CLEARWATER, Fla. – Here’s the way it should be at spring training, and no, that doesn’t mean watching Roy Halladay pitch while wearing the red pinstripes of the Phillies.
It will take some time to get used to that sight.
But what was totally outstanding Wednesday at Bright House Field, the Phillies’ outstanding spring facility, was an impromptu pre-game show put on by a 5-year-old Phillies fan.
The curly headed little jasper, named Jack Duffy from Ambler, Pa., commenced dancing to a rap song during Phillies’ batting practice. A handful of players noticed and pointed and soon most of the stadium was watching the kid, who had all kinds of moves.
He had on a Ryan Howard shirt and Howard, in between swings, eventually called for a pen and signed a baseball and sent it up. Next thing you know the kid was on the field, invited down by Phillies personnel to meet his hero. They talked for a while, the kid showing Howard his batting stance, and then the little guy started dancing again, doing a couple of breakdance spin moves that literally flattened Howard, so hard was he laughing.
Eventually Howard also gave the kid a bat and posed for pictures, while the boy’s mother snapped away, and the kid retreated to the stands with his loot, while the fans applauded Howard. It was just a terrific unscripted moment, something that kid will remember forever, and every player in the majors should have seen how well Howard handled it. More fan interaction like this would go a long way.