THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

My Phillies fascination (phascination?) is all your fault.  Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you–specifically, you, you, and you.

It’s true that I was brought up on a steady diet of baseball and was going to games at Veterans Stadium when I was little (yes, even back then, I met baseball players all the time, and crushed on ’em, too–when I was a very little girl, I was quite fond of Von Hayes.  Stop laughing…).  It’s true that I’ve always been a Phillies fan.  But my Phillies fan-dom has increased over the past several years, and that’s not just ’cause the players have gotten cuter.

It’s because of my post-college exes.  This is all their fault.

See, I can be a very competitive person.   I also have made a bad habit of consorting with The Enemy.  And just so you’re aware, The Enemy is any team that’s done something to prevent my Phillies from being particularly victorious in any given season.

I have a confession to make, you guys.  For a really long time…I dated a Mets fan.  I know, I know.  The Enemy of all enemies.  (And then, after that, I was involved with a Rockies fan…which wouldn’t be so appalling except that that happened a mere 8 months after the Rockies trounced all over my Phillies in the playoffs.)

But first, let’s backtrack.  It’s 2004.  I’m a Phillies fan.  I like ’em, but I don’t love ’em (yet).  The guy I’m dating, he’s a Red Sox fan.  And he’s effin’ crazy.  I’m not kidding.  Seriously crazy.  He didn’t seem crazy when I started dating him, but when I first met him, the Red Sox had just won the 2004 World Series.  He was a happy dude then.  He wasn’t trying to jump off my balcony at that point.  But then, 2005.  The Sox aren’t doing as well as they were the previous season.  The baseball-induced (seriously) knife-hiding, suicide-attempting, trying-to-bang-my-door-down (oh yes, still serious!) crazy starts to come out.  And I mean really come out.   It’s around this time that I discovered, hey, Pat Burrell’s hot!  And I made the mistake of saying so.  And because the crazy one was severely jealous of my affection toward anything male that wasn’t him, the crazy came out some more.  And by the time I got a nice little restraining order against the Sox fan and his craziness, I swore up and down I didn’t ever want to have to deal with anything Red Sox-related ever again and that I was a National League, Phillies-lovin’ girl through and through.

Not long afterward, I met the Mets fan.  He seemed like Prince Charming at first–hey, he wasn’t a Red Sox fan!  He met my one and only boyfriend requirement!  (Kidding, everyone.  I’m a very choosy girl.)  He didn’t have the self-confidence problems that the Crazy One had, so if I mentioned Pat Burrell’s hotness (or Chase Utley’s hotness, etc), he didn’t freak out.  But we did have an awful lot of arguments about whether or not Cole Hamels has a mullet (he doesn’t, dammit, and never has!).  And we did bicker a lot about whose team was better…and while we were each very adamant about our positions on this topic, it probably didn’t help my cause to end each argument with “well, my team’s better because they’re cuter” (even though it’s true, they are totally cuter than the Mets).  It also didn’t help that I went through a truly abysmal phase where I had a mad crush on Jeff Francoeur, whose good looks could not even begin to make up for the awful stats he produced this year.  Simply put, the Mets fan didn’t particularly take my baseball-related opinions seriously, and I was doing nothing to change that since all I did was talk about how cute all my favorite players are.

But then the Mets fan introduced me to fantasy baseball, and all of a sudden, I started paying attention to the game as much as to the players, to the players’ stats as much as to their cute pinstriped butts, to crazy acronyms like WHIP and ERA in addition to the crazy acronym BILF that I was so excited about.  All of a sudden, I started to Understand The Game.  And it couldn’t have happened at a better time, since my Phillies were kickin’ butt and takin’ names.  I started to learn about what they did, and who was legitimately good, and why they were good.  Because yeah, cuteness counts to this girl right here, but in fantasy baseball, cute doesn’t count for squat.  Now all of a sudden, I not only loved that my favorite Phillies were hot–but they were also really, really good.  (So good, in fact, that I’m convinced the reason I came in 2nd in my fantasy league–that’s right, first time doing fantasy baseball, and I got 2nd place out of 10 players…boo-yah!–is because I picked some truly awesome Phillies who ended up really carrying my team: Hamels, Utley, Victorino, and Moyer.)

Despite the fact that the Mets fan did do some really nice things, like help me pick 50% of my fantasy team when my internet punked out on me in the middle of my draft, bought me a Greg Dobbs autographed ball one year for Christmas, actually taught me a few things about baseball and stats, and even tagged along one time when I was at ALS Night meeting Phillies (although I swear he was only there so he could try to touch them and put a hex on them), I ended up breaking up with him (not because he was a Mets fan, either–really, I’m not that petty).  And then, somehow, when my heart was still slightly tender and I’d amazingly managed to forget the thorough trouncing the Rockies gave the Phillies in the 2007 playoffs, I found myself involved with a Rockies fan.  Thankfully, we didn’t talk baseball much, but how I ever managed to deal with a Rockies fan when the part of my heart that wasn’t tender was still black and angry and hateful from thinking back to October 2007’s playoff elimination still amazes me. 

And while I’m grateful to the Mets fan for teaching me some baseball wisdom, and grateful to the Sox fan for making me see that hey, those Yankees are kind of a fun team to like when I feel like rooting for an AL team, and to the Rockies fan for being kind (and wise) enough to never hold it over my head that his team beat mine in a few very crucial games, I can’t help but perpetually want their teams to lose.  As I mentioned, I’m a competitive kind of girl.  Despite the fact that I’m still chummy with 2/3 of these guys, and I sincerely wish them lots of happiness, I want to be the one with the most baseball happiness, dammit.  If, for instance, the Mets fan is happy, then that probably means the Phillies are doing something to make me unhappy.  If the Sox fan is happy, then the Yankees are probably making me a little peeved.  If the Rockies fan is happy…hey, does anyone even pay attention to Colorado baseball anymore?  Just wondering.

With each person I’ve dated, I’ve grown to love my Phillies a little more–it’s a love that’s grown mostly out of genuine affection for my Favorite Team Ever, and a love that’s grown slightly (and amusingly) out of spite.  With every ex, I cheer a little harder for my boys in red and white.  I stare just a little bit longer at their cute pinstriped butts.  I push myself to learn more and more about my favorite team, about the game, and about the hotties on other teams (Justin Morneau, where have you been all my life?!?).  I hope a little harder that my team beats yours–whoever you are, and whoever your team may be.  I blow a few more kisses at Burrell and I squeal just a little more when I see Hamels pitch.

So, dear exes, this is your fault.  You’ve collectively and gradually created a Phillies monster (and a fantasy baseball monster, too).  And thank you–yes,
really
.  Thank you.  Because through all that went wrong and all that went right, I found my one true love, the one who didn’t let me down yet this year…the Philadelphia Phillies (awwww!).

Okay, enough with the mush.  My team’s in the World Series…and yours isn’t.  Woo-hoo!

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