07/27/10 3:10 PM ET
Phillies have some fun at the airport
Victorino and Co. surprise Southwest passengers
By Zach Schonbrun / MLB.com
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies," he began, smiling. "Momentarily we will begin boarding flight number 243 to Raleigh-Durham."
Victorino and outfielder Ben Francisco, along with the Phanatic, the ballgirls and members of the Phillies broadcast team, greeted unsuspecting passengers in the Southwest Airlines terminal Tuesday afternoon in a promotional campaign to thank Southwest employees and fans for their support of the Phillies.
Victorino stood by the Gate E17 entrance and announced the boarding procedure for the next Southwest 747 due for takeoff to North Carolina. Francisco stood out on the tarmac holding batons and waved Flight No. 243 from Manchester, N.H., in to its gate.
"At your service!" he cried.
Phillies broadcaster Gary "Sarge" Matthews hopped onto the flight to greet the passengers, they were getting ready to get off. He was prepared to tell them they could take their seatbelts off. But when he got on he found that they were already standing.
"I had to tell them to put their seatbelts back on," Matthews said.
Radio and television broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy made announcements for the next flight over the loudspeakers for the terminal. And the Phanatic hopped onto the cart to push the flight out onto the runway.
"I was jealous, I wanted to bring the plane in," Victorino said. "But that's alright, I get to read to our fellow passengers and get them on the plane and on their way."
Victorino was also critical of Francisco's baton-waving skills, teasing Francisco for hailing in the plane askew.
"He did a good job though," Victorino said. "So far the plane hasn't hit the windows."
Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.