Field of Dreams

Adam enjoys opening day vs. Astros

There are little baseball lovers out there who know nothing of the pain and suffering of long-time Phillies fans. These 10 and under children see our boys of summer as champions. They have scratched and clawed; won a World Series and NL East titles. They’ve been going to the ballgames with their parents and grandparents only since Citizens Bank Park has been around. They never had the joy of climbing into  the 63,000-seat Veterans Stadium with maybe 20,000 fans echoing off the concrete that molded the stadium.

No, these young ones are so incredibly lucky. They sit in an outstanding ballpark with their families and friends. They cheer every player – the starting rotation; the “big guy;” Raaauuulll; Chooch; and now even the fill ins for Utley – Valdez and Martinez. The ballpark food is terrific (if

Opening day F-15 flyover using biodiesel fuel

still too expensive). There are healthy choices so you don’t leave the ballpark feeling as though you need to de-tox. (I enjoyed a tasty turkey burger on whole-grain bun with salsa & guacamole.)

Here’s the thing: While the Phils pulled out a 9th inning win in game one over Houston, then two decisive wins to sweep the opening series, we are going to have some tough days; NO doubt about it. Will we see the sports writers and sports-talk loudmouths go into their see- I-told-you-they’d-screw-up mode or will cooler heads prevail realizing that 162 games ebbs and flows; injuries happen, then heal; players are traded and managers sometimes mess up?

Stretching before the first pitch

For me, going to the ballpark is a vacation. This is my field of dreams – the place where  the day’s work and frustrations, the trials and tribulations of life, are set aside. I cheer the great plays; watch the scores from the other games underway; marvel in that new jumbotron; wonder HOW the umpire couldn’t call that slider a strike – then cheer a great call on a Jimmy Rollins steal to second.

It would be great to see more loyal fans than those fair-weather fans who seem to enjoy pouncing on the Phils when they’re down. It would be wonderful to get through a season without more injuries that are already sidelining Chase Utley, Brad Lidge and Domonic Brown. But oh, what we have to look forward to: 159 more games – yes, some losses, yes, some nail-biters, yes, some winning and losing streaks. But, stick with them; revel in the sport that starts on a snowy, cold day and ends in the cool of autumn. Whether you are watching from the comfort of your favorite chair, listening to the radio while you wash the car or are lucky enough to be sitting with 45,000 other fans, this is our game, our team our pride.

Go Phils!

View from Section 108 – WS Game 3

By a tremendous amount of skill, luck and strategy, the Phillies are in their second World Series in a row. This is an accomplishment for any true fan to be outrageously proud of. The Phillies have achieved this height, not from bragging or demeaning other ball clubs or players, but praising their work ethic; humbly saying they are just part of an incredible team and paying homage to the loyal fans.

Something terrible happened when the Yankees defeated the Angels to get to the World Series for the 40th time. I do believe the NY media started it: displaying a front-page, photo-shopped picture of Shane Victorino in a cheerleading outfit and calling the Phils, The Frillies. The snowball effect from that point on has been a combination of media frenzy and uncouth, uncool, ridiculously classless people becoming unglued at the prospect of two talented teams making it to the fall classic.

WSGame3_20091031_01The view from section 108 last night was utterly depressing. What should have been throngs of Phillies fans and a smattering of Yankees fans gathered in unbridled enthusiasm to see game three and cheer their guys, turned out for me, to be a horrendous and vulgar display of bullying, cursing and downright unfriendliness. Sure, you could say the heckling of the Yankees fans was all in good fun. But, don’t invite me to THAT party again. The dropping of the “F” bomb by Phillies fans around us made Chase Utley’s “F” bombs seem like a bedtime story. The loud, rude, disgusting taunting of the Yankees fans made me embarrassed to be from this area. Waving double-birds in the face of a Yankees fan does exactly…what???  I think the Yankee fan who was the victim of this display deserves a great amount of credit for sitting quietly in his seat and not lowering himself to the bird-waver’s level. Everything was made worse by an 80-minute rain delay which pumped the fans with more beer and loathing.

The bright spots of the game were fans (not the bird-waving, drunk, “f-bomb” dropping, lowlifes) WSGame3_20091031_04applauding and high-fiving members of the military who had participated in the huge flag display at the start of the game, as they headed up the steps of section 109. It was a nice and respectful show of support that my 15-year-old son appreciated. One other bright spot was Jason Werth acknowledging the cheers from the right-field area sections after his first round-tripper. The guy always shows class and appreciation in front of the fans.

WSGame3_20091031_09This is America’s game. The Boys of Summer make it to the fall classic. Two teams battle to get there every season. The best of fans are with their team until the bitter end. The purest of fans are with their team, win or lose. All season long, through the more than 17 regular season games I attended and the four post-season games, this one game sunk my heart when it comes to sticking up for Phillies fans who always seem to get a bad rap. At this game, I experienced why the fans are pounded on so much. This goes beyond disdain for the other team or individual players. It’s ugly, hateful and completely insane. Who EVER thought we’d be cheering Pedro Martinez in a Phillies uniform? For the love of the game, you cheer your team through awesome achievements and the depths of bitter losses.

If the Phillies get into a post-season face-off with a New York team again, I won’t be there. It brings out the worst in some people. I can enjoy the Phillies in the comfort of my home or perhaps at a neighborhood bar without the obnoxious big-mouths who call themselves fans. They’re just plain ugly.