The Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series against the Houston Astros. That's a sentence that would have made any Phillies fan spit out their coffee back in April, when the club was below .500 and in a steady free fall. Or when the thumb of 2021 National League MVP Bryce Harper broke, seemingly shattering any hopes and aspirations the team may have had with it.

Needless to say, it's been a roller coaster ride of a season for the Phillies and their fans. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows and everything that came in between. So, how did this happen? 

Let's take a trip down memory lane and recap how the Phillies went from hopeless to hopeful, haters of this place to lovers of this place and yes, on the doorstep of a World Series championship.

“I F***ing Hate This Place”

Those were the words of Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm back in April. Bohm had just made two throwing errors in a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park when he mouthed the words to then-Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius after Philadelphia fans sarcastically cheered him for making a routine play.

After the game, Bohm downplayed the comments, indicating that he hadn't meant it. But the damage had been done. An underachieving ballclub had- yet another- scapegoat to blame.

“Why Does It Not Look Like We're Having Fun”

Good question, Kyle. Kyle Gibson uttered this quote back in May after his mother pointed out that the team “didn't look too excited when they took the field.” Free agent acquisition Nick Castellanos had a family member who echoed the sentiment.

Losers of nine of their last 13 games, there wasn't much fun going on in Philadelphia. Then-manager Joe Girardi was on the hotseat, an easy target for the Philadelphia talking heads, seemingly one bad bullpen decision away from losing his job.

Something had to give.

“It's A Little Bittersweet”

It's understandable that Rob Thomson felt this way. His longtime friend and co-worker Joe Girardi had just been shown the door after a 22-29 start, a record that didn't even fully capture the gut-wrenching losses and lifeless displays of baseball the Phillies had put on tape two months into the season.

As sad as Thomson was to see Girardi go, this was an opportunity for the baseball lifer, the man who had been in baseball as a coach since the 1988 season, to show what he could do in the manager's chair. This was a chance for Thomson to prove himself.

The Phillies' season depended on it.

“We Just Got To Keep Going”

Winners of seven straight. Unbeaten under the leadership of Thomson, their interim manager, the Phillies were rolling. And Bryce Harper knew it.

And keep going, they did. The Phillies would win nine games in a row before they were bested by the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 12.

It was hard not to get excited about the team, given the way they had sleepwalked through April and May. Was there something special brewing in Philadelphia?

I Kind Of Wish it Hit Me In The Face

Can you blame Harper for feeling that way? The man had taken a 96.9 MPH fastball right in the face in 2021 and then said “everything felt good” afterwards.

But a 97 MPH fastball from San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell broke his thumb, sending him sprawling into the dirt and leading Phillies fans to jump to some grim conclusions.

Was their season over?

“It's A Difficult Decision But I Think The Right Decision”

The Phillies had just released shortstop Didi Gregorius, the man who had been the team's starting shortstop for each of the last two seasons, opting instead to hand the keys to the position over to 24-year-old Bryson Stott.

Stott, who was hitting .196 with a .576 OPS at that point, had done little to give the Phillies reason to believe in him. But Thomson was a believer.

“That's What Good Teams Do”

61 days. That's how many days the Phillies went without the comfortable presence of Harper in the lineup. And yet, the club went 32-20 without the 2021 NL MVP, because that's what good teams do.

Nick Castellanos said it best, via The Athletic.

“I Love This Place”

From “I F***ing hate this place” to “I love this place.” Alec Bohm came full circle for the Phillies, both on and off the field and knew exactly what to say after the club punched their ticket to the World Series.

Was there any better way to sum up the Phillies incredible turnaround than with this one simple quote?

“I Just Did That”

Yes, you did, Bryce. Harper, in the biggest moment of his professional baseball career, sent a ball over the left-field fence in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 5 of the NLCS vs. the Padres to send the Phillies to the World Series.

And it truly didn't hit Harper until he made it back to the dugout after sending an entire city into a frenzy. The highest of the highs culminated in one swing of Harper's bat.

After the game, he said it best. The Phillies are four wins away.