The Phillies start their title defense as they play host tonight to the visiting Atlanta Braves in the season opener at Citizen’s Bank Park. Helen and I didn’t get tickets to tonight’s game, so we decided to catch the first of two On Deck preseason matchups against last year’s World Series runners-up, the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was an amazing, if blustery, night. We sat under the overhang in section 137 and watched Pat Burrell warm up on his old left field stomping grounds. It was an emotional moment for Helen and me. We both felt that we really got to “know” Pat in his last season as a Phillie, and supported him in our customary seats in section 143 with raucous cheers. We did the same for him last Friday, even though he now wears a Rays uniform.
The Phillies honored Pat’s career with a pre-game montage that started when he signed with the team in 1998 right up until he spoke at last fall’s World Series celebration. It was chock full of great memories, both good and bad. Pat walked out of the dugout and doffed his cap at the Phillies faithful. Pat may not have the greatest reputation, but on the field, he’s a true class act.
On a lighter note, I was able to enjoy one of three new additions to the Citizen’s Bank Park beer selection, pairing a Troegs Sunshine Pils with one of Hatfield’s finest processed meat products. Delicious! I figure if you’re either paying nearly double for Budweiser swill, or you can get one of Pennsylvania’s finest craft brews for $6.75. I figure it’s a great rationale for choosing the good stuff when you’re out at the ballpark!