by Ray Bergman
Game 22 - Phillies vs Dodgers at Veterans Stadium
August 30, 1996Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. The only city where they boo Santa Claus. If you play pro sports in this city, you better have thick skin. The fans know their sports and they treat the teams accordingly. Play hard, hustle all the time, while at the same time being a little humble and you will be the darlings of this sports town.
Today, it took me 5 hours to travel from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and an $11.00 turnpike fee. I drove directly from my hotel to Veterans Stadium and the parking was a snap. Veterans Stadium was built in the same era as Riverfront, Three Rivers and Fulton County Stadium. It is a closed circular stadium with (here we go again) symmetrical dimensions and phoney grass. It is a two level stadium with sky-boxes and club seats in between. It looks more open than the other stadiums because there is no roof over the top level. The seats are new and painted a nice shade of blue. On top of the stadium in center field is a replica of the Liberty Bell.
The Phillies' mascot is "The Phillie Phanatic." What more can I say? Well! This year he/she is the major attraction at the games. The Phanatic is always carrying on with the players, the umpires, the ground crew and anyone else he/she can embarrass, including the media. My seats were perfect for this game, the best so far. I sat eight rows up from home plate just behind the Dodgers' dugout. I was able to see every pitch, read the lips of the players and umps (sorry I can't reveal the words, this is a family dream). Some of the facial expressions of the players were out of this world.
In 1950, the Phillies were known as the "Whiz Kids." They won the National League pennant that year only to lose to the Yankees in the World Series. They had players like Richie Ashburn (now the radio voice of the Phillies), Curt Simmons and Robin Roberts to name a few of the standouts. Of the original eight National League franchises, they have won the least number of world championships, just one in 1980, when they defeated the Kansas City Royals. They were also the last team of the original eight to win their first World Series.
Tonight's pitching matchup pitted Tom Candiotti for the Dodgers against Matt Beech for the Phillies. Both pitchers were in total command for the first three innings. The Dodgers got on board first with a run in their half of the fourth. The Phillies came right back in their half with two runs and lead 2-1 after four. The score stayed that way until the sixth when the Dodgers scored five times to take a 6-2 lead. Three of the Dodger's runs came off the bat of Billy Ashley as he poked a three run job into the left field seats. The Phillies didn't quit, and the fans loved it, as the hometown boys scratched their way back in the sixth with a single run and three more in the seventh to tie the game at six. It remained tied at six as the ninth passed and into extra innings we went. In the twelfth, the Dodgers' Delino Deshields drove a triple to right center to score the go ahead run and Todd Worrell closed out the inning to preserve the Dodger victory.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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