THE BANDWAGON is going to the ballpark!
The cockeyed optimists who signed up for the 2007 Daily News Bandwagon are going to gather at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, May 30 to root, root, root for the home team when they're not humming the Bandwagon mantra, "A baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint."
Never mind what the standings say, Bandwagon riders know that the fuel tank is half full, and not half empty. Just to make sure, Charlie Manuel checked the tank with a lighted match. (I get one Charlie Manuel wisecrack per column, it's in the by-laws.)
The night at the ballpark is a combined effort. Gene Giello, who co-hosts a weekly Sports Chatter show on SportsRadio950, came up with the idea. He is a charter member, with a framed certificate from 1993, the last time the Daily News organized a Bandwagon.
We all know how that turned out. If you've forgotten, ask Mitch Williams.
To get your tickets, which are discounted because it's a Phanatic Value Night, e-mail Giello at www.SportsChatterTalk.com, or call him at 484-461-8775, the Sports Chatter Hot Line. The Bandwagon loyalists will sit together in a reserved section of the lower leftfield stands, convenient for shouting encouraging words at Pat Burrell, who can use all the support the Wagoneers can muster.
Giello co-hosts the Sports Chatter show with Paul J. Solari and Kevin Midgette. It airs Friday nights between 10 and midnight. Brand-new Bandwagon T-shirts will be available that night. The Phanatic has promised a visit to the section and there will be give-aways between innings. We had hoped to create a circus atmosphere, but the Phillies were reluctant to approve a juggler and a clown in the stands.
Bandwagon riders were recruited before the season started, and 263 loyal fans, from Anchorage to Yeadon (there are no Z's when you're a diehard Phillies fan), signed up. This will be the first time the Bandwagon has ventured to Citizens Bank Park.