GNABRT Day 56 – Philadelphia freedom


GNABRT map - day 56Today’s Great North American Baseball Road Trip blog could have easily switched musical gears and been titled “I’m Burning For You”, but we’ll get to that in the miscellany section.  For now, we’ll just shift into quick posting gear and hop right into our history section.

The city:   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Founded by William Penn (he of Pennsylvania fame) in 1682, its name actually does translate from Greek into (roughly), “City of Brotherly Love” (tell that to Santa Claus when he got booed there).

Initially, Philadelphia enjoyed a peaceful habitation of the lands between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.  Various groups with either land or religious differences with Penn and the settlers in Philadelphia would be in confrontation for many decades.

For a decade in the late 18th century, the city served as the capital of the United States.  Even after its return to being a “normal” city, it maintained a high place in the young country’s cultural and financial structure.

At one point, Philadelphia was the largest city in the U.S. and with size often comes opportunities for advantage and disadvantage.  Like many cities during the early 20th century, Philadelphia experienced its own version of the “political machine”.

During the process of cleaning up and out the old machine, the population began hitting the suburbs and the urban areas suffered economic and infrastructure decline.  It took most of the rest of the 20th century to reinvigorate the city and the new millennium has seen a return of people to the city proper.

Philadelphia has a long tradition in sports and supports teams across the major leagues:  Flyers (NHL), Eagles (NFL), Phillies (MLB) and 76ers (NBA).  They have combined for 10 championships for the city.

The game:  Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays.  The Phillies have been awful all year.  Tampa has been battling for first place in the AL East.  So, of course, the game was close all the way through.

Each team had at least one full inning with the lead, but the game was knotted at 4 in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Phillies had the bases loaded with one out.  A sharp grounder  in the infield was inexplicably thrown to first base to get the force out, allowing the runner on third to slide in ahead of the catcher’s tag when the ball was thrown there next.

Um.  Except, somehow, “after further review”, the umpire’s “safe” call was overruled and Tampa was awarded the out and the end of the inning, costing the Phillies a sure victory.  The replay was shown on the big screen right behind me and I am still unable to fathom how anyone could call the runner out.

It looked like Tampa would leapfrog from that awful call to win the game in the top of the ninth, but the Phillies closer bore down and got them out.  The Phillies went down meekly in the bottom of the ninth and, once again, GNABRT got “free” baseball – extra innings.

In an unlikely finish, a wild-swinging pinch hitter for the Phillies won the game with a “gapper” (a hit between outfielders) to drive in a runner on base.  Thrilling to win, more thrilling to leave the baking sun and raise the GNABRT record to 16-7.

The tab:  Ticket, $38; Tony Luke’s Philly cheese steak & drink, $15; Iced tea, $4.50; Total – $57.50

Miscellany of Day 56:

– Oh gosh.  I’m burned again.  And I have two more day games in the next three days.  Guess I need to up the sun block rating on my goop in the future.  This northern sun seems awfully more powerful than the supposedly deadly South Florida rays.

– The cough is back.  Or it’s just worse.  Whichever.  I’m going to stop this blog temporarily and see what soup they have downstairs in the restaurant.

Meh.  It was beef and rice that tasted more like chili.  It had a temporary effect, but not long enough.

– As I was leaving Georgetown at 4:30 am, I noticed a lady standing across the street while I was stopped at a light.  Well, not exactly standing; more like pacing.  I noticed her for two reasons.  One, she was the only other living thing on the streets and two, she was dressed quite provocatively.

Now, I don’t like to profile, but it’s possible I may have seen my first-ever streetwalker.  Ironically, she was pacing back and forth under a red light.

– I’ve mentioned before the surprise I have felt from the heavy tolling in the middle states.  Chalk up the NE as on my list, too.  $16 to go 137 miles.  Sheesh.

– To that point, the states up here charge to use I-95.  I sure hope South Florida doesn’t get wise to that idea.

– The timing was perfect this morning.  At one point, as I was supposed to pull off to pay the cash toll, I could not see anything.  The blinding sun, the smeared bugs and general glare created a real dangerous situation.  I survived.

Tomorrow, the city that never sleeps, for a day game and then a night game.  I plan on slipping out around 8 to 8:30 am here, which should get me into NY after rush hour.  I hope.

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