The Phillies returned home to play the 1st of 2 exhibition games on Monday night in preparation for Opening Day on Thursday. I had a very nice seat 22 rows behind home plate, but sadly, my camera died a few weeks ago. So I apologize in advance for the crappy photos I took with an old camera while the good one is getting repaired.
Joe Blanton started the game and actually looked pretty good. His fastball had some zip which made his change-up effective. He actually had a no-hitter going through 3 1/3 innings. That may not seem like much, but considering he missed most of last season with a bum elbow, this is serious improvement. The Red Phanatic agreed:
During the game, we saw some old faces, like Placido Polanco who appears healthy, Hunter Pence and Jimmy Rollins:
And there were many new faces, like Juan Pierre and Ty Wiggington. Pierre looked good at the top of the line-up with a double and a stolen base.
But the big moment of the evening was Jim Thome’s first at-bat in his return to Citizen’s Bank Park. He received a hearty ovation although he played it cool.
Before the game, I wandered the stadium looking for the “mystery” player sightings that were promised. I found Juan Pierre playing a running game with some kids, John Mayberry Jr. signing autographs at the kids play area and David Herndon serving soda.
None of the players I ran into would sign autographs according to their body guards/escorts. When I got home, I saw other guys on TV who did sign, like Cole Hamels and Charlie Manuel. Hey Phillies…what’s up with that? Even more annoying, Pierre was standing alone waiting to get in that running game when NO ONE except me recognized him…being the ONLY person to ask for an autograph, you’d think they would have let him do it for ONE person. Same with Herndon…only one there…no autographs.
So thank God for Ricky Botallico! The former Phillies closer not only signed autographs (for a LOT of people) but he asked me to take a photo with him! That’s right…I did not ask. He did. I cannot remember the last time I saw any current or former player volunteer for a photo. He made my day…Ricky, you are the best!
Here is the rest of my Photo Album from the game. I hope to have a real camera again soon!
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography