Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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TV producer learned to love Phils as a Jersey boy

Host and show´s executive producer Bill Lawrence entertains the audience at The Undateable Tour opening night at Caroline´s On Broadway on March 2, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Host and show's executive producer Bill Lawrence entertains the audience at The Undateable Tour opening night at Caroline's On Broadway on March 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images) Getty Images

GIVE the Phillies a kid at 6 or 7 and they'll have him for life.

At least that's the way it's worked with TV producer Bill Lawrence ("Scrubs," "Cougar Town"), who was in town this week promoting his upcoming NBC sitcom, "Undateable," by accompanying four of its stars - stand-ups Chris D'Elia, Ron Funches, Brent Morin and Rick Glassman - on a multicity comedy tour that Tuesday took them to Philly's Underground Arts.

Lawrence grew up mainly in Connecticut, but when asked yesterday about his Twitter-professed love for our Phillies, he launched into a passionate pitch for Darin Ruf, "who is going through what Ryan Howard went through when Jim Thome was on the Phillies, which was he's a first baseman, and Ryan Howard's ahead of him."

Lawrence is worried that the 27-year-old Ruf, who hit an impressive 14 home runs in 73 games after coming up from Triple-A at midseason after Howard was injured, may not get to see more major-league playing time anytime soon "because the Phillies have a very big group of old guys. And that's the start of the mistake of their philosophy, is that they're sticking with guys that they better hope" can still deliver.

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  • So, where does a guy who grew up in New England (and lives in L.A.) get a thing for the Phils?

    Turns out that Lawrence, who's 45, spent two of his formative years in Moorestown, N.J. - "first and second grade, South Valley Elementary School" - and that his father took him to "maybe seven Phillies games."

    "That Phillies team," which included future World Series champs Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Bob Boone, "was the first baseball team I ever saw play live," he said.

    - Ellen Gray

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