Results tagged ‘ Sarge ’

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)

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…

3/23/10 – The Call

When I called the Phantasy Camp Headquarters, I got their automated menu system. This was not your run-of-the-mill phone directory prompt. The voice on the other end was “The Voice”. I immediately beamed. I thought to myself, “this is the coolest damn thing I have ever heard in my life”. However, it also saddened me. Harry had passed away that last April before a game against the Nationals in Washington. I had seen the breaking news report on the MLB Network and quickly called my dad. I felt like I was informing him a family member had just passed. He clearly was upset by the news. A voice that was synonymous with generations of Phillies fans was silenced. This was also the voice that first told me about the wonders of this camp. The significance of this did not escape me.

I spoke to a wonderful woman named Joanne LeVeque who was the enrollment coordinator. She was excited at my enthusiasm to want to attend the camp. When I told her I lived in New York City, she immediately asked how I was coping with being surrounded by Yankees and Mets fans. It was a fun conversation and once again, I knew I had made the right decision.

She took all my information and emailed me a couple forms, including the application.  As soon as I started to peruse the application, I immediately became aware what this camp was all about. After asking your name, the second question was, “Nickname you would like to be called at Camp”. This was going to be great.

My nickname? Gary Matthews and I may be duking this out.

Other questions included preferred uniform number and position(s) you would like to play. (Note: the numbers I chose were “31” for Garry Maddox and “47” for the year my father was born. I later realized it was also Larry Andersen‘s number, the crowned ring leader of Phantasy Camp. How fitting). Before the legal agreements and final signature, the application had two mini-essay questions. First they asked you to tell them a little about yourself. The second, “Phulfill Your Phantasy: What is your ultimate phantasy for this experience?”. All of a sudden, I got pangs of anxiety. I didn’t want to botch this question up. I felt like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, writing his essay to Mrs. Shields justifying his desire for a Red Ryder B.B. Gun. I needed to come up with the best answer I could so they would accept my application. I did NOT want to get a C+ on this one. I pondered what to write in those eight blanks lines. I shook my head to give myself a mental wake-up. I was clearly thinking about this way too much. This was not going to make or break their decision on whether or not they should let me attend. I basically gave them a condensed, eight-line version of the introduction to this diary. That should do it.

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