Earlier in the season, the Philadelphia Phillies' efforts were more reminiscent of their late 1990s' teams. Naturally, few people actually believed that September baseball would be meaningful. But, a recent playoff push has caused an increasing number of fans to accept the idea that the second National League Wild Card spot can be won.
Here are 5 ways that fans have been embracing the Phillies' playoff potential:
5 Ways #5: Phillies' gear removed from winter storage
Admit it, you transferred your expensive team jersey, other Phillies' t-shirts, and all big 'P' baseball hats to your winter storage compartment. But, now that the team might actually be in the playoff push, that gear has been removed from moth balls and is being worn once again.
None of the individuals who are proudly wearing their Philadelphia colors fear the: St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, or Arizona Diamondbacks. Collective chants of "Bring it on!", are being heard across the region instead.
5 Ways #4: Water cooler topic ban lifted
Okay, most people no longer work at physical locations where water coolers serve as stopping points for cheeky white-collar, or blue-collar, conversation.
Wherever and however you are communicating with your red pinstriped brothers and sisters in the 'work place', recent conversations have recently been rebalanced from exclusively 'green team' topics, to those that also include the occupants of Citizen Bank Park.
5 Signs #3: Batteries put back into the transistor radio
In the not-so-distant past, when people weren't in front of their color television sets they used transistor radios to follow sports.
Today, all forms of high-tech toys allow us to fill our baseball fix. The terms 'digital', 'satellite', and 'high-definition' have now been incorporated into our listening experiences.
Using whatever preferred audio device, following Phillies' games has become a must once more.
5 Signs #2: Devouring digital illustrations
The 'lean-back' mediums of television and radio were developed to allow information to be delivered to passive receivers. Today's interactive reality enables everyone to be directly involved with the action.
Phillies' fans will verify that they have been watching digital illustrations of rivals' games through Major League Baseball's online application. Yes, this method does represent a crude way to keep an eye on the competition, but it somehow seems cool.
5 Signs #1: Fans are choosing to hope
Many fans stopped believing that the Phillies had a realistic chance at the playoffs sometime this summer. I give full credit to everyone who never gave up, because I thought there would be no playoff race and that they might be able to finish with a .500 record at best.
We fully understand that fans of all current playoff rivals naturally don't want to see Philadelphia make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance.
Beyond those fans though, it's been interesting to see how some personalities have been revealed through the Phillies' recent turnaround. Negative people attempt to transfer their own chosen bitterness to the outside world. Balanced souls must never stop trying to help these individuals, as conversions happen every day.
People who appear to feel most comfortable with failure (possibly because they see themselves in that manner) want the Phillies' quest to end in disappointment. Everyone else wants this team to unexpectedly qualify for the playoffs.
Embrace this ride, no matter where it leads, and remember that next season will still be there waiting for everyone.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight .
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