My good friend, Chris, went to go see his dad, Bob. During their conversation, Chris had mentioned me.“Jay? I don’t like Jay,” his father said. Shocked and a little amused Chris responded, “What? Why don’t you like Jay?” “He doesn’t share his Phillies tickets,” Bob said. “Don’t you remember Jay gave up his ticket so you could go see the Vet close?” Chris reminded him. “Oh yeah, never mind. I like Jay,” Bob said.
Myself and Chris each had one ticket for the Phillies Sunday game plan in Section 268. Dead centerfield. So, when Chris asked for the second ticket for the final game at the Vet. I was taken back. Even before Stubhub, we could have easily sold those tickets for a nice profit. But it would be history to be at that game and a chance to remember some great times in a shit-ass stadium. One last time to sit with the regulars who sat around us each and every week because who knew where we would sit in the new stadium. The guys who sat in front of us would be there every game, three sheets to the wind and yell, “268! Who loves ya?” But Chris isn’t the type to ask for a favor unless there was a reason. “Who are you going to take?” I asked. “My Dad. It would mean a lot to him,” he answered.
I thought about the story of Chris and his Dad over and over again on the ride home today. Sometimes, it made me laugh because Bob always goes out of his way to make sure he says hello and talk baseball with me. Sometimes, I just thought about it to take my mind off the fact Vance Worley got shelled for a five spot in the first inning. And sometimes it made me teary-eyed because the ride home was from Bob’s funeral.
Chris has always told me how much it meant to his dad to see the final game at the Vet. He described his father’s reaction that day as “a kid in a candy store.”
I was pretty well resigned to the fact the Phillies would lose today. Never before had they had a road trip of 9-1 or better. Billingsley is no slouch on the mound. Twenty games in twenty days. The last 10 out west and finally an off day at home tomorrow. But I really hoped they could send Bob out a “W”. When Blake booted that ball, I wondered if Bob had anything to do with it……nah. But I’m pretty sure he helped Ibanez out on that ball down the line in the 9th, so thanks Bob. Thanks for everything.