Sam Katz: Out to the Ballgame, Installment II

A splendid opening night....and picking up the RV

Read the first installment of Out to the Ballgame — With My Three Sons here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010, Midnight

It was a special night. Not for Cole Hamels or the Phillies. It was special for the fans and their baseball park. Yes, the architecture and special features made Citizens Bank Park, one of the last to be built among the moderns, unique and rightly ranked as MLB’s best. But what complements and enhances the design are the Phillies fans. Celebrating 100 straight sellouts, the magic of the evening over-shadowed a lackluster pitching and hitting performance. The only baseball positive was the incredible number of fielding chances fans had on foul balls hit by our guys. The boos were few and far between. People were just happy to see the line-up almost 100 percent back, realizing that when it is all there, this will be a fearsome bunch down the stretch. And in the 9th, down 5-0, most everyone stayed because they knew what could and almost started to happen, and because they were just happy to be there.

Prent’s Posse had a great night, a Philly night. We dined at Chicki & Pete’s (the RV gets picked up tomorrow) on Packer Ave with the $1 Bud beer night. That place was hoppin’ even at 4.30 PM. There were a few sightings, including Little Anthony and his never Imperial Dad, Ant Gargano. Mrs. G. was there as well. Senator Arlen Specter and son Shanin had their usual place behind the plate. We met a young couple Joe and Dali Collazo down from Trenton and really loving the place and the festival atmosphere that is this park. Ben and Prent got a short shout out on the Jumbo-tron since we convinced the cameraman that Prent’s pending nuptials deserved at least an honorable mention.

Our club is very good right now and will be for the foreseeable future. But our stadium has itself become one of the city’s great destinations, a place to hang with family and friends and enjoy the best that baseball has to offer, whether we’re winning or not. Philadelphians are truly lucky on that front. Thank you Phillies!

Friday, August 20, 2010, 2:00 PM

We’re up in New Hope picking up the RV. It’s massive—a 40 footer—and it has a lot of stuff we’re trying to figure out. At each campground, the waste collected in tanks has to be discharged. Ben Katz has drawn the sanitary engineering assignment. Phil is our transportation specialist. Driving a bus requires a lot of care and anticipation particularly bringing the vehicle to a halt. I have been given food preparation as my job. Prent will fill in where needed but no major obligations are headed his way. The thing is way cool and filled with nice features. Cramming four men into this thing for sleeping will be an interesting challenge. We’ve been given our orientation on the electrical system, the water, expanding the interiors, the awning and storage. And now we’re off, headed towards I-95. Everything we piled into the car to bring with fell onto the floor as soon as we made the first turn. Guess we forgot to do any space and storage planning. The guys are on their cells now calling friends to come down to South Philly to help us launch the trip in style. Next stop is the Super Fresh on Columbus Boulevard. Then it’s over to the stadium parking lot for some pre-game festivities. Roy Halliday is going tonight and we just checked to learn that Cliff Lee will pitch tomorrow night against the O’s. Halliday-Lee, back to back. A Phillies fan’s dream.