Monday, August 14, 2006

Of Phillies, and Queen

I took a trip to Citizen's Bank Park (The CBP!) in Philadelphia on Saturday for what will be my only live major league game this year. The Phils are in the race for the playoffs as only a National League club with a sub-.500 record can be, and they were facing the team they were chasing, the Reds. The Phils lost 2 of 3 and now find themselves 4 games out of the Wild Card race with 5 teams ahead of them. So...not good.

On Saturday the game was tied 6-6 going into the 9th. Charlie Manuel (or whoever takes over the team once he's fallen asleep in the dugout around the 7th inning) put in closer Tom Gordon, a move which I will defend to the end. Gordon ended up giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning. On the plus side, he comes out of the bullpen to the theme from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, recorded by Queen, which is about the most hilariously awesome song ever made.

The Phils went into the 9th down 9-6. Jimmy Rollins hit a 2-out homer, his 2nd(!) of the game to make it 9-7. Mike Lieberthal then smacked a single - it was at this time that my brother turned to me and told me that a Casey at the bat scenario was shaping itself up. Optimism, it runs in the family. Chase Utley leaned into a pitched, putting 2 on and the game-winning run at the plate in the form of MVP candidate Ryan Howard. After a drawn-out at-bat, Eddie Guardado struck out Howard on some pretty nasty high heat. I've never been at a game where a walk-off situation set itself up, and so have never seen the way the crowd completely deflates in a split-second when it doesn't come to pass. It's pretty amazing.

Some random thoughts from the game:
  • We caught batting practice for both teams. Pretty standard stuff, but the one thing I learned is that the ball sounds completely different when it comes off of Adam Dunn's bat than anyone else. The man basically has zero baseball skills except taking walks and hitting homers, but good Christ does he hit the ball hard.
  • Utley jerseys were easily the most popular, followed much further down the list by Howard jerseys. I'm not a jersey guy, but I guess I can see the appeal. If you're going to get a jersey though, for Christ's sake don't get one with your name on it. And if you're going to do that, please PLEASE pick a number that's not 69.
  • Citizen's Bank Park is nice, like all the new parks are nice. They're starting to blend together though. The one unique feature is probably the big Liberty Bell in right-center, which continues a tradition from the Vet. This one sways back and forth when the Phils hit a home run. The old Liberty Bell just sat there, mocking everyone who actually paid to be at the Vet.
  • To the credit of Philadelphia fans, the wave was killed after about 2 revolutions. Come to think of it though, I think it stopped at the same time that the bobble head race came up on the scoreboard. The white one is a real dick.
  • It was "Alumni Night" which is shorthand for "screwing me out of something free". Hall of Famers Jim Bunning and Robin Roberts were there, as well as the inexplicably popular Bob Boone, among many many others. Alumni night is weird - Hall of Famers stand next to guys like Dickie Noles and Kevin Jordan. No Schmidt or Carlton. I was at alumni night last year too, by coincidence, and by far the most fascinating alumni is Dick Allen. It's hard to find anyone who had a more torrid relationship with a city and its fans - now, he goes back, gets a warm ovation and returns the favor. Just goes to show, no relationship is beyond repairing in sports. Except TO. More on him in a minute.
  • I punched out one of those ballots where you pick the best player for each franchise. My brother asked if it was an All-Star ballot. He's...not so up on the sports. Knows a hell of a lot about music though.
  • I don't know how many other places this happens, but inevitably in Philly some guy will start an E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! chant around the 6th or 7th inning. The guys in the parking lot hawking shirts don't sell Phillies shirts - they sell "Cowboys Sucks, TO Swallows" shirts. This relationship is probably broken beyond repair (Well duh! you're saying, but if Dick Allen can be forgiven in time then almost anyone can.) But TO will never, ever be forgiven. He burned every bridge he could with the team, the city and the fans. I say this with 100% seriousness, the only thing that stands between him and a bullet on Christmas day when the Cowboys come to town is the diligence of Eagles security. I hope they're up to the challenge.


Blogger David Bowie said...

I support replacing the Blyleven/Rice Hall grumbling with Dick Allen trumpeting. Just so we're clear on that.

Mon Aug 14, 10:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Whisk E. Bear said...

1. Seattle's devotion to the wave is humiliating. It was apparently invented in the Kingdome. My shame is great.

2. TO is in no danger---deactivated by Thanksgiving, he'll be doing situps in Malibu via satellite during the ESPN pregame show. Or wearing a Santa suit.

Mon Aug 14, 10:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Craig said...

I fully support that motion. Dick Allen's case is easily as strong as Jim Rice's, yet no one ever writes odes to his greatness. I love the fact that Dick Allen and Phillies fans have, at least publicly, buried the hatchet. It makes Phillies fans seem almost human.

I don't have anything new to add about the wave, except that it's a blight on humanity, and were it possible to physically destroy an inanimate concept, I'd nuke the shit out of it. One thing I'll say, I've never done it at Lane Stadium, although I know it's popular in many college venues.

Mon Aug 14, 11:21:00 PM EDT  

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