Saturday, July 26, 2008

Deathtour~!: Citizen's Bank Park, Philadelphia

To my complete surprise, the Phillies game was sold out, so in that sense it was good that I wasn’t with anybody for the game. I don’t know if I could have found 2 tickets next to each other from a scalper. As it was, I bought a ticket, for well more than I should have, from the first person who had one to sell.

It was pretty close to first pitch by the time I’d walked the several miles down Broad from my hotel to the sports complex, so I went upstairs immediately to find my seat. I was hoping it was in the shade. The top of my head is beginning to resemble a beet.

I’m in the first row of the top level and I’m right behind the Phillies dugout, but it’s not worth what I paid. I feel even worse when I learn how much the guy next to me sold my seat for to the guy I bought it from. And the sun is right in my eyes. I have to check to make sure I’m wearing my shades.

Time for some food. I’ve heard that Bull’s BBQ is the place to go. It’s all the way down in Ashburn Alley behind centerfield. Ashburn Alley is the featured attraction here. From the Alley you have a great view of the game from center, you can heckle the opposing team’s bullpen, walk the Phillies All-Star lane and relive the history of baseball in Philadelphia. I just want food for now, the rest can come after the game.

Aaaand I took one look at the line and decided on something else. I’ve never seen a line that long for food at a game. Not even for garlic fries at the Phone Booth. But at least I got up close to Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. Instead I have a Cheesesteak, which at least fits with being in Philly. Oh, and through all that I missed the first half inning getting back up to my seat.

It’s Christmas in July at Citizens Bank Park. Christmas music and movie clips have been playing between innings. Not much to talk about in regards to the game so far. It’s been a pitchers’ duel through three.

Brian McCann breaks through with a soaring shot to right. Two batters later, Jeff Francour sends a blooper into right field. I didn’t think Jenkins had a shot to catch it, and neither did anyone else, but he came on to make a spectacular diving catch.

Even though it’s not a hand operated scoreboard, I like the Phillies classic electronic design. It’s simple, has room for every game, and is free from clutter. A single light indicates outs and runners. No giant graphics or any of that nonsense.

It’s Christmas in July so the Phanatic, dressed as Santa, meets the real Santa. I was hoping he’d get booed but that didn’t happen.

The Phillies just aren’t hitting tonight. 1 run might be enough for the Braves. And Kendrick has pitched well for the Phillies, he’s just not getting any support.

We have a cameraman in our section. We spent a half inning debating what’s he’s here for. Prizes? Kiss Cam? Turns out a kid in the next row down won two tickets to a local theme park. He then turns his attention on a little girl who is a bit camera shy when she sees herself on the big screen.

Kendrick gets pulled after 6 due to pitch count. I remember when guys would throw 200 pitches over 13 innings without breaking a sweat.

Have I mentioned it’s Christmas in July?

Ouch! Jayson Werth hit a comebacker that nearly took Jerrjans’ head off. Jerrjans recovered, found the ball and threw Werth out to end the 8th.

Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel is bringing in Brad Lidge, his closer, into a non save situation. This never, ever ends well. He must need the work but I would never do this as a manager. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a pitcher who’s used to coming in to close a game, come into a losing situation or blowout game and give up 3 runs. It always happens.

Greg Norton leads off with a double and Henry Blanco beats out a bunt. It was a really close play, and even though they’ve shown a replay of nearly every at bat prior, no replay here.

Mark Teixeira singled and McCann hit a grand slam, his second home run on the night, blowing the game wide open. See? Happens every time. The guy next to me says the same thing. The Braves score 7 times in the ninth.

Ryan Howard homers to left but it’s a little too late. The Braves take the game 8-2.

Time to go check out Ashburn Alley. There’s a Phillies Wall of Fame and an all time Phillies team. Pete Rose is listed at 1st base.

The timeline of Philadelphia baseball includes the A’s, who for 40 years or so were by far the better team in the city.

I can’t even name a single Phillies player from that era but I could name several A’s.

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