Woke up this morning after THE win of the Phillies season (or at least one of the wins of the season, depending on who you ask) and started to feel an old familiar tingle at the base of my brain.

It had been so long since I felt something like this. It was either the returning feeling of excitement in a franchise that I had long ago cast aside for better things, or I was having a massive stroke. I didn’t smell burnt toast and I could still raise my arms above my head, so it had to be the Phillies’ doing.

It says a lot about how pathetic the Phillies have been in the last decade that one could confuse a traumatic brain event with genuine positivity in the Fightins.

62-48 overall. 24-13 after Bryce Harper’s injury. 40-19 since Rob Thomson replaced human crash dummy Joe Girardi as manager. The Phillies are defying any and all expectations of fans who expected them to fold after their abysmal start to the year, of fans who had seen this story play out so many times before and end in utter heartbreak, of fans who just didn’t have it in them to invest time in yet another downtrodden summer:

They’ve thrown those negative expectations back in all of our faces and just kept winning. They backhand slapped bandwagon fans (such as myself) who fully expected them to collapse into paying attention and mushed our faces into winning box scores night after night like a mischievous dog getting its nose pushed into a steaming pile of shit left on a kitchen floor. YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION THIS TIME, WE’RE DOING THIS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, STOP MAKING THIS SAME MISTAKE OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND JUST PAY ATTENTION.

The Phillies are tough. The Phillies are good. The Phillies deserve our respect.

I’m speaking from experience! I was (am?) one of those crappy fans! My own interactions with the Phillies for the last decade resulted in nothing more than hate watching a team and bitching about them on social media. In my defense, the teams were haphazardly thrown together by an obnoxious, lecturing front office that consisted of players I had no desire to support or root for. They stunk and we all knew they didn’t have it in them to scrap and claw their way out of mediocrity.

But now? I went from just hoping to have a team that wouldn’t be mathematically eliminated by July to truly believing in a roster that has not only stayed afloat through all of the injuries, pathetically inept managers, and month-long slumps, but has flourished despite of them.

I’m not hate watching anymore. I’m watching like I did back in 2007, with hope that this team is finally entering a stretch of seasons where we can be excited about baseball again.

I’m watching because I want to, because this team is finally WORTH watching after years of Maikel Franco, Dom Brown, Vincent Velasquez, and whatever other flotsam and jetsam the front office bargain hunted for in the name of analytics or cost savings.

We’ve been hurt before, Philadelphia. I know we have. But it’s time to open our hearts to the possibility of happiness like the female lead in a bad rom-com, someone who has been burned so many times before she can’t see that the old friend right before her eyes has been her true love all along.

(Author’s Note: Movie idea #476: Rom-com about a high-powered baseball executive who becomes burned out on the job. She moves back to her hometown and falls in love with a Little League manager. Call it “Extra Innings”)

This season is different. Forget about the annual Phillies August swoon. The energy is back and it’s time to embrace it.

Enjoy the ride, Philadelphia.