Today was a strange day-- the first time visiting a park I probably wouldn't have ever visited in the normal course of things were it not for this little endeavor. The resultant emotions were a bit... heady.
We managed to leave our apartment in the west Baltimore suburbs (in Unfinished Business World Tour shirts, natch), make a fuel and breakfast stop, marvel at the tolls on 95, get gassed by the chemical plants in Delaware, let me breathe a hesitant sigh of relief at being in my native state (though on the wrong side), and managed to get to the park by 11am-- a full two-and-a-half hours prior to game time. Which was okay-- we snagged a decent parking space and had plenty of time to scope out the place-- including the giant inflated Phanatic outside.
It was a little tricky to get a picture with the inflatable and NOT the insides of our nostrils. And I kind of like how he's standing on R's head. Sadly, we didn't encounter the real Phanatic in the stadium, either (he didn't seem to make the same kind of random appearances as the Pirate Parrot or the Presidents in DC), so we made do with his cardboard doppleganger.
The park was nice enough, though even pricer than Nationals park. I'm not sure Nick ever got to visit this one. The last time he-- or I-- were in the city proper was in 2004 for my Jeopardy! tryout. I remember that he took a ride out to see it, but I don't think he actually saw a game there.
Note that this was NOT the view from our seats. Contrary to popular belief, being a humble civil servant doesn't pay nearly that well. Our seats were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up high, in the topmost, lastmost, highestmost row in the park. The actual view was more like this
Definitely nosebleed seats, but not too bad all things considered. And even better, we were under the cover in the shade and benefited from the near-constant breeze. One thing that was a little weird was the complete lack of real soft pretzels-- all we saw were the same Super Pretzels that are in every ballpark, which was definitely odd for Philadelphia. But we did find the "Pennsylvania Dutch" funnel cake concession, so we managed to get some kind of local flavor. All in all, not too bad a day at the ballpark despite my heavy heart. But because we both have work tomorrow, we had to leave in the 9th (the Phillies eventually managed to scrape out a W in the 12th).
I'm wrapping this up on a cutesy note, because I really can't share what R did on Nick's behalf in Philadelphia in this forum. It's just our little secret, but I think he would have made Nick proud. Or at least laugh. We made pretty good time heading home, so we made a quick pit stop in Havre de Grace, to see the tiniest most adorable lighthouse on the Chesapeake.