For years baseball has been our countries national past time and opening day has been treated like a national holiday. It’s a day where every team is in first place and the smell of spring is in the air! Today’s cold weather made it feel more like an Eagles Game than a Phillies game. Waking up and seeing it was snowing was actually comical. There are very few things that will keep us phans from seeing opening day and a little snow isn’t one of them. The realization that baseball was here didn’t hit me till I pulled into FDR Park and began my trek in to the Bank. It was brutal ending to the season last October and it is great to finally put that moment completely behind us.
There is just something special about Opening Day and there really aren’t words to describe it if you haven’t experienced it. Everything from the Phanatic leading the team in to the stadium to the giant American Flag in the outfield, it is just a great pheeling. It was definitely a disappointment that the paratroopers weren’t able to deliver the ball from the sky but the fly over by 3 planes was something special. As Doc phinally threw the first pitch, there was an amazing energy in the ball park.
Charlie also seems to talk about “hittin season” during the hot summer months and today’s cold weather definitely doesn’t fit that description. There is a good chance that the cold had an impact on the Phils bats early in the game. Today’s win was huge in many ways for the 2011 Phillies. Doc was as nasty as ever during the first 3 innings but didn’t seem to have his best stuff throughout the rest of the game. It is a true testament to the pitcher he is that he can go 6 innings and only give up 1 run in a game that he didn’t have his good stuff. The Phillies bats early in the game made it difficult to watch. The guy who always got rocked on opening day as a Phillies was completely shutting us down. Early on, we did hit a few balls hard, but they were always right at Astros players.
We would all have a completely different pheeling about today’s game if it wasn’t for the comeback the team put together in the 9th inning. With the starting pitching this team has, they are going to be in a lot of low scoring games and they will need to have timely hitting to be successful. This was something they couldn’t do in October and was a major reason for the success of the eventual champions. With the lack of a lot of power in the Phillies lineup and the wind howling, it was going to be tough to get a ball out of the park. Each Phillie hitter in the inning seemed to take a great approach and just tried to put the ball in play and keep the rally going. Two of the hits were by the replacements of current Gnat Jayson Werth and the injured Chase Utley. Francisco didn’t hit it hard but it found some daylight in the outfield and I loved the enthusiasm that Valdez showed as he lined the game tying single to left field. The game was eventually put on the shoulders of John Mayberry who was on an opening day roster for the first time in his career. Mayberry had a great at bat and did exactly what he needed to do. He drove the ball to the outfield and the ball game was over. Bourn miss played the ball but even if he would have caught it, I think it was deep enough to score Francisco from third. The Phillies scored 3 runs on 5 singles in the inning to walk off against Houston 5-4!
With all of the national baseball “experts” jumping off the Phillies bandwagon and crowning the Braves as there new darling, it was huge coming out of today with a W. The bats weren’t amazing but they did enough to win the game. If this team can learn to win games like they did today, they will be that much more dangerous when they get Chase back. Tomorrow’s game is going to be just as electric as today’s was, it will be the return of Philadelphia’s long lost son, Cliff Lee! Today was a Halladay, but tomorrow is Cliffmas! As Phillies phans, it is important that we live in the moment and realize this is one of the greatest era’s ever in the history of the team.