The (2nd) Home Opener

by Dan MacNeal
Could it have been a better day for the home opener? The sun was shining, the smell of grilled hamburgers was in the air, and the fans were pumped. The area around Citizens Bank Park was like a zoo, with Mr. Greengenes playing on Citizens Bank Way and various local radio and television stations covering the event.  Even after having a quasi-home opener in Washington last week, the Phillies Phaithful were still excited, most seeing their 2010 club for the first time in person.
Mr. Greengenes playing on CBP Way
As you all know, as you entered into the stadium, all fans got a replica 2009 NL Champs Pennant, which was raised by Charlie Manuel prior to the game.  In addition, members of the Navy and Air National Guard unveiled a giant flag that covered the outfield and held flags that represented all fifty states.  The players and coaches for both teams were then introduced, with Jimmy Rollins being the final player announced, and then curiously was out of the lineup (we later found out he had a calf strain).
Both teams w/ Military Members

Delivering the first pitch balls, Navy SEALs then dropped in from a plane in a very cool event.  The first pitches were thrown by Bill Mayer, representing Modell’s (who sponsored the replica pennants) and Philadelphia University head basketball coach Herb Magee.

Navy SEAL dropping in

As for the game, everybody already knows what happened.  Cole Hamels dug himself a four run hole, but a 5-run fifth inning, highlighted by a Chase Utley home run put the Phils ahead for good.  Placido Polanco kept up his torrid start, and Ryan Madson shut the door in the ninth.

One of the funnier moments in the day was when the Phillie Phanatic dressed up like Lady Gaga and started dancing to “Bad Romance” next to the Nationals third base coach, who didn’t seem very amused.

My cousin wasn’t too thrilled with me, as I switched seats with him before the game, putting him next to the fat guy taking up half of his seat while I sat next to a cute girl.

An additional treat to the end of the game was the video of Harry Kalas singing “High Hopes”, which I was unsure if they could continue to do this season.  After the game, John let me know that they also did it during the On-Deck series, but it was still a nice surprise.  Hopefully they continue the tradition for all time.

Best part of the day: 44,791 fans went home happy.

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