12/25/10 – Christmas

This Christmas, my wife decided to raid the Phillies online shop and shower me with t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, and jackets, all with the expressed purpose of  “getting me ready for Camp”… not that I need any more reason to walk around New York City in Phillies-related gear on a daily basis. However, the pièce de résistance was easily the customized mug (seen above). Every time I look at it, it gives me a great little jolt of excitement. Even though the uniform number is not the same, it’s so great seeing my name on the back of a Phillies jersey. In just three weeks, the real thing will be staring me right in the face… sort of like Jayson Werth on this mug (although I think he’s just staring in to space… as usual).

There are some nice personal connections with my “mug uniform” donning the number 22…

Mike Schmidt was my very first baseball idol and he will forever be known for “20”, but his first number? 22

My birthday falls on the 22nd.

Years ago I purchased a very slick button down dress shirt that resembles a ’70’s-’80’s road uniform… maroon “P”, piping,  blue base… the number on the back? 22

My favorite basketball player of all time is Lionel Simmons. My father was a graduate of LaSalle University and was a very big fan of the basketball program. With the Phillies in decline in the late ’80’s, my dad and I turned our focus towards the LaSalle team. From ’86-’90, Simmons was one of the best and most electric players in the country and brought the program back to national prominence. We listened to every game on the radio and dissected every move the next morning as we poured over the box score and newspaper write up. Just like our early evening catches, this was another one of our sports-related bonding moments. And at the time, it was absolutely necessary for us. At this time, my mother was in the final stages of her long battle with cancer. And after she passed away in late 1990, we used LaSalle basketball as our therapy. It was a healthy and much needed distraction. Even after Simmons graduated and went on to the NBA and the Sacramento Kings, we kept up our fervor. We got season tickets. We traveled to opposing team venues to watch them play. It was fantastic. It was exactly what we needed… (oh, Simmons’ uniform number? 22)


Like Christmas, this upcoming Phantasy Camp is all about childhood memories, dreams, and wishes. Like my father did 20 years before, my wife has made it a point to make sure that I keep focused on the things that make me happy, and this Camp is the ultimate experience for me to not only be a kid again, but to heal, and remember all the love I have in my life. I am truly the luckiest man in the world.

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