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LADELPHIA -- More than 140 local women got an inside look at their favorite ballclub in an all-day event Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.
The 12th Phillies Baseball 101 Clinic and Luncheon, benefiting Phillies charities, gave these women -- most of whom wore red or blue team apparel -- a chance to meet people involved with the organization and learn more about the game.
The sold-out event, which has raised more than $200,000 for charity since its inception in 2006, consisted of a tour the Phillies' clubhouse, a clinic with the coaching staff, and question-and-answer sessions with Phillies president David Montgomery, manager Charlie Manuel and outfielder Laynce Nix.
The attendees also got a ticket to Tuesday night's game against the Nationals. The biannual event will also be held on Aug. 21, prior to a game against the Reds, with tickets going on sale on June 12.
"What's not to like about it," said Meg Orbo of Philadelphia. "I talked to people who don't know any better and we're like, 'Oh, it's just basic baseball.' But there was nothing basic about it. Most people that came were very knowledgeable about it and were asking very in-depth questions about it, and they answered us very well. It was nice."
"We went in the batting cages. They showed us how to pitch. How to do ground balls," said Jessica Ordille of Hammonton, N.J., who heard about the event on Facebook. "It was fun."
Nix, who is in his first year with the Phillies, talked to the group about signing with Philadelphia after playing for Washington. He also discussed the tough situation of being on the disabled list and what it's like to play for Manuel.
Nix also praised the fans in attendance, one of whom brought a game-worn pair of Nix's pants -- which she purchased on eBay -- for him to sign.
"It means so much that the fans are dedicated," Nix said.
The highlight of the day for many came when it was time for the question-and-answer session with Manuel. The women filed into the Citizens Bank Park media room and gave the manager a standing ovation when he took the podium. Some chanted "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie."
The topic of conversation with Manuel spanned from Monday night's 2-1 loss to the skipper's gum-chewing habit. One woman asked Manuel, who spent part of his playing days in Japan, to speak Japanese. He obliged and translated the sentence as "I can speak a little bit."
"The coaches are great. You can tell they really have fun," said Sherry Weller of Philadelphia, clutching a basket of Phillie Phanatic-themed trinkets she won in a raffle. "They're really into it. That's why I came back, because everybody's so awesome. We really had fun."
The final question Manuel answered was from a fan wondering how the manager has always kept hope in his team when some fans might have lost faith. This season, the Phillies have been plagued by inconsistent play and entered the day in last place in the National League East with a 21-22 record.
Manuel told the group he knows that things are going to get better.
"I know there's a winning streak in us, and I know there's a streak where we're going to play well," Manuel said. "I foresee us playing much better and we're definitely going to be there in the end. We get our team back at full force, we're going to be very good. It's just a matter of staying with it. You always stay with it. You don't ever give up, and you keep going."