Friday, April 2, 2021

Game 1 - Welcome Home! Fans Return to Citizens Bank Park

2021 Chachi #31

Phillies 3
, Braves 2 (10 Innings)
Game 1 - Thursday Afternoon, April 1st in Philadelphia
Record - 1-0, 1st Place, 1/2 game ahead of the Mets and Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  For the first time in 550 days, fans were in attendance at a regular season Phillies game, and we were treated to a walk-off, extra inning win.

What It Means:  The longest offseason is over.  8,529 grateful fans braved the elements and took in the sights and smells of Phillies baseball.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola was brilliant through six innings, and then ran into trouble in the seventh when he allowed a double to Cristian Pache and a long home run to pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval.  That tied the game at 2-2.  The Phillies had scored their first two runs earlier on an Alec Bohm sacrifice fly and a J.T. Realmuto infield single.

The bullpen quartet of Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon kept the Braves from scoring over the final four innings, and the defense was solid with excellent plays from Bohm and Didi Gregorius.  In the 10th, with Bryce Harper starting the inning at second base, Jean Segura chopped a single down the third base line to plate the winning run.

2021 Topps Opening Day #128
2021 Topps #109

Featured Card / Field Report:  My oldest son Doug and I attended this game, and I was admittedly a little emotional as we made our way to our seats in the Hall of Fame Club.  It was a much more subdued opening day out of necessity, but the ceremonies fit the mood as anything too over the top would have been too much to take.  Just being there was enough.

We did two full laps around the ballpark to see what was and wasn't open, and to make sure there definitely weren't any Phillies team-issued photo cards available for sale*.  My sole souvenir purchase was a Phillies Media Guide and given the cold, windy weather we had to strategize a little on our food purchases.  We waited until after the fifth inning to venture over to Bull's BBQ and the limited menu (for now) was a welcome sight.  After Bull's, we enjoyed a dessert of Shake Shack fries.

It was great to run into fellow Phillies fans we knew and who we hadn't seen in over a year and a half.  While the interactions were brief, those still marked another milestone as we get closer to normalcy.  After 550 days, it was wonderful to walk back into the ballpark and cheer, boo, eat, smile and hope.

*We were told photo cards may go on sale later in the season if there's enough interest and if the ballpark returns to full capacity.  Scorecards were also a casualty of the reduction in available souvenirs.

Transaction:  Ronald Torreyes (inf) was officially selected to the roster with Kyle Dohy (lhp) passing through waivers and outrighted to Lehigh Valley.

2021 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2021 Season Summary Index 2021 Chachi Set Checklist

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