The 2015 season was unforgettable. We couldn’t wait until the last game. The Phillies were trying to avoid 100 losses on the season, so that was something to root for, anyway.
Birds often fly over the stadium looking for food scraps, so it’s not unusual to see them. But in the third inning, three Canadian geese, all close beside each other, flew right over our section in left field, screeching and carrying on something awful.
I looked up just in time to see the two outer birds converge on the center one…who immediately began a full-fledged plummet to earth! OH MY GOD! I just witnessed a bird homicide. Apparently none of the other fans saw this, however (except my daughter-who heard me screaming).
The bird hit the earth in foul (fowl?) territory, landing right by a security guard, who was surprised by this falling object and didn’t exactly know what to do. The Phillies beat writers on Twitter were having a field day with it, though. Ryan Lawrence thought the bird died of boredom for having to watch even one more game. Another writer couldn’t see where it came from and wondered how it was murdered. (I saw the whole thing, officer, I really did. Birdsy Moran did it. I’m scarred for life now!)
The poor guard had to find a shovel to dump it over the fence to be disposed of before the Phanatic saw it and claimed it for a relative.
My previous story, Part I of this little “fan stories” combo, started in the 2011 season. Early that year we were first in line for an autograph session with Darren Daulton. My daughter, Dani, and I got baseballs and hats autographed and talked a little bit with “Dutch”, and then he asked if we wanted our picture taken with him. Really? Sure we did. How nice of him to take time for that. He looked so good back then. We all know what happened after that. You just can’t take any of the time you have in this life for granted.
I didn’t feel right the entire 2012 season. My appetite was off. I gained a little weight. When the season ended, it turned out I also had cancer. My doctor sent me to an oncologist who recommended all kinds of tests. He asked if I had any questions. This is what I said:
“Every year, my daughter and I get Sunday season tickets to the Phillies games. I haven’t purchased them yet for next year. Should I still get them?“
The first stage of a cancer diagnosis is often denial. This was my way of asking “How bad is this?” My oncologist told me to wait. More testing, and more waiting, and with each test I would ask each tech or nurse the same question, “Should I get my tickets?” Each person would look at me and give me a sad smile, and say, “Wait until your next appointment.”
Two weeks later, my doctor called and set up a meeting with a surgeon. I went to that appointment and the surgeon explains the procedure and all the organs that he will be removing. He tells me it will take eight weeks to recover. I ask him the same question I’ve asked everyone else. He smiles and says what I wanted to hear, “Looks like you’ve dodged that bullet. Go ahead and order those tickets.”
On Opening Day 2013, Channel 29 was interviewing fans on what Opening Day meant to them. For me, it meant renewal, my life back. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig, “Today I consider myself the luckiest (person) on the face of the earth.”
NOTE: Visit the Darren Daulton Foundation website for information on their mission and to learn how you can get involved.