PHILADELPHIA — The vibes at Citizens Bank Park in October are why Philadelphia is an established baseball town. An entire city is captivated by the Philadelphia Phillies in the postseason, making sure they play their role in the city’s 141-year old baseball team chasing a third World Series title.
Once an All-American baseball player himself, those fans impacted A.J. Brown this week. Brown certainly gives those same fans reason to be loud across the street at Lincoln Financial Field every Sunday this time of year, yet those passionate fans give him the itch to put on his baseball spikes again.
“Playing in front of The Bank would be crazy,” Brown said. “I could just tell watching that Bryson (Stott) home run, that was just crazy. Everybody was singing his walk up song and he goes out there and hits a grand slam. It was electric.
“I would love to play in The Bank in center field. Even if I was on the opposing team, just to see the atmosphere.”
Don’t worry Philadelphia Eagles fans. Brown isn’t pulling a Deion Sanders and playing Major League Baseball in addition to his full-time job. That’s just the fan coming out of Brown, which is what makes him so relatable to the people that watch the Eagles every Sunday and enjoy him catching touchdowns.
Brown wants to be part of that atmosphere too, even when he can create that same feeling himself.
“Everyone is just on their toes on every pitch. You can change the game on one swing,” Brown said describing a Philadelphia crowd at a baseball game. “In football, you may run the ball, you may hear some cheers (or) you may not. You know, its different.
“Sometimes during a big play, everybody goes crazy. In baseball, they (the fans) are on the edge of their seats every single pitch.”
Unfortunately Brown had to miss the Phillies playoff sweep of the Miami Marlins this week, even though he works two blocks down Patterson Avenue. A father himself, priorities took over.
“At 8 o’clock, I’m putting my daughter to sleep. It’s over with, I’m going to bed,” Brown said with a smile. “I’m able to catch a couple innings, but a decent time? For sure, I’m gonna be there. If it’s a Monday or Tuesday, I’ll definitely be there.”
The Phillies won’t be playing at Citizens Bank Park until Wednesday or Thursday, during the middle of the Eagles’ preparation for that week’s opponent (the Jets). Unfortunately Brown will probably be watching the games from home, even if the fans would go berserk if they saw him in attendance.
“Oh for sure. But it has to be at a decent time,” Brown said. “As of late, I just been watching the games until I gotta go to bed. The games start too late. That’s just my opinion.”
Philadelphia is experiencing the best time of of year with its two prominent sports teams. The Phillies are set to square off in a gauntlet with the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series. The Eagles are 4-0 for the second consecutive year heading into the second week of October.
Sound familiar? The Phillies ended up upsetting the Braves en route to the National League pennant last year, while the Eagles started 8-0 and won the NFC Championship three months later.
Seeing how the city embraced the Phillies, from “Dancing On My Own” to singing along to Tai Verdes “A-O-K” when Bryson Stott came up to the plate. Add in how crazy the fans were when Brown was terrorizing defensive backs during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run last year, Brown was convinced he made the right choice coming to Philadelphia.
“I was a little nervous when I first came here, from the fans and everything,” Brown said. “But I’ve learned to kinda block out the negative and just really enjoy the positive. There’s more positive in anything to be honest.
“Let’s just say they’re honest. That’s the best way to put it. They’re very passionate and they love their sports here. We love them back. It’s been everything for me. I’ve enjoyed it ever since.”
Brown is ready to experience the same feeling again this fall, with the Phillies leading the way. Let’s not forget the Eagles are 4-0 and one of only two unbeaten teams left in the NFL either. They have the Super Bowl expectations in front of them, and might be on the verge of doing something special again.
“You know, I can’t look ahead. I mean, I thought about (that) last year. Playing in the Linc in the NFC Championship. That was crazy,” Brown said. “Hopefully we can keep doing what we doing and keep getting wins and trying to bring it back here again.”
Everything starts with the Phillies. Just don’t ask Brown to throw out the first pitch if he shows up.
“Oh I’m chill on that,” Brown said with a laugh. “I’m just gonna root for them.”