Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Two Week Countdown

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…”

Long Winter's Nap, Central Park, NYC

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…

Winter Schminter

Photo by Adam Kimelman

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.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 - Roy Halladay

Phantasy Camp Orientation – Year 2

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation - Citizens Bank Park

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation - Citizens Bank Park

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation

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.)

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation

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”.

Game 5, 2011 NLDS lineup card for the Phillies

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation - Cap Sizer

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation - Sarge and Sarge

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.

2012 Phillies Phantasy Camp Orientation - Mailroom

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)

“An Endless Game Of Repeated Summers”

Last month I posted a video about one of the great father-son duos at Phantasy Camp, Rocky and Chris Wright.

Several days ago, Chris contacted me and sent along a couple of his own videos. He was very gracious to let me share them on this website.

The first was a segment from “Behind The Pinstripes” back in April, hosted by Scott Palmer, public affairs director for the Phillies, and one of the many Phantasy Camp gurus. The show did a piece on the Wright’s Camp experience together in Clearwater last January.

The other was a very nice photo compilation of both he and his father (complete with a soundtrack supplied by a band who is fronted by one of my favorite personalities in rock).

Needless to say, Chris’s videos and his wonderful messages were quite timely…

This week marks the second anniversary of my dad’s passing (as well as the 21st for my mother).

“…for baseball is continuous, like nothing else among American things, an endless game of repeated summers, joining the long generations of all fathers and all sons.”

Donald Hall “Fathers Playing Catch With Sons”

New Phillies Phantasy Camp Video: “A Winning Tradition at Phillies Phantasy Camp”

There were a couple father-son combos at Phantasy Camp last January. This video highlights one of them.

All of the people that get to attend Phantasy Camp are truly very lucky individuals. These particular guys had the best luck of all.

Playing baseball, or even just having a simple catch with someone, is pure joy. But doing that with your father? Indescribable.

New Phillies Phantasy Camp Video: “Part Of The Team”

“Number 31…”

Big thanks to my brother-in-law for shooting my Dan Baker introduction during the Phantasy Camp reunion. And an even bigger thanks to my personal cheering section!

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Another big thanks to Lynne, wife of fellow camper Sam Daley, for shooting my introduction from her vantage point.

2011 Phillies Phantasy Camp Reunion Night

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.

———-

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Getting changed in the…

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

That’s why there weren’t any urinals.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Going High.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

“Yes, I promise not to break from the group and run around the field… OK, I can’t really promise that.”

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11 (Scott Palmer)

Hey there Scott.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

My number was retired across from the visiting team’s clubhouse. They think of everything.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11 (Phillie Phanatic Lady Gaga egg)

“Calcified Clay? Check. Phillie Phanatic ‘Lady Gaga egg’? Check.”

I immediately recognized this from Opening Day…

REUTERS / Tim Shaffer

REUTERS / Tim Shaffer

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Really Bryan? Control yourself.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

“Bryan Sargent just ousted Placido Polanco as mayor of third base.”

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11 (Florida Marlins dugout)

The Marlins are underwhelmed.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Hello there.

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

“I welcome you to Citizens Bank Park.”

———-

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Phillies Phantasy Camp 2011 Reunion - 9/15/11

Let’s Try This One Again

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…

Phantasy Camp Day In The Life POV Video

I was waiting for this one. A fellow Camper had a video camera attached to a helmet that he wore pretty much all through Camp. Below is the final result.

This just nails it.

Fantastic.

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