CLEARWATER — There was a moving ceremony before today’s Braves-Phillies game honoring the late Jim Fregosi.
Fregosi, the former Phillies manager and a long-time scout and executive with the Braves, died last month following a stroke. Today, however, was a day of fond and often funny remembrance, with Phillies and Braves officials remembering a loud, opinionated but eminently respected and unquestionably loved friend and colleague.
Fregosi’s family and former teammates and players participated in the ceremony. In a nice touch, each of the uniforms worn by Fregosi during his playing, managing and coaching careers were worn by someone who played with or for Fregosi. Kent Tekulve wore a late-70s Pirates pinstripe. Darren Daulton — himself looking good following cancer surgery — wore an early 90s-Phillies uniform. Braves hitting coach Greg Walker wore an early-80s White Sox ensemble, etc.:
They left the seat he’d sit in behind home plate when scouting empty today, but for his cap, placed there by Braves GM Frank Wren. They left a table in the media/scout dining room empty, with a black table cloth and a photo of Fregosi.
Sometimes tributes are overwrought or overthought. This one struck all the right notes. It was beautiful in its simplicity and its thoughtfulness.
In between one inning during every home game at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillie Phanatic will drive around the edge of the playing field shooting hot dogs into the stands from a pneumatic gun — a hot dog cannon, if you will — mounted on an ATV. Until Monday night, a fan had never been injured during this event.
Sarah Bloomquist of 6 ABC reports that, unfortunately, a Phillies fan was injured on Monday night when the Phillies opened a three-game home series with the Cardinals. Kathy McVay of Plymouth Meeting, PA was hit in the face. McVay said, “I have a small hematoma in my eye. And mostly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s going to go down the side of my face.” She also suffered cuts and bruises and had to be taken to the hospital to be tested for a concussion.
McVay doesn’t plan to take legal action against the Phillies and seems to be taking the injury with a good sense of humor. She said, “It gives people a good laugh, and if that makes somebody chuckle, then that’s fine.” McVay also advised fellow fans, “Just to be aware, because you never know. I understand a baseball, but not a hot dog.”
The Phillies reached out to apologize to McVay on Tuesday and offered her tickets to another game once she heals, assuming she would like to return to Citizens Bank Park.
One wonders if Monday’s incident might motivate the Phillies to do away with the hot dog cannon stunt. There’s really nothing gained by doing it, and there are plenty of other ways for the Phanatic to have fun with the fans around the ballpark.