One of my favorite memories of attending a Phillies game was on September 4, 1999. I was a senior in high school, and a group of us traveled down I-95 to the game. It was a Saturday night. I probably had a cross country meet that morning. This was a chance to relax.
More than 14 years on, I’ve forgotten many of the details. I just remember being so excited. School must have just started, and I was finally coming into my own senior year. Or, well, at least I thought I was. I was eager for my final year of high school. That night at the Phillies, my friends and I goofed around in a mostly-empty 700 Level. We went to a friend’s house in Oxford Circle afterward and hung in her basement. I probably stayed out too late for a cross-country runner. You know, high school stuff. It is just a fond memory.
The Phillies did not have their best day. The Reds set a still-standing National League record for most home runs in a game (9!) in a 22-3 thrashing of the Fightins. (After the first inning, the Phillies were ahead 2-0.) When the Reds’ 9-run fifth inning finally ended, the fans erupted in a standing Bronx cheer.
It didn’t matter that the Phillies were 17 games back after the game. We had a good time. We had all grown up in Philadelphia, so we were used to the Phillies stinking. The Phillies were 68-67 after that 22-3 loss. That’s not so bad!
What’s nice about baseball is it’s a picnic. The Phillies may have given up three home runs to Ryan Braun in a 10-4 loss in their home opener, but I still had a good time at the game yesterday. I tailgated with friends in the parking lot beforehand. I met my uncle, a man who’s taken me to scores of Phillies games in my life, and we sat in his season ticket seats. I listened to him wax nostalgic on Phillies teams in games past — “Since the Vet opened, I’ve only missed about three home openers,” he bragged — and we drank beers and sighed as the Brewers scored another run. I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in forever. I updated an old boss on my life. I actually walked back to downtown up 10th Street because it was nice out, and a friend suggested we walk. Why has no one asked me to do this before? I wondered aloud.
The Phillies lost, 10-4. Nothing especially notable happened; most of the things I did yesterday weren’t new. They were routines I’d done before and will do again. But it was just so great to do them all again. The Phillies don’t look like they’ll be very good this year. But trips to the ballpark seem like they’ll be just as good as ever.
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