Phillies Phever: The Long Road to the World Championship, Part 1

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

Like most people growing up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, baseball was an integral part of our lives.  I saw my first professional baseball game at Connie Mac Stadium, a coliseum-like structure that dominated North Broad street for years.  Sitting on the hard wooden bleachers, part of the field obscured by a column, I still fell in love with the whole experience. 

All of your senses are alive at a baseball game; the smell of the popcorn and hotdogs, the brilliance of the sunlight, the deep green grass, the sound of the ball careening off the bat, the roar of the crowd.  For a 7 year old boy, it was almost overwhelming.

Thus began an on-again, off-again love affair with the Phillies.  The changes in my life often mirrored changes in Philadelphia baseball.  I was in high school when venerable Connie Mac Stadium was replaced by Veterans Stadium, a multi-purpose behemoth built at the far end of South Broad Street that was designed as a then state of the art arena for both baseball and football, and in fact was terrible for either.  Still, my memories of baseball at the vet will be with me forever. 

I was there when Terry Mulholland threw his no hitter in 1990 - the only one for either of us.  I will never forget the energy in the stadium that night.  The tension built, inning after inning, pitch after pitch, until the final out by Von Hayes popped it like a pin in a balloon.  To say that the stadium erupted is to damn it with faint praise - the place was volcanic.

But baseball isn't just titanic struggles - it's also individual triumphs, pirouttes and arabesques that light up the game and live in memory forever.  My personal favorite happened in 1992, in a losing effort against the Pittsburg Pirates.  The Pirates had runners at 1st and 2nd, with 3rd baseman Jeff King at the plate.  King hit a screaming line drive towards right-center field, a certain base hit, and the runners were off.  Phillies 2nd baseman Mickey Morandini speared the ball with a leaping catch just as the 1st base runner was breaking for second.  Morandini instinctively tagged the runner from first and immediately stepped on second base, recording only the 11th unassisted triple play in major league history (there are now 14) and the first in the National League in 65 years.

To be continued.

Article Rating (5 stars):
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article full star
Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 397
  • |
  • Total Views: 203
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>