Hunter Pence started off on the right foot Saturday, his first day with his new team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
His day began early, with a lot of packing preceding his travel plans, but Pence made time to conduct a phone interview with 97.5 The Fanatic prior to boarding a flight. During his time on the air, Pence expressed excitement to join the club that agreed to trade four prospects to Houston for him on the previous night. He also described the roster he was joining as "once of the best teams ever assembled".
As good as the previous quote is, the sound bites offered up by the two-time All-star got even better after Pence helped the Phillies lock down a 7-4 win over the Pirates with a run scoring single.
Pence offered up the following quotes while speaking with the media...
"It’s surreal. I'm absolutely ecstatic to be here. To see that kind of support for my first game, I can't explain it, it's awesome."
"It’s fun to look at the squad around here. It’s like being at an All-Star Game."
"I feel over-appreciated...it's nice."
"The fans were giving me chills. I ran out to stretch and they went nuts. It was pretty amazing."
Later in the night, Pence took to his Twitter account to thank Phillies fans for the warm reception he received.
"There was some major love! Thank you Philly for the warm welcome!"
Of course there was, Hunter. And I'm sure a collective "You're welcome" is on its way from over 44,000 people on Sunday as the Phillies close out their three-game series with the Pirates. Philadelphia's citizens and sports fanatics from the surrounding region have heavy amounts of adoration and appreciation to share. With all the big time crushes that Phils game goers have for other Phillies players like Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, some might think this sort of treatment would no longer surprise people. But, while Pence is new and he didn't realize this before, he clearly knows, now, that this is simply how Philadelphia fans get down. It is justly called The City of Brotherly Love.
Fans in attendance at Citizens Bank Park cheered wildly for Pence throughout the night. Pence was receptive to the crowd, singing autographs for some lucky fans prior to the game, responding to their cheers with waves, raised arms and thumbs up, then even after Pence was mistakenly called out on a play at first base in the second inning, despite beating the throw for what should have been a base hit in his first Philles at bat, the crowd had his back.
First base umpire Angel Hernandez, whose nephew is injured Phillies LHP prospect Nick Hernandez, ruled Pence out following the throw from second baseman Neil Walker. Charlie Manuel stormed the field to argue, but the call was final.
Nick Hernandez, who is out for the season, following shoulder surgery, was celebrating his 23rd birthday on Saturday night. While spending time with other relatives in Florida, Nick was aware of the situation in Philadelphia and contacted PhoulBallz.com to jokingly offer an apology, on behalf of his family, in regards to Pence's "ground out".
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