As the season progressed, it became more and more difficult to write about my favorite team since 1958. I've seen the highs and lows over and over again. Right about now there are maybe 3 positives to dwell on: 1) Franco and Hernandez, but lately 16's come back to earth 2) Frenchie, and that's a stretch but he's enjoying every minute which dont suck 3) possibilities for Adam Morgan to do well. Come Tuesday we'll see if Nola is actually ready for primetime. Personally I think they should have waited til September but I don't sign the checks. Don't get me wrong I loved the pick of him and that he was the most ready for MLB pitcher in that draft. But seriously, isn't the front office grasping for straws because they can't deal Hamels or Papelbum or Revere? I think they finally this week realized they weren't getting the moon for Cole.... FINALLY. We'll see soon enough.
So instead I decided to go retro, back to what got me invited here. My first 3 pieces were about how I became a Phillies fan living 2500 miles away. If you're interested here are the links to them:
So now I regress to 1968-69, playing semi pro ball in South Jersey. Playing in the Camden City League my Cherry Hill team dominated from 69-73. We were the only back-to-back-to back champs in it's history. In our league we had 2 teams that were mostly Puerto Rican. Great players, but mostly choked when it counted so they never won. One of the managers invited me to play for them on Sundays in Philly. The two teams combined their best players into one team sponsored by Goya, http://www.goya.com/english/ a major Latino food distributor with a giant factory in Philly. He said he'd pay me $25 every Sunday I showed up. They played double headers every weekend, and were only allowed to have 2 non-Latino players on each team in the league. Signed a contract and all so you couldn't jump from team to team. This was commonplace for semi-pro teams to sign a contract.
Now $25 doesn't seem like a lot, but at that time minimum wage was $1.25/hour so you do the math. On top of that, after every double header they broke out cases of beer and a few grills and it was like a big party. I had a blast with them.
Anyway, my first time going over was scary. We played on a shit field somewhere in SE Philly I think it was. Full of rocks, broken bottles, and other crap. The entire team showed up almost 2 hours early and scoured the field for debris. By the time we started it wasn't bad at all. Those guys lined the field like pros. Only major hurdle was my Spanish was next to nil lol.
So the first game I lead off and play RF. I had 3 hits and we won. But because the field was in such a shitty location(to me) I was more worried about my car than anything else. I had a 65 Impala SS convertible that I had just spent $250 on a brand new rag top. Most of the game I was watching out for it(parked as close as I could to the field). The manager noticed this but said nothing.
Between games he came up to me and asked me if I was ok, I seemed distracted. I told him yeah a bit. He said he noticed I kept staring at my car all game and I nodded. Then he busted out in this big laughing spell and told me he had two kids watching my car and not to worry about it anymore. I went from almost shitting my pants to laughing with him. Then he asked me to pitch the second game, and that's why they asked me to play. He knew I was all state and drafted by ATL. He was a very cool and smart man.
Almost forgot, he was one of the only people on that team who spoke English. I had to fess up and tell him I threw my arm out and couldn't pitch anymore. I offered to give him back the $25 he gave me before we started because the only non PR's were always pitchers for every team in the league. There just weren't enough Latino's who could pitch. He told me no I could keep it if I got 3 more hits and we won the second game.
Well I was 2 for 2 with two walks, we won, and I kept the money. He tore up my contract and thanked me for coming over and that they didn't need me anymore. Just think, 47 years ago and baseball was that important to them. There were at least 2000 people lining the field to watch us. They sure loved baseball. No wonder so many Latino's now are hooked and its almost a way of life.
If you got this far I'm impressed that you gave a shit about my past. I truly wish I could write as much about this Phillies team. I've tried more than once but my fingers get stumped as to which keys to hit to make it sound enthused lol. I do predict Hamels and Papelbum gone, both before the deadline. I'm going on record saying I don't think Nola is ready yet, but I hope I'm wrong. If he struggles I hope he has the mental strength to get through it. Hopefully Jesse Biddle has mastered his mental hump with the help he got from Doc, as his last game was outstanding. Wriz, if you don't approve of this piece you have a delete key and it won't bother me in the least. I'm still watching every weekend and chromecasting the games to my tv. We may suck but it's still my team. Thanks for listening, and let's get Bunted.
Bill S/aka netfather
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