The Pirates are out of town until July 17th, which would mean 17 days without a baseball game for me. I decided to break up the drought by attending a game in Philadelphia.
I’d never been to a baseball game in Philly before, so I was interested to see what Citizens Bank Park had to offer.
I got to the stadium at 2:35, almost 2 full hours before the gates were to even open. I figured that I would give myself some extra time to account for traffic and to stop for lunch. (I ended up not stopping because my GPS directed me to a non-existent phantom Wendy’s. Frustrated, I decided to eat at the stadium.) I was there so early, that the parking attendant thought I worked at McFadden’s.
The first matter of business was to find an open ticket window and buy a ticket for today’s game. I walked past the first base entrance
then realized that the Reds had many more righties than lefties, and I’d have a better chance back in the packed left field seats.
Brandon Phillips put on a show in batting practice. One of his home runs came right to me, I was camped underneath it, ready to make the catch, when at the moment the ball was several feet from my glove, about 5 people’s arms slammed into mine. My arm moved, and the ball tipped off my glove. I didn’t get the ball. Fans in Philadelphia are much more agressive when it comes to going a
fter home run balls in batting practice than in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. In Pittsburgh, us ballhawks spread out and have our own little zones that we tend to stay in. We never run into each other or rob each other of home runs when another is camped under one. Next time I go to a game in Philly I’ll be prepared.
I was shut out for the rest of batting practice and ended with 2 baseballs.
I walked around the concourse. I liked how the Phillies post their line up on a large brick wall at the entrance to the left field gate:
The Phillies top 2 stars for my money:
The Liberty Bell (which gongs after a Phillies player goes deep):
Here was my view from my seat:
The Phillies would go on to knock out starter Johnny Cueto in the first inning and score an amazing 10 runs in the first inning. They would go on to win the game 22-1. I don’t think I’ve ever attended such a lopsided game.
I made my back to my hotel in Philadelphia. (Which didn’t have Internet). Ran a few miles on the treadmill in the fitness center, did 31 floors on a stairmaster, and went to bed.
I then disappeared for the next week (which is why its taken me a week to get this entry up) to the shore.
Game: 2 balls (2 hit)
Season: 226 balls (119 hit, 75 thrown, 32 device)
Games: 46 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.91 balls per game
Career: 392 balls
Due to the rainy weekend we’ve had, there was no batting practice today. Last night’s game was delayed over an hour, canceling batting practice, and unfortunately, the same thing happened today.
I still got to the park at 4:30 in hopes that they would have BP, but had no such luck. I put on my Cardinals gear when the Cardinals pitchers came out to start warming up. There was hardly any competition.
When Randy Flores was done tossing, he threw me his warm up ball. I had positioned myself behind him and his catching partner. When he was done, I politely asked for the ball. He looked at me, then looked around, like he was looking for a kid, but couldn’t find another Cardinals “fan” – so he tossed the ball to me. It was ball #1 of the day.
Moments later, Todd Wellemeyer and Joel Pinero set up in front of me andstarting throwing with an unidentified pitcher in the outfield. Wellemeyer and Piniero took alternate turns throwing. I once again positioned myself behind them, in order to catch an overthrow. It turns out there was an overthrow, but it hit off of my glove and back onto the field. I stayed put in my spot, and several throws later, a low ball bounced under Wellemeyer’s glove and into my mitt. The pitchers didn’t have any balls, so I asked them, “Do you want me to give it back?” Piniero responded, “Yeah, we’ll give it back to you when we’re done.” Five minutes later, Piniero kept his word and flipped me Ball #2.
That was it. They went into the clubhouse after they were done throwing and were’nt seen again until game time. I was happy with getting two balls on a non-game day.
Game: 2 balls
Season: 114 balls
Career: 152 balls
*I’ve decided to mimic legendary ball hawk Zack Hample and compare my ball totals to the all time hit list. As Hample states, ” it was more fun to chase a human than a lifeless milestone.” With that, 152 balls puts me tied with pitcher Joe Niekro on the all time career hit list (4,065th place all time).
Attendance: 17,132 (44.7% full)