Philly trip recap: Two Brewer wins, one near no hitter and one threat of physical harm

Posted by Steve

The nice thing about taking two consecutive days off is it allowed me to go to two Brewer games and sample the city of Philadelphia.  The bad thing about taking two consecutive days off is it’s followed by several days of work, which leaves less time for posting.

The two games I attended were awesome.  The Crew played great in each game.  Wednesday I went by myself and sat in nice seats on the 100 level.  If you’ve never gone to a baseball game by yourself, I suggest you try it.  It sounds a little weird or loser-ish, but it allowed me to completely focus on the game.  It was relaxing.

The stadium itself was really nice.  Nothing absolutely spectacular, but definitely a nice stadium.  There was World Series stuff EVERYWHERE (not that I blame them), and the Mike Schmidt statue in front of the stadium was surrounded by signs and messages from fans in tribute to Harry Kalas.  I heard the last out of the World Series called approximately 100 times in two days–“Swing and a miss! He struck him out! And the Philadelphia Phillies are world champions of baseball!  Watch this city celebrate!”  Again, not that I blame them.  When the Crew wins the series I’ll watch the replay a thousand times.  Hell, I’ve already watched Braun’s homer against Bob Howry in game 162 at least 50 times.

Considering the reputation of Philadelphia fans, I was half expecting to be ruthlessly heckled for wearing Brewers stuff.  I counted five “Brewers suck!” comments directed toward me walking through the concourse, but was pleasantly surprised once I reached my seat.  That may be because they were nicer seats; if it’s anything like Miller Park you’re more likely to run into rowdy fans in the bleachers or terrace than the lower bowl.  I was around plenty of friendly fans, which made it even more enjoyable.  I was careful to just cheer and not appear to be taunting in any way when the Brewers did something to cheer, because A)I hate when opposing fans do that at Miller Park and B) I didn’t want to get assaulted by some crazed Phillies fan.

Thursday was a different story.  I went with two guys from work, and we sat in the nosebleeds.  I definitely got more flak than the day before for wearing Brewer stuff.  I was booed by a handful of people when I stood up to cheer for Braun’s homer off Cole Hamels.  The boos got louder when I did the same for Fielder’s bases clearing double, but that may have had something to do with me windmilling all the runners in third base coach style.  Okay, so I got a little carried away on that one.  It was a big two out hit… What do you want from me?

Of course, this was also the near no-hitter for Dave Bush.  It was absolutely awesome to be there.  I first noticed it after the fourth.  After the fifth, most people seemed aware of it.  After the sixth, I really started to get excited.  It was a 5-1 game, but I couldn’t believe how nervous I was after the sixth.  I was fielding texts from everyone back home, yet trying not to flat out mention the words “no hitter.”

From what I understand, Brian Anderson not only mentioned the no hitter several times, but seemed to go out of his way to brag that he was mentioning it.  Apparently Bill even got agitated.  Too bad I missed that.  No, BA, we don’t honestly believe avoiding talking about a no hitter will help it occur, but it’s a fun thing to do in the sake of tradition.

Anyway, we were very excited after the seventh inning.  At that point came the highlight of my Philly trip.  Three guys in the row in front of us got up to leave (Who leaves in the middle of a no hitter?).  One turned to me and said, “If he no hits us, I’m coming back here and beating the shit out of you.”

Uh… Heh?

I laughed, half nervously, thinking he must be kidding.  Then I looked at his face, and it was completely serious.  Wow!  I was 100% threatened by a Philadelphia hooligan!  How awesome is that?

My friends spent the Brewers half of the eight convincing me I hadn’t been an obnoxious or arrogant fan, so I wasn’t really that worried.  It just made for what I thought was a funny story.

After Hall’s amazing play to start the eighth, I think we really started to think it might happen.  It seems like most no hitters have one great play that keeps it alive, and that one was outstanding.  That has to be the best defensive play I’ve ever seen while attending a game.  Our seats were on the aisle, so when he threw him out I jumped into the aisle with my hands up.  Even the guys I was with were excited, and they didn’t care about the Brewers at all–they just wanted to see a no hitter.

Of course, it ended the very next batter with the mammoth Matt Stairs home run off the foul pole.  Disappointing, but that was still awesome.  That was by far the furthest I’ve seen a no hitter taken in person.

With those two wins in Philly, I’ve built quite an impressive road record the last several months.  Since I’ve successfully erased the fact that I attended the Aramis Ramirez walk off game in Wrigley a couple years ago, I’m now 4-0 on road Brewer games (Pittsburgh, Arizona, Philly twice).  Not too shabby.

I’ll probably throw up another post tomorrow because I actually want to talk about the team, but I figured I’d keep that separate.

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