t hurting my feelings) but there’s been very little drama outside of the shot heard ‘round the Ravine – that blast by Matt Stairs (who was also always a phenomenal guy back in the days when the Orioles let me have a press pass – I had Stairs on the show many times. Good dude! Easy to root for…)

I’ll probably root for the Rays if they beat the Phillies, simply because my friend Rick Vaughn is the P.R. direction.

But I grew up such a looney, zany, wacky Phillies fan that it’s just sort of weird. And made weirder by the fact that we barely feel like we have a team here anymore. Like the Baltimore Orioles don’t even count. It’s just surreal and I hope one day movements like Free The Birds will change that.

But the last I checked, Angelos just got a check for $124 million from Comcast for MASN this year. And the team (or teams if you count the Washington Nationals) sucks.

This is just my two cents at midnight while I remember the celebration at The Vet in 1993 with Mitch Williams, Danny Jackson ripping his shirt off and a young Curt Schilling and an old Dutch Daulton. I went to every game of the 1993 World Series. It was magical. John Kruk, Rickey Henderson, long drives, that Joe Carter home run landed almost at my feet in the Skydome – I remember EVERYTHING, even the girl I went to Toronto with that weekend for Game 6 and my buddies who rolled overnight and almost hit deer on the road in upstate New York for Games 1 and 2. I remember the 35 run game. I remember the Madonna concert across the street. I remember doing my little radio show from the field.

I was so in love with baseball that I drove back and forth to Toronto both weekends to go to the game.

Now, the Series is 90 miles away. I don’t have tickets. I haven’t applied for a press pass. And I might not even go.

It sucks what the Orioles have done here. It really does.

And it feels like it never ends.

I’m 40 now (thanks to all for the well wishes).

I hope that I’m not 50 and 20 years of baseball, friendship, civic fun and the bonding is still not a stranger to me and to Baltimore. It’s just a crime, having to watch all of the joy of baseball from outside the fences.

I wish everyone in Philadelphia a great ride with a World Series team full of seemingly decent, honorable guys. Ryan Howard seems like a classy dude. Cole Hamels has a funny voice but must be the hottest property with the ladies since Chase Utley. And Jimmy Rollins did my show several times back in the days of Sporting News and was a super good guy.

Good for Charlie Manuel and the Fightin’ Phils.

Let’s see where the ALCS lands tomorrow night.

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