Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Phillies admirable in scary tarp incident

July 25, 2007

Editor's note: This is the second edition of "Summer Sportos," an interactive feature detailing memorable summer sports vacations.

The wind was so strong at Coors Field that Rockies groundskeeper Keros Johnson got trapped in the middle of a wild tarp during a 50-minute rain delay between the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies.

Visiting Phillies players helped out -- Shane Victorino grabbed a corner of the tarp and tried to get it under control. Ryan Howard held another corner down with a knee. Michael Bourn tossed various sand bags onto the tarp to hold it down.

Johnson escaped the tarp safely. No one from the grounds crew was injured, but the incident was scary. According to an Associated Press report, head groundskeeper Mark Razum said he never saw anything like the wind gust in 29 years.

Tonganoxie resident Steve Gish was at Coors Field in Denver that day, July 8, with his two sons, Carter, 12, and Cooper, 15.

"It was a scary and dangerous situation," Steve said. "I'd say it was a 50-mile-an-hour gust. People went under the tarp. Big swirls of paper cups flew in the middle of the field. The cool thing was how quickly the Phillies responded to it."

Only one Rockies player -- LaTroy Hawkins -- accompanied the aiding Phillies players on the field. The rest were in the clubhouse during the delay. This prompted Carter, who attended the game neutral in loyalties to Colorado and Philadelphia, to cheer for the Phillies.

"I saw that the Phillies had class," Carter said. "They were helping people out. Everyone ran out as quickly as they could. After that, I had to cheer for the Phillies -- and they won."

Philadelphia defeated Colorado, 8-4, that Sunday.

"If the Phillies would have let the tarp go, they might have canceled the game," Steve said. "I've never seen anything like that."

Coors Field was the 10th ballpark Steve's visited. Carter has already visited three. If he could pick any ballpark, Carter said he'd attend a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

As part of their trip to Denver, the Gish family also visited the Rocky Mountains. They drove up the mountains and took a short hike.

"I liked the alpine," Carter said. "Since it's summertime, jumping around in the snow was cool. It got pretty cold, though. I was only wearing a T-shirt and shorts."

Another attraction was Lyons Classic Pinball in Lyons, Colo. Steve said there were roughly 30 pinball games at the arcade.

But the main attraction was Coors Field.

Their seats were underneath an overhang along the left field line. The tickets were an affordable $10 per person.

"I went to see Ryan Howard," Carter said of the Phillies' first baseman, who has 27 home runs and 81 RBI this season. "He didn't hit a home run, but there were a lot. We saw four."

Todd Helton and Kaz Matsui homered for Colorado, while Victorino and Pat Burrell went deep for Philadelphia. Howard went 1-for-2 with a single and two RBI.

Asked who his favorite MLB player was, Carter didn't say Howard or any of his hometown Kansas City Royals. He's somewhat of a MLB historian.

"I'd have to say Willie Mays," he said. "Or Mickey Mantle. I kind of like Mel Stottlemyre because I have a card of him that's autographed. I watch a lot of ESPN Classic with my dad."

-- If you've been to an MLB park, an NBA arena, a pro tennis match, a pro soccer match, etc. this summer, we want to hear from you. E-mail a description and photo of your sports vacation to sports editor Eric Sorrentino at esorrentino@theworldco.info.

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