Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Keystone State

No silly, not 30 stones, I'm talking about Penns woods, or as many of you know it by- Pennsylvania.

We have spent 3 days in the lovely state of Pennsylvania, and we have enjoyed it quite nicely. While we saw a game at PNC(where the Pirates FINALLY won a game over the Cards), the real highlight of the trip was Citizens Bank Ballpark and the witnessing of Roy Halladay's greatness. Well, the only thing really of note to happen at PNC is the streak stayed alive and we got kicked out of a sparsely populated section in the 8th inning for not having tickets for that area- seriously?

So, any time you get to see the Phillies play, you should go. Why you may ask? You have an 40% chance(confirmed by stat guy mike) of seeing Halladay or Lee pitch. That is a ridiculous high percentage for 2 Cy Young winners. Luckily, we had both options available to us because of a rain out on Sunday. How you may ask? Simple, Halladay was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday and Lee on Tuesday. Due to the rainout, Halladay was pushed back to Tuesday and Lee to Wednesday. Since we didn't buy tickets until about 1130pm on Monday night, it was a perfect case of pick your poison. Do you want a stud Righty who could pitch a no-hitter at any moment? Or do you want a stud Lefty who could also rake at the plate?

We went with Halladay, and we were rewarded with a phenomenal performance. Halladay went the distance, racking up a mezmorizing 15k's and just completely befuddling the Dbacks lineup. He made professional players look like little leaguers with his combination of fastball, changeup, and curve. Just pure dominance. The night could have been even more special had he not allowed the first 3 batters to get on (2 of which scored) and squandering his 1 run lead and thus losing the ballgame. But he was phnnomenal nonetheless and the same way people talk about seeing Nolan Ryan pitch, Bob Feller pitch, Sandy Koufax pitch, or Bob Kibson pitch- we can now say the same about good ole' Doc Halladay.

In other notes around the game my burgeoning baseball career took a 5 mph step backward as I was only able to hit 71 on the gun out in right field. Its fine though, on Sunday I've got some long toss scheduled and a running+weights session to build up my stamina to get back to 80 mph's for the scouts.

The streak was also kept alive that night by Shane Victorino (the Flyin Hawaiian) going deep for a 2 run jack. Thank you Shane for paying attention to this blog. Supporting the cause is a big deal for all of us, and by going boneyard you ensured we can head into the final game with the streak in tact.

We'll move the food debate out of the usual section just so we can talk about the cheesesteak elephant in the room: Geno's or Pat's. Well in a shocking upset, Tony Luke's takes the cake in Mike and I's book. We were able to get our tourist on with Mrs. Fishman and Alie as they were there moving in- pretty sweet place I will say.

Because we hadn't had any eaten bfast yet- once we picked up Alie and Mama fish from the U-haul in West Philly (yes that West Philly for those singing along to the Fresh Prince theme song at home- from Mike "if I were Will Smith I wouldn't be upset going to Bel Aire") it was safe to say we were starving. Our first stop was scheduled to be John's, on recommendation from Big Don Fisher, unfortunately that was short lived as the grill was shut down since it was 245 and it closed at 3. So, on to Tony Luke's. Maybe it was the hunger in our eyes(I mean stomachs) or the endless amounts of grease coming off our food, but everything at Tony Luke's was delicious. The cheesesteak was simple, just a ton of meat+wiz and it was on a perfect bun. The cheesey fries+onion rings+mozzarella sticks were delicious as well. Maybe it was the wait we had, but it was mouthwateringly delicious, and not overly filling (I mean let's be serious, I actually contemplated doing the Tony Luke's ultimate challenge).

Anywhoo, after doing the touristy things: I.e Boathouse Row and running the Rocky Steps(I'm out of shape)it was time to retire to Alie's new bachelorette pad. After hanging there for a bit, and creepily observing the party going down by the pool, it was time to bid adieu. But not after sampling Geno's and Pat's- who in a weird act of cosmic fate are seperated by no more than 50 feet.

We decided to do what any normal person would do- get 2 cheesesteaks and split them. While we were not disappointed by either culinary creation, we were disappointed by the overwhelming flavor of pepper's and onions from Geno's. If your sandwhich is the cheesesteak, a complimentary additive such as peppers and onions should never overwhelm the sandwhich. Pat's on the other hand, was delicious- subtle taste of onion's but not overpowering. However, it could not top Tony Luke's. Thus, Tony Luke and his cheesesteak is the winner.

And, for those counting at home: Yes, that's 2 cheesesteak's in less than a 5 hour period. Or, exactly what your doctor does not advise. I swear people are jealous of my metabolism. I'm a fat kid at heart.

On to the stars of the shows:

Coming Attractions: We're enroute to D.C now. We just smelled Jersey and thankfully left it behind us. Touristy day tomorrow before Friday's game between the Phillies and Nationals- really looking forward to seeing that stadium.

What I Liked: Mike and I enjoyed the menu selection of SPRTR where we enjoyed the pre-game happy hour with Bobby Fisher and his dad Big Don. Unbelievable deal, half priced beers+ half priced appetizers allowed us to be very full before entering Citizen's Bank.

What I DIS-Like: Garmin has no idea how to navigate Pittsburgh. Very difficult to get lost there. Also, we don't appreciate the usher in the section half-way between 3rd base and the foul pole at PNC. Sir, when its not a sellout, you really shouldn't come in the 8TH INNING to check tickets. Relax bro, your team is falling faster than the stock market.

The Food Debate: The Mexican style chicken wings and wild boar taco's were delicious at SPRTR. But, I'll tell you what my fall season beer will be: Weyerbacher Pumpkin lager. It was unbelievably smooth and delicious but talk about about flavor. You could smell the Pumpkin from the moment you went to take a sip and the smell of pumpkin pie still resonates in my memory. Definitely want it in the fridge in a few weeks.

Bleacher Bums: Gotta love the love for Harry Kalas last night. Most teams will pay for a statue and commission it and take all the credit. Not so in Philly- the fans actually paid for the statue and completely designed it for the Broadcast legend they so dearly loved. Obviosuly, being in Boston we love Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy and Joe Castiglione, but Philly loved Harry Kalas and he loved them back. Also, another sellout at the Bank last night. Great environment out there last night, but a bit of a downgrade that they had to put a noise meter up for fans that are supposed to be passionate- just a bit amateur if you ask me.

I think that's it for today. No baby howitzer controversy here, just good ole family tales and stories from all the places we've been. Debate cheesesteak in the comments.


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