A Night at the Ballpark with Brandeis and JFCS
By Matthew Laver, Esquire
On Thursday August 12, members of the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society and Foundation, along with a group of Special Needs clients from Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, joined a sell-out crowd at Citizens Bank Park to watch our Philadelphia Phillies play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. These fans witnessed a rollercoaster of a ballgame which ended with the Phillies scoring four runs in the ninth inning to come from behind and beat the Dodgers in dramatic fashion. This night was particularly special as it was billed by Citizens Bank Ballpark as a celebration of “Jewish Heritage.” Pre-game ceremonies were highlighted by a traditional Klezmer performance, and mid-game activities included the famous Fiddler on the Roof dancers balancing glass bottles on their heads.

The outing was made possible through the generosity of Citizens Bank, the fundraising efforts of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society Foundation, and generous individuals who hosted two luxury box suites, complete with kosher food and drink catered by Max & David’s.

For many of those in our group, this was their first trip to the ballpark, and they were treated to perhaps the most exciting regular season baseball game in the past several years. Trailing by seven runs in the eighth inning, the Phillies managed to put four runs on the board, and cut the Dodgers lead heading into the final inning to a still seemingly out of reach score of 9-6.

As this happened, our two suites consolidated into one packed suite, filled with fans cheering their team on. Amid high-fives and “Beat LA” chants, the crowd tensed with each ball and strike, waiting to see what would happen next.

In the ninth inning, leading by three runs, the Dodgers introduced their flame-throwing pitcher, Jonathan Broxton, to face the Phillies batters for our last at bat, and final three outs. After a hit batsman, two walks, and a costly error by the Dodgers third baseman, the Phillies were within one run, and had two men on base. Hardly daring to move, except for the occasional excited fist pump, we held our collective breath as Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz stepped to the plate. It was not long before we were rewarded with a Ruiz line drive double to left center field that brought home the winning run. On the field, the Phillies swarmed Ruiz, and in the suite, we came together in a cluster hardly believing what had just happened.

The next day, in its game recap, the Inquirer wrote, “This is one they will never forget.” For those members of Brandeis and Jewish Family and Children’s Service who were fortunate enough to attend the game, that sentiment is certainly true.

AUTHOR BIO: Matthew Laver, Esquire is a member of the Brandeis Law Society Executive Committee. An associate at Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP, he represents clients in general liability and professional liability matters. He may be reached at (267) 519-4979 or

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