If there was a Grandson of the Year award, it would be Rob Ranelli in the race.
Earlier this week, the 22-year-old Rock North Council graduate surprised his grandparents with the news he took them to play three World Series to watch their beloved Philadelphia Phillies compete for the Houston Astros.
Get your jerseys ready. Ranelli told them during a FaceTime call, two days after the Phillies snatched the National League flag.
For Ranelli, taking his grandparents, Howard and Anita Guarini, into the game was a no-brainer.
The Pottstown pair have been Phillies fans their whole lives, after all. They passed on the love of the team to their grandson. In 2008, Ranelli went to his first Feliz game with his grandfather, a moment he said cemented his love of baseball.
“The first year I played baseball, we went to a Phillies game,” said Ranelli, an Upper Macfield resident. “It was great because in 2008, we had Howard, we had Oatley, we had Victorino, and we had all these top players. I will never forget the day I saw Ryan Howard and Chase Otley holding right in front of me. And as a kid you don’t even understand the importance of the moment. You grow up a lot.”
That day saw a special bonding between grandfather and grandson, with Guarini also reminding him of his childhood.
“It brought back some feelings for me and my dad’s going to ball games when I was a little kid,” said the grandfather.
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So, after watching the Phillies punch their ticket to the 2022 World Championships with a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in Game Five of the National League Championship Series, Ranelli knew right away that he wanted to share the experience with his grandparents.
“It brought me back when Pop-Pop and I went[to a Phillies game]14 years ago. When will this really happen again when we can all go to a game like this and celebrate something that could make history something the three of us will never forget?” he remembered, he asked Himself.
“So, I thought no matter how much money, it would be worth it because this might be a one-time thing and I don’t think you can put a price tag on it.”
When Ranelli threw the surprise, Howard and Anita were surprised. Even days later, the two of them were still reeling from the news.
“It makes me cry,” Anita said. “I don’t know if I have the words.”
“It’s just something out of the ordinary and we’re very grateful, not so much for the game, but he thinks a lot of the relationship we’ve had to do something like that, it’s a beautiful thing,” Howard said. .
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Thinking ahead about Game Three – the first home game Phillies will host in the series – Ranelli and his grandparents already appreciate the excitement it holds for them as they take their place among the cheering crowds of fans at Citizen Bank Park on Monday.
It’s passion, excitement, and joy, all combined into one emotion,” said Ranelli. “It will probably be one of the best moments of my life, if not the best.”
“I think it’s going to be very noisy and very exciting. And I wouldn’t think we’d ever sit all through the nine rounds. We’d just go crazy like everyone else,” Howard said.
Anita said she loves how tournaments can connect families, young and old, regardless of age. Regardless of whether Velez won or lost, she is happy to have her once in a lifetime engagement.
“Of course, we want them to win,” she said. “But I think this experience in and of itself with the three of us is something we will never forget.”
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