The Phillies handled the Cardinals with a decisive 11-6 victory in Game 1 of the NLDS Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. But not before veteran slugger Lance Berkman gave St. Louis an early 3-0 lead with a first-inning three-run homer to deep right field.
That shot seemed to stun the fans in the stadium, who were expecting Roy Halladay to dominate throughout. Then Ryan Howard answered with his own three-run blast, Raul Ibanez slugged a two-run homer, and the atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park quickly changed from hushed to hysterical.
Berkman caught the brunt of that collective enthusiasm in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the Phillies continuing to pour on runs, fans in the outfield stands began slowly chanting, “Berk-man, Berk-man.”
And here’s Lance’s response, via Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“They were chanting my name,” Berkman told reporters, “but I don’t know why. My name is on the back of my uniform. So it’s nice to know they can read.”
The Phillies lead the five-game series 1-0. Game 2 will get underway Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.