Saturday, July 11, 2015
I never wanted to go to Philadelphia. Probably affected by my parents telling me what a dump it was and how everybody there was a negative prick. But that was the Frank Rizzo years I guess when the city was run by a pseudo mobster and the place was filthy. But a cheap airfare, geeking out over being on the east coast in April and one last chance to take Max someplace before he leaves us forever (yeah right), Max and I flew to Philly for a crazy weekend of Phillies baseball (or Giants baseball in my case) and unknown adventures.
1) I want whatever pilot for Southwest Airlines flew the Chicago to Philly route at 8:30 am on June 5th, 2015 as my personal pilot. Every single time I've flown east, somewhere over Pennsylvania I feel like death is upon me. Thousand foot drops, bounced around like a popcorn machine, holding onto the seat in front of me thinking that will stop the roller coaster ride. This guy, this pilot, flew a perfect route. No bouncing around, no nuthin. When I said "thanks pilot" I really really meant it.
2) The cab ride from Philly Airport to downtown is $28, flat. That's fine. I didn't have to anxiously watch the fare meter climb and climb. In fact this cabbies meter didn't work anyway, until he took it apart while driving and put it back together again.
3) Philly has subways, Yay! But good luck finding a machine to buy a ticket at. At least one that works. The gate folks don't give change, so I overpaid to ride it virtually every time. But it was fine. A fine subway system.
4) The Reading Terminal Market is insane. You walk in and voila' insanity! Every type of food you could possibly want is here. And it is crowded as shit and you have to be a really aggressive dick to get anything, unless of course you're buying fresh produce from the Amish over in the corner. Funny I didn't see any horse and buggies parked outside. Max was overwhelmed. He made me flee. To a Muslim run chicken joint a block away. Hmmmm, Islamic chicken.
5) We stayed on the edge of Chinatown. Max didn't want to walk through Chinatown cuz the funny writing scared him or something. Walking to downtown from 12th and Race and passing thru the Convention Center, devoid of any conventions we saw anyway, but not devoid of cups of piss sitting on street corners. Hey what am I, a Cubs fan?
6) Walking from 12th and Market south. Towards the historical sights. Boom, you're there. This is a walking city. An interesting city.
7) Hey it's Old City. Hey it's the historical district. Its the waste of time that is Penn's Landing. And hey, what's with all the rainbow flags and women soccer players? It's the Gayborhood! Yeah , ya give those people rights and the next thing ya know, they form their own neighborhoods make the place all fabulous. I wanted to go into some place called "Woodys" but was shot down by a stick in the mud kid afraid we'd look like some old hippie chickenhawk (is that even a term anymore?) and his chicken or whatever.
8) The historical sights are well worth it. Mostly free. But timed. So get your free ticket asap. Lots of people don't and don't get in. Loved the Independence Hall. Such a great tour guide who actually mentioned my pet peeve. Why is 1776 considered the big year when the war didn't end until 1783 and the constitution wasn't ratified till 1789 either? Oh well, keep blowing off your hands on July 4th , what do I care? Dammit I do!
9)The Rocky Statue. The Love sign. The Art Museum steps. Be prepared for guys and gals all over looking to make a buck taking your picture. Geez, you can't get to the Rocky statue without being assaulted by Annie Leibowitz wannabes. I did have an interesting conversation with a guy who couldn't stop talking about the 1965 San Francisco Giants. Jim Ray Hart? Stretch McCovey? Sey Hey Willie Mays? Wow man, I thought I was the only one who remembered those guys. Damn, I'm old.
10) The Eagles Stadium. For $12 you can take a tour of Lincoln Financial Field and see the bowels of the stadium , the press area, the field itself though torn up thanks to a Taylor Swift debacle, the sky boxes , again the worst seats in the house, and the locker room which is huge. And some of the players jerseys and equipment hanging up. And yes, Tim Tebow had a locker.
I have toured stadiums before and I loved everyone. In Lincoln,Nebraska they are really proud of their sellout streak and crappy skyboxes where you cant see anything. In Green Bay, Wisconsin they are really proud of anything they have that's "better than Chicago" which according to Packer tour guides is everything (but do not touch the precious frozen tundra which isnt frozen cuz they have heaters and they're better than Chicago) and in Arlington, Texas they really really like Josh Hamilton and won't let you in the locker room cuz some neck stole Josh's jersey. Josh Josh Josh. That's where Josh sits, that's where Josh plays, thats where Josh hit a home run. Well then, no wonder he ran off to Los Angeles for a while.
In Philly, they are really really proud their fans are complete assholes. Hey that's where the opposing teams buses come in cuz they cant park outside cuz Philly fans will destroy it. Here's where the opposing team's locker room is right by the field so they can hear the charming insults from our great asshole fans. We are the worst and dammit we are so godamm proud. Too bad they didn't bring the courtroom over from the old Vet. We were sure proud of the fact our asshole fans could be fined right then and there for being assholes.
11) The Phillies. They suck. The fans know they suck and boo regularly. But they show up. And get outshouted by the traveling horde of Giants fans I see everywhere I go. Lets go Giiiiii-ants!
12) Madison Bumgarner is an pitching artist much like Greg Maddux was. I loved watching Maddux pitch. It was like watching DaVinci. The Phillies knocked MadBum around a little ( a grand slam by Jeff Francouer?) but at one point he had thrown 59 strikes and only 7 balls. That is amazing. So deliberate and matter of fact. And quick, no fucking around on the mound.
13) The beer vendors at Phillies games are the best. Oh my god. I though this first guy was challenged on a sanity basis. Millahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhrghhhhhhh.....and wooter. Classic. And kind of scary at first.
I had a soft spot for this dude however, Maybe cuz he looked like a beer swilling Santa Claus. And he auditioned for a Streetcar Named Desire every minute. Give him the role already!
Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love. And lots and lots of beggars, some of whom were great at fist bumps. And one who we thought dead though once he was told the ambulance was coming couldn't get out of there fast enough to avoid a hospital bill or a trip to jail.
A pleasant surprise was Philly. Lets go Giiiii-ants!