The Philadelphia Phillies had a five-year playoff run (2007-2011) that included a World Series championship. As all of the team's detractors know, their 2012 postseason access is about to be denied.
Most of the baseball fans who I've ever known appreciate the good times and don't revel in the misery of others. The personality types who engage in that type of behavior shouldn't be abandoned. Those poor souls deserve our constant attention so that we can help them move past their emotional view of reality.
I respect what the Washington Nationals, the Atlanta Braves and every other playoff-bound team has accomplished this season. That's because I value the great athletes who play the game and I'm not jealous of their lives. Along those lines, I think that Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper is an exceptional talent and is exactly the type of player who is good for the game.
I also don't use sports as a cover to attack people when they are down and then hide behind the cover of competitiveness. Most of us have seen people use that type of "My kid is better than your kid" bush league chant since we were young ourselves. Think about the times when you have seen adults behaving like miscreants in public, while also encouraging their innocent offspring to do the same.
Sports has become a quasi-religion to a portion of the public, with people literally worshiping at secular altars that are nothing more than stadiums. These misguided souls then see themselves involved in 'holy wars' against any team, or group of fans, who they adamantly feel are opposed to their own cause.
A balanced view
When the Phillies are eliminated, I'm still going to enjoy this year's playoffs. That's because I like baseball, but also keep the game in its proper place within my own life.
It's completely understandable that natural rivalries would cause various Phillies' detractors to react when they are erased from the Wild Card chase. But, the manner in which they do so is what matters. We all know that the behavior of anyone is always most reflective of that person's own life.
I wish every 2012 playoff team and their fans the best moving forward. To all Phillies' loyalists and to all fans of every other non-playoff team I also say, there's always next year.
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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