Holy Hotness! And I don’t mean Chase Utley, ladies! I mean the temperature. This year’s Phillies Phestival for ALS was really, really hot and humid. So hot and humid that at times my camera actually stopped working. A fine mist in the air kept me off the field where I got some really great shots last year. So, i did the best I could along the concourse. The Phillies Phestival is an annual event that gives the fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite Phillies.
This event is a really fun focus group of which players are the fan favorites. Obviously the Phillies have their core group of players that are always popular, but the Phillies Phestival is a great event to see that popularity play out in real time. That said? Jayson Werth has truly achieved rock star status with the fans. He was one of the few players that was set up in the upper deck, (most were on the main concourse of Citizens Bank Park), and he needed the extra space. Ashburn Alley was filled with the Jayson Werth overflow of fans waiting to get their ball, bat, or breast! signed by the hunky outfielder. (Yep, lots of the Werth waiting line were ladies!). You would think it’s pretty demoralizing and emasculating for throngs of women to look right through you to catch a glimpse of a go-jillionarie baseball guy ten years younger than you that looks like a movie star? (And it is!) But actually it couldn’t happen to a more decent guy as Werth is a really good sport, great with the fans (girls and the guys) and super patient. He even got me some pictures quickly so I could move on and let the people that had to wait in line get back at him. He reminds me of a good friend’s catch phrase…”It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive!” Jayson seems super glad. And it makes people around him, even people that waited well over an hour, super glad to just spend a few seconds with him.
Of course that is not to take away from any of the other Phillies perennial favorites. Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and newcomer Roy Halladay all had steady streams of fans waiting and all greeted the fans with nothing but smiles and class. Carlos Ruiz’s station was much, much more crowded this year and it seems his popularity with the fans is finally catching up with his popularity with his team mates. (Spend anytime around the Phillies and it is apparent how much they love “Chooch.” ) He’s also a great catcher that kind of gets lost in the shuffle of being on a really talented team. I’d like to see him catch in the All-Star Game one of these days, but I will save that for another blog.