‘Mitchie-Poo,’ ‘Nails’ and three crazy-long Phillies games in early July 1993

As the All-Star break approached, first-place Philadelphia hit a rough patch, losing five of six. In “The City of Brotherly Love,” of course, only one reaction was suitable when the Phillies flubbed: panic. Before a July 2 doubleheader at Veterans Stadium against the awful Padres, players held a 32-minute team meeting; manager Jim Fregosi, meanwhile, reminded reporters of his team’s 5.5-game lead.

Then Philadelphia went out and lost, 5-2. 

The ninth inning of Game 1 almost started with a major problem for Philly: Dykstra apparently forgot to take his position in center field. Perhaps he was sleepy. Rain delayed the 4:35 p.m. start of the game for 70 minutes, and play was halted twice more because of downpours. 

To save the dirt infield after the last delay, the grounds crew poured “what seemed to be an entire beach” to make the swamp at The Vet playable. Post-game fireworks were canceled.

While fans were getting drenched, the Phillies played cards in the clubhouse. “Some money [was] exchanged,” starter Terry Mulholland told the Philadelphia Daily News. “Maybe a paycheck or two.” 

At about 11 p.m., the Phillie Phanatic — the team’s mascot — mulled how to entertain the few remaining fans as he walked in a dreary corridor leading to the field. “Let’s go out there naked,” he suggested to members of the grounds crew.

Perhaps he was delirious.

For some reason, a “frightening number” of the original crowd of 54,617, according to the Daily News, stayed until the bitter end — which, by the way, mercifully came at 1:02 a.m.

But there was plenty of baseball left to be played. Crew chief Dana DeMuth ruled the show must go on. Play ball for Game 2!  Start time: 1:28 a.m. — probably the latest start for a game in Major League Baseball history.

At 3 a.m., some in the sparse crowd strangely did “The Wave.” The ushers were long gone — they had been sent home at midnight. At 4 a.m., fans in the lower deck danced to “Twist and Shout.” 

Through nine innings, the score was tied at 5. The Phillies nearly put this game out of its misery in the bottom of the ninth, but a runner was thrown out at home attempting to score from third on a wild pitch. Did this bizarre night/morning have something to do with Daulton and those aliens?

Published at Sat, 04 Jul 2020 04:06:12 +0000

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