A novelization of the Phillies season would be a cinch to write. Prefacing to May 14, lead protagonists Ed Wade and Charlie Manuel are in a cold, dark place. Ed has just called Charlie into his office for a closed-door meeting.
"Charlie," Ed says, letting a whoosh blow from his executive chair as he sits. "Pull up a seat."
Charlie slides a metal chair across the floor and bobbles into it, exhaling, "What is it, boss?"
"It’s time we shake things up around here," Ed says, pushing his dome of hair back into place. "I just got off the phone with Jim Bowden in Washington. I traded Marlon Byrd to the Nats for Endy Chavez."
Charlie’s eyes grow wide. "You ol’ stick in the mud," he says, a grin spreading wide across his powdery cheeks. "You done good, boss. You done real good."
The players done good, the manager done good, even Ed Wade done good. The Homestand, which will forever be immortalized on this space with a capital "H," is the big news of the season, made entirely possible by Endy Chavez.
OK. Not really.
There’s no formula to predict that a team that totally stunk for a month and a half would drop a 12-win megaton bomb squarely on the head of Howard Eskin. Historically, it was their best home stay in 123 years, before the invention of baseball.
As a result, in just two weeks the Phils have gallantly charged out of last place into almost in last place. The Nationals, happy to be freed from the block known as les Olympique de los Expos del Puerto Rique, have embraced their swank new digs at ritzy RFK Stadium, besting the Phils by winning 24 games at home this season.
As a reward, the Phillies have the day off to have hot sex with their wives, girlfriends or both before hopping on a jet that will take them to parts unknown. They’ll trade punches and pelts with two struggling teams in the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, one a high-priced bust and the other a rebuilding team trying to mask that fact by riding out their "Moneyball" fame.
The Homestand has done more than just put wins on the board. It’s changed people. The hard to please Eagles fans have given way to Penn State fans, happy to cheer on hard work, David Bell, Santa Claus, Scott Stevens, and Beyonce.
Things are so good that Jimmy Rollins, a premier shortstop that could start just about anywhere, decided to accept the Phillies retirement plan, signing a five-year extension to secure J-Roll past the prime of his career.
When things are good, they’re real good.
"Charlie, one last thing before you go," says Ed.
"Wass that, boss?"
"Do you think we can turn this ship around?"