I was turning 14 the summer “A League of Their Own” was released; I had just graduated 8th grade (Labrum Middle School, Northeast Philly HOLLA!) and was anxious to start my freshman year roaming the pink marble hallways of Philly’s Girls High School that upcoming September. The summer would be long, it would be extremely hot, and there wasn’t much to NOT cry about when watching baseball in
that year. Philadelphia
Whoever wrote that famous line for Tom Hanks’ character Jimmy Dugan was clearly NOT a Phillies fan back in those days; There were far too many seasons endured in the late 80’s and 90’s where many a “Sillies” fan did nothing BUT cry. We were, after all, the first professional sports team to reach the 10,000 loss milestone. And in true Philly fashion, we celebrated it. What else did we have to do?
Growing up, I spent many a summer eve within the concrete jungle of Vet Stadium. I suffered some of the worst sunburns upon my fair Irish skin NOT while at the Jersey shore - Nope, I would come home red as a fresh cooked lobster from sitting wayyyyy up in the infamous 700 level with my dad, usually. It was funny, the games back in the 80’s and 90’s I went to were NEVER sold out (maybe they would get close on the coveted family games during the 4th of July holiday), yet we always wound up sitting around the same section in the nosebleeds as my dad did with my Pop in prior years.
Nothing would ever come close to satisfying all of my senses as nights with my family at the ballpark did. Pop would smoke his cigars and quietly watch with such deep intensity. My dad would holler and curse at the umps call after call (more intensely as the beers would go down faster and faster). Back then I ate hot dogs (the real ones! Not the veggie ones I eat today), and a dog at the game would taste as good as any meal my Italian grandmother could make from scratch. The Phanatic would dart out from some cave in the outfield on his little scooter and do the most hilarious things to visiting players, and I would stare at this green furry monster from the
Galapagos Islands (who knew?!) with such excitement!
Today, my heart still skips when the Phanatic comes out - I am SO part of his posse (quite possibly one of the coolest shirts EVER). I don’t get to go to games with my dad too often, as he now lives in the sunny, beautiful city of
, FL. How sweet it is to have my dad now living a mere 25 minutes from Tampa ’s Bright House field J It’s funny how things work out. Clearwater
My Pop passed in March of 2009. He was suffering from an incredibly long bout with Alzheimer’s, but you could say the word ‘Phillies’ or ‘Connie Mack’ and his eyes would STILL light up. When that final out was thrown in the fall of ‘08, and ‘Lights Out’ Lidge fell to his knees as Chooch rushed the mound, I called my dad and literally CRIED.
Hearing Harry Kalas calling the Philadelphia Phillies the “World Champions of Baseball” overwhelmed my heart with tremendous joy, and I couldn’t help but to cry because my Pop had lived to see another world series win. It was the first time I experienced World Championship (at 2 years old, I was too young to remember the Phils’ win in 1980) and nothing made me happier than knowing that my grandfather, my father and I were finally able to experience it together, though I was over 900 miles north (and they were living in the city whose teams’ ass we just kicked. How poetic!)
Baseball is ingrained in me - It’s what I do from early March through the fall. I have started to travel to other ballparks to catch a game, only to come back to Philly more appreciative of
and fans that not only love their team but actually KNOW the game. We get a lot of shit, us rabid fans of Citizens Bank Park . But no matter how good – or how bad – our teams are, we are always supportive and we are always making our presence known. Philadelphia
I welcome all comments, suggestions, questions you guys may have! I have a pretty silly sense of humor, and I think it will come across in my writings. I am a Philly girl through and through after all!
I look forward to tears of joy falling once again… In November, on