It's officially Alumni Weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
Mike Schmidt will be here. Nearly all of the members of the colorful '93 NL Champions will be celebrated, too, 20 years after their magical season.
Nothing that happens, however, will top Darren Daulton arriving in Philly.
Daulton had brain surgery to remove two cancerous tumors on July 1. Nine days after the surgery, grim news followed: Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, the same form of cancer that took the lives of fellow former Phillies Tug McGraw and John Vukovich.
But an incredibly upbeat Daulton arrived in the press conference room at Citizens Bank Park an hour before first pitch on Friday. He shared hugs with Chris Wheeler and Gary "Sarge" Matthews. He pumped his fist when he saw another friend in a room crowded to capacity.
And then he sat down and spoke for almost three minutes. When he was finished, everyone applauded.
Here is what Daulton had to say:
"Thanks to all of you guys and everything that we’ve experienced in the last month. It was a little surprising when it happened. I remember being on 97.5 The Fanatic for the show this season, there were a couple of appearances where I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I was having trouble explaining a little bit of baseball after doing it for 20 years of my life, experiencing this, it was a little difficult.
Right now, I have a little bit of a problem during the day, every now and then, where I can’t understand… I have a problem with talking. But this eventually is – I’ll get better.
But being a part of Philadelphia for all of these seasons, and going to Alumni Weekend it just really, really… you really get to hang your hat for the weekend. It’s Philadelphia. For many years, I feel like it’s my home. It feels like it’s my family. I really enjoy this. And this wekened we’re going to have a blast. It’s fun to be a part of.
What I’m experiencing right now, it’s going to start next Friday (chemotherapy). But I’m a player. Right now I think I’m done, with the surgery and everything. I really think I am. But for some reason I’m supposed to go through the chemotherapy. I can’t talk about it, but I feel like it’s over. Again, thank you everybody here in Philadelphia. The fans – it’s just been phenomenal. … Thank you all very much."
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