Results tagged ‘ Game 1 ’

12/14/10 – Cliff Lee


I eagerly woke up this morning to watch the MLB Network’s coverage of last night’s absolutely shocking signing of Cliff Lee by the Phillies. Instead, I was treated to a replay of Game 1 of the 2009 World Series… the game that solidified Lee’s folk hero status in Philadelphia. Because of the circumstances that revolved around this World Series with my father passing away the morning of the last game (and the fact the Phillies lost the Series), I have refused to watch any of the games again. This time, it was completely different. When I turned on the TV, the game was in the third inning, Phillies up, no score, Chase Utley at bat. Home run. All the excitement and emotion from that night came flooding back. Lee’s complete domination that night, combined with his cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor, brought such incredible hope to every fan. We could win our second World Series in a row. Even better, we could do it against the Yankees.

As was the routine, my dad and I called each other as soon as the game finished. Just like he did to every Phillies fan, Lee won over my dad almost instantly. In fact, I don’t think there was ever another Phillie my dad was so thrilled about to don the red and white pinstripes. He LOVED Cliff Lee. On this night, my dad’s voice had as much excitement in it as he had after Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. We could not stop lauding his performance that night.

——————–

A little more than a month after my father’s passing, the Phillies traded away Cliff Lee in a three-team deal that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia… the original plan for the ’09 trade deadline. This was easily THE most bittersweet deal any Philadelphia sports team had manufactured. I was thrilled to have Halladay, but my baseball heart was absolutely broken over the departure of Lee. I thought about my dad and how deeply disappointed he would have been over this move. I was able to hear every word of his hypothetical tirade. Even with Halladay living up to every dream of Phillies fans, I know my dad would still be watching Cliff Lee’s progress with the Seattle Mariners, and later the Texas Rangers. And I know his performance in the postseason with the Rangers, who went further than the Phillies, would get him cracking open a couple extra cans of Coors Light to ease the pain.

——————-

What happened last night was magical. 

A week ago, the Phillies were the victim of a free agent signing that rocked the GM Winter Meetings. Jayson Werth left an incredible situation in Philadelphia to simply go where the money was… his sole intention. The Washington Nationals’ massive contract to Werth was eye-opening. Werth’s decision to commit to a less-than-stellar baseball club was head-shaking (I had plenty of opinions about this, so I’m not going to bother wasting more time on that subject).

Last night, the Phillies were involved in an even more Earth-shattering transaction… something practically no one saw coming. At the 11th hour, Cliff Lee gracefully declined the two extremely generous offers given to him from the Rangers and Yankees, both considered the favorites and only two teams in the running, and signed with a “mystery team” that spun the rumor mill to dangerous speeds. That team? The Philadelphia Phillies. 

Unlike Werth, he chose a team that he wanted to play for, not who gave him the most lucrative contract. Lee and his family adored Philadelphia during his first stint with the club, and he made it very clear that he was disappointed he was being shipped out. Now he had the chance to return and he took it. Yes, he still got paid very handsomely (5 years/$100 million with a 6th year option. Total: $120 million). However he left upwards of $41 million on the table by not accepting either of the offers from the Rangers or Yankees. This was not completely about the money. This was simply about being happy. Cliff Lee was already a legend to Phillies fans. This decision just upgraded him to “mythical god” status. 

Apart from the obvious thrill that comes from this reacquisition, what is really making this move emotional for me is knowing that somewhere, my dad is jumping up and down in joy. His favorite player has returned to the Phillies. And he returned for all the right reasons. 

Now I can watch Game 1 again… not with sadness, but with eternal hope and a very warm heart.

Welcome back Cliff.

10/6/10 – Roy Halladay’s No-Hitter

During the second at-bat of the game, Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera hit a foul back straight back in to one of the luxury boxes. A man mishandled it and it fell in to the hands of a nun sitting right next to him. I am not a religious man, but I was not going to write off that little particular moment.

I stood at my seat for what seemed like forever. Roy Halladay was surrounded by throngs of media and the Phaithful started making their way to the exits. Now mostly by myself, I continued to stand, stare, and ever so slightly, shake my head. I started to cry. Tears of sadness and tears of joy. It was the single greatest sporting event I have ever been to. It was one the best moments in Philadelphia sports history. It was one one of the most historic games in baseball history. And I was there.

So was my dad.

He wanted me to go to this game. He was there. That’s why a grown man cried at a baseball game.

End of the warmup. Now to the ninth.

The rest of my photographs from this day can be found here on my Flickr page.

10/4/10 – Happy October

…aaaaand exhale.

Major League Baseball’s regular season came to an incredible end yesterday. It could have been even more dramatic depending on the outcome of two games in the National League, one of them being the Phillies versus the Atlanta Braves. The number of possible scenarios to determine the final playoff slots was just mind-blowing.  I think one of my softball teams was even involved somehow. In the end, many a travel secretary breathed a huge sigh of relief as the playoffs were set nice and neat.

So with that all settled, the Phillies, who ended up with the best record in the Majors, now face the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series. I am really intrigued by this matchup. When I first started writing for prosportsblogging.com in 2009, I covered the Reds for the first half of the season. A lot of people found them a bit of a surprise this year, taking the NL Central crown. I did not expect them to run away with the division, but I knew with their pool of very talented young players and ^cough^ Scott Rolen ^cough^, they were going to make it very interesting for the favorite St. Louis Cardinals.

These two franchises have some history together…

Bill Giles, the Phillies chairman and part owner, started his life in baseball tagging along with his father, Warren Giles, who was a longtime executive for the Reds, and whose name now adorns the National League Championship Trophy.

- The Big Red Machine steamrolling the Phils in the 1976 Championship Series.

- In 1983, three members from The Big Red Machine (Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan) played together on the Phillies, leading them to a World Series appearance.

- In 1989, Paul O’Neill, after misplaying a line drive, kicked the ball perfectly to the cutoff man to prevent Steve Jeltz from scoring, pretty much summing up Jeltzy’s career in baseball.

——————–

I was fortunate to see the first game of the 1993 NLCS against the Braves at Veterans Stadium. If you all remember, that was one helluva game. So I decided I would take my perfect Game One record and get a ticket for the opening act of this season’s NLDS. Needless to say, I am extremely excited. As anyone who has ever attended a postseason baseball game knows, nothing beats the atmosphere of the playoffs. It’s otherworldly. It’s nothing short of a religious experience.

Through a co-worker, my dad was able to not only get tickets to the NLCS, but also the ’93 World Series.  I was so excited that I would be going to these games with him, but surprisingly, he did not attend either game with me. He insisted I bring one of my friends because he thought I would have more fun with them and they would appreciate it more. I begged him to go. I didn’t want anyone else with me for those games, especially since a Phillies postseason appearance was about a frequent as a Haley’s Comet flyby. He didn’t relent. I ended up going with two different friends and had a blast at both, even though they lost the World Series game we attended.

Still, I really missed him at those games. His only answer to my befuddlement about his voluntary absence was a simple, “I just don’t feel like going”. He worked hard every day, commuting in and out of Center City Philadelphia. I’m sure the LAST thing he wanted to do was drive back in to the city and deal with 62,000 people in the Vet parking lot on a weeknight. I can’t say I don’t blame him if that was the case.

I’m sure another reason was the fact that he was that kind of man… a man who immediately thought of himself last and only wanted me to have as much fun as possible.  As the years go by, I find myself to be more and more like my dad in that aspect. My wife frequently tells me how much I don’t “do anything for myself”. Well, like the Phantasy Camp, I’m doing something for myself, have fun and go to Game One on Wednesday. Unfortunately, she cannot go with me, but, if the planets align just right (i.e. H20 shuts the Reds down), we will be going to more playoffs games. So even though I’ll be flying solo on Wednesday, my dad has no choice but to go with me this time.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.