Newark’s Gina Papili is the First State’s first Phillies ball girl. Find out how she made a superstar slugger smile.
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First State Phillies, Part II
PR guy Larry Shenk experienced the best of both worlds during the Fightin’ Phils’ World Series season.
Delaware’s closest tie to the world champion Philadelphia Phillies isn’t on the field. It’s Wilmington resident Larry Shenk.
Shenk, 70, the Phillies’ longtime public relations guru, entered semi-retirement after the 2007 season, but remains with the team as an advisor and assists with alumni relations and events coordination. He also writes a weekly blog for phillies.com called Phillies Insider.
“I’m not involved with the day-to-day media hassles like I used to be, which has improved my blood pressure,” he says.
DT: So your first season with the Phillies was 1964 (when the team orchestrated a historic late-season collapse). That’s like being the first man on board the Titanic.
LS: I was a huge Phillies fan, and we were in first place, so [the feeling was] don’t bother me with the World Series details. Next thing you know, it was all over, and we painfully lived though that. Hopefully the 2007 Mets took us off the pressure cooker.
DT: How has your field changed over the years? Are we to the point of complete media saturation in sports?
LS: When I started, it was a newspaper world. TV came around once in a while. Over the course of time it’s evolved, and I guess the biggest change is the Internet. There are so many websites out there and professionals who write blogs and fans who write blogs. I like to think that if the Internet was around when I was 22 years old, I would have been doing that.
DT: The Phillies definitely have a sordid history. Did the World Series last season bring it full circle for you?
LS: We’ve been part of this community since 1883. No other sports franchise can match that, and there aren’t many businesses in this country that can match that. And yes, we had a very bad past, but that is behind us. Since 1971, we have a winning record.
DT: How did you celebrate the World Series?
LS: My wife and I went to every game, home and road. So I was more of a fan than I ever was because the previous World Series we were in, I’d be in the press box from 9 a.m. till after midnight. Last year at Citizen’s Bank Park, I was sitting in the Hall of Fame Club with my family and I was cheering, which I could never do before. I was more nervous than I ever was before—I even cursed a few times.
Page 3: First State Phillies, Part II, continues...