SPORTO: The Hating Is The Hardest Part


BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY I’d never been to Citizens Bank Park. I’m not even a Phillies fan — all Astros all the time. My favorite color is orange, and growing up in the late ’70s those rainbow uniforms spoke to me. The last three years I’ve been working as a minor league baseball announcer in South Jersey, and haven’t had a chance to see the Fightins in their new home. But the Giants were in town and I wanted to see good ol’ Barry, so last Monday I packed up the toddler and made the trip.

I wore my #75 Oakland A’s Zito shirt. Barry has always been one of my favorites, because he’s a lefty and because I love watching that ridiculous curve ball. And Zito had it going on Monday, as barryzito.jpghe and Jon Lieber traded zeroes for the first four innings before a Ryan Klesko homer opened the floodgates to an 8-1 Giants win. I can’t say I watched much of the game, as watching a 2-year old at a baseball stadium takes most of your attention. We sat in left field for the first few innings, conveniently behind the other Barry, Mr. Bonds. I’ll admit that was part of my motivation for going on Monday, thinking that if Bonds hits nine home runs I might catch a million-dollar baseball (although I’d imagine the bottom has dropped out of the steroid-fueled-home-run-record-ball market since those two fools made the lawyers rich fighting over Barry’s 73rd, from 2001).

How do you think the Philadelphia fans treated Bonds? Awed admiration? Silent respect? Muffled disdain? Ahh … if Santa Claus can’t catch a break you know Barry wouldn’t. He was heartily booed when he came to the plate, but what cracked me up was when he was playing the field. A few bozos in left-center took it upon themselves to try to start some chants insulting Bonds. They came up with “You took steroids! You took steroids!” Clever. Another was “HGH! HGH!” After that, about all they had left in the arsenal was “Baaaarrryyy. Baaaarrryy.” Sad, really.bonds30806.jpg

It was my son’s first ever Major League game, so I’ll leave you with his thoughts:

Where are we going? This place is far. What is he feeding me? Another sandwich? Jeez Dad, think outside the white bread. I’ll eat the ham but not this cheese. Ten bucks for parking? For Elmo’s sake, this isn’t even close. Finally we’re here. Who are all these people? The activity on that field looks interesting — but wait! This seat folds up-and-down! Awesome! Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Bored now. What’s this round sticky thing on the ground? Why would the manager have Utley sacrifice with two on and no outs in the first inning? They’ll just walk Howard. See, told ya. Now the white team has given away an out and used up their two best hitters and is counting on Jayson Werth. Morons. This team’s gonna be lucky to finish ahead of the Nats. Wake me up if Werth does anything. Zzzzzzzz…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Wolverton spent two seasons as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Atlantic City Surf and has also had stints as an official scorer, public address announcer and two years as a hockey broadcaster. This year he is play-by-play announcer and official scorer of his newborn son. In between, he will be writing about sports for Phawker.

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