John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rogers Centre: Here their troubles began

The Phillies will play a game at Rogers Centre tonight.

In 1993, back when the stadium was called SkyDome, the Phillies also played a game there. It turned out to be a very memorable game featuring perhaps the most dramatic home run in baseball history.

I watched that game at a crowded restaurant, and everyone in attendance was convinced that the Phillies were going to win that night. And we figured that once they did that, they’d come back and win again the following night, and then we’d all to get to enjoy a championship parade.

It didn’t look good when the Blue Jays took a 5-1 lead. But we knew that the Phillies weren’t out of it. All season, the team had refused to give up, and we figured they still had some fight left in them.

Sure enough, thanks in part to Lenny Dykstra‘s home run, the Phillies did indeed come back and took a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning. But unfortunately, Roger Mason gave way to David West, who gave way to Larry Andersen, who gave way to Mitch Williams.

I had no idea that when the Phillies took that 6-5 lead, that would be the franchise’s high point for the next fifteen years. My youthful naiveté convinced me that the good times would continue. I assumed that the Phillies were destined for many more playoff appearances in the years to come.

That didn’t quite happen. That game wasn’t the beginning of a long, glorious run for the Phillies, but rather the end of an all-too-short burst of success.

The franchise went into a tailspin after 1993, losing more than 90 games three times over the next eight years. Despite playoff expansion making it easier to qualify, the Phillies were unable to make it back to the postseason for another 14 years. It took another year on top of that to get back to the World Series. Fortunately, that visit ended on a happier note.

Thanks to interleague play, the Phillies have been back to Rogers Centre several times since then. For the players, a visit to Toronto probably means little. But for fans like me, a game in Toronto will always bring back memories of a night when the Phillies were very briefly on top of the baseball world.

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies

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