The first thing that I notice when I get to Disneyland is the sight of long lines of happy faces at the gate; and I immediately imagine them pouring through the gates of Veterans Stadium to cheer on their Wild Card loving Phightins. It doesn't help that an occasional tourist will be wearing a red Phils cap. Though difficult to do, I get through the gate with a minimum of pain and begin walking into Center Court where I see Old Glory. Well, this reminds me of our Founding Fathers, and we all know where they signed the Declaration of Independence. Right.... Philadelphia! Thinking of Philadelphia reminds me of the Phillies and the fever starts again.
And on past the circle and beautiful Main Street, that beckons with its wonderful shopping paraphernalia. It occurs to me that for a price, I can purchase anything in the stores and I immediately see Jim Thome, Tom Glavine, Paul Byrd, David Bell, Russ Ortiz and Kevin Millwood. Just then I begin to think of GM Ed Wade and his feeding frenzy last winter that netted us Thome, Bell and Millwood. Oh, those were exciting times!
Finally, I am past Main Street, a bit pinkish in color but still determined to enjoy my day at the Magic Kingdom. The problem is, the rides this day just have a baseball type theme to them… well, sort of!
The first ride is the Tiki Room and when I enter and am surrounded by birds, I don't think robins or peacocks or swallows....I think Redbirds! As in Cardinals, as in Phillies bitter enemy, as in heaven. This ride has me flushed so I escape to the refreshment stand. Fellow sees I'm thirsty and asks me if I want an RC Cola. I don't know about you, but when I see RC, I think Rheal Cormier and I know he needs this drink more than I do, given his workload lately. I kindly refuse; feeling guilty that I am satisfying my thirst while poor Rheal is pitching himself to exhaustion during the Dog Days of August.
Next stop is the Jungle Cruise and I realize almost immediately that the entire Wild Card chase is a veritable wild life preserve...Marlins and D'backs and Cards, oh my! Dodgers and Expos and Cubbies, oh my! Why, for the poor Phillies, it's a jungle out there.
Needless to say, this ride is not for me! Ah, but surely the ride around the bend will sooth the savage beast, and it might have, except it's the Pirates of the Caribbean. I KNOW this is a misnomer, the only Pirates I know are in Pittsburgh and we still haven't fully recovered from losing two of our first three home games to the Buccos. So, you may like the ride, but as for me.... there will be no "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pittsburgh Pirates Life for Me!"
By now I am very, very hungry so I stop at a place called the Hot Corner. Funny, but when I see the name Hot Corner, I think of David Bell, and back injury, and 17 million dollars, and I am no longer hungry, I am sick. With genuine Phillies Fever! Looks like I need a ride on Splash Mountain, yes, there's the trick. But once on the ride, it occurs to me that the going up of this ride may not be worth the coming down, splashing to the bottom....much like our lovable Phillies seem to be doing with this wild card thing. I take a pass on this ride!
Next up, the Haunted Mansion but once on this ride, all I see are Ghosts.... ghosts of Chico Ruiz and Joe Carter and Manny Mota and Vic Davillio. Yes, that's right, all ghosts from seasons past and haunted Phillie teams like ‘64, and ‘77 and ‘93! The Fever is reaching a boiling point.
I realize that I must get out of Adventureland, so I make a mad dash for Fantasyland.... knowing full well that it is probably pure fantasy that the Phils will make it to the World Series anytime soon! I am hopeful that Fantasyland will make me feel better but not a chance! Phillies Fever has engulfed me.
The first ride I see is the Teacup Ride but the spinning of the ride just makes me think of how my head has been spinning this year at all those Left on Base totals with the Phils. No relief here. Alice in Wonderland appears tame, but the Cards she sees make me think of Wild Card, and then I think of how the Cards might beat us out. Just like Alice, I decide that my reality is better served on Mr. Toads Wild Ride.
Now this one I enjoyed.... the wild ride reminded me of that Saturday afternoon Boston Red Sox Game...what a wild ride that was! Phils trail, Phils tie, Phils trail, Phils tie, Phils trail, Phils tie, Phils trail, Phils win!!! I loved it sooo much I went on that ride twice!
Peter Pan seemed harmless enough until I saw the name Peter Pan and recognized the initials PP. Well, my friends, I tell you there is only one PP for me and that's Placido Polanco. Then to make matters worse, his best friend is named TinkerBell. I will not have our third baseman, David Bell, referred to as Tinker, even at Disneyland!
Finally, the crème de la crème for this ride. Who should appear but none other than arch enemy, Captain Hook! I beg your pardon but our Captain Hook, Larry Bowa, has much more important things to worry about than chasing Placido Polonco, I mean Peter Pan around Disneyland.
Certainly Snow White will allow me a respite from my illness and it would have, too, except for those silly friends of hers...the Seven Dwarfs. As soon as I saw the Seven Dwarfs I thought of the seven relief pitchers for the Phils. Why, Doc could be Dan Plesac and Happy might be Mike Williams (he must be happy to leave Pittsburgh for a contender!). Bashful is Carlos Silva and Grumpy? Given his recent temper tantrum, it seems to be Jose Mesa! Sleepy certainly is Turk Wendell because if he continues to pitch as much as he already has, he will sleep all winter!
A submarine voyage, that is what I need and old Captain Nemo (or is it Expo?) will be a great sea guide. Deep down into the ocean depths I go when Captain Expo, errr, I mean, Captain Nemo advises us to look at all the fish. FISH!!!! As in Marlins, as in wild card contenders, as in dominate us for eight straight games? Man overboard, man overboard!
Take me to the train ride around the park, and quick! Ah, peaceful, calm, and free at last from all Phillie Fever, certainly this is what is needed. What's up ahead? The Grand Canyon, as in Arizona's Grand Canyon? As in Arizona D'backs Grand Canyon? Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez and....rattlesnakes! Yikes!
There is only one place left to go.... a trip to Mars. The spaceship will get me off this planet and away from my horrific disease. Then I settle in and a voice comes over the loud speaker. "Hello, space travelers, welcome to Houston's space station. This is your captain speaking, Astronaut Jeff Bagwell." Houston as in NL wild card contender? Astronaut as in Astros? Jeff Bagwell as in Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell? Parachute please!!!
What's left? What will free me from Phillies Fever? Big Thunder Mountain? No, Big Thunder reminds me of Jim Thome home runs. Star Tours? No, I will expect to get autographs from Randy Wolf and Mike Lieberthal. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids? No, this will remind me of Phillie players going home after this road trip saying, "Honey, We Shrunk the Lead."
I decide to leave Disneyland, laden with a heavy heart, and yet wondering what lies ahead for our Fallen Heroes. What does the future hold… is a wild card birth around the corner? Will we survive this road trip and the dog days that go with it? Can Montreal and New York offer us some relief from our tailspin?
Though curious, I know that will have to wait until later for I am much too sick to venture into Tomorrow Land.
Columnist's Note: I welcome suggestions, questions and comments. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond! CD