"The next day," Banbelle said, "Dan Uggla hit a line-drive foul, right at us. I got out of the way."
"I tried to catch it," Williard said. "Barehanded."
"You should have heard the sound of that ball hitting meat," Banbelle said, reverently.
During last fall's playoffs in freezing weather, Williard sat with his bare chest painted red, except for a white "P," and saw Halladay no-hit the Cincinnati Reds.
So yesterday, when things looked grim for most of his third Halladay game, Williard kept the faith and went home happy.
GAL PAL'S FLEECE RULES! When Chris Brookens' girlfriend, Alexis Klair, suggested they bring the fleece Phillies blanket she made for him for Christmas to the game, Brookens said to leave it home in Bear, Del., because they wouldn't need it. Luckily, Klair prevailed.
"It probably saved our lives," Brookens, 27, said drily, after sitting for three hours in the freezing winds of Section 113, behind first base. "She was right. It was a little chilly."
KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: In
the bleachers, 20-something South Jersey college girls Kayleigh Root and Stephanie Melson helped their best friend, Leigh-Anne Galda, celebrate her 22nd birthday, and had a fine day, starting in the parking lot when total strangers, who happened to be single guys, moved their tailgating tent and grill to clear a parking space for the girls.
"They shared their tent so we could get out of the rain," Galda said.
"We shared our Papa John's pizza," Melson said.
"They shared their heater so we wouldn't be cold," Root said.
"They helped us cross the street," Galda said.
"No, they didn't," Melson said. "That was me."
PHIL THE CAN ATTACKED: Suzanne and Ken Mika, of Trenton, had their hands full on the standing-room concourse in leftfield, pushing their son Michael, 8 months old, in a stroller while keeping tabs on his brothers - Timothy, 3, and Matthew, 6.
Suddenly, Phil the Can - the Phillies talking, kid-sized trash can - showed up with its handler. Timothy and Matthew's eyes lit up.
Then they attacked Phil the Can - laughing, kicking, having a grand time. Mom and dad quickly intervened, while Phil's handler put her arm around the speechless trash can and said, "You all right, Phil? They won't hurt you again. I promise."
Ken, a Trentonian, admitted that before he met Suzanne, who was raised in South Philly by her Phillies die-hard mom and grandmom, he rooted for a team that he declined to identify for Billy. Suzanne got his mind right, and he's been a Phillies fan ever since.
TALK TO ME, DIE-HARDS: Send your Phillies stories and photos to me at email@example.com and let's celebrate the road to the 2011 championship together!