A's Come To Town For Historic Weekend

This weekend marks the first time that the Oakland Athletics are making the trip to Philadelphia since they called Connie Mack Stadium home in 1954. Not only will this year's Phillies be battling the first place club in the AL West, but this weekend will also feature countless tributes to the original Philadelphia baseball franchise. In honor of this historical event, lets take a look at the past and the present leading up to Oakland's first visit to Veterans Stadium.

Times have changed since the Athletics played their final game at Connie Mack against the New York Yankees in 1954, but one thing remains the same and that is Philadelphians' love of baseball. This weekend will be an action packed series of games being played around the historical aspect of the return of the first baseball franchise in the city of Brotherly Love. If you are planning to attend any of the games watch out for trivia contests on Phanavision, ball girls wearing Philadelphia A's uniforms and even some alumni on hand for the festivities. But who are we kidding, this weekend is really a major barometer for this year's Phillies club.

Coming off of a tough series against the Mariners which saw the offense go stagnant against possibly the best team in Major League Baseball, Pat Burrell has continued to struggle and many people are beginning to question if he can ever regain the promise he showed early on in his career. If Burrell wants to open eyes, this weekend is the perfect opportunity with FOX televising Saturday's game and facing some of the top pitchers in the league. It is time for Burrell to bust out of this slump of his.

The bullpen has made strides toward turning this season around, but it seems as though this club just can't get on the same page. A lesson in contrast to the Phillies can be learned from Oakland. The Athletics have been white hot this season behind pitchers like Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder and a solid closer in Keith Foulke. Miguel Tejada was nearly a Phillie in April and this will be his first chance to showcase his talent in front of Philadelphia fans, and don't be surprised if he winds up here in the 2003 off-season.

The Phightins will go into this series with guns ablazin with Randy Wolf, Brett Myers and Kevin Millwood all scheduled to make starts this weekend. If these pitchers can have solid outings this weekend could build some serious momentum going into a matchup with the World Champion Anaheim Angels next weekend.

If the Phillies bats can finally come alive (how many times have we said that so far this year?) this could be a special series for the team. The competition will be stiff; as Oakland owned the best record in interleague play last season going 16-2, and the Phillies barely broke even going 10-8. Philadelphia hopes to turn that record around this year.

Veterans Stadium has seen some magnificent contests throughout its history and this weekend should be another one of those events. Especially if the Phillies can put on a show for the hometown faithful. Lets hope that this club can finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together and make a statement to the rest of the country that they are for real.

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