Every Friday from now until Spring Training, we will be posting some of the better contestant stories from our I’m the Biggest Phillies Fan contest. If you think you have what it takes to be featured, but did not get a submission in, you can still share your story by filling out this form.
I think being the biggest Phillies fan is in my genes. Can I say I am the biggest fan? No one may be able to say that compared to my father who has not only brought my sister and I up on the game – but, has supported them through thick and thin since he was a small boy growing up in Philadelphia. He has every ticket stub from every game he has been to…EVER. He can remember the exact picture in his head of his first steps into Connie Mack Stadium. I have grown up knowing the plight of the 1964 Phillies and every time I visit my parents’ house see the “would-have-been” World Series ticket prematurely printed that my Dad bought and framed in black. Can I recite Richie Ashburn’s batting average in whatever year you want? No. But my Dad can and if HE is the biggest Phillies fan, I have to be running in close 2nd from our gene pool!
My journey as a Phillies fan began at the 1980 World Series clincher game in my Mom’s stomach. True I was not born yet, but according to my parents, I was kicking A LOT during the game. My parents have had season tickets as long as I can remember and SO MANY of our family’s favorite memories are baseball/Phillies related. My Dad would take me to game and ensure I had my set of baseball cards to flip through so I knew who was up. The names of Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, Darren Daulton, Lance Parrish, Wally Ritchie and, yes, EVEN Steve Jeltz were ones that I grew up hearing constantly. I was being taught not only THE game but the LOVE of the game by my Dad, in between my snacks that had to be spaced throughout the game in innings so I wouldn’t eat too much cotton candy too quickly!
Another testament to my family’s die hard fan status: the Phanatic made an appearance at my sister’s wedding. My Dad kept saying he had an ace up his sleeve the whole day. They got married on Cinco de Mayo and in BUSTS the Phillie Phanatic complete in his fiesta gear. I think I dropped my margarita in shock! I grabbed his HUGE furry green hand and pulled him into the bridal suite where my sister was and she SCREAMED and started crying as if it was someone coming to tell her she won the lottery! Of course the family got a picture Mexican hat dancing with the Phanatic on the dance floor!
My parents, sister and I had so many memories at The Vet, that the last game there was quite emotional for all of us. To our surprise my Dad submitted a “Vet Memory” to the Daily News and it was selected as one of the best, which he surprised us with, only telling us to pick up the Daily News
(the picture is the collage I ended up making him with his story, definitely a tear jerker, and photos in our last sitting in our timeless season ticket seats that held me from a tiny 3 year old to a grown woman in her mid-twenties!)
However, we were at the 1st game at Citizens Bank Park, the exhibition game even BEFORE opening day, once again, our whole family together. I have no proof of this, except my word and a photo, but we arrived WAY EARLY at 10AM and were told we were the OFFICIAL first drinks served at McFadden’s in the ballpark (that is big Phillies fan status!) We’ve carried our traditions over to this ballpark and the memories continue. My sister and I were at the NL East Division clincher game with faces painted with a glittery Phillies “P”. My sister and I were at Game 1 of the NLDS Series cheering HARD and supporting our guys!
My apartment is decorated with a homemade Phillies wreath that many have asked if I could sell them! Living in center city, I am surrounded by bars, if I can’t make it out to watch, I am THAT fan that opens her window just to yell out and cheer with the bar-goers across the street! I was at a traditional NE Philly lawn party for the NLCS clincher game where a handful of our friends were bundled in sweatshirts watching the game on a TV outside surrounded by the new-fallen crunchy autumn leaves and the smell of October baseball!
Basically, baseball to me is family. It IS Philadelphia. It is nostalgia and memories and excitement. There is nothing better than that!