Sports: “We Shared It Together”

In a post-parade conversation, Phils pitcher Jamie Moyer and obsessive fan and Hollywood filmmaker ("Radio", "Coach Carter") Mike Tollin get misty comparing notes on the national pastime, fathers and sons, and the bond between player and fan. Who says there’s no crying in baseball?

MT: That really is a great observation, and it’s great to hear you confirm it, Jamie. And the flip side is the fans’ relationship to the team. The fans have had tenuous relationships with our teams, even the great ones. I think back to ’80. There was kind of an angry cold shoulder we had toward that team, because the Phils had lost in the playoffs so many times and we were so skeptical. But this team had such a remarkable resilience. There was just a sense that you guys believed in yourselves so deeply, you made the fans believe in a way that Phillies fans aren’t accustomed to. There will always be a special place in all our hearts for this Phillies team. And not just because we won, but because of the character of the team, because of how much you guys believed in yourselves and how you loved yourselves. And Charlie gets a lot of credit for creating that environment.
PM: Mike, you mentioned the collapse of ’64, which really did affect the city’s psyche. Jamie, to what degree are the players aware of that history? And do you guys think this puts that to rest?
JM: I don’t know if the players would have any recollection or knowledge of it. Too many players don’t understand the history of the game well enough, and I would put myself in that group, too. Will it put it to rest? I think it probably will. I really do.
MT: It’s funny. I would say nothing could or would or should put it to rest. It’s an indelible part of my childhood, and obviously I wear it on my sleeve, because I’m hanging it on my wall. But this changes the complexion of it. It makes it so we can talk about it without that deep pit in our stomachs. We don’t need to erase it, any more than a family tragedy ever goes away. My kids don’t share it, but the guys that share it with me will always remember it, will always remember hiding our transistor radios under our pillows and crying ourselves to sleep every night, starting with Chico Ruiz stealing home at the beginning of that 10-game losing streak. But as I said to my guys after the clincher, it’s okay now. You wake up that next morning and your view of the world is different. Our view of ourselves is different. For that, I am forever grateful to Jamie and his teammates.
JM: I think it’s great that we could all share it together. That’s what it’s about. It’s a great game, and for us or the organization to keep it away from the fans would be totally unfair. We shared it together.