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April 7, 2011 / sharoncopy

Take us ALL out to the ball game….

I bent my head and lifted the top of my sleeveless red shirt to mop my face. 96 degrees, and only 2 more ramps to climb in Veterans Stadium. Tim and Brian carried the cooler with the homemade  hoagies and 3 liter bottle of Cola and Josh had the 2 gallon jug of ice water. John and Nathanael and Jake had their mitts and baggies of cookies and chips and Marc and Kevin carried backpacks with extras – all the little things that I thought I might need. We had  enough boys to carry them.

Finally, the 600-700 level! My heart always beat faster when we went through the doorway and saw the massive playing field below us. WAAAYYYYY below us.  A moment to stare. Awe. Comments flying left and right as each boy talked over the next one.

“Okay, guys, let’s go!” I said. I counted to eight again – yep, all there. Up the steps, up, up, up, to what my Dad always called the “nosebleed” section. I led the way up past rows of yellow seats to a row or two. “Right here.” I moved inside the row a few seats and let them deal with who was sitting where. Sometimes all in one row, sometimes split into two – we were usually early enough that the 700 section had a lot of options.  I liked to be there for the National Anthem. It always stirred me, and while I’d performed it for the Olney 4th of July celebration, I toyed also with the idea of sending a demo tape so I could lead 26,000 or so fans.

What a deal we had every summer with the Junior Phillies Club. Each game cost less than 83 cents for the guys to attend. Kids under 14 sent in $5 each and received 6 tickets to Phillies games (their choice), an autographed 8.5 x 11 picture for their wall, and either a cap or a t-shirt. I brought my three guys and their friends in our van. It cost me $5 to sit in the 700 section and $5 to park, and we brought all our own food. It enabled memories.

This particular day we passed around the food when the boys got hungry – usually by the bottom of the first inning.  Man, it was hot!

The cheap-o water jug had a spigot that often wouldn’t work unless we unscrewed the huge top a little bit. Everyone knew that he was supposed to tighten it again afterwards. The jug sat next to my left leg, in front of an empty seat, and two of the guys had finished with it.  A hit! All eyes to the front again to cheer and watch the replay.

“Mrs. Bratcher, can I have the water?” Jake asked. He was the youngest, about 6 or 7, I think, and he was sitting in the row in front of me. I stood up and lifted the huge plastic jug to hand it down to him. Without warning, the lid popped off, dumping nearly 2 gallons of ice-filled water right onto Jake’s face and self. His blue eyes bugged out as he sputtered and spewed. I laughed and laughed, and had to sit down to laugh some more.

“Well, at least you’re cooled off now!” I said. Jake grinned. A little water never hurt anybody.

Then the reality of losing all our water and still having 8 innings to go hit me. The two who had last used the jug were charged with taking the jug and a 9 oz paper cup to the water fountain and having to refill the jug so we’d have water for the rest of the time.  Grumbling, they obeyed. We drank lukewarm water for the rest of the night.

The Vet was the best, and the Junior Phillies’ Club made it possible for us to take “half the neighborhood” to experience it.

Next time, I’ll tell about the night we got the autographs.


Leave a Comment
  1. Tim / Apr 7 2011 3:44 pm

    Back when the Jr. Phillies Club gave you 6 tickets… now I think you get the 8×10 poster (or is it a 5×7?), and they charge you 3x as much. Those were the days…

    • sharoncopy / Apr 11 2011 2:11 am

      Too bad they don’t have that program anymore, and no cheap seats. Anyway, I liked the Vet better than the new stadium, but that’s just me.

  2. Faith / May 3 2011 5:10 am

    What a good mom you are.
    I miss you!
    You always knew where all the good fun was at and loved to be spontaneous.

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