By Charles Guthrie
For the first time in 13 years, Philadelphia fans are concentrated on the Phillies in October and not the Eagles.
Black and green jerseys with names such as McNabb, Westbrook and Owens (just kidding), have been replaced with red pinstriped button- down jerseys bearing names such as Howard, Utley and Rollins.
With the New York Mets’ historic collapse, the Phillies were able to win the National League East divisional crown, and clinch their first playoff berth since the magical 1993 season.
The Rider campus is filled with Phillies fans that are all excited about the team’s recent success and say their team has a shot at making it to the World Series.
“It’s been a really, really long time since they have made it,” junior Steve Bitterman said. “I’ve been a Philly fan my whole life and it’s nice to have something different happen than what you’re used to when you watch this team for so long.
“I feel like they can win the NL, not too sure about the World Series,” he said. “Their bullpen is a little shaky, but they have one of the best lineups in the National League and I think they can carry the team. It’s part of being a Philly fan, when one team does make the step that others couldn’t, you feel like they can do it.”
Senior Mike Sculli was elated, to say the least, when the Phillies clinched last Sunday and said they have just as good of a shot to win the pennant as the other National League teams.
“I cried, it’s one of the greatest comebacks in major league history,” Sculli said. “I haven’t seen the Phillies in the playoffs in 13 years. Whenever you see a team hopping around celebrating it’s usually somebody other than the Phillies.
“I think they can win the National League,” he said. “All of the teams have a legitimate shot of making it, all of the teams have good and bad things about them, and so there is no clear-cut favorite.”
Junior Kevin Malinowski loved the effort that the Phillies gave in September and shared the same excitement with the Philadelphia faithful when the Phillies were finally able to make the leap to October.
“I’m ecstatic that the team fought real hard at the end of the season and put a lot of pressure on the Mets,” Malinowski said. “It was a great sight for true baseball fans, it was a nail- biter down to the end, and it was very exciting for it to be the Phillies.
“Hopefully they can go all the way,” he said. “But they should at least make it to the National League Championship Series.”
Will O’Connor, a senior on the baseball team, said the Phillies making the playoffs couldn’t have come at a better time, and that the series against the Colorado Rockies should be a good one.
“It’s good to finally see the Phillies make the playoffs after so long,” O’Connor said. “It’s nice for the city of Philadelphia to have the Phils in the playoffs with the Eagles struggling right now.
“I wanted the Phils to play the San Diego Padres instead of the Rockies,” he said. “Colorado is a hot team, and they, along with the Phillies, swing good bats so it should be a good series.”
The Phillies are in an early hole as they have dropped the first two games of the series at Citzens Bank Park.
The first game was the matchup of lefty aces as Cole Hamels lost to Jeff Francis 4-2. The Phils’ then dropped the second game 10-5 in a game where both teams combined for five home runs.
The team is down 2-0 in the series, but fans just have to remember last weekend if they’ve any doubts of winning.