Monday, April 6, 2009

Phils start defense of World Series crown

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA. The Philadelphia Phillies started the season last night in a position they haven't been in in 28 years: Beginning the defense of a world championship.

Regular-season baseball returned for the first time to Citizens Bank Park last night since the Phillies sent fans from Mayfair to Oregon Avenue screaming in the streets one early November night.

"We finally got over that hump," said Rob Parsons, of Doylestown. "Now, it's time to hope for as much as last year, though it's not like we can expect it."

No one seemed exactly sure how long the jubilation would last, but some fans like Jon DiMasi were even seeing recent failures by the city's teams in a different light.

"We've just gotten unlucky a couple times in the recent past," he said.

This is Philadelphia post-championship. Everything, from shrinking 401k accounts to a crumbling local economy to Eagles' heartburn, seems a little easier to handle in the afterglow of a Phillies championship.

"Naturally, it’s an escape for those hours [during the game]," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said yesterday.

But with the first pitch of the season leaving the hands of Brett Myers last night — including three early home runs by the Braves in their 4-1 win — players say it's time to leave the 2008 World Series run in the past.

"We’ve enjoyed the celebration, but it’s time to move on," injured ace Cole Hamels said. "We want to put another banner up."

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