The gods of the latest modern MLB postseason scheme then did decree a period of rest and celebration for the champions. The National and American League Champions (the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, respectively) would rest for most of five days before meeting for the 2022 World Series.
In Philadelphia, street crews first cleaned up messes that were said to rival the Phils’ messes created after their 2008 World Series win. Bless those street crews, but don’t envy them their tasks if the Phillies win the big trophy again.
Philadelphia fans rejoiced over their Phillies in a lull before action rarely enjoyed there.
In South Philadelphia, a new, quite good mural appeared on a wall, a portrait of NLCS hero Bryce Harper in his recognizable Phillies Phanatic headband. By now, even people without cellphones in Turkmenistan know what Harper did in the eighth inning of the clinching game against San Diego.
On a local sports talk radio show, the mid-day hosts were apparently surprised by a call from Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson, who then caused the happy hosts to swoon with delight when he declared it “an honor” to be thanked for what he had done with Philadelphia’s perennial underachievers.
One of the swooners was a hardnosed, former NFL power back.
Overnight, lawn signs appeared near busy strip malls. They advertised Phils postseason gear in stores at those malls, and according one tweet, the Phillies broke the 24-hour record for sales of such goods apparently established by the Cubs after their 2016 NLCS win.
The Phillies themselves were allowed to rest entirely on Monday, according to Thomson on that sports talk call, and then they did light weight training and throwing on Tuesday. There was a real workout scheduled in the week sometime, if memory serves, maybe two.
Midweek, the team was to fly to Houston, and will have to play the second-best team in the regular season. The Astros had won 106 regular-season contests, very nearly two of every three games they played. As of Wednesday morning, the Phillies website still listed both starting pitchers as TBD.
Thomson had said that he was leaning toward Aaron Nola, but the Fightin’s starter for game one was clearly still under discussion.
In a way, there was actual joy in Mudville, but some still declared themselves true “Philadelphians” and predicted Houston in four, as a friend did by text. It just wouldn’t be right not to doubt the Phillies at any point, but more and more people who followed them had erased that doubt.
The first pitch Friday night, no doubt to Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber, is at 8:03 ET.