Please welcome back Tim Malcolm! Tim was the editor-in-chief of Phillies Nation from 2006 to 2009.
The struggle to cope through change has been documented for centuries. In one moment your experiences marry the ongoing popular culture and the people carrying influence; then, in an instant, no longer. You’re a dinosaur. Your views aren’t those of the youth. Your experiences are merely shared with your peers, and become nothing more than history, something that collects dust in the basement.
It was only seven years ago when I walked through a pattern of red bodies gathered happily on Broad Street waiting for the Phillies to parade a world championship. On that day Cole Hamels uttered words that will grow dust in my brain forever:
“If there is one thing I cannot wait to do, it’s go down that Broad Street parade again, and again, and again.”
Again, and again, and again. The boldness! The swagger!
Admittedly, others shared similar sentiments, but it was Hamels’ words that stayed. He was 24, just a year older than me at the time. His first major league start was May 12, 2006, which I remember clearly. I was standing in my parents’ Boston hotel room, the first night of commencement weekend at Boston University, checking blog comments for updates on Hamels’ debut. This was before Twitter and, really, before the advent of streaming content that allowed a range of game-following experiences. We took whatever we had.
After that debut I’d graduate, and after that I’d start writing regularly about baseball. My interest in the team would grow to something beyond simply watching games. Starting in 2006 I’d watch every game I could, follow every game regardless, analyze statistics, write about the games, and attend as many games as possible. My favorite players were now around my age. I wasn’t looking up to personal icons like Thome, Abreu, Rolen, or Daulton. I related – at least on one small level – with these new guys, especially Hamels. We “graduated” on the same week. We would grow through our new careers, hopefully find success, and reach new heights together.
It’s 2015. I’m 30 and Hamels is 31. My career is shifting, as I’m about to throw myself into full-time self-employed writing; his is changing, as well: recently we saw him standing on the pitcher’s mound in Arlington, Texas. For a few years I stepped back from following the Phillies fanatically; recently Hamels has seen a major transformation with his team. His words from the 2008 parade are now simply history; they will likely never come to fruition.
A day after Hamels was traded, sweating while standing on the stage at Citizens Bank Park, Pat Burrell accepted his place in the Phillies Wall of Fame humbly, but not without a reminder of the surreality surrounding the weekend.
“I’ve played with some great players,” said Burrell, “but the guy I enjoyed playing with the most is actually still here in the dugout. And I hope that all of you realize how special of a player, and a man, Chase Utley is.” Continue reading Coping with the end of an era