Springsteen, black-jeaned and as emotionally intoxicating as ever, came to town this past weekend just in time to put a melodious salve on our baseball lesions.
The coffin was all but closed on our season of sudden expectation when he referenced our baseball woes from the stage, knowing it was top of mind and depth of soul. We would rise from the ashes, he predicted infectiously, though he was quick to add that the future offers no guarantees.
The cautionary reminder was thoughtful of the Boss, but hardly necessary. What town knows the elusiveness of assurance better than this one?
Still, it had to be said. The Boss knows us well. Our streets are on fire in a real death waltz, our row houses filled with Jack the Rabbits and Weak-Kneed Willies, our populace riddled with forget-me-not bloodshots.
You bet we exploded out of our recliners at the sight of J-Roll careening around second and heading for third.
We'd been waiting 14 years, baby.
We were ready to play some pool, skip some school, act real cool, stay out all night and feel all right.
Ready, but hardly surprised when our Phillies fantasia ended desolately in the thin and chilly Colorado night.
We'd steeled ourselves.
Disappointment is in our DNA, and not just when it comes to our sporting teams. The municipal civics alone can sometimes rip the bones from your back, to swipe yet another Asbury Park metaphor.
Disillusionment is generational.
We lead the league in a multiplicity of losing legacies.
And because we do, we wrap ourselves in caution. We expect the worst because it so often comes our way. We prepare for it competently and efficiently, which leaves us vulnerable to misinterpretation.
"They're not only used to losing, they wallow in it," wrote a Rocky Mountain News columnist about us following the series-ending game. "They not only wallow in it, they work at it."
The Colorado columnist also referenced the Santa Claus snowballs yarn, and then included this gem: "They once booed a guy with a hand transplant for throwing the ceremonial first pitch in the dirt."
No Springsteen lyric has yet been penned that can serve as a fitting rejoinder to such worn-out Philadelphia characterizations.
Only one response will do when misperceived, wronged or slandered by a maligner from a space-cadet state like Colorado.