The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 1

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Friday, June 20, 1997 - 7:35pm

Veterans Stadium

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pre-Game Report
 I called a friend of mine the other day to ask if he wanted to help kick off The Great American Baseball Trip with me. He said..."A Phillies Game?... What are you a masochist or something?" Sure, the Phillies have had their troubles in the early part of the season. And yes, the Atlanta Braves are one of baseball's best teams with pitching and hitting that will put a scare into any opposing team, let alone one with the limited potential of the Phillies. But the Braves had some trouble with the Orioles last week and are still licking their wounds from inter-league play. Perhaps the Phillies can steal a game from the defending National League Champions.

Stadium Stats - Veterans Stadium

Surface: Astroturf
Capacity: 62, 263
Dimensions: Left Field: 330 feet, Center Field: 408 feet, Right Field: 330 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Philly's Logo

Philadelphia Phillies

 It's hard to believe that this team, which is struggling to stay out of the National League East cellar, was in the World Series only four short years ago. I think everyone will agree that the Phillies are in the middle of a rebuilding phase.

 Their roster combines past stars Lenny Dykstra, Danny Tartabull, and Darren "dutch" Dalton with utility players Mickey Morandini, Kevin Stocker, and Gregg Jeffries (assuming he stays healthy, he can certainly be a threat). And their starting rotation includes Curt Schilling, one of the best all around pitchers in the majors, along with Mark Leiter and Mark Portugal, two crafty veterans to help the young pitchers learn the ropes.

 This team is still a few years from returning to the playoffs, but Terry Francona has the basis for a strong team, that can, at worst, make some of the contenders think twice before moving on to the next city.

Braves Logo

Atlanta Braves

 The Atlanta Braves, still stinging from last year's loss to the New York Yankees in the World Series, are AGAIN primed for a run at the title. Their team changed little from last season, and the addition of a new stadium in Atlanta has energized the fans for this year's pennant chase.

 Once again, the best starting rotation in baseball is in Atlanta. Cy Young winners Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, along with Denny Neagle continue to baffle National League batters and pave the way to the playoffs. And, the once overlooked Braves bullpen has been restructured to include Bryan Harvey, and Mike Bielecki as the set up men for Mark Wohlers, who is always ready to shut the door on opposing hitters.

 Unfortunately for opposing teams, the Braves dangers do not reside solely on the mound. The Braves lineup is as potent as ever, including veteran slugger Fred McGriff (the "crime dog") consistent producers Jeff Blauser and Mark lemke. The Brave barely feel the loss of David Justice, with exciting young superstars Javy Lopez, Ryan Klesko and Andruw Jones leading the way. Finally. the addition of Kenny Lofton, the pre-eminent leadoff hitter in all of baseball only adds speed to the already quick lineup and gives the 2, 3 and 4 hitters someone to bring home.

 Opposing managers are shaking in their cleats every time the Braves take the field.

Post-Game Report
 Atlanta 4, Phillies 1.

Check out all the details here, including my impressions of the stadium, batting practice, the team management I met, being up in the press box, the food, and the game and the fans.

Unfortunately, my digital camera didn't work, so you'll have to wait a few days while I get the "real" photos developed and my sister scans some of them in.

Highlights from the City of Brotherly Love

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