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HomeSportsDiamondbacks revel in silencing the passionate Philly crowd

Diamondbacks revel in silencing the passionate Philly crowd

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PHILADELPHIA — Standing atop the stage wheeled out to honor their National League championship, the Arizona Diamondbacks looked out on a small group of disappointed individuals who refused to leave. This was the once energetic Phillies crowd, now diminished. Arizona players and coaches were frequently questioned about the challenging atmosphere of playing in Philadelphia and how they planned to overcome the perceived best home-field advantage in baseball. Would this young core be able to handle the pressure?

After Arizona’s 4-2 NLCS Game 7 victory, the crowd had dwindled to only a few hundred somber stragglers. Some watched in disbelief, while others hurled insults and obscenities. “No one cares about Arizona,” one fan yelled. “Let’s go Rangers,” chanted others.

Tommy Pham, standing at the front of the stage, captured the moment on his phone, smiling. “Success is revenge,” Pham later said in the clubhouse. “We’ve been underestimated since the beginning.”

Every team that reaches this point in the season likes to claim that they were doubted. It’s a common sports cliché. But for the Diamondbacks, it was a reality. They had the worst record of any playoff team and a negative run differential over 162 games. They have consistently been the underdogs in the postseason. When they say that nobody outside their clubhouse believed they could make it this far, they are not wrong.

Just two years ago, the Diamondbacks were aiming to be competitive but ended up losing 110 games. It was a shocking failure. They had to rebuild from scratch. Now, they are heading to the World Series, a feat that seemed unimaginable not long ago. “I can’t wrap my arms around it,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “We’re a small-market organization, and we’ve done it from within.”

In contrast, the Phillies are not a small-market team. Their $246 million payroll is more than double that of Arizona. This series was not expected to be competitive. In the first two games, it was evident why. In Game 1, the Phillies hitters hit two home runs within the first five pitches. The following night, they won 10-0. The ticket prices for Arizona’s home games dropped significantly. It seemed like a sure victory for the Phillies.

However, the Diamondbacks fought back. When it seemed like their season was in jeopardy, starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt managed to escape a threatening situation. The bullpen then pitched five shutout innings. “The Brewers were supposed to beat us. The Dodgers were supposed to beat us. The Phillies were supposed to beat us,” said reliever Ryan Thompson. “They’re going to say that the Rangers are supposed to beat us, too. We’ll see how it goes.”

The celebration in the clubhouse was wild. General manager Mike Hazen was in the midst of it all, getting drenched by players and staff. Christian Walker handed out wooden cigar boxes, and the small visitors clubhouse filled with smoke. Many of these players and coaches had been overlooked and doubted in the past. Now, they are on top of the baseball world, with a chance for baseball immortality in the World Series.

“We walked through some tough times to get here,” said Zac Gallen, the team’s ace. “And those guys that have been here to support us in the last few years, it’s paid off.”

The Diamondbacks are proving doubters wrong and enjoying every moment of it. The Phillies, once the playoffs’ main attraction, were overshadowed by this ragtag team. The only thing left for the Philly fans was to yell and scream and claim that nobody cared. The Diamondbacks didn’t seem to mind. “This is what we want. This is where we want to be. This is where we want to play,” said Hazen. “If we want to win, then we have to go through places like this. And we were able to do it.”

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