Being a London-born Brit, I knew next to nothing about baseball. It just seemed like cricket’s deformed cousin with nice hats.
At college I did a year abroad at UPenn, and pretty instantly found that Philadelphia would be my new second home. I tried pretty hard, yet always in vain, to preach the good word of soccer, but ultimately exciting scores like 0-0 and 1-0 just didn’t get the east coast pulses racing.
My friends took me to hockey, football, basketball, lacrosse. All were pretty fun but not life-changing (although I enjoyed Dallas-bashing). Then in the summer I was ferried to Citizens Bank Park, and my sleeping hours have never been the same since.
The uniforms; the snacks; the stats; the double plays; the insane catches; the “how did he hit it do far with such a thin stick?!”; the social aspect, the stats; the way they pitch; the managerial arguments with the umpires… This was sports as the deity of professional competition had ordained it. My first game was a 3-2 victory over the Nationals, some hard guy named Aaron Rowand hit a ball somewhere near a restaurant. Also, I love that there are so many restaurants IN ONE SPORTS PLACE [(Ashburn Alley)].
Since then I have made 5 annual pilgrimages to see the Phillies, including saving up enough money in 2011 to see all 4 aces, and Joe Blanton for kicks. I even got on the big screen carrying a sign saying “Kate Middleton only married William because Chooch was unavailable”. I now sleep in two-shift patterns so I can watch every game.
I love the Phillies because they remind me of my second home: colourful, passionate and full of characters.