Dear Scott & Larry:
Several months ago, you were in the middle of a standard broadcast from the radio booth in Citizens Bank Park. You were safe up there; not only from the late September cold front, but from whatever subhuman miscreants would actually attend a game in which a long-eliminated Phillies team was playing the first nine of the season's final 18 innings. There was essentially no reason for the stadium to be anything but empty, making your job to convey the images of the meaningless Phillies-Marlins contest to fans across the valley all the simpler. Some nights, it is probably exhilarating to cover baseball; others, such as this one, your mind was likely drifting to the planned family time and booked vacation packages of the off-season after a monotonous summer of watching the Phillies lose almost 100 games.
And then the screaming started.
Easy to ignore at first - it's just screaming; in Philadelphia that's how we communicate - it continued. During one of the many, many breaks in the game's action, you suddenly realized that this was not just the regular incoherent shrieks of some fans at the ends of their rope - it was YOUR name being called.
My god, you must have thought. They've finally come for me.
You both almost certainly had to have looked at each other, nodded, and produced the keys that the team gave you as part of the Radio Booth Defense Program. Inserting them into the console, you were a pair of simultaneous key-turns away from unleashing the booth's countermeasures (A boiling cauldron of grease dumping onto whatever fans are climbing up to see you) when you realized that the sounds were coming from a box suite several sections away. There was no immediate peril, and thankfully, you disarmed the device.
Alarm turned to curiosity, and Scott, you peaked your head out of the booth window a bit to see what the ruckus was about. Not long after, you gave Larry a quick beckon to do the same. There you saw two fans, clearly the source of the disturbance, waving their arms and shouting your names. Realizing they had your attention, they responded by intensifying their complimentary booze-fueled actions.
You threw them a wave, and they were grateful, but also amused, as an inning or so later, they did it again, and you responded in kind once more. It was a charming bit of raw, front line PR work for which the pair of dolts will be eternally grateful.
They would also like to apologize.
It's not every day one can come on down to the stadium and see a last place team lose to a second-to-last-place team in a driving rain storm with the season about to end. K Lot is desolate, cold, and scary; Eagles fans are nesting in piles like giant, sweaty mice to stay warm throughout the week, but the Phillies fans are at home, researching what thing other than baseball they could spend all next summer doing. On a self-loathing whim, Liz and I wound up there tailgating a game, to which there was no way the reported 16,240 in attendance actually attended. Without a car, we shivered like peasants in the empty parking lot while drinking by a support beam, and for some reason, not wondering why we were doing it.
And then, a twist of fate - an invitation from within the stadium to not only come inside, but venture into the hallowed halls of the Citizens Bank Park executive suites, where the Yuengling bottles flowed and there is usually some kind of cheesesteak-themed finger food. Our boldness soared as we ascended the stairs, climbing all the closer to God and therefore becoming his equal. We had the choice to step outside into the frigid maelstrom and actually watch some Phillies baseball, and naturally did so, despite our companions warning us of the dangers of both. From our perch, there you, Scott and Larry, were, safe and defenseless. I mean, warm. Safe and warm.
It didn't take more than baseline common sense to know that attempting to scale the wall into the booth to exchange hellos would end with some vigorous tasering (and most likely an invitation to never return to Citizens Bank Park), so we had to settle for shouting at you. So that explains the shouting. What's a couple of aggressive screams between new best friends?
Upon waking up the following day, it seemed the adult thing to do was pretend not to remember what had occurred and never talk about it. But obviously, people can only live with such stains on their souls for so long, and we decided that inevitably, we'd have to apologize for our actions. Then we decided it would happen by day two of the season. Then the Phillies' home opener. Then Scott's birthday. Then Larry's birthday. Look, stuff got in the way. The point is, here we are.
Anyways, here it is: You didn't seem upset, and we weren't particularly upsetting. I'm a frequent receiver of waves, and the ones you guys threw us felt pretty genuine. There's not a lot of reasons to feel like you should be at a Phillies game in October when the team's trying to fight off a 100-loss season and the local weather forecasters are just pulling their hair and shrieking, but you found a way to make the night worth the subway ride. As did the Maikel Franco home run. But we are pretty certain you did not have much to do with that.
All right. Glad that's out of the way. We're looking forward to another long, fun, long season at The Bank hanging out with you guys. Because we're technically in the same building so it qualifies as a hang-out.
We're going to be telling people that we hung out with you. Just to be clear.