February 12, 2009
If you have a profile on Facebook, there's a 100 percent chance you're being bombarded with requests to write "25 Random Things" about yourself. It's navel gazing at its finest, but it's also perfectly suited for the blog environment.
Here on The Stew, we're throwing the challenge a curve by requiring that all responding bloggers relate their 25 things to baseball. Batting cleanup is a man who proudly reeks of Philadelphia. Yes, we're talking about our main man Meech, the impresario over at The Fightins'.
1. To give you a little insight on my level of Phillies fandom (obsessiveness?), my second son was born on Dec. 14 of last year and his middle name is Fuqua ... just like the manager of the WFC Philadelphia Phillies, Charles Fuqua Manuel, Jr. His first name is Maximus, but that's just because I really like Gladiator.
2. I've kept every single ticket stub from every major sporting event I've ever attended. As soon as my dream basement is complete, I plan on compiling said stubs in chronological order under some sort of plexiglass-type material for use as my bar top. I'm not sure what this says about me as a person, but I've had this idea since I was about 12.
3. Back in the halcyon days of Veterans Stadium, the easiest way to get seats to a Phillies game was to buy a pack of Phillies Franks at the Acme (pronounced: Ack-a-mee) and pick out the free ticket voucher that was included in the packaging. Once you exchanged your voucher for a free 700 level seat, you could easily upgrade by sneaking into the air-conditioned restaurant just above the first base line.
4. Getting a ticket for The Bank is obviously a bit harder, so I recommend finding a best friend with a job in the beer industry. Those guys ALWAYS get the free hookup.
5. My most memorable game at Veterans Stadium was a Sunday afternoon game against the Expos in June of '02 when Robert Person — he was actually our Opening Day starter that year — hit a grand slam in the first inning, barely missed a grand slam foul in the 3rd inning (I think he eventually struck out), and capped off his seven RBI day with a three-run shot in the fifth.
6. Most memorable game from The Bank — no questions asked — is the CC Sabathia game from last year's NLDS. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the crowd literally willed Brett Myers to draw a walk before Shane Victorino's eventual grand slam. It was one of those rare experiences where there was no doubt in your mind something incredible was about to happen.
7. As a youth, I had a poster of bespectacled right fielder Glenn Wilson standing in a jungle dressed as John Rambo with his nickname, "Glennbo," written down the side. Top THAT!
8. Me no likeah the DH.
9. I don't know about you, but I think the plot to Rookie of the Year is too far-fetched to actually happen in real life. I mean, the Cubs winning the World Series?! Come on, Hollywood, we're not that stupid!
10. One time, about eight years ago, I was stopped on the street in Center City and asked if I was related to former Phillies first baseman Rico Brogna. I'm assuming this person thought I was too young to actually *be* Rico Brogna, but looked enough like him to be related.
11. A year later, during a Phillies/Dodgers game at The Vet, I was asked if I was related to Paul Lo Duca. Personally, I've never heard of asking someone if they were related to a quasi-famous person, so I took them both as insults.
12. I am related to a former baseball player, though. My wife's cousin married a fellow named Earl Snyder who played for the Mets farm system, then tasted the bigs with the Indians and Red Sox. He even has a 2004 World Series ring with Boston. When I first met him he still played for the Mets minor leagues and I wouldn't even acknowledge his existence. As soon as he got traded in the Matt Lawton deal, I had an entirely different opinion of the guy. That's how much I hate the Mets.
13. My favorite Phillies player of all-time is Ryan Howard. I'll be inconsolable if the Phillies ever part ways with the big guy, but until then, I will continue to savor each and every long bomb, strikeout, and even his botched turnings of easy 3-6-3 double play balls. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like my baseball players like I like my coffee — strong, black, and capable of delivering the runs at a moments notice.
14. I dropped at least $1,500 on various Phillies regalia and tickets during their month long World Series run (impromptu trips to Tampa Bay ain't cheap, ya know) and don't regret any of it. Well, in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have bought that gaudy diamond-encrusted Phillies World Series pendant, but I'm sure it would hold a high resale value if I ever chose to part with it.
15. The dumbest opposing fans I've ever encountered were Diamondbacks fans. I have a couple buddies that live out in AZ and went to a Phillies/D-backs game out there in 2004. They would cheer when the Phillies hit a sacrifice fly, and when I tried to calmly explain to them, "Hey, dummy, we just scored a run," they countered with, "Yeah? Well, we got an out!" Touche.
16. I can't really get into the Sabermetrics side of baseball. Don't get me wrong — I'm not one of those guys who shuns it; but I have a hard enough time figuring out a guy's batting average let alone his BAPIP and VORP. So, in turn, I leave this stuff to the professionals and take their word for it. Of course, this rudimentary thinking usually brings the elitist out of the Bill James disciples and causes SABR dudes to try and shame me into believing I know nothing about baseball. The fact is, sometimes I don't need some convoluted formula to prove to me that a guy sucks.
17. I also do not need a convoluted formula to prove that the Mets suck.
18. As much as everyone complained about Major League Baseball's handling of Game 5 of the World Series, I thought it was the most exciting three innings of baseball you could have asked for. Plus, with the shortened game, it allowed the citizens of Philadelphia to get a two-hour jump start on our planned celebration time. It's always more fun to loot and pillage before midnight, ya know.
19. The greatest in-game promotional item I ever received from the Phillies was my gorgeous Harry Kalas and Whitey Ashburn duel bobblehead. However, depending on the craftsmanship, it may be bumped from the No. 1 spot in favor of this April's Charlie Manuel bobble. I friggin' love that guy. (See item #1)
20. If I could call a mulligan on one half inning of Phillies baseball during my lifetime, it wouldn't be the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 of the '93 World Series. It would be the top of the eighth from Game 4 of that series when a Dave Hollins misplay at third (it wasn't called an error) opened the flood gates for a six-run inning and eventual 15-14 Blue Jays victory.
21. Growing up, my "AL team" was the Minnesota Twins and I still root for them when I'm not busy cheering on the Philthies. I guess you could say I was like every other impressionable kid from the 80's: utterly fascinated by the glove work of Steve Lombardozzi.
22. My favorite Phillies beat writer is Todd Zolecki, favorite columnists are Bill Conlin and Jayson Stark, I miss Ken Mandel and Mike Radano dearly, and my favorite baseball blogs are BLS and Walkoff Walk.
23. My most embarrassing stadium moment came in a 2004 game against the Monteal Expos. I got primo seats in right field in the (then) new Citizens Bank Park and noticed the right fielder for the 'Spos was a former Yankee player with 'Rivera' on his jersey. I assumed this was the same Rivera who got kicked off their team for stealing gloves from Derek Jeter and selling them, so I spent about 7 innings coming up with creative ways of calling the guy a thief. Every once in a while he would glance back at our section with a quizzical look on his face which I interpreted as, "Will you please leave me alone, sir?" (I didn't, by the way) Turns out it was actually Juan Rivera — not Ruben the thief. Boy was my face red!
24. Being that I'm completely ignorant toward the whole Facebook business, I'm not even sure if my "25 Things" was done correctly.
25. Damn, it feels good to be a World ******* Champion.