Posted by: londontravels | October 24, 2009

49, 50: Half way there, another World Series berth and Wimbledon

That’s right…half way there. I wonder if the second half of this trip will feel longer, shorter or the same as the first half? I am predicting shorter because I have a ton of trips lined up and usually “time[cliche] flies[cliche] when[cliche] you[cliche] are[cliche]having[cliche] fun.” A little bit of sad news last night (Friday)…my one roommate, Andrew’s aunt passed away yesterday morning. I don’t really know too much of the details, but it seems as though she was sick for a while so it wasn’t a complete shock, but I am sure it still hurts. She was only 51. This instance kind of brings you back to reality (when I type “you” I guess I really mean “me”). Clearly, everyone here is thinking of their loved ones at home, but when something like this happens, it just shows you that your own little reality at home continues on while you are away…there is no pause button, even though it would be nice to just pick up where you left off in September. People continue their daily routine, go to work, go to school, etc. I am sure there is a whole lot of good things happen while we are away– but unfortunately, unfortunate things happen as well…such as death.

Death is an all around awkward situation. Whether it be one of your family members, a close friend or a complete stranger…no one wants to see another person grieving. I have only known Andrew for a month and a half on a personal level and although that is such a short time, I would still consider him my friend…him, along with maybe 40 other kids from Temple is all I really know here…these people are my temporary family and I guess when things like this happen, you just have to come together. It is just a shame that during this time he can’t be with his real family. I guess all I can really do is pray for him.

On a brighter note, HOW ABOUT THOSE PHIGHTIN’S!? It is really quite scary how explosive this team can be. Jayson Werth, who frustrated me for a lot of the season, has really shut up the critics (including me)…this guy is on a tear! Cole, once again, under achieved, but come game 2 is he your starting pitcher? I still think so. I think the scariest thing is the fact that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley didn’t have a single hit on Wednesday! It just shows you the type of protection the Phillies have at the end of their line-up. After the victory there were a few things that I pondered:

1) Are we witnessing the best Philadelphia Phillies team ever?

In my opinion (only being a young buck), I say yes. I know, I know there are 1980 Phils who won the franchises first World Series ever and I am not even going to pretend to act like I know much about that team considering I was still just a twinkle in my Dad’s eye, but from top to bottom there are players on this team doing things that are rare in this sport. You have Ryan Howard who won the Rookie of the Year (2005) and then the NL MVP (2006) in back-to-back years, plus was the fastest to reach 100 home runs and 200 home runs in baseball history. Even this year he is setting records with his RBI streak in the playoffs (at least 1 RBI in his first 8 games of the playoffs)!

Then there is Chase Utley who was a definite candidate for 2007 NL MVP until a hand injury sidelined him for a bit (not much you need to say about Chase Utley…arguably the best 2B in the game). Instead, Jimmy Rollins had a career year by being only the fourth player in history to hit at least 20 homers, steal 20 bases, hit 20 doubles and 20 triples! In fact, J-Roll finished with 30 HR and 41 stolen bases…a miraculous feat.

If that isn’t enough, there is Raul Ibanez (All-Star), Shane Victorino (All-Star), Cliff Lee (2008 AL Cy Young), Pedro Martinez (3 time Cy Young winner), Cole Hamels (2008 NLCS MVP, WS MVP) and finally Jayson Werth (All-Star)…this team is absolutely stacked! Did the 1980 Phils have 2 former Cy Young’s, 2 former MVP’s, and 2 NLCS MVP’s? I am not positive, but I am going to say nah.

2) Are the Phillies America’s “new” team?

I know this is kind of silly and having a conversation with Andrew Rubin, we just laughed it off. However, after reading an article by Mike Freeman of CBS Sportsline.com, why not? The Cowboys have been America’s team for ever…but according to who? According to the people who have 100 yard HDTV’s in their living room? Or how about the Yankees and their $220 million payroll? Why should they be America’s team? Half of them are all juiced up on roids and protein shakes and more than half of their fan base can’t even afford tickets into the new stadium. I am not saying that the Phillies are getting this done by paying their players chump change, but there are 5 players on the Yankees that are getting paid more than the Phillies top paid player this year (Ryan Howard).

Philadelphia is the epitome of a blue-collar city. New York is the epitome of a city filled with opportunity. Dallas is the epitome of…well, I don’t know…a red neck city? Both Philadelphia and New York are extremely diverse and have their fair share of rich people and average hard workers. But when it comes to sports, the Philadelphia Phillies, in my opinion, relate to our country on a higher level than both the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees. Texas is a giant state that decided, because they were the biggest, they were going to anoint their Cowboys as America’s team…no one was going to eff with them, they had guns and horses and shit. The Yankees are always going to be in the discussion because their city is the biggest in the country. A city that has more sports teams than the city knows what to do with and a Yankees’ fan base that has more bandwagon jumpers, celebrity “fans” and luxury box owners than actual die-hard, average fans. The day when American’s are earning an annual $1 million salary and paying 2,500 bones to sit behind home plate is the day the Yankees should be crowned America’s team. Oh yeah, isn’t New York City’s nickname the “evil empire?” And didn’t America earn something in the city of Philadelphia in 1776 or somethin’? What’s that word again? that’s right…independence.

Wow, I haven’t even told you about my last two days, have I? Sorry…when I start typing, I don’t stop! Luckily for you, Thursday was pretty lame for all I did was get a good portion of my paper done on soap opera’s in the UK and how they relate to social issues (exciting right?). Friday, however, was extremely cool because Steve and I went to Wimbledon to check out the “ The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.” Yes, that’s right…that is the official name of the place where Roger Federer and the Williams’ sisters have pretty much pillaged for the past 6 years. It was actually originally called “The All England Croquet Club” until lawn tennis became popular and ultimately took over the club and the title. Could you imagine millions of people around the world watching lawn croquet rather than tennis every summer? So not exciting.

Apparently over 500,000 people come through the gates during the Wimbledon Championships every year and Center Court and Court 1 aren’t used any other time than during the championships. Plus, the grass on all 18 of the courts (yeah, I totally didn’t realize there was more than 1 or 2 courts) is ripped up every year is re-seeded and re-sown in preparations for the next year. I guess if you are going to be the only grand slam tournament that still has grass you need to have a pretty good upkeep.

Later, Andrew, Steve and I met up with Andrew’s friend Charlotte, her boyfriend and his 3 friends to check out a comedy club at Piccadilly Circus called the Comedy Store. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be enjoyable considering British humor and America humor are a bit different, but it turned out to be a great time with some great comics. Of course the brunt of the jokes were aimed towards every other place that wasn’t London and being the only 4 Americans in the crowd (surprisingly) we got ripped on a few times as well. It was much fun though and I am really glad I gave it a shot.

Well, I am going to wrap this up and try to wrap up my paper today. I posted some pictures from Wimbledon below as well as a poll…I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about the Phillies. Enjoy.

Love,

Zac

Quick notes:

Tom– Check out the car (below) that I saw in Wimbledon ha ha. Pretty much can’t describe it any other way than “cute.”

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Responses

  1. i think it is clear that this era is the best in Phillies’ baseball history, and I don’t think it’s close. I dunno about america’s team. America just doesn’t seem to care about baseball outside of their home squads. You know how it is during the series when the phils arent involved. ‘Yo, you see the Cards won the series?’ ‘Who? is that the team with Pajolles?’

    • haha well put.

  2. I remember the 1980 Phillies and not only were you not a twinkle in my eye, you were not a twinkle in your mom’s eye. I witnessed the Phillies rise to a championship they hold a special spot in my heart. I am not sure as of now if you can call them the best Phils team ever. Yes this one is well stacked with home growns and a solid group brought in from other organizations via trade and free agency. However if the Phils win the World Series I think you would definitely have to consider them the best Phils team ever. As for America’s team. I tend to agree with Nick’s thoughts but let’s call them America’s team starting Wednesday at least for a week when the run all over “THE STINKIN YANKEES”! (Let’s hope it’s the Yankees, it I think would be much more satisfying.)

    Nice Wimbeldon pictures, looks like an interesting tour. It reminds me of the Newport Tennis club which is all grass. That is located in a strip shopping center on a street in Newport RI. Mom and I toured that facility. They too are very concerned about the grass but I stepped on it anyway. It was December and I didn’t see any matches scheduled. I hope you did the same at Wimbledon.

    Dad


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