Yes, opening day is once again upon us, which means another group of 25 men have been assembled from the various nooks and crannies of our country.
Some spent the year here last year, bringing a starving city a world championship. Some have been added to increase the club’s chances of winning another.
No matter where they came from, or how they got here, they all find themselves charged with a common task: repeating.
That long journey begins tonight, as the Phillies open up the 2009 Major League Baseball season against the Atlanta Braves. Brett Myers takes the hill for the Phillies, filling in for Cole Hamels, who needed some extra time to get ready for the season.
Myers struggled last season, he was sent to Triple-A at one point. That does worry pitching coach Rich Dubee.
“Brett can have any type of year Brett wants to have,” Dubee told Todd Zolecki. “Really, he’s that talented. If Brett can be the same guy and prepare the same way and take the same mind-set every five days, there’s no reason Brett can’t have a big season.”
The Phillies will look for him to give them a strong start tonight. Atlanta will counter with ace Derek Lowe, who is all too familiar with the Phillies line-up.
The only two runs he surrendered during his Game 4 NLCS start came in the first inning, which began with a Rollins single.
“You have to prevent allowing Rollins to get on base to begin an inning,” Lowe said to Mark Bowman. “They have other ways to beat you, but you have to concentrate on making sure he’s not on base when those guys in the middle of their lineup come to the plate.”
Lowe is also anticipating the excitement you fans will bring.
“Those fans have no problem telling you how they feel about you,” Lowe said. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement there. They’re going to be raising their [World Series] flag and all that. It’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
You can catch the match-up tonight on ESPN 2 or 1210 WPHT-AM. We’ll have more information on the game once the Phillies announce their lineup and release press notes. Happy Opening Day!
Tonight's game schedule:
5:05 PM - All gates open
5:28-6:28 PM - Phillies batting practice
6:28-7:18 PM - Braves batting practice
7:23 PM - Cardinal O’Hara High School marching band will perform as the 2009 Phillies enter the ballpark, greeted by Mayor Nutter and Charlie Manuel.
7:38 PM - "America the Beautiful" will be sung by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale, directed by Jeffrey R. Smith, as members of the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard unfurl the American Flag. State Flags will be carried onto the field by the Philadelphia Police and Fire Department personnel.
7:42 PM - Introductions start.
7:53 PM - National Anthem: Will be performed by Katie Stam, Miss America 2009.
7:56 PM - U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Parachute team will parachute onto the field (weather permitting), bringing the first balls.
8:00 PM - NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who wore a Phillies jersey in space, will present the jersey to Charlie Manuel.
8:01 PM - Ceremonial First Pitch: Will be thrown by former Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick and Ben Lo, representing Modell’s Sporting Goods.
8:09 PM - Play Ball!
This info courtesy of Phightin’ Phils Phorum.
More random info on tonight's game:
Here is some more info on tonight’s game, probably more things about tonight’s game than you ever even wanted to know. Anyway, it’s just in from the Phillies’ PR department:
- This is the Phillies 127th Opening Day. In previous openers they are 56-68-2.
- Tonight marks Brett Myers’ third consecutive Opening Day start for the Phillies. He is the first Phillies pitcher to make three consecutive Opening Day starts since Curt Schilling did it exactly 10 years earlier (1997-99).
- Eight players on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster were originally signed or drafted by the club: LHP Cole Hamels, LHP J.A. Happ, 1B Ryan Howard, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Brett Myers, SS Jimmy Rollins, C Carlos Ruiz, and 2B Chase Utley.
- Entering the 2009 season, several Phillies are reaching milestones- Ryan Howard needs one RBI for 500, one double for 100 and 23 HR for 200. Jimmy Rollins needs five stolen bases for 300 and 39 hits for 1,500. Raul Ibanez needs six RBI for 800. Chase Utley needs eight RBI for 500, 11 doubles for 200 and 10 runs for 500. Pedro Feliz needs 24 RBI for 500. Brett Myers needs 64 SO for 1,000. Joe Blanton needs 20 SO for 500. Chan Ho Park needs 10 SO for 1,600. Ryan Madson needs five appearances for 300. Brad Lidge needs 47 SO for 700.
Here’s the Phillies’ lineup for tonight:
- Jimmy Rollins SS
- Jayson Werth RF
- Chase Utley 2B
- Ryan Howard 1B
- Raul Ibanez LF
- Shane Victorino CF
- Pedro Feliz 3B
- Carlos Ruiz C
- Brett Myers P