Day 1 ended with the not so exciting Matt Morris start and the over hyped NFL draft analysis taking center stage on the sports shows.
Day 2 arrived the way it always had: waking up and moseying down the street to the 7-11 that is on the corner around the way from the Renaissance to pick up some OJ. Though it sounded good, my brother and I both passed on the $21.95 breakfast buffet at the Ren. After lounging around the hotel, watching some sports and also watching Eddie Murphy on “Inside the Actors Studio” (I won’t tell you what his least favorite word is), my brother and I head to the stadium.
I stop off at the sidewalk vendors to buy my daughter a pink Pirates hat, as she requested. I also bought a back of $2 peanuts. The vendor had an inexpensive Willie Stargell replica jersy ($60). There was a small problem. The small tag at the bottom of the front of the shirt said “1979 Pirates”. But on the sleeve was the black circle with the #21 inside it that the club wore in 1973 to commemorate the passing of Roberto Clemente. The Bucs only wore the tribute to Clemente in 1973. As my brother said, perhaps the shirt was a bootleg Mitchell & Ness.
Once inside the park, I lamented that the Pirates weren’t out on the concourse to greet us as they had been in years past. On two straight road trips, my brother and I were greeted by none other than Dave Littlefield. Sunday’s giveaway was to kids under 12. It was a rather goofy looking Pirates cup with the Parrot on it. So, I passed on making an offer of a couple of dollars to an adolescent who might not want the cup.
We watched the Phillies take BP for quite some time. As I noted in the recap, Chase Utley bounced one into the stands. My brother muffed the initial catch, but recovered enough to get the ball.
Phillies coach Jerry Martin was one of a handful of former KC Royals – my brother’s favorite team – that was caught up in the mid-80s drug scandal. He was standing around the outfield with Clay Condrey. My brother said he felt like asking Martin why was it that Martin was a coach in the Big Leagues while Willie Wilson and Vida Blue, two other Royals also caught up in the drug scandal – weren’t.
Then it was off to see Manny Sanguillen. He was at his normal Sunday perch, signing autographs by Manny’s BBQ in dead centerfield. While waiting in line, a woman mentioned to her kids that the guy signing autographs in the clubhouse shop was a pitcher that threw sidearm. She couldn’t remember his name.
After gobbling our Manny burgers, we made our way toward the clubhouse shop to find Kent Tekulve on the concourse talking with a Pirate employee. I waited for his conversation to end and then asked for a picture to be taken. He agreed and I mentioned that I grew up in Cincy. He said that he did to and I said, “Yeah I know. You went to Hamilton High School.” He corrected me and said that it was Hamilton Catholic, now known as Hamilton Badin High School. He said his graduating class was the biggest ever – 88. He excused himself and was on his way.
We made it back to our seats in time to see the crowd reaction from Nate McLouth’s lead off homer. As I said to my brother, I wasn’t used to such a quick visitors half of the first, mocking the trouble that the Pirates had in the first inning Saturday. But, it was worth it to get my picture taken with Teke. My brother suggested that I try to have my picture taken with as many 1979 Pirates as possible. I have a shot of Willie Stargell and me from years ago. Now I have Manny and Teke, as well. Bill Robinson and John Milner are deceased and I don’t think I’ll be able to track down Enrique Romo.
Paul Maholm was, as previously noted in the game summary, sharp. He didn’t strike out many – the Kennametal K Korner girl didn’t get much air time – but the Phillies didn’t hit many too hard. So Taguch, who had hit Maholm very well in the past, was the victim of good defense as both Xavier Nady and Jose Bautista took hits away from him.
A couple of odd Phillies jerseys. I mentioned before the Jim Eisenreich. We also saw a Mike Lieberthal and a guy with a Charlie Manuel jersey. Nothing topped the Sal Fasano sighting of the previous night.
Because Maholm was so good, it was a quick game. As we crossed the Clemente Bridge, the saxophone player who stations himself there was playing “Another One Bites the Dust” and changing the words to the Bucs Stomp the Phils or something like that. Phillie fans weren’t happy and someone yelled out, “Play ‘Philadelphia Freedom'”. The sax player obliged. My brother noted that Phillie fans have almost an angry arrogance about them, a little like Yankee fans.
The signs leading us back to I-279 were almost non-existant. Yet, we found it anyway and were out of town fairly quickly. We’ll be back. And hopefully next time the Bucs will win them both.