By winning Game 5, the Phillies made sure there is more baseball to be played in November. They also gave us more time to root against the Yankees.
And what could be better than that?
Eating Halloween candy every day of the year?
Winning the lottery and getting $33,333.33 every month for life?
Sailing around the world on a 500-foot yacht and hopping from one exotic port to the next?
All of that would be nice. But in New England, aside from having the Red Sox in the Fall Classic, nothing could be better than seeing the Yankees lose the World Series.
It?s not because of jealousy or bitterness. New Englanders respect greatness, and 26 championships are proof that the pinstripes have a tradition of excellence.
It?s not because the pinstripes are bad people. They have a mostly likeable team, and their captain, Derek Jeter, can make a class act look like a used car salesman.
It?s not because the Yankees spend more money than the Treasury Department prints. They are playing by the rules and just operating within the framework of a system Major League Baseball has created. Nobody can blame them for that.
The reason to celebrate when things go wrong for the pinstripes is simple. It just feels right. It?s like a massage or Thanksgiving dinner with family or a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.
It?s comforting to see the Yankees sweat, suffer and be disappointed all winter. Of course, that has been going on for almost a decade. Why mess with a good thing?
The Yankees are the Evil Empire, the bully on the playground, Wall Street, Goliath. They are the front-runner, the favorite, big business. They?re expected to win everything every year. When they don?t, it gives everyone else hope. And in these difficult times, the world needs all the hope it can get.
Yankee misfortune can be the bridge to a brighter tomorrow.
As this World Series has unfolded, this fact has become more and more clear. We?ve naturally been inclined to cheer for the Phillies to do something good. Call it gut instinct, animal magnetism, primordial. We can?t help it. We have no control. We want Philly to do well. It?s not because we?re Phillies fans — Philadelphia is a nice city and all, but before the World Series, the extent of our rooting interest toward the City of Brotherly Love began and ended with a Philly cheesesteak sandwich.
Now we?re happy to see Cliff Lee throw a shutout. We?re pleased when Ryan Howard finds a gap. We?re excited when the Phillies come back and tie a game in the late innings, and let down when the Yankees retake the lead in the ninth inning and Mariano Rivera closes the door.
We shouldn?t care, but we do. It?s not an unsolvable mystery. You don?t need to be Rod Serling to explain the phenomena.
Let?s face it, folks, two types of people exist in this world: Yankees fans and everybody else. That?s why you?ll find Red Sox fans, Dodgers fans and 26 other teams? fans rooting for the Phillies the rest of the way this World Series — if they haven?t started already.
Pedro Martinez gets the ball and a second chance to turn back the clock at the new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. All it takes is one good outing for him to cement his legacy as Mr. Influential and force a Game 7.
Then it?s anybody?s ballgame.
Beating the Yankees is special by itself, but beating the pinstripes in Game 7 in the Bronx would be Homeric.
So feel free to unleash a ?Yankees suck? rebel yell at the TV set this week. Then keep two words close to your heart.
It?s for a good cause.