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Point/Counterpoint: Was The Phillies-Marlins Wild Card Series Good?

Bryson Stott, wearing the white pin-striped Phillies uniform, crosses home plate with an elated look. The Marlins catcher looks miserably at him.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Miami Marlins for a three-game Wild Card Series earlier this week. Luis, living in Philadelphia and being a Marlins fan, attended the first game. Kelsey, living in Philadelphia and being a Phillies fan, attended the second. They had varying opinions on the experience.

POINT: It Was Exactly What Playoff Baseball Should Be, by Kelsey McKinney

Seeing baseball games in Philadelphia spoils you. This year, I saw 15 games in the park, and not one of them was bad. Sure, sometimes the team played poorly and gave up a five-run lead, but the crowd was almost always full (even on weeknights toward the end) and very fun. My expectations for playoff baseball were high, but last night was even better than I could have imagined.

I have attended World Series games that had less energy and engagement than the wild card game last night. From the minute I arrived, people were high-fiving each other and me—not just because I was wearing pinstriped overalls with the Phillies logo, but because they were locked in. After the first strike Aaron Nola threw, all the men in the row in front of me turned around to high-five. After the first out, the family behind me began counting down. "26 more outs," they said. To hear 45,000 people sing along with the walk-up song of the seventh batter in the lineup with the same gusto that I heard when people sung along with Taylor Swift across the street at the Eagles' stadium this summer was stunning. I could have cried! They care so much!

Sports are meant to give people something in common to rally behind, and the city of Philadelphia has taken that to heart with this team. They are so lovable, so funny, so slutty. Had Nick Castellanos flipped everyone off on Tuesday, he would have been beloved anyway. But he didn't; he flipped his ring finger up at the dugout, which is exactly what everyone in my section did the first time he came up to bat. That kind of silliness is communal, invigorating, heartening.

When Bryson Stott hit a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth, it felt like the place was going to explode. I had a great night. I'll probably remember it forever unless they win the World Series, after which I will go so hard that probably I'll ride the damn mechanical bull at the bar nearby, get a concussion, and have my beautiful memory obliterated forever.

COUNTERPOINT: I Experienced Sadness No Man Should Ever Bear, by Luis Paez-Pumar

I got hit in the face by a small child waving her rally towel, multiple times. My head and ears hurt the next day. The Marlins were terrible. I hated it.

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