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A die-hard fan takes a ‘Phield trip’ to DC for Opening Day

5:43 am:  The alarm goes off. Any other day, I would have been annoyed, but today–today was different.Photo by Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post After 152 long days of the offseason, the waiting was over. Today, I would put on my Chase Utley  T-shirt and drive the 148 miles to Nationals Park .

With hopes of a perfect debut by Roy Halladay  and the showcase of a 2010 World Championship team, I jumped in the car with anticipation. Today, I would see my beloved Philadelphia Phillies  on the field once again. And I wasn’t the only one.

Thousands of Phils fans invaded DC for Opening Day. As I pulled into what should have been Nationals Nation, I honestly couldn’t spot one Nats fan. Halladay? Yes. Jimmy Rollins  and Utley? Sure. But the absence of Nationals jerseys was hard to miss.

Tailgating in the parking lot felt nothing less than a day at Citizens Bank Park. Under sunny skies, we taunted any one who dared sport another team’s paraphernalia. Hot dogs, flip cup, and chants of ‘Let’s go, Phillies!’ made me feel right at home.

Nothing could phase our excitement–not the long line to get through the metal detectors set up for President Obama,Photo: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/374611-fail-to-the-chief-how-president-obamas-first-pitch-stacks-up ominous-looking security guards, gloating Yankees fans, or even your typical, ‘You may have the better baseball team, but now we have your quarterback.’ Donovan  who? Let’s go, Phillies!

And our boys really did put on a show. The atmosphere was electric when Rollins hit that first pitch. Every batter in the lineup–let me repeat, every batter got a hit. The newly reacquired third-baseman, Placido Polanco brought a big bat to Monday’s game (Grand Slam, baby!) and Halladay lived up to his title, a true ace on the mound. In seven innings, he allowed only six hits, one run, and two walks, striking out nine Nats.

It really was the best start you could ask for. And it wouldn’t have been complete without a homer from the ‘Big Man.’ Ryan Howard  hit a two-run homerun in the fourth inning. Utley walked a whopping three times and it truly seemed as if everyone on the team played a part in the convincing victory over the Nationals.

With a final score of 11-1, the Phils were looking like they were ready for a big season and another trip to the World Series. Can you say three-peat?

It was a great day. The Phillies’ star performances really did make the trip down to Washington worth it (even the four-and-a-half hours of traffic we had to sit in on I-95 on the way home). And Phils fans, once again, confirmed their unbelievable, almost obsessive, support and enthusiasm for this 2010 Philadelphia Phillies team.

Phillies fans may be the only fans in the world who can turn another stadium into their own home and I’m already planning my next ‘phield trip’ to cheer on, what I think, will definitely be a 2010 World Series Championship team.

Jacalyn Clay is a recent Temple U. grad striving to make a difference in the professional media world. She is also possibly one of the biggest Phillies fans in the tri-state area. Contact her at jacalynclay@gmail.com  or find her on Twitter @jacalynclay http://twitter.com/jacalynclay