The Phillies Are (Kind of) Contenders and This Makes Me Happy

This is the most exciting time of the year for fans of Major League Baseball. The pennant chases are taking shape and since 2012, the inclusion of a second Wild Card slot gives fans of even more teams hope for an unexpected playoff run.

People who know me know that I’m a diehard Oakland Athletics fan. The Athletics, sitting near the bottom of the AL standings, will see no October baseball in 2016. Regardless, my passion sustains, and it runs deep — growing up on the East Coast, they were a fascination for me and during the past decade, living a few miles from the ballpark, they’re my team. My AL team, at least.

Of course, the Phillies are the team of my childhood —my first love, the source of my earliest sports memories. My love of Oakland is real, but Philadelphia? It’s in my bones. So then, at what point am I allowed to start thinking about what a 2016 Phillies postseason run might look like?

Stay with me here. I recognize that the Phillies were expected to lose 100 games this season. The 2016 team is quite clearly in the middle of a rebuild. They are imperfect; they are flawed.

But they’re also just six-and-a-half games out of a playoff slot on August 15. Long shot? Yes. Wishful thinking? Probably. But hey, that’s okay. There are 43 games remaining and as a fan of a team expected to fall on its face, they are playing well enough that I’m able to daydream a bit and wonder if I might still witness an improbable run deep into October. And isn’t that the point of all of this? There are teams that many consider to be favorites. It’s fun to be a Cubs fan this season. It’s fun to be a Rangers fan this season. It’s always fun to be a Giants fan — winning the World Series three times in five years is fun.

But this season? It’s fun to be Phillies fan. And it feels good to say that again.