Phillies Opening Day Preview
Quick recap of the last 2 Spring games: The Phillies beat the Rays yesterday, 3-2, thanks in part to a Jason Donald walk of RBI single. Today, they lost 9-7. Cole Hamels, still rehabbing his sore elbow, pitched 5 innings, allowing 6 hits, 6 runs and a walk. Not a great outing, but he got his work in and should be able to start against the Rockies next week. Pat Burrell led the game off for the Rays in his only appearance today, greeting former teammate Hamels with a shot to left field that, even against the strong wind, flew into the seats. A nice exit from Philly for Burrell who was visibly emotional after the rousing applause he received from Phillies fans over the past two days. We will miss him!
Tomorrow the REAL games begin!! So, have you seen the Phillies Opening Day/Night Schedule? Here are the highlights:
5:05 p.m. – All gates open
5:28-6:28 p.m. – Phillies batting practice
6:28 – 7:18 p.m. - Braves batting practice
7:23 p.m. – Cardinal O’Hara High School marching band will perform as the 2009 Phillies enter the ballpark, greeted by Mayor Nutter and Charlie Manuel.
7:38 p.m. – America the Beautiful will be sung by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale, directed by Jeffrey R. Smith, as members of the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard unfurl the American Flag. State Flags will be carried onto the field by the Philadelphia Police and Fire Department personnel.
7:42 p.m. – Introductions start
7:53 p.m. – National Anthem: Will be performed by Katie Stam, Miss America 2009.
7:56 p.m. – U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Parachute team will parachute onto the field (weather permitting), bringing the first balls.
8:00 p.m. – NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who wore a Phillies jersey in space, will present the jersey to Charlie Manuel.
8:01 p.m. – Ceremonial First Pitch: Will be thrown by former Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick and Ben Lo, representing Modell’s Sporting Goods.
8:09 p.m. – Play Ball!
Let me just note a few things here: The Phillies, the reigning WORLD CHAMPIONS, are having the Philadelphia Boys Choir sing America The Beautiful, like they do every year. We will then have Miss America sing the National Anthem; but seriously, should I be excited about a pageant queen? Maybe some of the men are happy, but I just don’t get it. The Boston Red Sox, according to our friend Julia at Julia’s Rants are getting Grammy Award winner, Seal, to sing for them on Opening Day! SEAL! Where, or where, have the Phillies gone wrong?? I am so depressed.
Now let us move on to the first pitch: Former GM, grumpy man and Nationals mascot look-alike, Pat Gillick, will toss the first pitch. Is this seriously the best the WORLD F*@%# CHAMPIONS could do? I had heard rumors all week that maybe President Obama would visit Philly for the occasion, but he will toss the first pitch on Wednesday in DC when the Phillies take on the Nationals in their home opener. But what about Will Smith, who is a huge Phillies fan? Or even Jamie Foxx, who was just in Philly filming a new movie? Heck, I would settle for Patti LaBelle at this point. But noooooo…we get Pat freakin’ Gilick! Don’t get me wrong, I love Grumpy Gillick and all, but this is not exactly a treat for Phillies fans; we see him every day! We want… no, we deserve, a special treat for Opening Day! The Phils had no issue with raising the ticket prices, but could not be bothered to get anyone more interesting to toss a pitch?? Again, Gillick brought us a World Championship, but I think even he would agree that his sheer entertainment value is a tad less than Seal. UGH!
Ok, maybe I am over-reacting. You know how we redheads get sometimes. But take a look at a few other teams, who did NOT win the World Series, and see what they are doing for Opening Day: Both the Yankees and the SF Giants have HERO Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully landed a plane in New York’s Hudson River this past January, saving the lives of everyone on board, to toss their first pitch. The Reds have musician and former husband of Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey to throw their first pitch. And they are in OHIO, folks! That’s right, Ohio out-did Philly. The Houston Astros have 4-time Grammy winner, Lyle Lovett, to sing the National Anthem. And of course, the Nats get the Prez. Okay, I think you get the picture.
Philly will have the traditional Army Parachute Team and the NASA astronaut is a nice touch as well; but is it asking too much to add a little pizzazz to the ceremonies? Well, if it has to be Pat Gillick, how about we at least dress him up a bit? You know, just to add some Philly flavor to the guy:
And then, let’s invite this cute rapper kitty to handle the music for the National Anthem. Not a Grammy winner, but still entertaining:
Well, the show must go on, with or without the Rappin’ Cat, and so it will. Sunday night, first pitch at 8:09pm – I will be back with photos! See you there!
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