Results tagged ‘ Phillies Phantasy Camp ’
We are officially at the two-week mark! Only 14 days to go until I return to Clearwater for my second and consecutive Phillies Phantasy Camp.
Between last weekend’s incredible freezing over of the field at Citizens Bank Park and today’s 14-degree wind chill in New York City, nothing sounds better than playing a few baseball games in sunny Florida, rather than “the frozen tundra of Central Park’s North Meadow #5…”
I’m even more excited to document my trip once again. This time the entries will not be so lengthy as I pretty much know what to expect. This time I’m going to focus more on the images and speaking to other Campers, especially the rookies, and getting their take on the whole experience. As excited as I am for myself, I’m even more thrilled for the people going for the very first time. Nothing will ever beat it…
The above photo is quickly making the rounds in the Philly sports blogosphere today.
Yep, that’s Roy Halladay. In shorts. A week before Christmas.
Where have I seen this before?
Oh right… last January. Incredible.
Hope to see you next month big man.
When one of the ESF employees welcomed me back to Phantasy Camp last night, I said to her, “I knew I was going to sign up again at last year’s orientation“.
This go round, I knew what to expect. Still, the excitement was not diminished. Unlike last year’s long, solitary train adventure to the Bank, I had the good fortune of getting a car ride down with another second and consecutive year Camper, Sam. Talk of expectations, rookie mistakes, and the game plan for ’12 filled the time as we made our way down the Jersey Turnpike.
Once again, it was a cold and wet night. But this time, the walk to front door was not as heart-pounding. I felt like a senior in high school, heading to class on that first day. I’ve done this before. No problem. Look at the newbies. They don’t know where to go. They’ll learn.
We took the elevator down to the media room. Deja vu all over again. This time, I recognized faces… the good folks from ESF, Campers from last year… lots of “welcome back!” and “hey, you cut your hair!” Yep, Joe Cool runnin’ school.
Sign in, table to table, dot the I’s, cross the T’s…
Now last year, rookies received those great duffle bags with our number on the side. For us second year Campers, we got a nice cold-weather pullover, again with our number on the sleeve. However, my new garment had my old #31. Of course, I had to be a pain and get a new number for this year. Yep, my luggage tags would have to changed (I’ll buy you a beer at a game at the Stadium pal. Sorry about that.)
After we look over some more paperwork and grab some sandwiches and cookies… and more cookies… ok, one more… we get our guided walk towards the clubhouse. Past the umpire lockers, past the Phantic storage, batting tunnels, retired jerseys, photos of recent Phillies triumphs…
…and one Bart Simpson-esque temptation before we enter the clubhouse.
The sight of that clubhouse still gives me chills. Yes, the lockers are emptied out until next Spring, but still, what a moment. Lots of champagne and Bud Light had been sprayed in this room.
Ah, but right before we crossed over, we were met with a sight that made us all shudder. It was like seeing the ship’s log of the Titanic on April 13, 1912. “Clear lanes, smooth sailing”.
Yes, the lineup card for Game 5 of this last season’s NLDS was still up.
Let’s move on.
There was no need for a uniform sizing this time, so we got to spend a little more time taking photos of the lockers. We gazed at the prominently displayed Phantasy Camp awards given out every year as well. You heard it here first: Sam Daley will be the 2012 Batting Champion. I will win the Mario Mendoza Award.
It was very nice of the Phillies to bring in the industrial-sized cap-shaping machine to fit my noggin. At this point, I will also restrain myself from making any Placido Polanco jokes.
Like last year, Scott Palmer was there to greet the Campers. This time, he had two friends with him: Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews. So, I did what had to be done.
Sarge and Sarge.
About half the time we were in the clubhouse, I found myself turning around at the sound of “Hey Sarge!”, over and over. Joe Cool ain’t that cool.
All things must come to an end, so we slowwwly made our way back to the exit. But before we left the clubhouse, I did get to snap a photo of the team mailbox. I made a mention of it last year, but never took a picture of it.
I won’t tell you what I saw, but I will say, “Chooch… I would have never guessed that about you.”
I ran into some more returning Campers as we made our way back. And then it really hit me. Yes, I am going back for the once-in-a-lifetime experience for any die-hard baseball and Phillies fan, but more so this time, I’m looking really forward to the camaraderie. I think this is what truly brings people back, year after year. And that’s what makes this Camp so incredibly special.
The countdown is officially on!
(ooh, one more cookie)
I was only ever on a Major League Baseball field once in my life. Standing on the concrete field they called “turf” at Veterans Stadium for photo day in 1989 was one thing. This was completely different. Just like every other moment I’ve had during this Phantasy Camp experience, you could not get that goofy grin of mine off my face during this reunion. The grass was perfect, the dirt was clean, the Fall-like weather was awakening, and Dan Baker’s voice boomed down from the heavens. This was a religious baseball experience.
On that photo day in 1989, my dad was by my side. Without a doubt, he was with me again on a Major League field.
And he would have the same goofy grin.
Getting changed in the…
That’s why there weren’t any urinals.
“Yes, I promise not to break from the group and run around the field… OK, I can’t really promise that.”
Hey there Scott.
My number was retired across from the visiting team’s clubhouse. They think of everything.
“Calcified Clay? Check. Phillie Phanatic ‘Lady Gaga egg’? Check.”
I immediately recognized this from Opening Day…
Really Bryan? Control yourself.
“Bryan Sargent just ousted Placido Polanco as mayor of third base.”
The Marlins are underwhelmed.
“I welcome you to Citizens Bank Park.”
The 2011 Phillies Phantasy Camp reunion will finally be happening tomorrow before the 7:35 game against the Florida Marlins. Ms. Irene wreaked havoc a couple weeks ago, rescheduling not only this reunion, but my “VIP Batting Practice Day”, which is still to be determined.
With the incredible run this year’s team has been on lately (and really, this entire season), I started thinking the hurricane’s disruption would be a blessing in disguise. As the days went by, the chance of now seeing the Phillies clinch their 5th National League East Championship in a row was a strong possibility. But no, the Houston A(AA)stros have unexpected taken two straight from the Fightins, thus eliminating the opportunity to see our boys celebrate on the field.
So, if you find yourself going to Citizens Bank Park tomorrow night, come early and take a gander at us Phantasy Campers as we are introduced on to the field before the start of the game (roughly 7 PM). If anyone cares, you will find me lined up along the first base line. Please keep your D batteries at home.
As usual, a full recap with pictures will follow.
The other day I received an email from ESF to push the upcoming 2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp. No need to try and sell it to me!
I did find something interesting about this email however…
Yes. That would be the one and only Gary Matthews on that list. Sarge was not apart of last year’s Legends group.
I believe he and I will need to have a frank discussion about nickname copyrights next year…
It’s safe to say that one of the most entertaining Legends in Phillies Phantasy Camp this past January was the one and only, John Kruk.
This past weekend, Kruk got his due when he was officially given a rightful spot on the illustrious Phillies Wall of Fame.
Thanks to my friend Tom, I now have an incredible collection of DVD containing his VHS-transferred Phillies “Home Companion” videos. Not only were these a fantastic flashbacks to a time when I started to really come in to my own as a Phillies fan, but also made me look at these players in a completely different light. Practically every single Phantasy Camp Legend made an appearance in these wonderful baseball time capsules.
Needless to say, the vast quantity and quality of classic Kruk moments were boundless. I tried my best and compiled some of my favorite moments. Here’s to you Krukker!