Well, I’m going to try not to let them get me down, but when they coincide like today, it can be a bit dreary.
Good news yesterday, though. After dropping the first two games of a four-game series to the Padres, the Phillies managed to pull out a win in dramatic fashion. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, new Phillie Raul Ibanez hit a walk-off two-run homer for the first Phillies’ victory since last Monday.
Hopefully some momentum will carry into tonight, though Mother Nature would not seem to be cooperating. Last time I checked, the game was still on for tonight, even though current conditions are rainy, windy, and chilly. I’m guessing they’ll try to get it in somehow, as it’s the last game of the series, and the Padres don’t come to Philly again this season.
***Update: tonight’s game has been postponed, with no make-up date announced yet.***
Quite frankly, this is why I almost never buy advance tickets to early spring games. With temperatures in the 40’s, it is not exactly my idea of a good time. I’ll watch on TV from the comfort of my home, thank you.
Earlier today, my mind was wandering a bit, and I was thinking about Padres left-fielder Chase Headley. I’m sorry, but that name cracks me up!
For whatever reason, the first time I heard his name, I thought of that old TV show from the 1980’s with the character Max Headroom. Headley, Headroom, they’re kind of similar. Then, while listening to radio coverage of yesterday’s game, one of the announcers noted that it reminded him of former Phillie Dave Hollins, whose nickname was Headley, due to his big head (this does not refer to his ego, he really has a physically large head).
So do they resemble each other? Yeah, a little bit.
Anyway, my best baseball moment of the weekend had nothing to do with the Phillies. I’m going to use the forum of this blog to have my proud parent moment out there for the blogosphere to read.
My son plays baseball, and in his league the teams are made up of mostly 9- and 10-year-olds (he is 10). At his game Saturday afternoon, he came up to bat with the bases loaded. He roped a liner into the left/centerfield gap, and ended up with a triple! Mind you, he is not blessed with Rollins/Victorino-type speed, he lumbers around the bases more in the vein of Burrell or Howard. Still, it was a thing of beauty! And, his team won, so happiness all around.
…who won’t be inducing the indigestion I’ve been experiencing lately while watching the Phillies. I think I’m going to be buying these:
by the caseload, if things continue this way.
Last night, Cole Hamels looked pretty good against the Padres through the first four innings, giving up one run on a solo homer to Luis Rodriguez in the third. At the end of four, the Phillies held a 7-1 lead.
After that, things went to h*ll in a handbasket pretty darn quick. Hamels gave up a two-run shot to Scott Hairston in the fifth, and another two-run shot to Nick Hundley in the sixth. But he still left the game with a 7-5 lead. Not great, but a lead nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the Padres’ bullpen held the Phillies scoreless after they’d scored 7 off of starter Chris Young. On the other side, normally reliable Ryan Madson gave up 3 runs to give the Padres a 8-7 lead. The Phils, unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth, took the loss after blowing a 6 run lead.
Their record now stands at 4-5. Last year, their record after nine games was also 4-5, and things didn’t turn out so bad.
However – in those nine games last year, the Phillies scored 39 runs, and gave up 48. This year through nine games, they’ve scored more runs, 49, but they’ve given up 62!
The Phillies have a chance to redeem themselves tonight, as Brett Myers faces Shawn Hill. I’m hoping that this afternoon’s memorial service for Harry Kalas, being held at the ballpark, does not prove too much of an emotional distraction.
C’mon, win another one for Harry!
In June of 2000, we had planned to take another organized baseball tour, much like the one we took in 1997. But not with the same tour operator! So we put a deposit down on a West Coast tour with Broach Tours. The tour was scheduled to hit all the West Coast ballparks, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, a month or so before the trip, we received a call telling us that the tour was being cancelled due to a lack of interest. Aargh!! (we did at least get our deposit back)
So since we’d already planned on that vacation time with our respective workplaces, we decided to just take a trip to San Francisco, and see the Giants and the A’s on our own.
2000 was the first year of the brand-new Pacific Bell Park. So as much as my husband sometimes dislikes ordering tickets in advance, we realized we would have to if we wanted to get into any games at Pac Bell. Of course, there were no single-game tickets to be had. But then we noticed that the Giants had a feature on their website that allowed their season-ticket holders to resell any tickets they weren’t going to be able to use. Perfect! So we searched available tickets to find ones that weren’t being offered for an arm and a leg (just a forearm 🙂 ), and sat through the interminable wait while our dial-up internet service submitted the information, then submitted our credit card info and mailing address, only to be told at the end of the whole process that, due to the laws in certain states, Pennsylvania being one of them, that we couldn’t buy the tickets.
Outrage! Shouldn’t they have stated this rule up front?
Then I had the bright idea to try and have the tickets sent to my husband’s brother in New Jersey. Maybe they didn’t have that law! Apparently the Giants’ system was not set up to realize that the billing and mailing addresses were different, and it went ahead and processed the transaction. Yay! Then my husband made sure to warn his brother that he would be getting something in the mail from the Giants, but not to throw it away, because it would be our tickets.
The first of the two games we attended was on July 16, an interleague contest against the Texas Rangers. The weather this day was cool but comfortable, and a bit overcast. Most mornings we woke to thick fog, which would eventually burn off, though this day it kind of lingered.
Our seats were down the right-field line, about 15 rows back from the field. Not too bad! This was our view [Sorry Rays Renegade! I don’t know what it is about these giant Coke bottles everywhere!]:
In the foreground is Texas starter Esteban Loaiza, warming up prior to the game. Shawn Estes would be on the mound for the Giants.
Midway through the game, a foul ball came down the line, aimed directly at my husband. According to him, he would have caught it except for some knucklehead who stuck their hand in front of him. Yes, that knucklehead was me. If it’s any consolation, my pinky hurt for the rest of the game. The ball, by the way, deflected off my pinky and ended up a few rows in front of us.
J.T. Snow and Rich Aurilia each hit home runs for the Giants this day. The Giants won, 6-4, with the win going to Estes and the loss to Loaiza. San Francisco closer Robb Nen got the save, coming in to pitch not the ninth inning, but the:
Four days later, on July 20, we were back for our second game. This time our seats were a little further back from the field, but closer to home plate (still on the first base side). The San Diego Padres were the visitors today. This was a much sunnier day. A statue of Willie Mays stands outside the main entrance gate:
Kirk Rueter was the starter for the Giants, and Woody Williams for the Padres. Rueter’s nickname is “Woody”, because he resembles the character Woody (the cowboy doll voiced by Tom Hanks) from the Toy Story movies. So this game was a Battle of the Woodies.
My husband got another chance at a foul ball, off the bat of Rich Aurilia. This time I wisely kept my hands to myself, and he made a barehanded catch of the ball while it was on the fly. The elderly women seated in front of us thanked him for saving them from injury – they were ready to duck and cover had he not caught it. Here is a picture of Aurilia:
Woody Williams hit his first career home run in this game. He would end up with a ******** total of 4 in his 15 year career.
[OK, that word is supposed to be wh-pping, with an ‘o’ in the middle. Since when is this considered a bad word???]
Of course, you-know-who was playing for the Giants back in 2000:
Barry Bonds. This was when he was merely annoying, and not yet the pariah he is now. Odd, he looks like he’s actually smiling and interacting with the fans.
Jeff Kent and Russ Davis would homer for the Giants, to help lead the SF “Woody” to victory. Rueter got the win and Aaron Fultz the save in a 7-3 Giants victory; Williams took the loss for the Padres.
Pacific Bell Park is no longer called Pacific Bell. In less than 10 years of existence, it is on its third name. It is now AT&T Park, after going by SBC Park in the interim. This is why I hate corporate naming! Frequent name changes, and the name has no real tie to the team or its location. AT&T Park could be located anywhere! Aargh!
Nonetheless, it is one of our favorite ballparks that we have been to so far. The location is amazing, with great views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay beyond the outfield. And there were these really yummy garlic fries at the concession stand! Definitely a ballpark I would go back to!
Fun non-baseball things to do in San Francisco and vicinity: Ride the cable cars. Go to Napa for a day and get a buzz off the free wine tastings. Drive up the coast to Muir Woods and marvel at how tall the redwood trees are. Visit Alcatraz. Go to Ghirardelli Square and eat so much chocolate before lunch that you decide the chocolate is your lunch! (yes, we did do all this)
In my next entry, we venture across the bay to Oakland, and visit Network Associates Coliseum.
(all photos mine)
No, no, no, not that! Get your heads out of the gutter! In anticipation of the upcoming season, I was reminiscing about the blossoming of my love for the game, and ultimately the first baseball game I ever attended.
I spent my formative years in rural northeastern Pennsylvania. Well, at that time it was rural – not so much anymore. This was back in the days pre-cable, pre-satellite, pre-anything except good old-fashioned broadcast television. We were pretty much equidistant from both Philadelphia and New York, so the team you ended up rooting for was pretty much determined by which TV station your antenna could pick up (I know you young’uns out there are probably having a hard time imagining such archaic technology 😉 ).
Some people could only get Philadelphia stations. Some could only get New York stations. Some poor souls could get practically none at all. My family was apparently blessed with the ideal location, as we could get both! This led to an early schism in our household – I rooted for the Phillies,
but my sister ended up following the Mets.
Or as I so lovingly teased her, the Mutts.
So the two girls in the family would argue over which team to watch (oddly enough, our younger brother didn’t even like baseball, so he didn’t care). I’m pretty sure the only reason my sister watched the Mets was because she had the hots for Lee Mazzilli, though she will deny that. Note Lee’s nifty late-’70’s hairstyle.
Let’s fast-forward now through my high-school and college years, when I regrettably succumbed to the peer pressure that it wasn’t “cool” for girls to like sports. And since there were no MLBlogs at the time, of course I didn’t know that there actually were a lot of female baseball fans out there. I guess none of you went to my school – oh well.
So finally, two years out of college, at the ripe old age of 23, I finally get to attend my first major league game. Yay!
May 15, 1987. The Padres are playing the Phillies at everybody’s favorite stadium to bad-mouth, the Vet. A guy I had recently met asked me out on a date – yay! To go see the Phillies – double yay! But I was recovering from having my appendix removed – not yay. He also didn’t believe in buying tickets ahead of time – double not yay. We got to the stadium and he bought what were actually pretty decent seats from an “unofficial ticket salesman” in the parking lot, and the view from our seats was pretty much like this:
Not too bad! We settled in to watch the game, and now here comes the memorable part. Sometime in the middle innings, San Diego’s catcher lofts a high foul pop toward the upper deck behind us. Everyone is craning around to see (except me – limited mobility from the appendix, you know), and it appears to be caught by someone in the first row or two up there.
But they dropped it!
As I look up to see the ball falling towards us, what seemed like dozens of hands are all reaching above me to try to catch the ball. All I could do was cringe, close my eyes, and cover my head to keep from being whacked unconscious. Then I heard voices asking “Where is it?”, “Where’d it go?”
I opened my eyes to see, believe it or not, the ball nestled between my feet. All these years later, I still have it. Here it is:
The ball was off the bat of Benito Santiago, who went on to win the Rookie of the Year award that year,
and later played for the Phillies in 1996.
Sadly, I don’t even remember the name of the guy that took me to the game (it was our one and only date). The Phillies won that game, 7-4, but would go on to finish fifth (out of six) in the NL East that year.
After that, my love for the game was back to stay. So thank you, whoever you are, for taking me out that night!