David Murphy's World Series: a father-son story

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">This is Andrew, my younger son, who went to a playoff game, but missed the World Series.  Hey, Phillies.  Win another one, so I can take this guy, too!  -David Murphy (David Murphy and son Andrew at a Phillies game in 2008.)</span></div>
These Phillies memories will last a lifetime.
October 30, 2008 8:49:48 PM PDT
It's the morning after that final miraculous Brad Lidge slider and it still seems like something I dreamed last night. The moment was a stunner. The pile of Phillies growing higher and higher in the middle of all that noise and mayhem will be forever etched in my memory---and my son agrees. Tim, already a tried veteran of baseball's emotional roller coaster at 17, stood beside me through Monday's rain and Wednesday's glory as he has through so many seasons of struggle and almosts, and we shared this elusive and rare moment of regional euphoria together. It was the pinnacle of dozens of sweaty Sunday afternoons, chilly evenings, far flung road trips and hours of talk, and it was all the sweeter for each other's company. Today, my son stands rewarded with the rest of us. His Phillies memory train is now fully loaded, roaring down the tracks---and racing to catch mine.

It was July 1971, one of those thick, muggy nights we get so often around here in the summer, and the Pilgrim Gardens neighborhood where I grew up was doing its best to heave away the heat of the day. I was channel hopping on the old TV set my sister had adopted from my parents when I first stumbled across Phillies baseball. Until then, I was only vaguely aware of the Phillies. My father had taken me to a couple of games at Connie Mack. They were both losses. Of course, the Phillies did a lot of that in those days. On this night, they were getting knocked around by what would become the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati, a team I would come to loathe as much as today's young fans loathe the Mets. The final score was 10-3 or something pitiful like that, which to most sane people would've been a certain cue to switch over to the Smothers Brothers, or Bonanza, for the rest of forever.

But the next evening, there I was again, watching another bad night for Don Money and company. Glued, really. What is it about us? Or about this team? Maybe there's something secretly persuasive in the red pinstripes or those old road blues, something perfectly sinister. How else to explain being hooked by a team that was in the process of losing 95 games with only one batter hitting over .300 (it was Dick Selma, a pitcher, who went 1 for 1 that year). But again, there I was.

Of course, in a way, Tim can tell a similar Philadelphia Story. The Phillies hadn't been making much noise through his childhood and when I first started taking him to games at the Vet as a brand new season ticket holder about five years ago, I was at times practically dragging him there. But things have changed for him, as they did for me. In my youth, it was the collection of building blocks of greatness that were already in place in '71 (Luzinski, Bowa, Vukovich, McCarver and the next year, Carlton), that quickly congealed. By 1974, Dave Cash had arrived with that "Yes We Can" attitude and the Phillies would go on to become one of the better franchises in baseball throughout my high school and college years.

Tim's renaissance carries the names of Utley, Rollins, Howard and Hamels who've now won the prize and also appear poised for years of wonderful possibilities. Not to be too corny, but when I bought the season ticket plan, one of my private hopes was that Tim would get the chance to experience our city and our region in the throws of this delight. Last night at the park, we were both caught up in that mix of elation and disbelief that almost always accompanies these rare and perfect sports moments. And I couldn't help but smile when I thought about how well my plan worked out.

There's only one problem. I have two other kids. Both were pretty disappointed that they weren't there, too. So, er, Phillies? Would you mind winning two more of these? That would really help me out!