Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Phillies 5, Braves 4

The Phils began a critical stretch of their season with a nifty little ninth-inning win over Atlanta. It almost felt like old times at the Vet, with David Bell smacking the first pitch he saw over a drawn-in outfield to plate Nick Punto. Twenty-four thousand fans, minus the pockets of Braves faithful who showed up, roared their approval as the Phillies cut Atlanta's National League East lead to (gulp) nine games.

Brett Myers started and pitched decently into the sixth. Chipper Jones -- who absolutely dogged it on a Jimmy Rollins pop down the left-field line; Rollins hustled his way into a double -- touched Myers for a two-run, game-tying dinger, but the Braves' other two runs were not the result of hard-hit balls. Myers mixed his pitches well, but left the game trailing by a run.

Mike Lieberthal picked him up with a sacrifice fly, and Terry Adams and Turk Wendell pitched very well out of the bullpen, setting up the ninth-inning victory. It was the first win I've seen live this year, and there's nothing like one of those to send you home in a good mood. It was almost enough to gloss over the Phillies' leaving 14 men on base. Almost.

Millwood tonight against his old 'mates, then I'm back at the Vet for tomorrow's BPS.

Citizens Bank Park

No great insights struck me last night regarding nicknaming the under-construction new stadium. Randy Wolf offered the hopeful thought that most Philadelphians will call it, simply, "Citizens Park," making the place sound like the people's stadium. Regardless, you can really see the thing beginning to take shape. The construction area has been enlarged further into the Veterans Stadium parking lot, and there is now a section of brick -- an actual exterior surface! -- on the side facing the Vet.

As my buddy Joe and I have long discussed, an absolute must at CBP (boy, is that a shitty nickname) is an out-of-town scoreboard that's not an embarrassment. The Vet scoreboard offers only pitching changes and the occasional homer, and is updated less frequently than the Web site I maintain to post photos of my daughter. In this era of fantasy leagues and instant information, an improved scoreboard is not too much to ask. As with so many parts of the Veterans Stadium experience, the bar is pretty low.

Get Bent

So it was announced that David Beckham will play for the Real Madrid soccer team, not for Manchester United or for Barcelona, and all of America yawned, took another sip of coffee, and turned to the "Transactions" column to catch the latest news of players on the disabled list. Well, everyone except, presumably, my sister-in-law, who returned from London a couple of years ago sporting a very cool replica of Becks's Manchester jersey. Now that this story has played itself out in the States, perhaps headline writers can riff on a movie title other than Bend it Like Beckham. Anyway, sure hope Posh likes tapas.


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