Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Crossed off My First Item and Had a Great Time Doing It

One down, one hundred to go.

On Friday I went to a Phillies game with Mom. We try to do something like this every year, and since the opening of Citizens Bank Park, it has been a no brainer. When I was younger, we went to Sixers games, but since I have gotten older, and the Sixers are a putrid excuse of a team, baseball is where it is at. Plus, there is a bonus of going to the game... THE FOOD.

Citizens Bank Park won the Food Network's Best Ballpark eats for 2007. There is a real local focus on what they serve, but we will get to that later, cause there was another reason that this game was special.

There are many sports heroes that have walked the field, but very few of them are heroes for what they did when they were not playing the game. On Friday the Phillies inducted into their Wall of Fame one of those heroes, John Vukovich. Vuk, was a staple of the Phillies Organization, spending 30 of his 41 years in baseball with the team, and was a resounding choice to be inducted this year. On a personal note, John had a couple of Kids, one of which is a nurse who worked with my Mom. It was pretty emotional to see, she cried a little bit.

The ceremony included all of the living Wall of Fame members. I was able to take some pictures. The last two are of the plaque as it was unveiled on the wall and one of Vuk's grand daughters (one of three triplets) as she took the ride around the field, a Philly tradition.

Harry Kalas, Hall of Fame Announcer

Greg "The Bull" Luzinski. This is the guy who has his name on the BBQ place at the park

Dallas Green, Manager of the '83 Phills

Michael Jack Schmidt, The Greatest Phillie of All Time

Unveiling the Plaque. Long Live Vuk.

Such a cute little kid... and there are three of them.

The tribute was pretty amazing, but then it was time for dinner and baseball. First on the list was the Schmitter Sandwich, the worlds most perfect sandwich. This thing is a beast, but it is delicious. The combination of fried meats, cheese, special sauce... it is great. Here is what goes into a Schmitter

I am not going to lie, the Schmitter is one of the reasons I go to the park. You can bite into it and hear your arteries begin to close. It is so good. Just take a look at how much mom enjoyed it.

Not the greatest picture of Mom, but look at that sandwich... Yum

The game started off really bad, with the braves scoring four runs in the top of the first. This is always disheartening. We really needed to start this series off well, hopefully with a win. My heart was lifted back up when the Phills came back in the bottom of the inning and scored four, two off a shot by Wes Helms. This set off one of the coolest things at the park. The Liberty bell in right field lights up and gongs with each phillies Home Run. Imagine the bell in the picture swingin' and ringin'.

The game remained tied until the seventh... But it was the fourth when the night got exciting again for Mom and I. We decided we were hungry again and headed down to Ashburn Alley. This area of the park, behind right field, is where the bullpens are located, the wall of fame and the best food in the park. The even mark the alley with this cool sign. Notice Ashburn's average and number of hits around his position. This mimics the was Philadelphia street signs are, with the block number on either side of the direction of the street.

In the Alley you can find some Philly Favorites, including Chicke & Pete's Crab Fries, Planet Hoagies, PA Dutch Funnel Cake and two of the Best Cheese Steaks, Rick's and Tony Luke's. We opted for Tony Lukes, because you can get their steaks with Broccoli Rabe, which they call a Steak Italian. We got one of those and a Roast Pork with the Rabe. While this picture is not from the game, it will give you a good idea of the deliciousness.

It was around this time that the crowded erupted in a roar. The Phillies scored on an error and took the lead 5-4. For the final inning mom and I looked for some seats down low, which we were able to find. There is nothing like a packed stadium, a one run lead and a closer that you hope can finish it out. Especially when you can see it from here

Overall it was a pretty magical evening. I am glad that this was the first thing I crossed off my list. I may be double or even triple striking this one out over the next couple of years. So after about 5000 Calories, some tears shed and one heck of a baseball game I am down to 100 things left to do.

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