After working my ninth straight home opener, a couple things caught my eye inside Citizens Bank Park on Monday afternoon during the Phillies win over the Washington Nationals. This isnt really a column, just some random thoughts that popped into my head over the course of the afternoon.
When did it become cool to boo Cole Hamels? On a team that had no pitching in 2008 he carried them to a World Series. He had a down year last year, but some of those numbers were inflated by a few awful starts. There are no making excuses for his postseason last year, but this year he has kept the team in the game both starts. Not amazing starts to say the least, but good enough to keep the Phillies in it while he works out the kinks. I really dont want the voices of some dumb fans to get in the head of a kid with worlds of talent. Philadelphia has a knack for moving its stars, see the resumes of Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley and most recently Donovan McNabb. Im really not prepared for the name Cole Hamels to join that list yet.
For everybody that complains about how hard it is to get tickets to games, why dont people use them to actually watch the game? I spoke with countless fans who couldnt tell me anything about why Rollins was hurt, who homered for the Nats, or who came in for the out after Hamels couldnt finish the inning. Tons of fans seemed to just chill out in Ashburn Alley or the smoking stands or even worse wait in line for Crab Fries for over an hour without even glancing onto the field for the action. Considering how tough this ticket was to get it confused me. We arent talking about a mid-July Wednesday afternoon game against the Reds, this was the home opener.
After the terrible weather that normally comes with Phillies games in early April, how refreshing was Monday, as well as the rest of this weeks forecast? Perhaps Major League Baseball finally got it right, limiting home games on the East Coast.
Was it me or was the raising of the National League Championship flag a bit uneventful? Same goes with the National League Champions ring ceremony scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Maybe 2008 spoiled me, being in the stadium as they rose the flag minutes after winning the World Series, but this kind of felt like kissing your sister. The blue flag is cool, but I think that raising a red one that reads 2010 will make everything right again.
I dont want the ladies to take this wrong and think that I dont appreciate it. And I dont want the men to think Im trying to ruin it for the rest of them, but what is going on with the women at Citizens Bank Park? All of a sudden the stadium has the feel of a singles bar. Girls are wearing their skimpiest Chase Utley t-shirts that are cut down the cleavage to go along with the shortest of Phillies shorts that show the bottom of their butt cheeks. Id be lying if I didnt say I loved the scenery, but from watching these girls and trust me, Im watching, it sure seems like a lot of these girls are there to pick up guys rather than watch the game. What they choose to do with their ticket is on them, but seems like another case of people wasting the tickets that everyone is howling about not being able to get. I understand it only recently become cool to be a Phillies fan, and who am I to judge what these girls wear or how they act in the game, but I know Im not the only person to notice this over the past year or so.
As far back as I can remember, I dont remember any player bringing this kind of excitement to Philadelphia as Roy Halladay is doing right now. I dont even think the Eagles acquisition of Terrell Owens had the city in such joyous uproar. You couldnt even begin to count the amount of #34 jerseys and t-shirts Monday afternoon. What is Saturday going to be like when he takes the mound for the first time at The Bank?
Finally, after talking with numerous fans, everyone seems to have the same expectation: World Series or bust. A favorable first nine games, facing the two worst teams in the NL (depending who you ask), has definitely helped get the momentum rolling in the right direction. But where do the Phillies go without Jimmy Rollins? Upon writing of this column, the word was still wait-and-see, by Wednesday morning that could become a stint on the 15-day DL. Without one of the leaders on the team, it will be interesting to see how the Phillies respond as a team.
One week is in the books for the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies and I cant remember a season starting the way this one has in a very long time.