Don’t Tread on Philly

Don't Tread on Philly

A common flag in colonial America. Go Phillief! (image by Eric Nielsen)

A Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Yankees World Series creates a lot of rivalry hype. We’ve heard talk about “Cheese-cake vs. Cheese-steak”, a “statue of liberty vs. the liberty bell,” “Wall St. vs. Broad St.” etc. Implicit in all of this naming is a class-war between New York and Philadelphia, where the Yankees represent money and glitz, while Philadelphia represents stagnation and grit. Obviously, this can’t only be about baseball – it’s a war between cities whose fans border each other (see this particularly dichotomous article from the Associated Press: Cheesecake versus Cheesesteak). The author, the famous Jim Litke, goes as far to make this about New Jersey:

“To most of the nation, this year’s World Series sounds like a lot of work just to find out where New Jersey’s loyalty really lies.”

As an avid New Jersey partionist, I find this level of rhetoric a bit myopic.

This is about more than the current Philadelphia versus the present New York. No, it’s much deeper than that.

This is about the roots of AMERICA.

On July 1st, 1776, as the Continental Congress sat in PHILADELPHIA, they pondered if they should declare independence, forever severing themselves from the crusty teat of jolly ol’ England. By the next day, most states had been won over, all except NEW YORK, which postponed their vote while the other twelve voted for the United States of America, and thus, freedom.

But NOT voting for the Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough for NEW YORK. During the Revolutionary War, Washington found himself withdrawing from the island, while the British forces took over their Tory stronghold.

My selectively edited paragraph from a Wikipedia article proves the treachery of New York, a harbinger of the baseball team to come: “New York City and Long Island (the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783) had a large concentration of Loyalists…” “Loyalists tended to be older, more likely merchants and wealthier” “Loyalist civilians… harassed… the Patriots.” And finally, perhaps a last straw in this historic rivalry: “Two Philadelphia residents were executed…”

You’d think that once the war was over, New York would recognize its historic blunder and support the fledgling democracy. Again, like a high school student at midnight, I will allow Wikipedia to do my talking for me:

After the evacuation of the British, New York, then the nation’s second largest city, was briefly the capital of the United States of America, with Congress meeting in Federal Hall starting in 1785. However, the city’s and state’s status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788.

As if it wasn’t enough to oppose the Declaration of Independence, New York also had to try to sink the Constitution. In 1790, one year into Washington’s presidency, and perhaps the nation’s first off-season free agency signing, the first president left “The Big Apple” by carriage in the middle of the night.

Philadelphia was again the nation’s capital.

So, when you think of Wednesday’s World Series rivalry, think not of “NJ turnpike’s” and “Amtrak” series. Think of the birth of this great country, and how New York did all it could to stifle it.

This is the series of Ben Franklin (and Ryan Howard) vs. Nobody.

ryan howard ben franklin edit

Ryan Howard (2006 Most Valuable Player) and Ben Franklin (1776 Most Valuable Patriot) - (image by Eric Nielsen)

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I heard that Met’s fans are calling it “Satan’s Series”.

  2. Am I to believe that Ryan Howard killed Ben Franklin in this picture?

    Or is Ben Franklin a part of Ryan Howard’s bat?
    While not expressly ruled out by MLB I do believe having a founding father in one’s bat could be seen as a performance enhancer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: