Pence Feels The Passion
Hunter started in RF for Houston in Milwaukee on Friday night, was removed in the fifth inning because he was dealt to the Phillies, 24 hours later he started in right field for the Phillies and received a Citizens Bank Park goose-bump welcome. Quite a swing in emotions.
He was cheered when he walked on the field for BP on Saturday, cheered when he hit some bombs into the second deck in left field, cheered when he came out to stretch just before the game’s start, cheered when the lineup was announced, received a standing-O when he went to right field and again for his first at-bat.
The night had the electricity of a postseason game and Hunter felt the fans’ passion. There’s nothing like the passion of Phillies fans. Nothing.
Frank Coppenbarger is the team’s Director, Travel and Clubhouse Services. He’s the one who assigns the uniform numbers, among a thousand other duties. “After the trade, I called him. I had looked up his college number, 8. With the Astros, 9. I told him 9 wasn’t available. He asked about 8 and I said that’s Shane’s. I told him if he wanted a single digit number, 3 is available or I have some double-digit numbers. He said, ‘Let’s go with 3, new team, new number.’’
So, Hunter is 3. The last impact player to wear that number for the Phillies was Dale Murphy, also a right fielder.
“After the game, I offered to drive him to his center city hotel,” said Frank. “As we were pulling out of the parking area, about 50 fans were still there. He asked me to stop. You know, he signed for everyone and told them how happy he was to be here. I tell you, he couldn’t have handled the entire night any better. The fans are going to love this guy.”
Meanwhile, the Majestic Clubhouse Store began turning out Pence #3 jerseys as fast as they could. There wasn’t time to have them mass produced so they had to put the letters and number on the back of the jersey which takes some time. They sold 65 of them. By Wednesday, a large shipment of Pence jerseys and red t-shirts will be available.
When Hunter took the field on Sunday, a little girl was standing in right field, a Sunday tradition (nine kids are selected to be on the field with the Phillies for the Anthem). He bent over and said something to the girl. Next thing you know, both were waving and acknowledging the standing-O he was receiving from the faithful in right field. That little girl has a memory that will last her lifetime.
He capped the day by scoring the winning run. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script.
Sweep gave the Phillies an 18-5 record over the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, the Pirates have a 22-13 edge . . . After Sunday’s game, the Phillies boarded a Delta charter flight to Denver. They start a grueling 10-game road trip Monday night against the Rockies. After three in Denver, four in San Francisco and then three in Los Angeles. By the time they a return, the August calendar will have turned from the 1 to12. Time flies . . . Phillies have won 16 or more games six straight months, a club record . . . They are 36-17 on weekends this season, best in the NL . . . 26-11 day game record is also the league’s best . . . Howard has 274 career home runs, half of Schmidt’s club record.
Down On The Farm
First-place Lehigh Valley dropped 3. Domingo Brown started if LF Saturday night and stretched his LV hitting streak to a club-record 19 games (covering last season and two stints there earlier this season) . . . Reading dropped 2 of 3 in New Hampshire . . . Clearwater won 2 of 3 in Palm Beach as RHS Julio Rodriguez improved his record to 14-6 with his 6th straight win . . . Lakewood won 2 of 3 in West Virginia. RHS David Buchanan (11-5) was promoted to Clearwater . . . Williamsport won all 3 to move within 1 game of first place . . . Gulf Coast League Phillies lost a pair to the Yankees by a combined 25-10 score.