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|Memorable scene at the Vet
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09/26/2003 10:49 PM ET
Memorable scene at the Vet
PHILADELPHIA -- Spotlights, worthy of a Hollywood premiere, shone into the
South Philadelphia sky Friday night.
But this wasn't a premiere.
In fact, it was a closing.
The rays, crossing each other in unison, came from outside Veterans Stadium
-- where the 33-year-old concrete structure was playing host to its final
night baseball game.
While the Phillies, the residents of that structure for those 33 years, lost
Friday night's game, the 58,096 fans in attendance didn't seem to mind too
Those fans were enraptured in an event.
Those fans came to the Vet clad in jerseys, bearing names from Schmidt (and
beyond) to Burrell, donning hats, jackets, pins, T-shirts and more -- almost
all red in color.
Mike Schmidt, himself, helped get the festivities under way. The Hall of
Famer threw out the ceremonial first ball. On the receiving end of Schmidt's
toss was Bob Boone, a fellow member of the Phillies' 1980 World Series
Even though the 2003 edition of the Phillies missed their chance at the
Wild Card in Florida earlier this week, there was an air at the Vet that was
different than that of a pennant race. Maybe it was the myriad of camera
flashes throughout the game, or perhaps it was the jovial nature of the crowd
or maybe it was just a feeling of being part of something nostalgic.
Steve Carlton, the pitcher with the most wins in Veterans Stadium history,
changed the "Vet Countdown" number to "2" [games remaining at the ballpark]
in the middle of the sixth inning -- cheers and more flashes ensued.
And once the game concluded -- a seemingly meaningless loss -- the fans
flooded the Vet turf.
Then, the lights were turned out for the last time, setting the stage for
the final fireworks display at the Vet.
A colorful display lit up the sky as a roar beckoned from the crowd
And before the crowd streamed to the exits, many stopped to take one last
photo -- or at least soak in one final memory.
Mike Gennaria is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not
subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Mike Gennaria / Special to MLB.com