Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training: The Clearwater Chronicles

9 Mar

No we haven’t gotten to a game yet.  We haven’t even seen the ballpark but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t already had some Phillies adventures.  So let’s get this party started.

First Sighting

Full credit for this sighting goes to the eagle eyes of my son.  And it wouldn’t have happened at all if he hadn’t had to go to the bathroom.   We were having dinner with friends who had also come down to see a Spring Training game when S went to the bathroom.  He came back all excited saying he was sure he saw “someone.” He couldn’t remember his name but he thought he used to be a catcher.

We all started firing names at him:  “Was it Bob Boone Mike Lieberthal?  Chris Coast?  How about Tim McCarver?  Or Clay Dalrymple?”   (I know, how could a 17-year-old possibly have heard of Clay Dalrymple? but we were starting to run out of names.)  Yes, we were failing miserably  until S  had another clue:  “I think he has a one word nickname.”

“Boonie, Coasty, Lieby?”  we all started shouting at once.  Love those clever nicknames, right?  And we had already guessed those guys anyway.  But then came the clue to end all clues.

“You know the guy,” my son said starting to get a little frustrated  now with all of us so-called Phillies fans. “He’s on the radio a lot and he’s really tan.”

Well that did it.  OK, say it with me now:  It was Darren “Dutch” Dalton.  (Which we all yelled a tiny bit too loudly for the ‘shall we say’ elderly crowd at Bob Heilmans’ Beachcomber Restaurant where we were dining.

The popular Phillies catcher was apparently standing at the bar with a mob of friends, fans and I guess what could only be called groupies.   And according to my source, I mean my son, they were all men.

And so the challenge was on.  Now as much as I love the game of baseball and those who play it, I have never been one to run after an autograph or stand in a crowd gawking at my favorite athletes.  It’s just not my style.  Maybe it’s because in my other life it was often my job to interview well-known people.   I always prided myself on being a professional, whether I was meeting Billy Crystal or Bob Hope.  After all, fan or not,  I had a job to do.

But then my son looked around the table and asked who was going over to check out the scene.  Weren’t we fans?  Weren’t we there to see the Phillies?  And weren’t we there at  Spring Training to get some color for my blog (yes, tan, is a color?)    WHEN NONE OF MY OTHER NOT TO BE NAMED COMPANIONS MADE A MOVE, it seemed it would be up to me.   I didn’t want to see my son disappointed and it didn’t hurt that I did have to go to the bathroom anyway. Sometimes that small bladder comes in handy.

So before I could change my mind, I grabbed my bag and headed for the bathroom.  Now there was no way to even reach the ladies room without making my way through the crowd of men all drinking beer and chatting it up at the bar.  But to my surprise I immediately spotted someone else that looked very familiar.  And without thinking I blurted out “Larry Christen..?” “  “Hi, I’m Larry Christenson,” he said putting out his hand to shake mine, a very large hand I might add.

He seemed a bit surprised that I knew who he was but he was gracious and couldn’t have been friendlier.  We chatted for a bit since I had actually done a story on him MANY moons ago when I was working on a show called Evening Magazine.  Larry kindly pretended to remember although I think he really didn’t, then he shook my hand again and told me to have a great dinner.

I had almost forgotten what I went there for and was about to head back to my table but as I turned my head, there he was: the man, the myth, the legend.  S was right.  It was Darren Daulton in the flesh, and very tanned flesh it was indeed.  “Hey how ya doin?” he asked in that familiar still slightly detectable Kansas drawl.  I said it was really great to meet him; that I had been a fan of his for a long time and enjoyed his work on the radio but didn’t want to interrupt his evening with his friends but as if on cue the crowd around him seemed to drift off toward the bar.   (I guess they all needed refills.)

And Dutch couldn’t have been nicer. I asked him if he would be doing the show on 97.5 that I’ve always enjoyed and he said that he would and told me a long story about why it hadn’t started up yet.  I had to get his take on the team this year, of course.  His words?  “The Nationals are nothing to mess with but I think the boys have a pretty good shot this year.”  I thanked him for the time, said I’d look forward to hearing him on the radio again soon and said goodby. Both LC and Dutch  shook my hand again, thanked me for being a fan and wished me a great trip.

So off I went back to my  medium rare filet but even better back to my very impressed son!


So as we sit here watching the sun set anticipating tomorrow’s game, we are still left with one unanswered question. I wonder what kind of self-tanning lotion  Darren Daulton uses??

There’s lots more to come of our Clearwater Chronicles so,  stay tuned.


8 Responses to “Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training: The Clearwater Chronicles”

  1. geetie cohen March 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    As it turned out, maybe you should have skipped the game !!!! Not really, fan that you are, you take the bitter with the sweet. I’m ready for a little sweet

    • girlsbestphriend March 10, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Game. What game? We had a blast starting with special VIP passes, a trip into the broadcast room, a front row and a mean front row sea to BP and personla chats with Ruben Amaro, Larry Aderson, Scott Franzke, EricKratz (who gave my son a personally autographed ball and more. I was even taken into the clubhouse. More to come in the blog. And we did se a Ryan Howard blast! A real birthday to remember!!

  2. Ron Cori March 10, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    Were there any UFOs flying around Dutch?

    • girlsbestphriend March 10, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      (That’s why I love my readers!) Maybe the forcefield from the UFO’s was responsible for the tan. But really,it was a treat to meet him and he is Darren Daulton.

  3. March 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    So I went to the Palestra two Fridays ago to see a lousy Penn basketball te

  4. Ray March 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    I see a subname for the blog during every spring training now…The Clearwater Chronicles !!!!!!

    Hope you are having a good time.

    • girlsbestphriend March 14, 2013 at 12:27 am #

      It was great, Ray. I just wish I could find some time to get a post up!! Hope you had a great birthday as well.

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