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Journal Regulars columnist Jim Wharton of Sioux City takes you along on a 14-day bus trip to 10 different Major League Baseball stadiums and games this month.

June 19 Philadelphia, Pa.

Strange night at Citizens Bank Park tonight – but strange in a good way.

Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love, but this is also the city that booed Santa Claus! They are an unhappy lot in this history-rich city. The Eagles are bad, the Flyers are rebuilding and the Phillies have the worst record in Major League baseball. BOO!

This was the seventh game on our 10-game tour and for a lifelong Cardinal fan, we finally found the Redbirds on our journey ... and they didn’t disappoint. Home runs by Yadi, Randal Grichuk and Kolten Wong helped the Cardinals to a 12-3 victory over the Triple-A Phillies. Interesting reading the local paper – looks like Chase Utley publicly took skipper Ryne Sandberg to task for his game management decisions. Goodbye, Mr. Sandberg.

At the stadium there were a handful of highlights.

The food.

Concessions consultant Mark hit the jackpot today. The locals told us you have to have the “The Schmitter” – a concoction named after Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. Let’s just say that if Schmitty ate too many Schmitters he would look like Pablo Sandoval. But foodie Mark had to do his research and consumed a Schmitter. Here is what you will find in a Schmitter.

Kaiser roll

Cheese

Grilled salami

Tomatoes

Steak

Fried onions

Special sauce

Consultant Mark was a happy fan after wolfing down the Schmitter. His grade – A!

Other weird stuff:

A squirrel interrupted the game when he tried to do a high-wire act on the screen behind home plate. This furry rodent is not a Wallenda family descendent. Play stopped as the squirrel made his/her way down the wire before plunging to the Phillies dugout below. The boys in the dugout evacuated like a tornado was imminent. There is no condition report available on Mr./Ms. Squirrel.

A big hit with me - the great Philly Phanatic. Since the San Diego Chicken hung up his beak, the Phanatic is the best mascot in sports. He came to our section and entertained. Great thrill to see him.

One disappointment. This was the first time we have not honored a veteran at the game. Come on, Philly. You’re the home of American independence!

Today, we head to Washington where it’s supposed to be 90 degrees. Wonderful. The bus is starting to get a little gamey from my seat in business class.

Three more games to go and then back home.

Thanks for reading Extra Innings: Baseball by Bus.

More tomorrow from our nation’s capital.

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