Since this is the first time I’ve written anything for Chicks Dig The Long Ball, I wanted to flash some Phillies cred. I’ve told this little tale to several people, but most of them don’t really get the big deal about it as they aren’t insanely obsessed with this team. When I finish the story and I’m expecting some sort of high-five, congratulations, or some form of obvious adulation, I normally get a blank stare and a shoulder shrug.
Quick background first. I grew up outside Pittsburgh, PA and became a fan of all things Philly due to a severe case of brainwashing from my Philadelphia-born and raised father. He did such a fantastic job, that my favorite “toy” as a child was an Eagles hat with silver wings on the bill. I mean, the first time I had one of those silly collectible trading cards with me in a sports uniform, the back of it said “Favorite Player: Mike Schmidt”. This was a football card.
Phillies Sports Cry Moment #1
On April 18th, 1987, 19,361 people attended the Phillies visiting the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. I was one of them. I can’t remember if I had any feeling in my body when Michael Jack stepped up to the plate in the top of the ninth. I do remember sitting there with my Cub Scout troop and trying to explain to them how important it was for me to actually see Schmidtty hit number 500.
With the ageless (or extremely aged) Don Robinson on the mound, Michael Jack Schmidt hit his 500th home run and gave the Phillies an 8-6 lead. I will never forget it, but mostly, I will never forget the fact that Michael Jack received a standing ovation at Three Rivers.
Phillies Sports Cry Moment #2
On September 28th, 1993, 17,386 people attended the Phillies visiting the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. I was one of them. Much like Washington Nationals games of today, this seemed to be a Phillies home game. We were all aware that a win that night meant the clinching of the 1993 NL East.
With the Phils down 4-3 in the top of the seventh, Mariano Duncan hit a grand slam. A friend that was at the game with me said that if I could replicate my celebration leap on a basketball court, I would be dunking on everyone. I had waited my entire life to see the Phillies actually win something, anything, and I got to see it in person. It was fantastic.
Phillies Sports Cry Moment #3
In 1995, my family and I went to Cooperstown, NY and watched my sports idol, Mike Schmidt, get inducted into the Hall Of Fame. Little did we know that day would turn into a Phillies celebration. It’s one of the best days of my life (not kidding) and I’ll never forget the fact that I got to spend it with my family and all those Phillies fans. I remember standing there with my Dad and being so…proud. This day only strengthened how much my summers live and die with every single out.
Also, I like to brag that I am the only person to see those three things live, other than actual Phillies employees. Love to know if that’s true.
So I love the Phillies. Living in Dallas, I don’t get to see them much in person so I thank the Sweet Lord for MLB Extra Innings. It was cool last year to see them in person against the Rangers, but even cooler to finally get to heckle Vincente Padilla’s spareness as he stalled during a rainstorm. Only Vinny would stall for a rain delay.
Mostly, I’m just thankful that my Dad brainwashed all those years ago. He did lots of stuff for me, but that easily gets in the top five.