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Baseball fan(atic)s!

Phillies fever an epidemic at Maris Grove

Created date

April 26th, 2011

While other interest groups and activities abound, there s no official baseball club at Maris Grove, the Erickson Living community in Glen Mills. That s because, at least during the season, nearly all the dining tables in its restaurants become unofficial Phillies fan clubs. We re very sports-oriented here, says Pete Meehan. We cheer or grouse about the players or the manager on a daily basis. There s some people who still hate Mitch Williams, the pitcher who got hit for a home run that cost us the 1993 World Series, adds baseball historian and Meehan s neighbor, Joe Gorman. For folks who grew up in Philadelphia, like Meehan and Gorman, rooting for the Phillies is a birthright. Fans are expecting big things from the 2011 team. Because of its stellar pitching staff, This year s expected to be our best ever, Meehan says. If oops, when the Phillies make it to the playoffs, Maris Grove will hold a community-wide pep rally.

Cheering their team

On opening day, the atmosphere at Maris Grove was electric. Residents and staff donned red Phillies shirts and caps. And, as they do for every important game, residents gathered in the sprawling community s clubhouses to catch the action on movie-size screens. They watch the daily games in their apartment homes, cheering as loudly as they like because sound doesn t carry between apartment homes. Meehan says he puts his TV on his balcony; it s like sitting in the stands at the ballpark. Several times a season, Maris Grove buys a block of tickets and transports busloads of residents to a game. Buying tickets at the ballpark is impossible. Meehan says the Phillies are sold out for three years. And then some, adds Maris Grove priority list member Larry Shenk. Last year, the Phillies set a record for attendance, the fifth consecutive season that s happened. They entered the 2011 season with 123 consecutive sellouts at Citizens Bank Park. Shenk should know. With the Phillies organization from 1963 to 2008, mostly as PR director, he s now vice president of alumni relations and writes the Phillies Insider blog. He flat-out loves baseball. Last year he helped bring 1980 World Series Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles and the team s official mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, to Maris Grove for a pep rally during the playoffs. Right now the Phillies are in the midst of the greatest era in their 128-year history, says Shenk. They ve won the National League East four straight years, been to two World Series during that time, and are three years removed from a World Championship. While the team s rotation and starting lineup are solid, Winning isn t easy, he says. The Phillies certainly have a bullseye on their backs. Every team will be gunning for them. Shenk describes the team s offensive power as a little less potent than several years ago. Meehan and Gorman agree with that assessment. But the three also believe that barring injury, the strong starting pitching rotation Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton will carry the team. Pitching and defense go a long way, says Shenk. The goal remains winning the World Series.