The lady at the Phillies game pointed at my son Nolan, turned to me and said, "I'm not sure he can see."
I laughed and replied, "I'm petty sure he can't, but I don't think it matters."
Nine-year-old Nolan was enthralled Sunday afternoon as the Philadelphia Phillies mounted a ninth-inning rally against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. He wasn't alone. The hometown Phils started the ninth down 6-3 and looked beaten. Win or lose, we had a great day - which began with a morning trip to Jonathan Sheppard's barn (to take photos of Sermon Of Love, Divine Fortune and Lead Us Not) - but we wanted a win.
Nolan, his brothers Ryan and Jack and I moved down from our seats in Section 414 to stand on the concourse behind home plate. We were thinking it might help us get to our car sooner, but still held out hope of a rally - and even turned our hats inside out to help the cause.
Placido Polanco led off with a single and the crowd murmured. Chase Utley doubled and the stadium buzzed. Ryan Howard, who struck out two innings earlier, slapped a single to right-center - scoring two runs - and the place came alive. The Clancys rode the wave of sound and enthusiasm, along with some new friends standing with us at the railing. Down 6-5 with the tying run on first and nobody out, the Phillies were in business. Jayson Werth strode to the plate while the Nationals conferred at the pitcher's mound. Closer Drew Storen stayed in to face Werth and we got ready. Nobody sat. Nobody stayed quiet. Nobody forgot to clap. A smart-aleck bellowed "This ain't Triple A Storen!"
Werth worked the count to 3-1, fouled off a pitch to make it 3-2 and then fouled off two more. Nolan craned his neck, Jack peeked between two shoulders, Ryan leaned toward the aisle. I tried to watch the game, but kept looking at my boys. "Remember this," I whispered - half to them, half to myself.
And then Werth sent a 94 mph fastball over the 409-foot sign in center field. We cheered, we hugged, I picked up Nolan so he could see the field in time for the final steps of Werth's home run trot, we danced and jumped and sang and hollered. The lady smiled and high-fived all of us.
"I didn't see anything, but I could tell something good happened," Nolan said afterward.