Originally posted June 7, 2007:
Why? Because my home town baseball team have done the impossible. They’d just finished sweeping the New York Mets and in Shea Stadium no less. Hee hee hee. First they sweep the all mighty Atlanta Braves in Atlanta and now the Mets in New York City. Hee hee hee. I just hope both of those teams are getting scared. Now if the Phils would only put together a longer winning streak. Then things will really get interesting in the National League East.
Originally posted May 17, 2007:
Okay, time for a good laugh. I’d just heard that during the Phillies’ game, during the seventh inning stretch, it seems that one of the fans did more than stretch. He removed his clothes and proceeded to streak. That’s right, STREAK inside the ballpark!!! I’d thought that went out with the ’70s. I am really glad that the folks who reported this on Channel 6 didn’t show the actually deed being done. Well, I wish I was a fly on the wall when he explained why he did it to the authorities. Maybe he was protesting the war in Iraq? Maybe he was protesting the fact that Mumbia is still in jail? Maybe he was protecting Nutter winning the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia’s next mayor? Maybe he was starving for attention? Or maybe, he’s just a jerk? I think it’s the last one myself.
Originally posted April 29, 2007:
I left my apartment late this morning, around about 11:50, to get to Citizens Bank Park to see the Marlins-Phillies game. I went to 46th and Market St. to catch the elevated train to go east. Luckily for me, an el train was siiting on the track, waiting for passegers, so I got on it. I sat down in a seat and waited for it to start. It did so after a while and I stayed on it until it reached the 15th Street stop. I then got up, got out of the train and walked down the corridor to catch a Broad Street Subway train heading south. I waited for the train to arrive along with several other people. After the train finally appeared, I got on it and sat down as it headed south towards Pattison Avenue and the South Philly Sports Complex.
A few minutes and several stops later, the train arrived at the Pattison Avenue stop. I got off it and walk to the stairs which led back to the street. As I reached the top step I saw a clock with gave the time of my arrival: 12:23 pm, which meant that I got there before our agreed upon 12:30 meeting time.
After exiting the train stop, I’d walked along Pattison Avenue towards Citizens Bank Park, along with everyone else who was obviously headed towards the game. As I’d walked, I saw Pattison Avenue to my right, with a parking lot placed to my left. While I continued walking, I quickly noticed that I was soon passing a statue. The statue featured a football player who was obviously a defensive player getting ready to tackle a runner, which quickly reminded me that at one time there was another ballpark in the area where the parking lot was now, old Veterans Stadium, where not only the Phillies played, but also the Philadelphia Eagles, who were now playing in Lincoln Financial Field which was across the street from Citizens Bank Park. As I continued walking, I soon approached a Memorial Block which gave a short history of the late Veterans Stadium and the reason for why it was given its name: it was in honor of those who had fallen defending this country by the time the old stadium had opened in April 1971. Almost as soon as I’d walked past it, I’d saw, across Pattison Avenue, the Wachovia Spectrum, where the Sixers and Flyers used to played their games. I’d soon noticed that there was a banner above the entrance which explained that the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus was presently there. Interesting, I thought. The Circus was in town. Anyway, as I continued walking, I approached another marker, this one giving information on when the Vet opened and who were the city’s Mayor and the state’s Governor at the time of its opening. Soon after that, I’d reached another marker, this one set up by the city’s Historical Commission which gave a short history of the Stadium. A little bit further, and I walked before an old friend from the days of the Vet: A statue which showed an infielder about to catch a baseball as a runner slid into base. Not too long after that, I saw across the street the present home of the Sixers and Flyers, The Wachovia Center and near to that, Lincoln Financial Field. A short time after that I’d walked past the entrance to the parking lot and then soon crossed the street. As I did so, my final destination was finally in my sight: Citizen’s Bank Park.
As I looked at the outside of the park, I’d quickly noticed that I was near the third base side of the park. Since I was told during a phone call last night that we were to meet at the Studio and Club entrance – Home Plate (which was along Pattison Avenue), I’d continued walking on. After a while I’d finally arrived at the entrance. But, I didn’t see my brother, Scott, (who had earlier gone to South Street to trade in his Game Cube and a couple of games he was no longer player for the new Nintendo Wii) or our friend Philip and his family. So, I’d decided to wait for them near the entrance. After a while, I went looking for a pay phone, to call my friend Philip on his cellphone to find out if they might be late. I soon found one and placed .50 into it. After dialing the number, which was set for the Lehigh Valley area, the coins came back. After taking back the change and hearing a greeting (recorded, of course) from Verizon, I was told to deposit .90. At that time, I’d balked, since I needed all of the change I had at the moment. Well, I went back to the entrance and waited again. I was soon joined by my brother, who’d showed up with his new Wii. He’d told me that he’d been waiting for about an hour (he’d left the apartment around 10:30 so that he could get to South Street to go to the store, which opened at 11:00, so that he could get the Wii as it was first comes, first serve.) at the park’s third base side. I told him that we were suppose to be at the home plate side and I then told him that Philip and his family haven’t arrived yet. We waited for a bit, then I told him that I would go to a pay phone and call Philip to find out where he and his family were, which I did. This time, I made the call, and after about two rings, he picked up. Philip told me that they were now in the parking lot and would arrive soon. I’d told him that we would be waiting for them at the agreed place. So, I hung up the phone and rejoined my brother. I told him that Philip and family would be joining us soon. A short time later, Philip and his family arrived: Philip, his father, his mother and his brother. After introductions were made, we were shown our tickets, given them and then we headed for the home plate entrance. As we entered the park, we each had a sticker wrapped around our left wrist, which said on them: Diamond Club * April 29, 2007 * Diamond Club, along with a number. My number was 19230. We then continued on, going into the diamond club to eat lunch.
After ordering our lunch, we were each given a ticket to pick up our meal. I then went and picked up my lunch. Lunch for me consisted of a very thick hamburger, to which I added a piece of lettuce and some ketchup and a sliced pickle, and a cup of Sprite. I later got a second cup of Sprite after I’d finished eating my hamburger and pickle slice, and before we headed out to the stand to go to our seats, along with my brother and Philip.
After we’d asked one of the staffer to tell us where our seats were located, we walked over to our seats which were placed on the third base side of home plate on ground level. Hhhhmmm, smell that real live grass, not like the artificial surface of old Vet Stadium. We then sat down. My seat was seat #4, in the six row of section B. After we’d arrive, we saw the last part of the Phanatic’s birthday celebration. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that this was the Phanatic’s birthday? Well, it is. 🙂 Anyway, we then rosed for a moment of silent as we were informed of the death of former Phillies’ and present (late) St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher, Josh Hancock, who was killed earlier today in a car accident in St. Louis as well as informing us that tonight’s Cubs-Cardinals game was being cancelled in his honor. After that, the national anthem was sung. We were soon joined by Philip’s parents and brother, and started to watch the game. Not too long after that, the game started, with Jamie Moyer (2-1) starting for the Phils.
Moyer ended the inning quickly, getting the Marlins to go down one-two-three. The Phils half of the 1st had them facing the Marlin’s starter, Wes Obermueller (1-0). The first Phils batter he faced, Jimmy Rollins got on base with a single. He then stole second base, the first of four for the Phils, after Shane Victorino had flied out to right. After the steal, Chase Utley stroked a single, which scored Rollins, giving the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. The game then developed into a pitcher’s duel, with Moyer only getting into a bit of trouble in the fourth inning, where he walked Hanley Ramirez on four pitches. I’d thought that was going to lead into trouble. Instead, Dan Uggla, the next Marlins’ batter, grounded into a fielder’s choice while removed Ramirez. Then I saw what have to be one of the most boneheaded running plays that I have ever watched since I’d stated watching baseball late in 1969. The batter, Miguel Cabrera hit a deep fly ball into left field, with Uggla running hard as soon as the ball was hit, obviously expecting it to drop in for a hit. Instead, the Phils left fielder, Jayson Werth, caught the ball, then threw the ball to the shortstop, Rollins, who then threw it to Ryan Howard to double up Uggla. And where was Uggla during all of this? Stuck between second and third, realizing that he’d messed up, which happily help get Moyer out of the inning. In the meantime, Obermueller gave up only one more hit to the Phils until he started the bottom of the sixth.
The Phils half of the sixth started off with Rollins getting another single. Victorino then foul out. A short time after that, Rollins stole second. The Marlins’ catcher, Matt Treanor, after catching Obermueller’s pitch on one hop, got up and threw the ball to second. The throw short hop under the glove of the Marlin’s fielder covering second and went into center field. Rollins went to third on the catcher’s error. This was then followed by Utley getting a walk. Unfortunately, Ryan Howard then struck out for the second out of the inning. The next player, Aaron Rowand was then hit on the shoulder, loading up the bases for Werth. Werth got up and hit a single, which scored both Rollins and Utley, and had Rowand ending up on second. The next batter, Abraham Nunez, was then walked, reloading the bases. That was enough for Florida’s manager, Fredi Gonzalez, who came out and took out Obermueller, replacing him with Kevin Gregg. The first batter Gregg met, Carlos Ruiz, then flied out to center, ending the inning, but the Phils gave Moyer a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the 7th, Moyer had a no hitter going, and continued it by getting out Ramirez and Uggla, but the next batter, Cabrera hit a double, thus ending Moyer’s no-hitter attempt. After the hit, me and most of the other fans stood up and gave Moyer a standing ovation for his efforts. With the no-hitter gone, Moyer got the next batter, Josh Willingham, to lined out, ending the inning.
During the bottom of the seventh, Philip’s father suggested that I get myself a new cap to replace the dirty one that I’d owned for several years, soon giving me one of the tickets. Before I continue tghe story, I need to explain this. Each of the tickets, which costs $100, have a voucher of $30, so that you can buy anything with it until you hit the full $30. Anyway, I asked where the concession stand was located. After being told, off I went, going back into the Diamond Club. After I’d reached the stand, I had a short talk with the person who was running the stand at the time, a very nice lady, who pointed out what each of the caps they were selling cost. I told her that I wanted a full cap, which cost $28. But, when she scanned the voucher, it was quickly discovered that it had only over $15 left on it. So, I went to see if I could get one of the other tickets to see if there was enough left on any of them so that I can get the cap. Well, on the way back, I was met by my brother and Philip, who were carrying with them two or three of the other tickets. After explaining the situation to them, we went back to the concession stand, and after she was down with another customer, we gave her two of the tickets. Turns out there was enough on the second one for me to get the hat. So, I got it, took back the two tickets and the receipt and quickly threw away the old hat. But, before we left, my brother decided to get one of the adjustable $15 caps from, and we found out that there was enough on that second ticket and on the third one to get it for him. We three then went back to our seats, where I thanked Philip’s dad for the suggestion and then we all went back to watching the game.
Anyway, after sitting back down, we watched the rest of the Phils’ seventh inning and then watched the Marlins half of the eighth. Moyer unfortunately started it off by walking Aaron Boone. He then struck out Cody Ross, but then gave up a single to Joe Borchard, with Aaron stopping at second. The Phils’ manager, Charlie Manuel, then came out, relieving Moyer with Brett Myers. Moyer was then given another standing ovation from the fans. After Myers had finished warming up, he proceeded to strike out, Miguel Olivo and Mike Jacobs, both of them pinch hitters.
Now, in the Phils half of the 8th, it started out with Howard getting a single. Rowand followed it by fouling out, and then Werth struck out swinging but then Nunez got a single, which moved Howard to second. Ruiz then followed that with a walk, loading the bases. Greg Dobbs then came up to pinch hit for Myers. He soon stroke a double to deep center field, which cleared the bases, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. Rollins then came up, and stroke out, ending the inning.
Antonio Alfonseca came in to pitch the ninth, since the Phils’ eruption in the 8th ended a possible save opportunity for the team’s closer, Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon. Alfonseca then gave up a double to Ramirez. He then got Uggla to fly out, but Ramirez went to third on the play. The next batter, Cabrera struck out, but Willingham then got a double, scoring Ramirez, and giving the Marlins a run, making the score 6-1, ending the shut out. But Boone followed it with a fly out to center ending the game with a 6-1 Phillies win. The game’s winner, Moyer is now 3-1 while the loser, Obermueller fell to 1-1. Attendence for the day was 45,107, the highest this season and the fifth highest since the park opened a few years ago. The Phils are now tied for third with the Marlins, trailing the Braves and Mets who were both tied for first place in the Eastern Division of the National League.
After watching the player’s celebration for a while, we all went back into the Diamond Club. In the Club, Philip told us he had a video tape to give to Scott. We left the park and then followed him to the parking lot, needing to cross another street, to get to his father’s car and the tape. After getting the tape, we thank Philip’s father for the ticket and after saying goodbye to them, we headed back to get to the Broad Street Subway entrance. On the way back, going along Pattison Avenue, I saw the statue that had been dedicated to Mike Schmidt, Hall of Famer and one of the best players in Phillies’ history.
After passing all of the statues and markers that I’d saw earlier, we went back to the subway and caught a waiting train. We got off it at Walnut-Locust and then got out near Walnut Street. We walked over to Walnut Street and waited for the 21 bus to appear to take us back to our apartment. After a while, we got a 21, and took it down Walnut until it stop at 47th Street. We got out of the bus, crossed the street, went into out apartment building and into then our room, happy.
The main reason for this is because the first time we had gone to Veterans Stadium, with our dad when we were little kids, it didn’t end as well. Our first game at a ballpark, which was on June 4, 1972, the Phils fell to the then Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds, 2-0. The Reds winning pitcher was Jack Billingham (3-6), while Bill Champion (3-3) lost the game, with Clay Carroll getting his tenth save at that time.
Originally posted April 27, 2007:
Why am I happy? Well, I’m going to be seeing my first Phillies home game in over twenty years. That’s right, I’m going to be getting my first look at the Phils new home, Citizens Bank Park. Hooray!!!! And how did this happen? Well, my friend Philip Smith told me earlier this week that his father had a couple of extra tickets for this Sunday afternoon’s game between the Phils and the fish (aka The Florida Marlins.) and he wanted to know if my brother and I would like to come to the game. We told him that we would think it over. Last night we sent him back an email saying that we would accept his father’s kind offer. So, this coming Sunday we’re going to see a game.
Now, it they win that would be even better!!!!
Originally posted April 6, 2007:
Crushing the Marlins, 8-2. Looks like the bats were out today, and the starter pitched well enough that they had good cause to keep Ryan Madson off of the mound. (Sorry, but those first two loses because of his gopher balls still tick me off.) Come on guys, lets keep rolling!!!
Originally posted April 2, 2007:
And they lost to the Atlanta Braves, 5-3, in 10 innings. I’m pissed. No, I’m not poed over the fact that they’d lost their opening game, something that they’d seems to enjoy doing over the last decade or so. And no, it’s not because they wasted a good effort by their starter, Brett Myers, even if he did give up a home run in the top of the 8th that tied the game after the starters had fought their way against John Smoltz to take over the lead, who in most cases appear to be hitting the ball good right now (a good sign that they’re going to break a few games wide open later in the season). And it’s not because they blew an opportunity to break the game open while leading 3-2 with runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the 7th, or that they blew an opportunity with runners on first and second with two out in the bottom of the 9th to win it. No, I’m pissed because Ryan Madson, who came in to pitch the top of the 10th in relief of ‘Flash’ Gordon, gave up a two run home run to lose the game. I mean, what is up with him? It seems when the relief corps blows a game, he seems to be the one leading the way. Well, it at least seems that way to me since last year. And with his previous year’s ERA of giving up over 5 runs a game doesn’t instill a lot of confident that this year he won’t continue blowing it when he’s given the ball.
From what I see right now, it looks like the relief corps will determine how far the Phils will go this season. And, if Madson continues to go on the pitcher’s mound and blow up the game just like he did today, the Phils aren’t going into the playoffs.
I’m hoping that I’ll be proven wrong, but he’s going to have to go out there and show me that he can go in there and not give up runs!
Originally posted March 31, 2007:
Well, the Major League Baseball 2007 season will start tomorrow night, April 1, with a night game between the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals and the National League Eastern Division Champion New York Mets. But I won’t be talking about that. What I will be talking about is a tradition that appears to have all but disappeared within the last decade or so, that baseball no longer starts its season in Cincinnati. Before any of you say what do you mean, since Cincinnati plays a home game Monday afternoon, what I mean is that when I was growing up, back in the 1970s and 1980s, I and I’m sure of lot of other baseball fans did as well, knew that the season had started once we’d heard that the first pitch had been thrown by the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day starter against the first batter of his team’s opponent for that day.
Now, if you’re wondering about the tradition behind it, it goes like this: In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the possible ancestors of the present-day Cincinnati Reds or Redlegs, which had been formed earlier in 1866 as an amateur team, became the first team in the country to pay all of their players. Before then, all teams, the majority of which came from the East Coast and were mostly formed from members of gentlemen clubs, were made up of amateur players, which meant that they only played the game part-time. With that year’s Cincinnati club, people were now being paid to play baseball full time. This is important as these full timers went across the country, or rather across the Eastern half of the country, to play against the more traditional amateur teams, as well as some college clubs, and for the that year the team went 57 and 0. The following year, in 1870, the team won 24 more games in a row before it finally was defeated, 8-7, by the Brooklyn Athletics in Brooklyn on June 14. So, for over a year, the team won 71 games in a row before finally losing a game. The team was disbanded in 1871, as the club that own the team couldn’t afford putting together another team of professionals for that year.
Meanwhile, after seeing what a team made up of paid professionals could do, several other organizations started to create teams that were made up of paid players. This in turn led to the first organized league of professional teams, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1871. This would in turn lead to the creation of the present-day National League in 1876, which replaced the NA because that league had been dominated by one club, was inflicted by franchise instability, lacked a central authority and had been corrupted by gambling.
Anyway, as far as I know, the long standing tradition, or at least the tradition was during the years that I was growing up and until lately, had opening day beginning with a home game being played first in Cincinnati in honored of that particular team. But now, it appears that that tradition is now a thing of the past. I don’t know why it happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be because the guys who are presently running major league baseball no longer honor certain traditions.