Philadelphia clinches East Division title
By Robert Kelley
Assistant Sports Editor
The Philadelphia Phillies clinched the National League East Division title on Sept. 30 beating the Washington Nationals 6-1 and eliminating the New York Mets who were 8-1 losers to the Florida Marlins.
Trailing by as many as seven games with less than two weeks to play in the season, Philadelphia secured a playoff berth for the first time since 1993.
The city of Philadelphia has not celebrated a sports championship since 1983. Since that faithful year, there have been many heartbreaking moments in all of Philadelphia pro sports including tumultuous post seasons from the Flyers and Eagles and the 76ers’ NBA finals defeat to Los Angeles.
The 2007 Phillies would add to the city’s mound of defeat if they came close yet again, but did not deliver.
The first pitch of the New York versus Florida game started 30 minutes before the game in Philadelphia. By the time the Phillies game had started, a standing ovation began forming throughout Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets trailed 7-1 after the first inning, following seven earned runs from their pitching ace, Tom Glavine.
It was set up perfectly. The stars were aligned.
The Phillies tasted the National League East division title only moments away hoping Florida would hang on to beat New York.
Following the 6-1 victory and 8-1 loss from the Mets, fans of the Phillies rejoiced and immediately scheduled a victory parade in downtown Philadelphia to be held two days later.
The Phillies were National League East division champions.
Following all the disappointment that plagued Philadelphia franchises bestowed upon its fans, winning the division in this fashion made it all that much sweeter.
When asked by local media during the chaotic postgame celebration, and with bubbly streaming down his face, Jimmy Rollins said “I’m not a prophet, I just play baseball.”
Yes, Jimmy, you play baseball. You play it very well. In fact, because of your career season in which you became only the fourth player ever to hit 20 homeruns, 20 doubles, 20 triples and steal 20 bases, you are most analysts’ most valuable player.
Laughed at by the Mets players and much of the media before the start of the 2007 campaign, the man known as “JRoll” by teammates, would stand by his proclamation predicting the Phillies as the team to beat in the National League, even after Philadelphia started the season 4-11.
For a team that notoriously starts slow ever year, this was not the way to begin a season that had such high hopes. Reigning Most Valuable Player, Ryan Howard, struggled in April, batting less than .200 landing himself on the disabled list with a quad injury.
Remembered in infamy
The 2007 New York Mets will now be marked in baseball history forever by becoming the biggest chokers statistically of all-time, letting a Philadelphia Phillies squad erase a double-digit deficit with a few weeks left in the season.
Philadelphia faced a seven game deficit with only 17 to play.
The Mets were playing well as no team in the history of major league baseball had ever blown a seven game lead in the month of September, let alone with less than 20 games remaining.
The Phillies ended their season with a 10 game road trip, followed by a six game home stand.
New York played seven games away from Shea, followed by nine games at home.