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Phillies To Play Home Opener Minus Fan Favorite Utley

Citizens Bank Park on a soggy morning before the 2014 Home Opener. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Citizens Bank Park on a soggy morning before the 2014 Home Opener. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Jim Melwert Jim Melwert
Jim is a "morning drive" reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, bringing...
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By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a day late, but finally, the Phillies’ Home Opener is here.

The rain stopped falling this morning, as grounds crews pushed the standing water off the field.

For fans looking to see a lineup that featured fan favorite Chase Utley, they are going to be sorely disappointed. Hours before the game was set to start, Utley was sent home with the flu.

Here is the starting line-up the Phillies will trot out Tuesday afternoon: Revere, Rollins, Ruiz, Howard, Byrd, Brown, Hernandez, Asche and Kendrick.

READ: Justin Drabick’s Game Day Forecast

Even early in the morning, all kinds of things were happening. The Majestic Clubhouse Store opened at 7 a.m.

Retail manager Kevin Bender’s been there since the wee hours of the morning. “The big thing this year is we have the Phanatic Phun glasses. It’s sunglasses with the Phanatic nose on it. Everyone wants to get their Phanatic on and now you’ll have the opportunity to.”

If you’re hungry, the options are plentiful. Anthony Campagna, Chef at the Diamond Club, says the great part of Opening Day is baseball, spring, and food. And he was practically showing off this morning, with a pastrami sandwich, some mussels, and of course the cornerstone of ballpark fare – the hotdog.

“We have Frank and Stein Hotdogs that we’re rolling out, which is a bacon cheese dog, a chili dog — where you can’t go wrong. And then one of our specialty dogs, our summer dog that actually is a house-made pretzel roll, cucumbers and a tomato pickle red onion relish.”

An assortment of food available at Ashburn Alley  in Citizens Bank Park. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

An assortment of food available at Ashburn Alley in Citizens Bank Park. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

This of course, is no normal Phillies game, and there will be lots of fanfare leading up to the first pitch. For Chris Long, director of entertainment, this is her 44th home opener with the team, she remembers back in 71 against the Montreal Expos when they brought in the first ball with a dog sled. After this winter, maybe some fears they might need a dogsled, but today it will be the Navy Leap Frogs parachuting in the first ball.

They’ll start 4,500 feet in the air, and Navy Seal and Special Operations Chief Brad Woodard says they’ll be able to land in an area about the size of the pitcher’s mound.

“But you’ll see guys land off the left field line or right field, because nobody wants to see guys land behind second base, it’s a lot cooler to land next to the crowd,” Woodard says. “Not in it (laughs) next to the crowd.”

If you want to see all the pregame activities, Long says plan to be in your seats by 3 p.m. for the parade of the team from center field. Then the boys choir singing America the Beautiful, with local military members unfurling a 300 foot American Flag, and then team introductions.

“The anthem is being sung by Jacquie Lee, who was the runner up on NBC’s The Voice this year, and then we have a surprise alumni first ball,” Long teases.

Reporter: “Any hints on that?”

Long: “Well, you’ve seen him around.”

As for the rest of today’s schedule, gates will open at 1:35. Then, it’s play ball at 4:07.

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