Friday, August 28, 2009

Going Yard in Citizen's Bank Park


Tomorrow evening before the Phillies-Braves game, Rocky Wright will step to home plate and take some batting practice rips in the Citizen's Bank Park batting cage. The Wright name is one familiar to Philadelphia area baseball and softball, as Rocky and his late father Melvin have successfully played and coached in the Central Bucks and Pennridge areas throughout the past several decades.

Mel's name is almost synonymous with American Legion baseball literally and figuratively, first through his many years of dedicated service and then by the annual award given to each season's top players that bears his name. Rocky followed a long, successful career of playing baseball and fast pitch softball locally with his own, still running coaching tenure at the helm of the Pennridge American Legion team.

Rocky and I have spent many hours in our lives enjoying playing softball together, but maybe even more importantly, sharing countless laughs and forging a friendship on and off the field. He is one of the true "good" guys and I wish that I could be at "The Bank" to watch him tomorrow evening.

The occasion tomorrow is part of the annual Phillies Phantasy Camp. Rocky is a seasoned veteran of the camps, having competed three times previously and now scheduled to attend again in the spring. In the process, he has gotten to know Scott Palmer as well as former players such as John Kruk, Larry Anderson, Ricky Jordan, Ricky Bottalico and Jim Eisenreich. He was even recognized with the Andy Seminick "Iron Man" Award one year for throwing on the tools of ignorance for every inning of the camp's competition.

Having played more than a thousand games with Rocky through the years, I would expect for him to give the crowd something to talk about by launching a few long balls into the stands. Home run power has always been a big part of his game and often in a prodigious way. I witnessed many majestic shots off his bat in softball over the years that towered into the sky and landed 50-100 feet beyond the outfield fence, the true definition of a bomb.

If you are heading out to "The Bank" tomorrow a little early, be sure to look for the big guy taking some hacks in the cage. Also, you may want to station yourself in the left field stands to watch so you can grab one of the balls that Rocky is sure to send your way.

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