The past two baseball seasons, I haven’t caught any games at Citizens Bank Park. Not a one. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen my Phils. After a drive to Coors Field last summer to see the Phillies, and knowing they’d be in Atlanta a week after moving there, there was no way I was passing up a game. With my dad visiting on business, I was really excited that I would get to go to Turner Field for the first time with my dad…and they were playing our favorite team. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
After meeting my dad at my office, we made our way under the Olympic Cauldron to the Ted. After walking around the ballpark and chatting with lots of Phillies phans who had made the trek, we made our way to our section. Just before first pitch, the rain started, and so we moved below decks to grab some dinner, talk about my first week on the job, and wait out the delay.
Two hours later, the Phils took the field. Though they played terribly, per usual, and it’s sometimes painful, rooting for the Phils loses its luster. There were times I was the only person cheering in the thinned-out crowd, but I loved every second of it.
I love going to new ballparks. Baseball might be America’s past time, but the game’s celebrated differently in every city. The Tomahawk Chop creeps me out a little bit and I was in disbelief they shoot off fireworks for every little thing…including one single strikeout. But baseball’s baseball. That never gets old, especially when I get to take in a ballgame in another city with my dad.
The sad news came Friday afternoon, two days after the game, when the news broke that the winningest manager in Phillies history, Charlie Manuel, was fired. The realization quickly set in that the game my dad and I had attended was Manuel’s last. Charlie brought the city’s only championship in my lifetime, and I’ll never forget the phever of 2008. I’ll never forget we got to go to Charlie’s last game.