Philadephia Phillies vs Boston Red Sox

Citzen's Bank Park in Philly

by Jay

 

So what am I doing in Philidephia of all places? Actually, let me speak like a local.

So what the phuck* am I doing in phucking Philly? (PBR burp.)

*Please note that because this post is strictly about Philadelphia, I will be using a ‘Ph’ whenever possible as an omage. No, actually, not an omage. I’m using it just to mock Philly profoundly. And it pheels profound. But I may forget to use it, so don’t read anything into it. Well, if you do read anything into it, just take it as I am basically saying I enjoy the fact that I am literate and the rust belt is, well, not.

 

Well, it all started out with a crazy yet tantalizing idea heralded by the author of this great blog. Being friends with Joe has given me a channel here to express an outside look of his baseball journey. Like an objective savant/sage commentator. And with the woman of my life in tow (Jen), we awaited Joe’s arrival here in DC to accompany him on some of his east coast journey’s.

Being located in the heart of our nations capital, there are some perks. Museums, great Pho, and of course, being in a driving distance of the largest part of Joe’s east coast swing. In one fell swoop, Joe will have taken care of the Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Pirates, and Indians. And being a part of that, along with being the best hub, location wise, has been a great event. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve hatchet-ed* stuff.

*The new rabbit fur/skin handle is conducive to pressurized friction, so the thighs aren’t as affected. 

 

After we saw my Pads beat down the Nats, our next inevitable step was to make our three hour drive north to experience Philly, and ultimately, not get shot or raped or maimed in the process. Dreaming that we would leave without becoming crack-whores was also a priority, but we can’t have everything in life. High hopes, I know.

To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a saying, but it should be. If Baltimore and New Jersey are the opposite lights at the end of your tunnel, you might as well just do a ‘fuck it’ maneuver and end the misery right there. A Samurai sword to the stomach, big twist, would be worth it. Or, I guess the other option would be just to hang tight and live in the middle of that tunnel… thus, we have Philly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to pre-judge, I had never been near the east side of Pennsylvania ever. So, granted, my personal experience was zero. However, what I do know is sports, and more specifically, what I do know is football and baseball. And if you know football and baseball, even at merely a basic level, you know that the Philly phan-base are comprised of asshats and assfaces. Really, you can’t differentiate the two, cept for the mere fact that those that can’t fit the asshat on their head due to a straightened blonde mullet at the lovely minimum length of buttocks south, or some kind of strange hair-do based on a Twisted Sister album… well then, you have to put on the assface. Just the rule of the land.

Don’t believe me? Join me in this short history of Philly Phandom.

-Did you know that violence during Eagles’ games became so bad that Philadelphia installed a court, judge and jail inside Veterans Stadium?

-Phans in the 1960s were so upset with controversial  Dick Allen, the team’s first prominent African-American player, they threw batteries at him from the stands. Allen wore a batting helmet on the field.

-Phans booed pitcher Adam Eaton at the ring celebration after they won the World Series, then a brawl soon spread to epic numbers in Ashburn Alley as the title flag was raised.

-In 1968, Eagles Phans booed and then pelted a man dressed as Santa Claus who was part of a halftime ceremony. In 2003, the same man was asked to appear in the same Santa suit at a Sixers game. He was booed again.

-On Oct. 11, 1999, Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending neck injury at the Vet. Fans cheered as Irvin was crumpled on the ground.

-In 1949, the Phillies were forced to forfeit a game with the Giants after fans unleash a 15-minute barrage of glass-bottle throwing. They were upset by a call against Phillies’ center fielder Rich Ashburn.

So yeah, that’s a beautiful history, right? I dare you to do better without citing Oakland. It just can’t be done.

 

As we arrived to the city limits, my mindset did not change. You see that billboard? Now, you could play devils advocate and state that the the Arena Football team was merely putting out a catchy phrase. But honestly, when you boo Santa Clause, is the first impression you want to relay is that your double-A level football sport team thing-a-ma-jig is ready to fuck someone up if they can’t win? Really? On so many levels, its a douche billboard, and I really really epitomized everything I thought this area to be. Even the team name is ‘Soul’! This is a message from the Philadelphia Soul. If we don’t beat you, will will beat you up. Awesome.

As we moved closer to the Ballpark, one notices the simularties that the outskirst of town are those like the devastation that surrounds the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Drugs, worn brick, subsidized housing*… its all there, and its exactly the same.

*Not that I judge this type of living, in fact, I am a big advocate against this type of zone creation; of what is essentially a cattle zone for the less wanted. Well, big advocate may be too strong a word. Maybe a better way to put it is that I care enough to say I care, but do little else. That might be a better approximation. But hey, I don’t feel guilty. You can thank capitalism and the utter disaster known as the education system for this. 

 

I have to say, when finally arriving, I soon realized that this was the ugliest Park I have ever seen in terms of exterior, color scheme, and design. As you can see, the metal looks old and rusted. Now, I understand that we are in the rust belt. But rust is never a good thing. I’ve never approached rust and thought to myself, my god, that looks amazing. Much of the time, rust represents decay. Dying… death. If that’s the message you want to present to us, that’s fine. In fact, at this point, it seems to be accurate as well, seeing as how the bastions of manufacturing and labor are also doing their best impersonation of rust. Whether we should blame that socialist from Kenya, is another conversation. But when I see a building that looks like this, I automatically envision a racist hard-hat blue collar steel worker dad that beats his wife, drinks way too much, and then goes to church, votes Republican, and then takes his son to the ballpark to call other people ‘Shitheads’.*

*Read the demographics and income/education level. Its depressing.

 

Basically, the thing looks like a dying piece of metal.

While enjoying pre-game festivities, it dawned on me that one of my own personal bucket list items was to have a true Philly Cheesesteak. People, I’ll doo-doo on easily. But food? That is sacred, and I will go to the end of the earth in search of anything that sounds delicious. You could say that the search for this life-time opportunity was almost as good a motivator as seeing a ballgame. But first thing was first. After everyone finishing a bottle of Makers Mark*, the urge to seek out the local porta-potty soon took precedence.

*A 375mL bottle, shared by three. Please note that John, as I know you are keeping track. 

 

Upon the opening of the door, I made perhaps the greatest discovery known to man. Well, maybe not man. We have Ice Cream and plastic masturbation tubes from Japan… hard to beat that achievement list. But this could rival. I can’t say if it was fate that I found this ancient writing, but it felt right. It felt proper.

“Rick from PA is Gay.”

It was breathtaking. Who was Rick? To answer this question took much more thought than previously expected. I mean, if he was gay, what level was the gayness? Was he still living in Pennsylvania? Had he now moved on, with his ‘the gay’ in tow? I wanted to know the whole story. I had a new mission, to figure out what Rick was. As I disscussed this with Joe and Jen, they too became curious. We soon realized that perhaps ‘Rick’ was a metaphor. In fact, because of the placement of this ancient message, the scribe must have known his audience. He knew that we would want to know who Rick was. We would know he was gay, therefore, making us curious about finding a gay. Through some sort of philosophical science, we had in fact, become gay.

We soon came to the conclusion that we, our selves, were Rick. Not us specifically mind you, but we were all in PA. We were all gay for reading and wanting to know more about Rick. And we spent 20 minutes discussing this concept. I fully admit, this was gay. We should pray for all those who stumble upon this message, for it is the stuff of legends.

 

Cheese steak time.

Based on the word from some random ballparkers, we were suggested a place called ‘Campos’ for our needs. Joe and Jen ordered regular cheese-steak’s, but I was different. I needed what was considered the ultimate experience. While their sandwiches just had the meats and cheeses (Provolone or American) and some onion, I went big. I got ‘the works’. I wanted that mushroom and red pepper. In my mind, this is what I had come for. This is why we all risked death, and we were not disappointed. While the sandwich was a little colder than expected, that was more the function of making our Himalayas like climb to our nosebleed seats. They didn’t even have elevators to our section. I guess it would be risk to have machinery at 9000 ft of altitude. And its a real difficult thing that the Sherpa’s only spoke three total words in English. However, one thing eminantly clear. If were to ever make a trek here again, another Campos cheese-steak was required eating.

 

The game itself was entertaining. Citizen’s Bank was every much the bandbox I expected it to be, as 6 HR’s were launched. Also, the banter between Boston and Philly Phans was something. What that something was, I’m not sure. In one row, an argument broke out and then ended when one drunkard proclaimed that he had the most decorated degree of the entire row. While he had no degree with him to validate that argument, I have to wonder how effective this line of attack was. We soon found out when I yelled back that “(his) degree was in bullshit.” Other than that, and some annoying fans trying to start a wave in the bottom of the ninth*. (Really?) I was happy to cheer for the Flyin Hawaiian (Shane Victorino) and overall, the game was close. And that’s all you can ask for.

*Who starts a wave in the ninth? Not to mention I am vehemently against the wave. I’m there to watch a game, not to do rotational calisthenics and end up looking like my sins just got washed a way from a Born-again Priest speaking in tongues. Its stupid is what I’m saying.

 

Oh, and someone blew massive and filthy ass during the 5th inning. It was so rancid, that it stuck around for nearly 2 minutes in the highest section of the ballpark with wind. That takes skill and lots of whatever they ate. I can only dream to launch something like that in an elevator, an enclosed environment mind you, not 150 feet up in the wind. Impressive and disgusting.

 

As I drove home with friend and lover in tow*, I came to the realization that everything I had expected out of Philadelphia had been confirmed. Does this mean I hate the fanbase and team? Well, in short, yes. But when you think of it in terms of Sports, it isn’t as spiteful as one might think.

*I guess you can figure out which one is which. I have a hard time.

 

I’ve been to several Parks myself. PetCo, SafeCo, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, Nationals Park, and now Citizen’s Bank. There is one theme here, and it’s this. Whenever you walk next to a kid*, they are smiling. You see families spending time together, friends walking the concourse, the smell of fresh ballpark grass in their noses. It is unmistakable that the experience of walking into a ballpark, any ballpark, brings joy and happiness. I’ve been kindly reminded of that fact while Jen and I accompany Joe, and it’s something that should always be remembered.

*Hide that kid from Philly Phanatic btw. He was teaching them how to dry hump the crowd. It was weird and disturbing. He has a 4 foot tongue! How is this not wrong?

 

Teams may win or lose, records will be made or broken, farts may linger and haunt, but we all share one thing in common. The love of baseball. And the fact that we share that love means something. Like sharing fluids, we become one.

We are Rick from PA. And we are all gay.