Clearance Clarence: His road trip to Philly for a Twins weekend

By Michael Rand

June 23, 2010


Commenter Clarence Swamptown takes you on a picture-free virtual tour of his trip to Philly for this past weekend's Phillies/Twins series. We couldn't think of a more perfect way to start off our series on the Great Baseball Road Trip of our own than to post his recap. Things have been great in Milwaukee here so far, though as Rocket said this morning, "I could use another 10 hours of sleep." We're off in a minute to go watch USA/Algeria at a soccer pub here. But more on all of that later. Here's Clarence. At a certain point, we weren't sure what to [redact] and what to leave in. That's part of his country charm, we suppose. Clarence?

So the Randball proprietor has departed for his annual GBRT.  There are few things in life more enjoyable than a baseball road trip with your friends.  I tend to rate a baseball road trip based on four distinct categories:   Baseball, Booze, Food, and Miscellaneous.   Last weekend I traveled to Philadelphia with three friends to watch the Twins play the Phillies.  The following is a summary of our trip based on those four categories:
*Baseball:  Citizen’s Bank Park is nice.  It reminds me of a slightly larger Target Field, if Target Field were relocated to a parking lot in Richfield and had maroon steel I-beams instead of Limestone.    Everyone knows the reputation of Philadelphia sports fans, and I know the maturity level of my friends, so I assumed our trip would have all of the peace and harmony of an Algerian prison riot.  The fans were nowhere near as rowdy as I expected.  They were actually pretty nice.  Many claimed that the Twins are their favorite American League team.  More than one person said that they “respect” the way the Twins play.   That said,  we did receive a lot of heckling, broken down accordingly: 
- “SAY HI TO RAHD CAHREW!  AHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!” /high-fives bros/ (1%) 
- “HEY….. TWINS FANS….UHHH…….YOU {REDACTED} SAHK” /high-fives grandmother/ (1%)
Friday’s game was a complete disaster.  Saturday’s game was equally terrible through 8 innings.  Then we saw one of the greatest comebacks in Twins history.  This was a comeback that I will tell my grandkids about.  I will constantly regale them with the time I witnessed home runs by Hall of Famers Jim Thome and Joe Mauer as part of a historic five-run 9th inning.  I will say that something called a Drew Butera hit a home run in the top of the 10th inning.  I will declare that, like the Battle of Saint Crispins, I led a small but perseverant army of Twins fans to weather insults and flying debris from unruly Philadelphians as the Twins scored three more runs in the 11th to win the game.  I will loudly proclaim that it was the greatest baseball game I have ever witnessed in history of my lifetime. This is what I would tell my grandkids if we had not LEFT THE {REDACTED} STADIUM IN THE {REDACTED} BOTTOM OF THE 8TH {REDACTED} INNING TO GO EAT SOME {REDACTED}-{REDACTED} CHEESESTEAKS.   In our defense, it was 98-degrees outside.  Beer sales had been cut off 30-minutes ago.  We were hungry.  We had endured a 17-inning {redacted}-storm of Twins pitching and drunken verbal attacks.  We listened to the ninth inning comeback on the radio while waiting in line for our sandwiches.  We then rushed to a local dive bar to watch the extra innings.  The bartender nearly threw us out of the bar after the Twins won.  It was still pretty awesome.  Overall Baseball Rating = C+. 
*Booze:  We drank too much and did some illegal things that may, or may not, have included felony destruction of property, indecent exposure, treason, RICO Act violations, and/or grifting an {redacted} cabdriver who had it coming.  Seriously, we are too old to act like that.  It was embarrassing.  I am going to stop here because I don’t really know who might be reading this.  Overall Booze Rating = A+.
*Food:  All of our meals in Philadelphia were in some form of a meat sandwich .  The only non-fried vegetable I had during the trip was some relish-shrapnel from an airborne hot dog.  Philadelphia is obviously known for their cheesesteaks, and through some hasty internet searching we found what we determined to be the four most-famous cheesesteak restaurants in the city.  I will list them in my order of preference:  1)  DiNic’s:  While waiting in line, a number of friendly natives noticed our Twins shirts and asked if this was our first time at DiNic’s.  To a person they claimed that, instead of a cheesteak, we should order the Italian pulled pork sandwich.  They were correct.  This is a life-changing sandwich.  I ordered mine with fried onions, sharp provolone, and sweet peppers.  I wish I were a better writer just so that I could fully articulate how good this sandwich was.  There are a handful of life moments where I can completely recall every sensory manifestation of the event (i.e. Challenger explosion, ’98 NFC Championship, seeing nudity in person, wedding day, childbirths, etc.).  This was one of those moments.  2)  Tony Luke’s:  I had a cheesesteak with Cheese Whiz, fried onions, and sweet peppers.  The chopped rib eye steak dissolves in your mouth.  Surprisingly, the Cheese Whiz is an ideal salty complement to the steak.   The onions were perfectly cooked, and the peppers provide just the right balance of sweetness.  Like a Katy Perry corset, the bread roll disregards all basic engineering principles and somehow supports all of this immense deliciousness without falling apart . Luke’s also receives bonus points for being the only place to serve beer.  3) Pat’s King of Steaks:  Everything I just said about Tony Luke’s, except no beer.  4) Geno’s:  Slow service, and the cheesesteak was only average.  Admittedly, I ordered provolone instead of Cheese Whiz, just to try something different.  Maybe cheese Whiz would have made the sandwich better, but the meat and bread were too chewy and everything else was tasteless.  Overall Food Rating = A.
*Miscellaneous:  We did not see the Liberty Bell or the Rocky statue because we are lazy.  We did see a guy who looks like Paulie Walnuts who asked us how we are doing after the “HURRAHCANE OR SOONAHMEE OR WHATEVAH”.  I assume he was talking about the tornadoes. Nearly everyone we met was loud and opinionated, but basically friendly.  I had never been to Philadelphia before, but I found the people to be nothing more than brutally honest, hard-working, hard-living, and passionate about their sports.  I loved it.  I may need some time to distance myself, but as of right now I think it was the best baseball road trip I have ever experienced.   Overall Miscellaneous Rating = A.  Overall Trip Rating = A. 
Your thoughts on what makes for an enjoyable baseball road trip, defense attorney recommendations, cheesesteaks, and  hurrahcanes are welcome in the comments.