Thursday, April 14, 2011

A View from the Left Coast by a Lefty: Part One

Yo, this is the first part of a two or three parter, trying to explain what it's like to be a Phils fan from 2500 miles away. It can really be summed up in one sentence if need be: it sucks. But the underlying crap plays out in a bunch of different ways that most won't understand unless they go through it. With the internet and ESPN1,2,3,360 etc there is coverage up the ass, granted. You can get highlights on freaking youtube and a ton of other sites but that is only visual. I even have use of my buddy's online Inquirer account, but most of the Philly writers aren't any better than any other source. Being this far away you miss the *FEEL* of the crowd at The Bank and in any given sports bar back there during a game.  You also miss the smell of Ashburn Alley, but that's for later on.

As a kid, I was born outside of NYC in North Jersey a gazillion years ago. I, naturally, was a NY fan, same as my dad and grandpa, who worked high rise steel in Manhattan. One summer night when I was 6, I ran in the kitchen door at dinner time after being called like normal. What was out of place was my grandpa standing in the kitchen during the middle of the week. I asked him what he was doing there and he said "Billy, your dad and I are going to Yankee Stadium." As any kid would, I asked him "Grandpa, can I go too?" His answer floored me.... he said "Billy, it's too dangerous." This was the mid 1950's mind you. From that instant, I hated any team from NY that my dad and his dad rooted for. To this day, I have never wavered. They went to the game, and the next day when I woke up there was a souvenir 8" Louisville Slugger tiny little bat that said Yankees on it, on my dresser. I looked at it and walked into the kitchen and tossed it in the trash.

Two years later, my dad was transferred to Philly (a big time promotion) and we moved to South Jersey. Our driveway was 15 to 20 minutes from the Vet (which didn't exist for another 13 years.) I finally got to see a MLB game at Connie Mack, and I had my own team. My first game Wes Covington hit one off the top of the scoreboard in right center, and Willie McCovey hit one off the top of the light tower in right. I also got to see an Eagle game, and I was set. It took me 5 years and several failed attempts to put a Tenna Rotor on our roof to get NY TV signals to convert my Dad. But there we were: Philly fans.

In 1964, I was the closest to ever seeing a World Series game in my life. What a season, Richie Allen almost Rookie of the Year (Jim Ray Hart didn't deserve it lol), Jim Bunning perfect game, awesome. Then came September, the black hole. Gene Mauch personally managed the Phils out of the World Series. To this day I wish that man dead, if he isn't already. He went on to ruin the Angels after leaving Philly. He should have died before he got that opportunity.

For the next 10+ years, my Phils went through hell, low-lighted by the 1972 season where they went 59-103. However, one bright spot... Steve Carlton was 27-10 and won the Cy Young. He could have been 33-4 if the team didn't suck.  Easily, that was the most dominating season for a pitcher all time. Fuck Mickey Lolich in 1968, ditto Bob Gibson same year. Eventually, Danny Ozark began to mold a team that would soon enough become a powerhouse. In 1978, I moved to California, just when playoffs became an every year thing. Of course, they took it all in 1980, with me being 3000 miles away, once again not able to see a WS game. ‘Twas enough to make a grown man cry and I did. I can still see Tugger jumping up and down throwing his arms in the air while being rushed and piled on. Ecstasy.

….To be continued…….

Bill Scardefield, AKA netfather


  1. Its a great story Bill. I can't wait to read the rest.

  2. Great job Bill. My Dad had one of those antennas but it was to watch Flyers games when they played the Rangers or Islanders. We lived in the Northeast and couldn't get 'Prism'. Lol! Can't wait for more.

  3. I can relate having served in the Marines being stationed at Camp Pendleton racing home from work at 4 to catch the Phillies and Flyers on the overpriced NHL center Ice and MLB extra innings on Cox cable.

  4. Haha, Tenna Rotor! Yeah, we had one of them too. There's still a bar in Mayfair that has a sign advertising "New York Sports" on it.

    Nice read! Looking forward to the rest.

  5. Lot's of credit to you Bill Scardefield, AKA netfather, while most are coping others especially a role model you knew from a young age how to choose a winning team. Thanks for being loyal!