It's Easter Sunday afternoon, and the family and I pile into the car after a nice weekend with the in-laws up in Scranton. The journey from northeastern PA back to DC will take about four hours (or more depending on potty stops), so I scan the AM radio dial in the hopes of finding the Phillies-Rockies game, set to get underway any moment.
Thankfully, there are stations all the way down I-81 and U.S. Route 15 that carry the Phillies Radio Network, so I should be good all the way down through Harrisburg and Frederick, MD.
Unfortunately, Chan Ho Park seems to have caught the same ailment that is affecting the rest of the starting staff.
I haven't even passed Hazelton and it's 4-0 Rockies.
I go to change the dial, but it's still early and I have a lot of highway before me. Plus, everyone else in the car has fallen asleep, so why not?
My loyalty is rewarded with the Hall of Fame voice of Harry the K (who knew then it would be the final time?) and the home run payoff inning. No home run, but Ryan Howard does get the Phils on the board after a lead-off double, but then Park gives that run right back the following half-inning.
But then the bullpen charges in to the rescue, and shuts down the Rockies the rest of the way, and the slow, methodical comeback is underway.
Time to change from Scranton radio to the Phillies' flagship (50,000 watts of distance-carrying goodness).
As I pass through Harrisburg, I begin to wonder why Charlie Manuel would not sac-bunt the runner over to third. It seemed like three innings in a row the Phils had a runner in scoring position with no outs but could not push a run across.
Doesn't having a runner at third with one out put more pressure on the opposing pitcher than a man at second? Particularly when the next batter ends up striking out anyway? Now you have one out and the runner still is at second.
But I digress.
The Phils chip away to 5-3 by the time I reach Frederick, MD.
Then it's time to stop and stretch legs and change nasty diapers.
Yikes! Let's just say my son went sans pantalones the rest of the journey.
By the time we get back in the car, reception is terrible. Amid the crackles and hum I think I hear Scott Graham say the Phillies are now leading 7-5.
The superstitious part of me thinks I should turn it off since obviously the team did better without me listening. But I can barely hear it at this point, so I'll stick with it.
From what I can make out, Lidge made it interesting, but closed out another consecutive save.
Nice way to end a trip.
Only after I see the highlights on SportsCenter do I learn that Utley tied the game on a two-run HR (good for my fantasy team, too!), and then Matt Stairs did his best Matt Stairs impersonation.
Does anyone else besides me just love this guy off the bench?
Now, both myself and the Phillies return to Washington with the team at .500, facing a Nationals team that has yet to win a game.
The only thing standing between the Phils and that same record is a bullpen that appears to once again be lights out, and that same never-say-die attitude that led to the WFC last season.
It's still early, but the starters need to get with the program. Continually pulling games out of your rear can have crappy results, much resembling that diaper I disposed of back in Frederick.