Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Beginnings - Opening Day 2011

It's been a long time since I updated this blog. But as with most people, life gets in the way of things and I haven't been able to focus on my leisurely passions as I would like, with that being said, I fully intend to write as often as I can about the team I have loved all my life the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now that the disclaimer is done, WHAT AN INCREDIBLE START TO THE 2011 SEASON! I was in attendance for yesterday's Opening Day 2011 and WOW! First let me tell you, I have been looking forward to Opening Day 2011 since last October when I was in attendance for the Phillies shocking loss to the Giants. I am sure you are taking the time to read this low budget, non insider blog you are a Phanatic like me and like me, couldn't wait for for next year after watching RyHo get rung up looking. It was a long and exciting offseason to bring us to yesterday. First there was the Phillies letting go of Jayson Werthless, a move that made me extremely happy. I did not like Werth, I thought he was arrogant and lazy, and felt that the world owed him something for someone who batted .186 with Runners in Scoring Position. The day he signed with the Nationals, I told one of my phellow phanatics that we were going to sign Cliff Lee with the made we saved on a WERTHless rightfielder. I was told that I was nuts and there was no way he wouldn't sign with the Yankees. Well on December 13, as we all know was on of the craziest off season night in Phillies History, as the mystery team, our beloved Phillies swooped in a stole Cliff Lee from the Yankees and Rangers, giving us the creation of R2C2. Well from that night foward, April 1st couldn't come soon enough!

Well April 1st phinally arrived and I woke up to snowflakes falling from the sky! Well that certainly wasn't going to put a damper on my Christmas Day! (Opening Day is my Christmas morning, aka MY PHAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR!) So I looked at the snow and put on some extra layers and my buddy and I head out to Citizens Bank Park. The excitement was building! During our short drive from our airport hotel, we enjoyed switching back and forth between WIP and MLB radio on XM. So here we are two guys in the mid 30's yelling "IT'S OPENING DAY" out our windows because the excitement surrounding the 2011 Season. As we walking through the gates, we here Dan Baker's theme music and the wonderful sound of Dan Baker's voice say those magical words I had not heard since last October: "Welcome to Citizens Bank Park." As we took our seats, in Sec. 241, the scoreboard porch, the annual Phillies Player parade was starting, but unlike the previous two seasons, there was no banner to raise this year. Hopefully the 2011 will change that for next year!

So the parade concluded and no it was time for the starting lineups. First the Houston Astros, Phans were very nice to J.A. Happ, who is schedule to start Sunday against Roy Oswalt, and to Micheal Bourne, but Bret Myers, one of the reasons we won in 2008, got a rather cold reception. I have always liked Myers, I thought he had the fire it took to win. Yeah he would run his mouth every now and again, but he backed it up on the field and I am pretty sure his RiSP might have been higher than .186. Either way, I get it, he is on another team right now and this is Philadelphia. Now it was time for the introductions of the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies. One by One, our Phightin' Phils were introduced, no surprise but Cliff Lee seemed to have gotten the biggest ovation of the day. I will have video of the introduction posted later this week, apparently, the internet connection at the hotel is too slow to upload to youtube.

Well, the introductions were over, it was time for the Annual singing of the National Anthem by Philadelphia Boys Choir, but this year included something special, a flyover by 4 fighter jets, which gave me a chill, unlike the one I already had from the wind whipping around CBP. Anthem was over and it was time for the boys of winter, I mean, summer to take the field. You could sense the excitement, anticipation and hope of another great Phillies season, as Doc took the mound. Doc was amazing, hell he was perfect through 2 2/3, until Bret Myers did what the other 8 could not and that was get a hit. It was quite the pitchers dual, until the Astros broke the 0-0 score with a run in the 6th. Unfortunately, the 6th was a far as Doc could go, he worked some long counts and was up over 100 pitches. Charlie turned to J.C. Romero and David Herndon in the Charlie Maunel lefties must lefties and righties face righties playbook after the starter has been pulled. Well that resulted in 3 runs, so with 3 at bats to go it was 4-0 Houston. In the bottom of the 7th the Phillies Offense phinally showed signs of life as 2,3,4,5 got their jobs done and chipped away 2 runs.

Mood in the stadium was relatively quiet is it normally is when the offense isn't smacking around big hits, but it was also getting extremely cold. The stadium was starting to empty out as the cold weather and cold bats were getting to people. Hell, I even contemplating leaving and I NEVER leave early. But, I stayed, as I always do, because, I never think the Phillies are done till the last out is recorded.

Which brings us to the bottom of the 9th. Phillies are down 4-2, with the heart of the lineup up. Rollins get the ball rolling with a single, then Howard singles and the crowd that stayed to brave the weather and root on their Phightins' is alive and kicking. Raul popped up to 2nd. Phightins had 2 men on with 2 outs to go, Jimmy who had already got the crowd going decides to steal 3rd. It was great decision by Rollins, as the Astros weren't holding him on, and seeing that sent a feeling through my gut that said Rollins was going to try and make something happen. Sure enough he did. So with Howard on first and Rollins on third, Big Ben Francisco comes to the plate. Quick prediction on Ben, I think he is going to have monster year and will be an All Star this year. Ben is a player like Jayson WERTHless, needs playing time to get in a groove and then will breakout. I truly believe barring injury, Ben will have 25+ homerruns and 100+ RBIs and will make everyone in Philly forget the previous rightfielder. So Big Ben is up and he singles, Rollins scores, Howard is on second. Now the Phillies Phaithful are starting to believe. Its 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th, 2 and 1 out. The crowd is on its feet, yelling and scream and trying to push the Phillies across the phinish line. So Phan Phavorite, Chooch is up at the plate he singles. That's 4 singles in 5 batters for the Phils, bases loaded, 1 out and the crowd is going nuts. Now it is time for Wilson Valdez to keep the ball rolling. Valdez who filled in brilliantly for Rollins last season, was now filling in for Chase Utley, does his best Utley imitation and drives in the trying run with another single. So here we are, the Phightins battled back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game int the bottom of the 9th. This brings up the pitchers spot, Charlie elects to use John Mayberry, Jr, who is on his first ever Opening Day roster. The crowd that stayed behind is rockin' the Bank and Mayberry didn't disappoint! Mayberry smacked a bullet to centerfield over Michael Bourn's head, Big Ben SCORES and THE PHILLIES WIN! It was incredible! The Phillies, as in the past, since this era of Phillies baseball begin, don't quit until its over. So after a frigid afternoon, the Phightin' Phils sent home what was left of the 45,000+ Phans home with warm feelings of another magical season is in the works.

(Pictures and Videos to be added later, stupid Hotel internets)
Next up for the Phillies is the return of Cliff Lee to Philadelphia. I will once again be in attendance to see the Phightins in action as get to enjoy 3 games in 3 game with my beloved Phillies...WELCOME BACK BASEBALL AND WELCOME BACK TO THE PHILLIES! LET'S GO PHIGHTIN' PHILS!

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