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50 Greatest Phillies Games: 38. Halladay’s perfect night

Until March 27, we’ll be counting down the 50 greatest Phillies games of the last 50 years. This is 50 of 50.

And this is No. 38.

THE DATE: May 29, 2010

THE GAME: Phillies vs. Florida Marlins, Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

THE STAKES: Uh, the Flyers are starting the Stanley Cup Finals tonight

THE GREAT: I don’t have many regrets, but the one decision that still haunts me all these years is my trip down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2010.

It was Memorial Day weekend, the Flyers were playing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Phils were in first place. Life was good.

I convinced my friends to take a weekend trip to South Beach with the promise of sun, sand and shopping. After some convincing, they agreed to spend one night at Sun Life Stadium to watch the Phillies. One catch. It couldn’t be Saturday night, so I willingly agreed to give up the Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson matchup I so desperately wanted to see.

We landed on Friday morning and went to the game that night. The Phils won but Kyle Kendrick pitched and there was a rain delay – nothing special. After spending the day at the beach, my friends and I were getting ready for a late dinner that Saturday when I got the text.

“Tell me you are watching the game.”

I wasn’t. I’m pretty sure our hotel only had stations that played telenovelas.

With a quick check of Twitter, I saw that Doc Halladay was one inning away from throwing a perfect game.

Cue the nausea.

There I was, just a few miles away and I couldn’t even watch it on TV. Needless to say, the rest of the trip was ruined. To top it off, the Flyers lost Game 1 later that night.

Since then, I have watched the game in its entirety countless times. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Halladay was still new to us. It was just his second month in a Phillies uniform and he was coming off of three-straight losses. We knew what he was capable of but didn’t want to get too excited too fast. We’ve certainly been burned before.

Twenty-seven batters came up and 27 sat right back down. Halladay did what he did best. He painted the edge of the plate with his cutter and fastball and just when the hitter thought he had him figured out, he’d hit him with a changeup.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Carlos Ruiz. This game not only made Halladay just the 20th pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game, but it was the start of perhaps the best bromance to hit the big leagues – Chooch and Doc 4ever.

It’s this game that makes baseball so special.

It was just another Saturday night game between a division leader and a basement dweller. Game 48 out of 162. Yet, history was made. You just never know what you’re going to see at the ballpark.

Just make sure you go to the ballpark.

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