As a season ticket holder in the left-center outfield stands at Citizens Bank Park, there are a few things I know. One, Shane Victorino’s backside is a wonderful sight to behold (and a special joy when we’re blessed with extra innings), and two, Raul Ibanez was the best addition to the Phils in 2009. Period. Now, granted his thirty-six year old backside probably doesn’t excite as many of the young execs and twenty-something hotties sitting in the cheap seats as it does me (she says, giving away her age) but he is, none-the-less, a joy to behold.
But there are a few things I have to straighten out. First, if you were sitting up close and personal to Raul in section 145 on Sunday, you would have misinterpreted Raul’s miscalculation of that left field fly ball simply as “incredible effort”. After seeing Pat Burrell take too many balls on the hop (and I say that with all the love in my heart, Pat), Raul’s running back-slide (not his backside) was a welcome sight to behold. But the most important thing every fan should now know is how to say his name. We section 145ers don’t have a problem with that – not after his performance on Sunday, and I feel strongly I should use this post as a platform to teach y’all the appropriate pronunciation too. As Bruce Springsteen said, “Do I have to say his name? Do I have to speak his name?” Yes I do. And I anticipate I’ll have to say it many times this season.
So without further ado, let’s learn to say it right. It’s easiest to explain if we use the late, great, Wolfman Jack howling at the moon to start things off, then just connect Raul’s first and last names as if they’re continuous with one another. Okay? Here goes. Start off with a soft “Ra” and then howl, “OOOOOOOOOOL,” and stay up there as you move into his last name, “EEE,” then bring it down, “ban-yez”. Let’s do that again. “Ra-OOOOOOOOOOLEEE-ban-yez.” Say it loud and say it proud. “Ra-OOOOOOOOOOLEEE-ban-yez.” Got it? Now, if anyone has a problem, just listen closely to the left-centerfield crowd on Wednesday night and you’ll hear me howling it when he steps up to the plate. Trust me, you won’t have to strain to hear – that’s what the people who sit in front of me do by the end of each game - seriously, ask them - but I figure at my age, hearing me howl at the Raul beats looking at my backside.
See you at the ballpark.