- The mark of 102 wins is a new franchise record, surpassing the previous record of 101 victories in 1976.
- The Phillies managed to break their all-time record for victories despite a troubling eight-game losing streak in mid-September. (Many starters were given a rest after the team clinched a playoff spot, which is understandable.)
- With the win, Charlie Manuel became the winningest manager in Phillies history with his 646th victory.
- This is the second straight season in which the Phils own the best record in the entire league, and last year’s record of 97–65 was the first time they’d ever achieved that feat.
- The Phillies now begin their fifth consecutive playoff appearance, a streak that began with their inexplicable 2007 conference title. Prior to that, the Phils hadn’t reached the playoffs since 1993, and I remember when a single trip to the playoffs seemed elusive; five straight postseasons was simply unimaginable.
And another “hunt for red October” is underway!
[ No. 612 ]
For the second time in my life, I’m officially a godfather!
My friends Todd and Chris had their first child, Katherine, on June 8, and they graciously asked me to sponsor her baptism. Katie’s christening took the form of a beautiful ceremony after noon Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in Glen Mills, and we enjoyed a festive reception at her proud parents’ house that afternoon with family and friends.
Katie joins my other goddaughter, Emma, the daughter of my college friend Marc and Sarah. She recently turned 13, but I can still remember her as an adorable infant, too.
My deepest thanks to Todd and Chris for such a tremendous honor.
[ No. 611 ]
I always enjoy making at least one pilgrimage to my alma mater each fall. It’s a chance to catch up with friends I’ve known for many years (since last century, actually) and the festive gameday atmosphere at Beaver Stadium is hard to beat.
This year was quite different, though. Several unforeseen scheduling conflicts reduced our usual group of eight to just me, Joan, and Marc, who brought along his friend Matt. And while we had some fun, many aspects of our latest trek to State College were very frustrating:
- Since part of Route 322 was closed due to flooding, we traveled along the Northeast Extension and I-80, and heavy rain along the latter highway made for a white-knuckle drive on Friday night.
- Joan and I made a valiant effort at the local Wegmans on Saturday morning to buy food and beer for a last-minute tailgate with some other friends in town for the game. But when we joined the group, the lack of a folding table and a functioning grill resulted in a very limited menu. (We even tried to set up a makeshift table using a dislocated wooden door from a creepy nearby shed, the floor of which was oddly strewn with glass jars and statistical computer print-outs from the late 1980s.)
- Since our three-vehicle caravan started out relatively late, we sat in tons of traffic before finally parking in a remote lot, and the uphill walk to the stadium was the longest I can remember.
- The stadium-wide white-out for the 3:30 p.m. game was impressive; it reminded me of the electrifying scene at the Notre Dame game in 2007. But unlike that game, Penn State performed poorly against No. 3 Alabama in a miserable 27-11 loss. And to make matters worse, Joan and I both got sunburned during the surprisingly sunny late-afternoon weather.
- After our customary dinner at the Tavern, we were hoping to stop by a downtown bar for some drinks, but the line at every single one of them was prohibitively long.
- As if we didn’t endure enough setbacks over the weekend, Joan’s dinner of lobster and shrimp ravioli gave her a wicked case of food poisoning from late Saturday night until our departure the next day. She recovered quite well and even made it to work for an on-call shift on Sunday evening, but I felt really bad for her painful ordeal.
I suppose a string of bad luck was bound to happen on one of our weekend trips eventually. Let’s just hope for a more enjoyable PSU outing next year.
[ No. 610 ]