Welcome To My Book Blog

A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Opening Day!

What's a blog if you sometimes can't go off topic when excited about a special day? I've been a lifelong Phillies fan. When they won the series in 1980 I worked for a newspaper and our entire office went crazy with excitement. Many of the sports writers crossed the river for the celebration parade (I had to stay in the office...I believe it was a Tuesday) but one reporter brought me back an audio of my favorite Tug McGraw (the closer) saying hello to me with his autographed photo. I was thrilled. I had been to many games that year and watched them play the Astros, their biggest threat that year. I remember like it was yesterday the tear that ran down Jose Cruz's cheek (of the Astros) when the Phils won the pennant. I felt sorry for Jose, but was ecstatic for the Phils...it had been a long time coming! This was also a time when both of my sons were superb Little League players and I tried to make every single one of their games. Those games could be as exciting as watching a major league game!

The Phils went back to the series the very next year (with a new team, as many of the players had been traded...something I still can't reconcile with) but they lost in 1981. Through the remaining 80s, I had been promoted several times in the Calkin's Newspaper Group and was in a wonderful executive position to be in charge of the old Veteran's Stadium luxury, penthouse Skybox. I got to pick about 20 games a year and was able to watch the games from the box with whomever I invited to share the experience. It was wonderful: valet parking, catering, open bar, plush suite, BUT THE PHILS WEREN'T WINNING!!! I'd have traded the skybox for nosebleed seats to only have them win, but in all honesty, it was really a special privilege to have overseen the skybox for several years.

Then came 1993. The Phils were really doing well again. My favorite player was a young second baseman, Mickey Morandini (I don't know why, other than I thought he really had promise). But, as always, I loved all of the Phils. We had Mitch Williams then as a closer... he lived up to his name: WILD THING. Everyone cringed, literally, every time Mitch pitched. Phil’s star starter, pitcher Curt Shillings used to put a towel over his head when Mitch pitched! It was the year Bob and I had started our own business and we were working every night, late into the wee hours of the morning. The Phils were always on our shop TV. I remember one game that went 17 innings, I believe until after 4 AM. There was a woman's voice screaming from the stands..."MITCH, WE LOVE YOU, MITCH" over and over. Bob's brother at the time worked security at Vet's stadium. He said the woman’s screeching kept him up at nights for months!

The Phils beat the Braves in 1993 to win the pennant. The Braves (or Red Sox) are picked to win the series this year (I hope the Phils don't suffer the curse of being on the cover of SI). Bob and I attended the 1993 Phils/Braves game in Philly and we had excellent seats near third base, thanks to Bob's brother, Tommy, who still worked at the Vet parttime. Some really odd things happened that night....first, while we were watching the game, a woman's purse landed at Tommy's feet from the upper level. It contained $26,000.00 in cash, with no identification. Tommy, working security, immediately turned it in... turns out the woman and her husband, from Atlanta. GA. hadn't time to get to the bank after closing their business as they were catching a plane to come watch their Braves. Her husband suffered a mild heart attack while watching the game at the Vet, and she jumped up and the purse filled with money fell. She did get it returned and her husband was okay. Then, Tommy found a little toy replica of the Philly Phanatic (the team's mascot) and he handed it to me. I remember clutching it, with my hand in my pocket, KNOWING that it would help win the game for the Phils. Don't forget, whether you are a baseball fan or not, it's ALL about superstition -- ever see "Bull Durham?")... I still have that little Phanatic toy I hold to this day on important games!

The Phils won the game that night in 1993….Mitch was not pitching... it was Danny Jackson who threw the last pitch. Then there was mayhem... all the police came out on the horses, and protected the field...it was simply SURREAL....it looked like a magical, special place on earth for the next half hour. The Phils stayed on the field... no one left the stadium, and we cheered until we had no voices left! That was the year of "Whoop, there it is!" the Northeast answer to the Braves tomahawk "chop and chant" -- it was wonderful, memorable, and something every baseball fan should experience! But, the night was not over! Tommy had us wait until the Phils were done celebrating in the locker room, and then we went to Legends Bar and Tavern not far from the stadium. While many fans were dancing and celebrating in the streets, Bob and I were at Legend's celebrating the pennant win WITH THE PHILS! About a third of the team showed up and I was beside myself. I could not believe I got to party WITH the Phils on the night they won the pennant to play in the World Series! I stood chatting with Mickey Morandini and his wife for about a half hour. I thought I might be over-doing it. over-staying my welcome, but it seemed Mickey's wife liked talking with me...maybe she was overwhelmed, and I certainly was not acting like a rabid fan, although that was exactly what I was! About 4:30 AM that night, in walked Jim Fregosi, the team's manager/coach. I was about ready to leave, but not before approaching Jim to tell him I thought he was the best manager in Phil's history. He smiled, shook my hand and asked me to sit with him for a few minutes at the bar. I really had to pinch myself! I was chatting with Fregosi about BASEBALL for the next half hour. I finally wished him the best for the series when I left about 5:15 AM. I took home many autographs, my special ticket stubs, and knew that no matter what physical memento I brought home would never match the special memory of that super-special experience. I remember it like it was yesterday!

In 2008, the Phils beat the Rays in the World Series. It was one of the most bizarre series ever, with weather interrupting the games and maybe even the outcome...but it was the Phils who paraded down Broad Street in Philadelphia once more! Then, in 2009, the Phils went back to the series and lost to the Yankees. The Yanks came alive and even though the Phils had enhanced their pitching with a young Cliff Lee, the Yanks prevailed. Then, the Phils went ahead and traded Lee and I don't think I've ever been angrier with management over that decision! You don't let go of a pitcher like Lee! But, they acquired Roy Halladay who last year had a perfect game in the season and a no hitter in the playoffs! And they got Roy Oswalt, who I really like. And they kept Cole Hamels, who was instrumental in winning the 2008 series. But, I missed Cliff Lee. 99% of the Phil’s fans missed him! But, the Phils fell short of the series last year, and I would say that's because of a young pitcher named Tim Lincecum of the Giants who is awesome. I've nicknamed him "The Shark" and I fear him as a baseball fan of an opposing team should. I watched him closely last season, and noticed when he releases the ball, his eyes seem to roll upward, like a shark's eyes do upon attack. I can't believe I've never heard it mentioned in the news! He doesn't even SEE where that perfect pitch is going! But, my favorite pitcher EVER is Cliff Lee, here on the cover of Sports Illustrated!

A few months ago, I woke up early and put the news on...it was about 5:30 AM when I was half asleep and heard that Cliff Lee was BACK WITH THE PHILS! Was I dreaming? I sat up, tuned in, and learned he refused probably up to 30 Million more to be with the Phils, where he felt most at home and most valuable.

Now, he is front and center on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and although the Braves and the Red Sox are the predicted World Series winners for this season, I had to take this opportunity to give my PHAVORED PHILS (I know, the ph thing is overdone!) my own personal shout-out! Baseball fans love to “talk baseball” – I’m not opposed to hearing about YOUR team! :-)
I KNOW there’s a Red Sox diehard fan here and a Dodgers fan, too! (at least!). I can even listen to Amercan league fans, as long as you don't trash the Phils. lol.

I don't think there has ever been a more promising pitching line-up in baseball history than the Phils have this year. What will become of it remains to be seen. I wish all baseball fans a great season for their teams! I'm a true-blue National leaguer, but I respect all teams that get the job done. The Phils will suffer some offense problems this year, so other teams may take advantage of that, but I hope we work on that for next season. In the meantime, PLAY BALL and MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN!


  1. Hey Marti, that was some good reading, I like baseball too, its the only sport I do watch. Thanks for sharing. Pam

  2. Pam,
    I relived every moment of it as I wrote it! :-)

    When I was in grade school, I remember walking around the school playground with a transistor radio (mine was blue) listening to baseball games. I recall a Yankee's World Series game, and I was cheering because the Yanks were winning -- my mother was a Yankee fan. In the late 60's I went Phillies and never looked back.

  3. Hey Marti, PLAY BALL! I love it! When I heard that Cliff Lee chose to return to The Phillies, I know you'd be ecstatic! I must admit that I am jealous as I wish my team had your pitching line up. I'd settle for Lee and Halliday. LOL

  4. I love, love, love baseball, too! I'm a real Cubs fan, but like Tommy LaSorda says, "We're all baseball fans first," so I can root for any team and be sincere about it. I really like the Phillies, too. Opening day always has a special place in my heart. PLAY BALL!

  5. Roz, It was like a Christmas present for the entire Delaware Valley when we heard Cliff Lee returned! He seemed so nonchalant about it, too...like when he caught that behind-the-back ball in the 2009 series. Even non-fans had to smile at that one!

    Gabrielle, opening day really is special for baseball fans...just as closing day is really sad. It seems like such a long wait, and then you have to worry that your favorite players will choose other teams or be traded, and you hear of injuries, and you just want to watch a good game. Many people say baseball is boring, or moves too slowly... when you are really into a game and a fan, there's actually nothing more exciting. You find yourself WANTING each at-bat to last longer than it often does. You want the opposing team pitcher "worked" for as long as possible. When you see a grand slam... well, it's just so inspiring. You see next-to-humanly-impossible things happen in baseball, and I think that's what draws me more than anything.

    I am so impressed with the Dodger's game last night....they beat the defending World champs, the SF Giants! They beat the wonder pitcher, the two-time Cy Young award winner, Tim Lincecum! LA should be proud, but there are still many Dodger fans on the East Coast, as they used to be the Brooklyn Dodgers, and East Coasters are loyal through generations!

    I'm so fortunate because there are TWO fantastic Minor League stadiums within minutes of where I live: The Trenton Thunder on the Waterfront, and the Lakewood Blue Claws. Of course, I prefer Major League ball, but it's awesome to watch the Minor League games sometimes, too. I love the smaller stadiums.

  6. I was thinking I'd be here congratulating the Houston Astros for beating the Phils on their opening day today.

    A smart move by the Astros had been to use Myers as their starter -- Myers was the Phils opening day starting pitcher for many years! Even though Myers was up against the cream of the crop, the Phil's pitcher Halladay, there's something about baseball that carries with players when they move from team to team. Myers did a fantastic job, and almost won the game for the Astros! He felt right at home in Philly!

    By the 7th, I ran and grabbed my little lucky Phanatic toy and held it tight (the one I held when they won the pennant in 1993). It was looking like a Phil's loss until the bottom of the 9th...a real nail biter, but, as I said earlier about baseball, great things can happen at any given moment. The Phils took their opening game 5 to 4 in the bottom of the 9th. I'm very happy! During the game, I did say, however, "I've really missed this, but my stomach is in knots on day one... did I REALLY miss this?" The answer is still YES! lol

  7. Hi Marti, congrats on the Phillies win. I wish I could share your feelings. Yes this is the die hard Red Sox fan, sox lost to the Rangers today. It's been a tough day, I shoveled eight inches of snow this morning, it dosen't seem like spring here in Massachusetts and then this loss to the Rangers, 161 to go, I still think my team will face your team come October. My stomach is still in knots!!!!

  8. Rich,
    Believe it or not (you CAN believe it!) I am sorry the Red Sox lost! I LIKE the Red Sox, and believe me, I'd be behind them ALL THE WAY, even if it's the Phils they beat to go for the pennant! It hurts (physically! -- even tho some people won't understand that) when opening day is lost, but there are over 160 more games to go! As for the snow, we had our last (hopefully) cold nor'easter yesterday. Some snow fell but didn't stick, but the yellow forsythias in my yard are screaming that it's spring! And, baseball being back proves it! Today's another day!

  9. Marti, you could manage a team! :) Congratulations on the Phillies win! I'm a Cubs fan first, but I like the Phillies a lot. (I'm a National League girl, too.) I love to go to both major league and minor league games. At the minor league stadiums you almost get a sense of family. I know that "knot in the stomach" feeling, but this is what we wait for all winter long. Baseball!

  10. Hey Rich. I am a Red Sox fan, also. I was thrilled at Big Papi's HR but it was downhill from there. We need work on our pitching. Lackey tonight and that is not a good thing. LOL

    Hey Marti...maybe we need a baseball blog!

  11. I would LOVE a baseball blog! The Red Sox were swept, I know, but it's early. They are predicted for the World Series. I sure hope it's the Phils they'd play and not the Braves (as predicted). But, like I said before, if the Phils do not win the pennant, I'm for the Sox if they get in there...and if it's a series between the two, well, it would simply be great baseball.