PHILADELPHIA -- Pamella Hall has worked on the land around Citizens Bank Park from before the ballpark's superstructure existed. She was the foreperson on the construction crew that built the ballpark in 2002 and '03 in the parking lot next to Veterans Stadium, and she has seen just about everything
PHILADELPHIA -- Pamella Hall has worked on the land around Citizens Bank Park from before the ballpark's superstructure existed. She was the foreperson on the construction crew that built the ballpark in 2002 and '03 in the parking lot next to Veterans Stadium, and she has seen just about everything that has happened at the ballpark since.
But Sunday was different. There was nothing that could prepare the Phillies' director of landscaping and site work operations for what the day would be like, with her entire staff on the warning track before she threw out the first pitch to the Phillie Phanatic while Phils manager Gabe Kapler walked out to greet her.
"I've had some great days here," Hall said. "This day is a little overwhelming. I've never dreamed of being here on this occasion. And when I found out I had breast cancer, I realized that the only thing you could do is go through it. But I've had a lot of support around here -- a lot of support."
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Hall was honored as the Phillies' Honorary Bat Girl on a rainy Mother's Day afternoon. The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise awareness and support for the annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative celebrated on Mother's Day, a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners Stand Up 2 Cancer and Susan G. Komen.
Hall was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016. She wrote about her diagnosis in an essay about her experience with the disease.
"When I discovered a lump in my breast just before Thanksgiving 2016, I wanted to wish it away," Hall wrote. "But, of course I called my doctor and went through a dizzying array of scans and consultations before being sent on a course of treatment that included a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy."
It was the chemotherapy that took the most out of Hall. But it was her family at Citizens Bank Park that ended up being among the most rewarding things of all.
"When people know you and they know what's going on and you let them in, they make sure you are OK every single day," Hall said. "They tell you, 'Don't do that, we've got this. Take it easy.' I walk around the ballpark a lot, and I had 12 sets of legs that would do things for me and make sure that I was OK."
That wasn't the only sign of salute on Sunday. The Phillies wore newly designed caps with a pink crown, and they sported pink ribbons on their cream-colored uniforms and pink wristbands on their arms. There were also pink bats piled high in the bat rack. The proceeds of all sales of this year's Mother Day items -- including the pink hooded sweatshirts players were wearing on Sunday -- will go to Susan B. Komen and Stand Up 2 Cancer, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Kevin Cooney is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.