The Phillies began 2010 with a huge spanking to the Washington Nationals, winning by a score of 11-1. And as far as drama goes, this game had all that and more. The Phillies fans outnumbered the Nat fans by a wide margin and if you were inside the stadium, it felt like a home game for the Phils. Screams from excited fans may even have stunned the players a bit. During the Phillies introductions, hitting coach Milt Thompson turned around, looked at the crowd, eyes wide open, and his mouth moved in the shape of what appeared to be “Wow!”
Yes, Phillies fans were ready for the season to start. More than 5,000 of them boarded buses from Philly together and travelled to the game, taking up most of the right-center field seats. And that was just one group.
Fans who travelled to DC were not disappointed; the day began with President Obama tossing the first pitch, as sharp shooters climbed the rooftops and Secret Service swarmed around the field. The President grinned at the reception he was given, pleasantly surprised by the excited crowd.
Soon after the Presidential excitement, Roy Halladay made his Phillies debut and was as advertised. He allowed one run over 7 innings and even scored his second career RBI on a swinging bunt single in the 4th inning. In short, he was fantastic!
Add 11 runs to the pitching performance and we all bore witness to a small massacre. Ryan Howard wasted no time with his bat, blasting a 2-run homer in the 4th inning and he ended with 2 hits on the day. Placido Polanco then put any doubts to rest about his return to Phillies; Polly whacked a Grand Slam in the 7th, one of his 3 hits of the day and 6 RBI total. Both Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked 3 times each in the game and each had one hit as well. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a single and later tripled. Overall, it was an amazing offensive effort.
The players were in good spirits and happy to be back to work. Before the game, Raul Ibanez walked out with the pitching staff for pre-game warm-ups. The position players were not out yet. On his way back to the dugout, I asked him, “Hey Raul, are you pitching today?” He responded with a huge belly laugh and gestured yes to me. Later, a friend playfully told Greg Dobbs I was his biggest fan and Greg then tossed me his warm-up ball. Thanks, Greg…you are awesome!
Today was a good day to be a Phillies fan. Having broken their 4 year Opening Day loss streak, it also looks like 2010 I going to be another great year to be a Phillies fan. Action resumes on Wednesday in DC.
Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the game and all preceeding ceremonies….enjoy!
Photos by Jenn