I look to the clock, 12:30.
"Sorry Mo, we still have an hour until we will leave." I say.
"I am just so excited!" she continues, "I can't wait to see Chase and Cole and Shane and Roy".
"The little hand needs to be on the one and the big hand on the six and then we can leave". I say as I gesture to the large clock over the mantel.
Fans can recognize players in uniform, share a few statistics, watch their favorite teams on the television and wear the logo on the occasional t-shirt or hat. Then there are those fanatics, who know in depth information about players, use words like "on base percentage", "hits with runners in scoring position" and "earned run average" in everyday use, DVR games or listen to the game while in actual attendance, and have a closet filled with their team's attire.
My parents are fanatics, or rather being from the Philadelphia area "phanatics". We were raised on a steady dose of Red and White, and as we have grown, their love for the Phils has too. T-shirts, Sweatshirts, shorts, jerseys, beach towels, stickers, baseballs, pennant, and hats fill their basement, making it a virtual Phillies shrine. Into their isolette in the hospital, Phillie Phanatic dolls were placed next to my newborn daughters and their first gloves bought not soon after we brought them home. While many grandfathers may have recited the alphabet or nursery rhymes while their grandchild sat on their knee, my father held Mo and later Maeve in his arms, while they perused his collection of bobble heads and autographed baseballs.
"Hello Cole Hamels" she would say, as he would lift the doll from the desk. With her fingers she would touch his disproportionally large head, it would bob and together, they would laugh.
They would continue.
"Hello, Chase Utley".
"Hello, Steve Carlton"
On they would go, saying hello to each. A history of the club presented in Bobblehead form. A primer for my three and one year old. Their indoctrination began here, and so it should not be a surprise when she speaks of these players as if they are family.
The Phillies are part of our family.
Thus, leading us to the most anticipated (or dreaded depending on the weather forecast) day of the season, Photo Day. The one day during the season when the players interact with the fans.
"It's time Mo!" I say, as I finish spraying sunscreen over her thin arms and legs.
"Did you see my number, Daddy?" she asks. Recently she only wants to wear shirts with numbers on them. "I"m Chase".
"I see it" he says as he looks to me smirking. "Have fun with your mommy! Don't get too hot!" he continues, the smile grows wider on his face.
Last year, as I remained in the cool of our home with an infant, he suffered through a mid afternoon heatwave in July crowded on the field.
Today is my turn.
"I'm going to see Chase! He gonna hold me and say hi!" she starts. "I also gonna say hi to Roy for you Shiny" she tells Maeve.
We make it to the stadium and find our family in the crowd of red and white.
And so it goes, one more lesson in the education of a Phillies fan.
The moral of the day, bring an adorable kid and have your Phanatic father yell to players repeatedly "You're my granddaughters' favorite, come over please!".
This is what happens:
Popsie & Mo
Mo & Antonio Bastardo (relief pitcher)
Popsie, Mo, & Shane Victorino
C.C. (Cousin Cindy), Mo, & Wilson Valdez
Popsie, Mo, & Ryan Howard
Mo with her two favorite guys: Popsie and Chase Utley