October 17, 2022
None of it is a dream.
The Philadelphia Phillies are playing for the NL pennant.
Not the 101-win Mets who had their number all summer.
Not the division-winning and defending world-champion Braves.
Not even the 111-win Dodgers out West.
Nope. It's the No. 5 seed San Diego Padres, on a miracle run of their own, against the sixth-seeded Phillies, who just a couple of weeks ago had fans not even sure if they would make it to the postseason.
But they did, and after 11 years of no October baseball, Citizens Bank Park was so loud, so alive that there was no way FOX Sports and even the Braves could've ever been prepared for it.
The Flyers, somehow, are 2-0, the Union are the Eastern Conference's top seed heading into the MLS Playoffs, the Eagles beat the rival Cowboys in Sunday night primetime to remain undefeated, and the Phillies are knocking on the door of the World Series.
None of it's a dream.
Here's what they're saying about the Fightin' Phils...
Braves manager Brian Snitker didn't make much of the "so-called hostile environment" ahead of the long-awaited Game 3 in Philadelphia.
He made a massive miscalculation.
Despite rallying all the way to the World Series title last season, Atlanta just never seemed ready for the noise. Spencer Strider's first start in a month, which lasted all of 2.1 innings, wasn't made any better with 45,000 people taunting him in unison.
And when Rhys Hoskins blew the roof off the place with his three-run shot and ensuing bat spike, it wasn't just Game 3 that felt over, the series did too.
The Phillies piled on Friday, then did it again Saturday in Game 4. Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. looked like he checked out under the sea of red rally towels.
Baseball saw Postseason Philly again, and you can be sure no one will be thinking of it as an easy place to play for a long, long time.
By the way, Noah Syndergaard heard you, Snitker.
Bryce Harper was born to play here. pic.twitter.com/e2ltQImsOr— Absolutely Hammered (@AH_Pod) October 15, 2022
An excerpt from Jim Salisbury over at NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Rhys Hoskins couldn't remember who it was but a Braves' runner at first base turned to him and said, "This place." The guy paused as he looked around. "Wow." [NBC Sports Philadelphia]Ken Rosenthal's concerned phone:
It is LOUD in Philadelphia! So loud that @Ken_Rosenthal has been getting noise notifications warning him that it could be reaching dangerous levels 🤯— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 15, 2022
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/DYjiXZck4k
As the longest-tenured players on the Phillies' roster, Zach Eflin, Aaron Nola, and Rhys Hoskins have seen some good, a lot of bad, and probably way too much ugly.
Hoskins especially has had one of the most complicated relationships with the city. As Shamus Clancy has put it before: No one gets hotter than Hoskins, but no one gets colder either.
Hoskins started the postseason ice cold, then came Game 3 in front of a home playoff crowd for the first time in his career.
One swing, one cathartic bat spike, and everything changed.
Hoskins is still here. This city has a complicated relationship with its homegrown first baseman who will never fulfill the expectations some held for him. He is not Ryan Howard. He is not an All-Star. He is prone to mistakes. He has received an outsized amount of criticism because, for years, he represented one of the few things that went right while the Phillies circled the drain. That was a blessing and a curse.
When Hoskins mashed the game-changing three-run homer Friday, Zach Eflin celebrated from the bullpen. Those two, along with Aaron Nola, have seen too much here. They have seen this thing stripped to its ugliest form. They were lumped into the muck.
They are rewriting everything with every postseason moment this October. Nola has not allowed an earned run in three straight outings. Eflin has overcome knee problems to become a dependable reliever. And Hoskins took one majestic swing Friday afternoon. [The Athletic]
You never know where you'll end up in seven years, and in 2015, probably no one could see this Phillies team coming.
Bryce Harper (the Nats' former star), J.T. Realmuto (the former Marlins' catcher on the rise), and Noah Syndergaard (the former hard-throwing Mets ace) all on the same roster, trying to push the Phils to the NL pennant as noted by writer Bill Baer:
Imagine telling someone in 2015 that Bryce Harper, Noah Syndergaard, and J.T. Realmuto would help lead the Phillies to the NLCS.— Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill) October 15, 2022
The celebration didn't end in the clubhouse. It carried over across the street to Xfinity Live, with the fans.
Philly's fully behind them, and the team is fully in sync with the city.
Bryce popping champagne in the Xfinity Zone pic.twitter.com/DN6A13zVhI— Jackson Proffitt (@CFCfan1625) October 16, 2022
Rob Thomson has joined the boys at Xfinity Live pic.twitter.com/0frCGzhuVm— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) October 16, 2022
"WE GOT EIGHT MORE, TOPPER" pic.twitter.com/OIKEZwEpGZ— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 15, 2022
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