Yo, Philly. What an April it's been! The fickle climate has offered both summer-like, 80 degree-plus days and blustery-frigid nights. Cerulean skies contrast with heavy gray overcast in typical early Spring fashion. From the departure of an aging eagle to the ascension of one much greener; where one Broad Street bunch took a step closer towards irrelevance while another found redemption in a season-saving shootout, we fans hunger for consistency. Well, dear brethren, in the spirit of Rumi, we find satiety in our Beloved. Our Red Army. Our Phillies. Mashed potatoes and gravy, toes between the sand, the embrace of a dear friend... this team is a comfort to our collective soul.
As we sit 10-plus games into the 2010 campaign, the Phils have shown why they now own the hearts and minds of the city. They've jumped out to an 8-2 start and given us every reason to believe we will witness them perform deep into October. Metaphor aside, I feel now is a good time to make my first observations, criticisms, and predictions.
Deservedly so, my first mention is of the second baseman: Chase Utley, you are the man. It can not be more-concisely stated as it was by the dearly-departed Harry Kalas. Each time I'm wowed by the play of #26, HKs refrain echoes in my memory. While teammates Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard already have theirs, I predict this to be Chase's first MVP season.
I've watched as much game as I could on TV, but there's just no way to become familiar with your squad as being at the ball park. As many of you were aware, last night was also the first such gathering of the Drunk Phils Fans staff at the ballpark. Thanks to traffic, my late arrival prevented me from tailgating with my fellow bloggers. To be honest, sober tailgating is about as fun as it sounds. Rest easy, DPFers. I was there in spirit as I cursed South Broad and its many red lights. I consequently endured the wicked weather as the Phils outlasted the Marlins 8-6 giving new ace Roy Halladay his third victory. A fittingly frigid rain fell on "Irish Heritage Night." Someone, please text me a reminder to attend the Hawaiian Aloha Luau doubleheader. I will know no justice until.
Speaking of Justice, who else is eager to learn of the prison justice that awaits the lunkhead who intentionally vomited on a young girl and her police-captain father? Almost makes me want to commit a misdemeanor within city limits to get a crack (unintentional pun notwithstanding) at this piece of dirt. Hopefully, he will be sweeping his cell floor hands-free, if you catch my meaning. That said, I will waste no more of your time on this guy...
I digress. When I attend a game, my plan is always the same. I arrive at the park early. Purchase my food and beverage from the concession stand closest to my seats. Then I plant my ass and watch a baseball game. What a fucking concept, huh? I could literally write a paragraph or several on the delicate art of properly watching a fucking game. That this section is/will be laden with F-bombs testifies to the fact that I get incredibly annoyed. Fuck! All excited to see the Phils play impressive ball, I expect that everyone else is there to do the same. Not fucking necessarily. You see, as I drink Diet Coke, eat my hot dog and gaze with boyish wonder at the majesty that is the American Pastime, droves of latecomers fill the aisles and rows around me, obstructing my view, making me repeatedly rise to allow them to pass to their seats. "That's ok," I think. Things will settle down as the inning progresses; everyone will gather their focus as I have. We will watch some fucking baseball!! But just as my boiling blood reduces to a simmer and my racing heart starts to jog, the opponents record the third out of the Phils half of the stanza and there's a fucking jailbreak all around me. Kids, moms, dads and seniors rise to their feet and, yet again, the rows and aisles fill up with people. I sit, even more frustrated. All else grows silent and my mind endorses just one thought. "They've only played 1 inning. Can you people just SIT the FUCK DOWN and WATCH BASEBALL???"
OK, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'll try to describe a few more things that irk me at the park, while refraining from excessive usage of the word fuck. Here goes:
*Throwing back HRs is lame. This ain't Wrigley.
*Equally lame is the ballpark, Phan-o-vision marriage proposal. Please, ladies, just for my own personal amusement, would one of you please say no. Even if you really mean yes. For me. Shatter this guy's dreams on the huge screen in front of thousands of his closest friends. I mean, what is he thinking, putting you on the spot like that. Has he even asked your father's permission yet? These are things you need to know before making a lifelong commitment. And, do you really want to be with someone this needy for attention. Let's be honest, this is a man that will never allow you a Girls Night Out. We both know he'll have you paged during your spa treatment.
*For the love of God, someone please tell these kids to bend their brims and take the stickers off their hats. From what I recall, hats are supposed to look worn, as if they've seen some game action. Not brand-spanking new!!! Shit, what was the first thing we all did as soon as we received a new lid, before even trying it on? We BENT the BRIM, form-fitting it to frame our faces. Everyone knows that. Kids today do things that make me feel so out of touch. I can't be that friggin' old, can I? C'mon guys. BEND THAT BRIM!
*Is it me, or are there some places where we simply accept a financial raping at the hands of merchants? Disney World: $20 for a poncho. The movie theater: $4.25 for a bottle of water. Though, for only twenty-five cents more, you can get a liter. Who can honestly drink a liter of water in 86 minutes?? The airport: I'm pretty sure I once paid $9.99 for a five-piece pack of spearmint chewing gum at Jacksonville International! Well, as you read earlier, copious amounts of rain fell at Citizens Bank Park last night. Having failed to dress adequately, or even check in with Cecily Tynan, I wore shorts and a polo shirt. Since I was getting soaked and shivering in the wind, I broke my own, aforementioned cardinal rule and left my seat in search of a sleeved and hooded garment. After waiting in line for 20 minutes to even enter the Store in Ashburn Alley, I begrudgingly agreed to pay $70 for a zip-up sweatshirt. Though it is nice-looking gear, I can only state, "Fuck."
I don't want to give you the impression that despite loving the game, all my experiences at the park are negative. Here are a couple things that brought me joy last night:
*Roy Halladay is good. Very good.
*Juan Castro, Jimmy Rollins' fill in, comes to the plate with Pearl Jam's "Corduroy." Each player picks his own "entrance song, and I am impressed with Castro's selection. Great song!
And, lastly, one small piece of wisdom for you to ponder before I leave you:
*It's bad form to fart while seated in a crowded stadium. Outdoors or not, windy or still-aired, there is no call for punishing fellow fans with your beef. As much as they spend for tickets, they deserve to be treated to the classic aromas of the park and nothing more.
Those are my rantings at this early point in the season. Special things are sure to come; this team will ensure as much. I commit to you now, I will continue to write and to rave. You will come to understand and appreciate the relationship between myself and baseball. You will know just how sick I am. That is, if you don't know already.
April is only halfway through; we got a lot of ball to play yet, yo....