The Vet: Fireworks, Funnel Cake and Krukker

Many Children graduate into adolescence with memories of momentous occasions from their childhoodfresh in their minds. Most will almost always remember their first bicycle, GI Joe set, or even their first family vacation. For me, life is about baseball; Phillies baseball to be specific and I'll always remember my first trip to Veterans Stadium.

The year was 1994, and while many baseball fans will remember this season because of the debacle that was the players' strike that cancelled the World Series. However, I'm fortunate enough to be able to look back at the 1994 season with a smile because it was the year I attended my first Phillies game at The Vet. On my eighth birthday my parents surprised their youthful son with tickets to a game on my birthday, July 15th. All the stars seemed to align giving my family and myself and amazing night at the ballpark.

I still remember the feeling as I scaled the ramps to the 300 level concourse and caught my first live glimpse of the field, with my hero's finishing off a defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a twi-Night doubleheader. Upon reaching settling into our seats in the 300 level, I gazed around the stadium just as any excited child would, thinking and dreaming of games to be seen there, as I grow older.

The Phils put the Dodgers bats to rest in game one and I sat patiently for the second contest to get underway.

Even though the Phillies could not duplicate their heroics of game one, in the second game, I still saw something that put a smile on my face. Something I will never forget. My mom tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the scoreboards and there appeared my name and happy birthday wishes! Shortly thereafter my favorite of the wacko's from the '93 team stepped to the plate. Jon Kruk made my day with a home run shot to center field that landed two rows in front of me! The first of the many fireworks erupted as he circled the bases. To top the night off I went on an adventure through the 200 level with my father as we bought a funnel cake to snack on during the game's culmination. The real highlight of my evening was still ahead.

Since the Phillies were playing their first game at home after the fourth of July, fireworks were on the docket following the game. I can still recall taking the stroll through the bowels of Veterans Stadium, and marching past the Eagles locker room and waiting for the ushers to lead us onto the field to view the fireworks spectacular. I was amazed that I was actually sitting on the same field that countless legends had sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to make this place a field of dreams for fans like me. Moments such as the 1980 World Championship, Terry Mulholand's no-hitter, and the winning of the 1993 National League pennant all took place on the very ground on which I was sitting.

The fireworks were amazing, just as they always are when the Phillies celebrate Independence Day. And then it was over. My first night at the ballpark fueled my love for this team. Now as the Phightins prepare to move into beautiful Citizens Bank Park, and fans prepare to say farewell to Veterans Stadium, I am sure that the memories made at the Vet will live on just as my first glimpse of the field will forever be etched in my mind.

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