Independent Philly was in the house on Monday, April 5th as President Obama threw out the first pitch at the Phillies opening game (in Washington vs. the Nationals) and Roy “Doc” Halladay was on the mound for the Phillies in his first official game in a Philadelphia uniform.
The Fightins fell behind 1-0 before taking the lead 2-1 (on Ryan Howard’s first homerun of the season) and they never looked back eventually winning 11-1.
Despite Obama and Halladay both taking the mound, the day really belonged to third baseman Placido Polanco (not pictured) who was making his first start in his second stint with the Phillies.
Polanco went three for five with 6 RBI (including a grand-slam).
The popular Phillies chant “Everybody Hits!” rang true during this game as every Phillies’ starter (including Halladay) got at least one hit.
Phillies’ fans took over the Nationals stadium and could be heard chanting “sucks” after each member of the Nationals team was announced before the game as well as cheering during every big play by the defending National League Champions.
Granted the Nationals aren’t the on the same level as the Phillies but if the opening game (the first opener the Phillies have won in the past five years) is any indication, there could be another parade down Broad Street come October/November.
A week later, on Monday, April 12th (after a 5-1 start) Independent Philly was at the game in south Philadelphia as the Phillies officially opened Citizen’s Bank Park and raised their 2009 NL Championship banner.
The opening ceremony featured a red carpet introduction of the Phillies (as they entered through center field) and several displays by the U.S. military including Navy Seals parachutting into the stadium (one with a Phillies banner attached to him).
The Phillies (without Jimmy Rollins who was a late scratch with a calf strain that could have him out for up to a month) fell behind 4-0 as Cole Hamels struggled early but as is the case with this team, battled back, scoring seven runs in two innings.
The Phillies are now 6-1 (their best start since starting 8-1 in 1993 when they lost in the World Series to the Blue Jays).
The game was the 43rd straight sell out for the Phillies at home (dating back to last season) and the remaining 80 games at CBP this season are all but sold out as well.
It just goes to show that if you build it in Philadelphia (a contender, not a new stadium) the fans will come.