Many people may be surprised to know that such a thing exists in the current hardships as a European-based Phillies fan. My experiences as a baseball fan in England will be different to what many people in the US might expect, but it has been a thoroughly enjoyable process leading me to become a fan in particular of the Philadelphia Phillies.
To tell the truth, it wasn’t much of a ‘process’ to become a fan of Philadelphia as a city, and then of the Phillies. The Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL were my first true American sporting love. Then on Christmas Day of 2009, I opened the gift of a Phillies bag that was sent to me all the way from the States. My affection was affirmed.
For years after that I followed baseball closely, taking in every tidbit that I could. I would sit in my garden, thousands of miles away in the summer sun of the UK, watching games on MLB.tv from all over the United States, from the Bronx to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
At many points it became hard to fully satisfy my thirst for baseball. When finances became tight and I could no longer afford the privileges of MLB.tv, I had to make do with streams and listening to the radio broadcasts. That’s what baseball is about though, following your team and the sport no matter the circumstances. I’m certain these experiences have helped to make me the hardened fanatic I am today.
The romance and tradition of baseball is the most appealing aspect, and what makes it so great. Hearing broadcasters recall records from the 1920s, and what happened “on that day in 1965“, it all adds to the fundamental pillar that is baseball history.
There is nothing like it, how every ballpark is different, every environment offering a new challenge. 162 games, more if your team is lucky enough to reach the postseason, but pure drama all the way. Statistics loading every at-bat, each with different significance, all adding to the tension and levels of interest. I’m convinced its one of the best sports in the world.
And there was something about the Phillies that especially grabbed me. From the day I got that bag, the logo struck me. A bit of research and I found those amazing red pinstripe uniforms, and the gorgeous ivory alternate jersey. The gem of a ballpark that we have with Citizens Bank Park, the franchise cornerstones in Utley, Howard, Hamels, Lee, and at the time Rollins.
So much to like about the team, the city, the sport, and it all fueled my obsession. Hardly an inspirational story, perhaps, but I just went for the Phillies. Having visited New York on a school trip I thought the Yankees may be the way to go, while also having a soft spot for the Cubs, but ultimately it was the Phillies all the way. Once they got me I could never break free.
Which leads to today, and the upcoming season. I hope to take in even more baseball, even more of the heightening experience that the sport has to offer, and making my experience as a fan all the better. With the Phillies you simply never know what’s around the corner, and its the anticipation that keeps you coming back.
I know there are lots of others like me. I have a few Twitter followers who are UK baseball fans, and their situations may be similar or different. All I know is my experience of baseball has been exhilarating, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Heres to 2015, and to the Philadelphia Phillies.
NOTE: Oliver Fisher is the youngest member of the TBOH team. His perspective as a Eurofan is unique, and he will bring that unique perspective to future efforts. We hope you enjoy his interesting take on our beloved Fightin’ Phils.