Six hours at Citizens Bank Park

6:05 p.m.: I get off the SEPTA (Philadelphia-ese for "subway that seems pretty useful but is never actually used") stop at Pattison, just across from Citizens Bank Park and walk over to the front gate, where my friend is waiting for me. It had been drizzling nonstop all day, and the rain picks up considerably as we walk to his car to drop off my backpack. It picks up so much that by the time we get back to the gate entrance, I am already soaked.

6:25 p.m.: We take our soggy tickets to the gate, where we are promptly rejected. Why? Because the date on the ticket says Friday, April 29. Two possibilities: 1. My friend, who ordered the tickets on the phone, inadvertently said "Friday and Sunday." 2. The Phillies employee on the phone inadvertently thought he said "Friday and Sunday." We're hoping it's the latter so that he can get his money back.

6:30 p.m.: Argue with a lady at the ticket window, who tells us we'll have to call on Monday to try to get our money back, grumble, and buy new tickets for the same section--202, second level, above right field.

6:40 p.m.: Finally inside the ballpark. We walk around the park, trying to stay out of the rain (which is pointless anyway, since we are both already soaked).

7:00 pm.: If you ever get the chance to go to Citizens Bank Park, do yourself a favor and sit in the lower level. There are supposed to be three different stairs/escalators in the park, except good luck trying to find them. We wandered around confused for several minutes trying to figure out how to get to the upper level.

7:15 p.m.: We check out our seats and then head for cover, since the rain is really coming down.

7:30 p.m.: My friend says something about how the Marlins should sign Nomar this offseason. I tell him he's full of shit. He mentions the three batting titles. I talk of injuries and large price tags. He says, "That's what they said about Pudge."

7:55 p.m.: We move back down to our seats, and--get this--a stadium attendant follows us with towels and wipes our seats dry. Not that it makes any difference, since we are soaked through, but it's a nice gesture. Try getting someone to do that for you at JRS.

8:05 p.m.: Finally! Game start!

8:30 p.m.: Gonzo singles in two runs, which would end up being the only two runs scored by the Fish tonight. This helps my anti-Nomar stance.

9:10 p.m.: E6. "Nomar would've made that play with a pulled groin." I jab him with my elbow.
9:30 p.m.: And the tarp comes out again, just two outs away from completing five innings. At this point, a good number of people are leaving, so we target the lower level seats just above the Marlins dugout and head down there.

10:00 p.m.: Marlins take the field. This time, we are sitting six rows behind the dugout, up close and personal with Mike Lowell, whose batting average hovered around the Mendoza Line all weekend. Surprisingly, Dontrelle is back out.

10:10 p.m.: Jerk in front of us opens his large, broken umbrella, blocking part of the action on the field. A few of us ask him to remove it, which he does. He then proceeds to reopen it, at which point we yell profanities at him.

10:20 p.m.: Despite our protests, the tarp comes back out. We decide it's probably better to not sit in the rain, despite the fact that we are completely and entirely soaked. But the rain is cold, so we seek shelter.

10:30 p.m.: We watch some clips of the Cards-Braves game, and there is collective cursing directed at Raul Mondesi from Marlins and Phillies fans alike.

10:40 p.m.: We are subjected to what seems like 45 minutes of KissCam.

10:45 p.m.: Two large drunk men hop the fence not far from where we're sitting along the third-base line and jump onto the tarp. They get lots of cheers from the thinning crowd, but they're quickly apprehended by the authorities.

10:50 p.m.: An usher asks to see the tickets of some thugs who are being rowdy. He sends them back to their upper-level seats. We, however, make small talk with said usher, who laughs with us and tells us, "Oh no they won't call the game. They'll play until 2 a.m. if they have to." Not once does he ask to see our tickets. We are so in.

10:55 p.m.: Oh yeah, and it's still raining.

11:00 p.m.: Four teenage boys (they couldn't have been older than 15) decide to strip off their shirts and dance just behind the Marlins dugout to whatever song the stadium was playing at the time. They were in over their heads when the Chicken Dance played, and actually had to be taught how to do it. It should be noted also that the stadium's repertoire leaves much to be desired. We hear the same songs over and over and over again.

11:15 p.m.: Still waiting. Still wet. Still freezing.

11:20 p.m.: Call the hotel and let them know that we'll be coming in late, well after the midnight check-in deadline.

11:30 p.m.: Todd Jones is awesome. He just comes out of the dugout and starts tossing things out to the crowd (which, by now, isn't really much of a crowd). We're standing under shelter, so we can't quite make out what he's tossing, but when we head down there we realize that he's just brought out a huge box filled with bags of sunflower seeds and bubble gum and is throwing the stuff to the fans, who are eagerly taking whatever he gives them. Then he brings out a boxful of baseballs, and the fans are eating it up. At this point, the Phillies begin to feel that they're being outdone in their own ballpark, so Jimmy Rollins starts tossing some balls to the fans gathered above the Phillies dugout. This escalates into a contest between the groups of fans to see who can be louder, with Jones and Rollins egging them on. Jones is clearly enjoying himself exceedingly. Finally, after he's exhausted all of his sunflower seeds, bubble gum, and baseball supplies, Jones waves a bat around. My friend and I are jumping up and down yelling at him, but in the end the bat goes to an adorable little kid wearing an oversized Marlins cap.

11:45 p.m.: Now they're showing us the Rockies-Dodgers game. Bets are placed as to whether or not that game will finish before the Marlins-Phils.

11:50 p.m.: We're told the rain is supposed to let up after midnight. We laugh at this clearly ridiculous statement. At this point, the Marlins have the lead after the requisite five innings, and we're just hoping the game is called, since we are in fact still cold and wet.

12:00 a.m.: Out comes the grounds crew. The crowd of 200 cheers.

12:15 a.m.: The tarp has been shoved off the field but not yet rolled up. It's stopped raining for the past 15 minutes or so, and the grounds crew is working quickly to put dry dirt on the field and re-paint the foul lines. A handful of players come out and start warming up. My friend and I decide to move farther down the third base line, closer to left field, in the hopes of catching a foul ball once play resumes.

12:20 a.m.: Out comes Jack McKeon. He walks around the infield dirt inspecting holes here, creating holes there, and calling the grounds keepers to come fix this and that. It was an incredibly funny sight. At first we thought he was just being a crabby old man. Later, after the game was called, we realize that this in fact was a brilliant move--he was stalling because he knew that the rain would return (it did), and he just didn't want to resume play.

12:25 a.m.: Rain starts coming down hard. The tarp is coming back on. McKeon is still inspecting the field. Will he make it to the dugout in time or will the tarp envelop him?

12:26 a.m.: McKeon realizes what's going on and hustles as fast as any 74-year-old can and safely makes it into foul territory.

12:30 a.m.: A large "F" appears on the scoreboard. The game is called. The Marlins are victorious. We cheer, salute the two other Marlins fans we see on the way out, and say goodnight to Citizens Bank Park. We'll be back in another 12 hours.

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