On Monday, the husband, kids, and myself attended the 21st annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. The Phestival benefits the Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association, and raised over $800,000 this year. Click here and here for coverage on the Phillies website.
Although it was drizzling slightly when we arrived at the ballpark, it did not last long, and it turned into a pleasant evening. Since we had about an hour until the players would begin signing autographs at their booths, we decided to take a walk around the concourse and get something to eat, rather than stand in line while nothing was going on. Then again, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the “big name” booths, i.e. Howard, Utley, Rollins, etc., so there was no burning need to get in line early.
First stop was Brad Lidge’s booth, as all three of us had this ticket. My husband feels no need to get autographs, and really, why would we both need one? So he is the designated bag holder while the kids and myself are in the lines.
So what brilliant thing did I blurt out as I was handing Brad a baseball to sign? “Hi, how’s the elbow?” Like he hadn’t heard that hundreds of times already! Duh! By the way, he said it was feeling great. As I thanked him and moved on, I overheard the guy behind me in line come up to the table – “Hi Brad, how’s the elbow?” I wonder if he got really tired of that question by the end of the evening.
My daughter had a ticket for the Kyle Kendrick/Ben Francisco booth, so my husband went with her while my son followed me around as I was taking pictures of the players at some of the other booths. He didn’t enjoy this part of the evening.
My next stop was the Cuban station, otherwise known as the Danys Baez/Jose Contreras autograph booth. Neither of them was particularly talkative – I can understand Contreras wouldn’t be, as he doesn’t speak much (any?) English and Baez usually acts as his “interpreter”. Maybe Baez wasn’t quite sure what to make of all of it.
My son had a ticket for the Placido Polanco station, but decided not to use it since he already had a Polanco autograph from the first Phestival I took him to about six years ago, during Polanco’s first stint as a Phillie. Since I also had a ball signed back then, I had Placido sign a photo of him that I had taken in Spring Training:
While I was doing this, my husband took the kids to buy some grab bags, and also go in the clubhouse store. My son wanted to buy a Polanco t-shirt, but being a male, can’t be bothered to look at the tag to see what size it is. So he held one up in front of him, asking dad if he thought he’d “grow into it”. Lord only knows if my husband was actually paying attention, because when we got home, he tried it on and it fit like a dress. I took a look at the tag and said of course it was too big, it was an adult extra-large. So yeah, he’ll grow into it, maybe by the time he graduates high school! So I guess it’s mine for now. 🙂
So here are some photos from the evening, of the players whose booths I could get to. Some were in locations where only people with tickets to those booths could get through, or were not easily accessible, such as Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay were in photo booths, which required purchase of a separate ticket.
Brad Lidge’s elbow was feeling great, hopefully he didn’t get writer’s cramp!
Chase Utley is much better looking without his hair all gooped back.
Kyle Kendrick has a really big forehead, which I never noticed with his cap on.
Ben Francisco was making his first Phestival appearance.
Why does Milt Thompson look so serious? Milt didn’t smile much in last year’s photo, and he still isn’t in this year’s version.
Since I had my camera turned vertically, J.C. Romero decided to turn his head, too. 🙂
Joe Blanton strikes a no-nonsense look.
Jimmy Rollins always looks like he’s having fun. Jimmy was one of several players on the DL who still chose to participate in the Phestival – kudos to them!
David Herndon signs a card for a fan.
I hope Ryan Madson’s toe was carefully tucked under the table, so no one stepped on it.
I warned Danys Baez I was going to take a picture, but he still doesn’t quite look ready for it.
Jose Contreras signs a baseball for me.
Team president and CEO David Montgomery was on hand to help out. He later walked past my husband while I was at the grab bag table with the kids, and thanked him (and us) for coming out.
Placido Polanco smiles for my camera.
Davey Lopes reaches for a ball from a fan. Davey also looks very serious all the time – he and Milt need to smile more often! 🙂
Jamie Moyer appears to be letting his hair get a little shaggier than usual.
Shane Victorino has a big grin – hmm, what is he up to?
J.A. Happ was another player on the DL who chose to appear at the Phestival.
Is there a rule that coaches don’t smile? Rich Dubee follows the lead of Milt and Davey.
Carlos Ruiz signs a jersey.
I felt kind of bad for Wilson Valdez. Paired with Ruiz at a booth, many people walked right past him without stopping. He’s even holding two pens, ready and waiting to sign something. His photo was in the program, people! He did light up with a smile when I called his name for a photo op.
Is it wise to hand your children over to Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews? And when did L.A. shave his beard?? He just looks so…so…different.
My daughter and I pose with the 2008 World Series trophy and the 2009 National League champion trophy.
Why are my son and husband grinning like that? Certainly not because they’re thinking about all the money we just spent on tickets, grab bags, food, and the gift shop (though it is going towards a good cause). No, apparently my daughter was sticking her fingers up in “rabbit ears” behind my head, unbeknownst to me.
Speaking of the gift shop, one of my purchases was the new Phillies coffee-table book, Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.
I’ve only just begun to casually flip through it, but it looks to be a real visual feast, with plenty of photos covering the entire spectrum of Phillies history.
You may have noticed that I haven’t had much to say about the Phillies actual play recently. Well, that’s because I haven’t been too happy with it. The offense again failed to show up last night, as they were shut out 8-0 by the (ugh!) Mets.
Though I may frequently spew negative comments to my family while watching the games, I don’t really like to commit such thoughts to the permanency of the internet. I may be forced to break this self-imposed rule if they don’t start scoring some runs and winning some more games pretty soon! Only three games separate the first- and last-place teams in the NL East right now. Please, Phillies, I don’t deal with stress very well – enlarge that lead or I will eat way too much junk food, and it will be all your fault!
Boy, I go on vacation and the Phillies just go totally sucky against the A.L. East last week. I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t paying attention to them while I was away, or I would have been in a really foul mood.
So what was I doing in the meantime? Here’s the rundown on my recent vacation.
“Bakin’ potatoes, bakin’ in the sun…”
First stop was a Sunday afternoon game in Baltimore, with the O’s hosting the Braves for an interleague matchup. Driving south from Philly, the sun came out and it looked to be a beautiful day. No traffic problems, either, so things were going well.
Until we got off the exit for Camden Yards, and the ramp split with no indication of which one we should take. Of course, our first choice was the wrong one. It put us onto the street, unable to turn into the parking area. After getting turned around, we thought the problem was solved, but no, we were in the wrong lane to turn into the parking lots, and the road turned back into a ramp which put us right back on 95 South. Aargh! After getting off at the next exit and maneuvering through the cloverleaf of ramps, we ended up heading north again, and this time took the other split after exiting. This dropped us right into the parking areas, but unfortunately these were the “preferred” parking areas, not for us peons. As there are absolutely no signs directing traffic to the general parking areas, we stopped several times to ask various people who looked like they should know. Finally, we finally parked the car and began making our way to the ballpark.
Note to Baltimore: better signage would be nice!
Fortunately, we had allowed ourselves plenty of time to get there, and still had ample opportunity to get something to eat before the game started. On the advice of She-Fan, Jane Heller, we both got the turkey platter from Boog’s BBQ. They were excellent – thanks Jane!
Finally, we made our way to our seats to enjoy the game.
Brad Bergesen was on the mound for the O’s, and quickly retired the side to start the game. Derek Lowe, starting for the Braves, was not so lucky. He gave up 7 runs in 2 1/3 innings.
The Orioles clobbered the Braves, 11-2. The Braves’ only runs came on a pair of solo homers by backup catcher David Ross, who replaced Brian McCann midway through the game.
Before the game, while walking along Eutaw Street on our way to eat, I’d noticed brass markers in the ground noting where various home runs had landed. Here is one for Jim Thome, on the left below:
While walking out after the game, I noticed people pointing at something on the wall of the warehouse building, and taking a picture of it. So of course I had to see what it was. Embedded in the wall is a marker showing where Ken Griffey Jr. hit the warehouse on the fly, shown above right. Wow, what a shot that must have been!
Back to the car, then, and we continued south towards Myrtle Beach.
“The way the beach is kissed by the sea…”
My husband has an uncle who lives in Myrtle Beach, and he so kindly invited us to stay at his house. Woo hoo, free lodging! I have to say that Myrtle Beach itself is not quite what I expected, kind of like a southern version of Wildwood, for those familiar with the Jersey shore. But some of the surrounding areas are beautiful, such as Pawleys Island.
After some sightseeing, we took in a minor league game at BB&T Coastal Field, between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats.
The Pelicans and Hillcats are the advanced-A teams for the Braves and Pirates, respectively, in the Carolina League.
The game turned out to be a double-header due to an earlier rainout, and was scheduled to start at 6 pm. But of course, there was a little more rain, and things finally got underway around 7. So I had a little time to wander around and check things out.
By the looks of this Hillcat, the relief pitchers don’t do a whole lot before the games. While his teammates were dutifully stretching on the field, he was looking pretty relaxed in the bullpen:
One of the unique events at Pelicans’ games occurs between innings, when Deuce, a yellow lab, delivers new balls to the umpire. Fortunately, Deuce did his duty (but not doody) without incident:
Game 1 was a quick, well-pitched affair, which was won by the Pelicans, 1-0. Minor league double-headers are only seven innings per game, and this one clocked in at a brisk 1:59. There was a half-hour break between games, though, so we only stayed for a couple innings of Game 2, since by now it was getting pretty late. The Hillcats took this one, 10-3.
“Don’t know much about history…”
The next day we took a drive to Charleston, about an hour and a half south of Myrtle Beach. Charleston is a really picturesque city, full of southern charm, and also very historical. We decided to take a ferry ride to visit Fort Sumter, the site of the first shots of the Civil War. Located at the confluence of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean, the fort was ideally situated to protect the port of Charleston from attack via the ocean. Under Federal control in 1861, it was fired upon and seized by the Confederates, thus starting the Civil War.
So what could this possibly have to do with baseball? Check out this plaque, honoring the Union garrison defending the fort during the initial bombardment:
Hard to read, hmm? A closer look reveals this:
Abner Doubleday, purported inventor of baseball! No, I didn’t stand there and read the whole plaque to find this, and no, I didn’t know it was there. These kinds of things just jump out at me and catch my eye.
Though the myth of Doubleday’s invention of baseball has been pretty much disproved, he had a successful military career, retiring with the rank of Major General, having taken part in the battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.
“Here comes the rain, here she comes again…”
Due to the uncooperativeness of Mother Nature, our plans to see a Nationals game last weekend never came to fruition.
“You make me laugh, give me your autograph…”
On Monday, we took the kids to the annual Phillies Phestival. For my son and I, it was our fifth time at this great event, but my daughter and husband were Phestival virgins. I warned them to be prepared to wait in lines, but everything went very smoothly.
The Phestival is the Phillies’ annual fundraiser to help fight ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This year’s Phestival raised a record total of $867,670; since 1984 the Phillies have raised over $11 million to help fight ALS.
Here are some of my photos of various Phillies:
John Mayberry, Jr. – John seemed happy just to be here;
Cole Hamels – I’m sorry Cole, but you need a haircut!;
Pedro Feliz – for some reason, Pedro spent much of the time standing rather than sitting.
Antonio Bastardo – this is about as much of a smile as I saw from him;
J.C. Romero – paired with Bastardo, J.C. was the opposite, very smiley;
Matt Stairs – he looks like someone who should be fixing my appliances, rather than playing baseball.
Chase Utley – not sure who he’s looking at, but it wasn’t me 😦
Ryan Madson – Ryan has one of the most illegible signatures I’ve seen;
Jayson Werth – why all the sunglasses on these guys?
Joe Blanton – Joe wasn’t expecting my camera when he looked up;
Chan Ho Park – those are some scary eyebrows!;
Jack Taschner – love those twinkly eyes! I didn’t realize he’s actually pretty good looking.
Tyler Walker – the Phillies are his fourth team since 2002;
Davey Lopes – Davey looks pretty sharp in his crisp white shirt;
Milt Thompson – c’mon Milt, smile!
My creative fan award goes to this guy, who was waiting in the line to have his picture taken with the 1980 and 2008 World Series trophies:
Later on, I ran into Jenn from Phillies Phollowers. Always good to run into fellow bloggers! After that, it was time to call it a night, and we headed home with our goodies. My kids are now looking forward to next year’s event already!
“School’s out for the summer…”
Yep, until September the kids are home all day. In an effort to keep peace in the house, and keep my sanity, my blogging will be less frequent. But rest assured I’ll be here (just not every day).
(since I had so much fun with lyric snippets last time, I decided to do it again. Whoever can identify the most songs will get a shout-out in my next post!)
(all photos by me)