The Phillies are getting ready for the season opener with the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday afternoon.

There's only one season opener. The purpose of spring training is to make sure the team is ready, because there is no such thing as starting over.

Roy Halladay and the Phillies getting a fantastic send off from two hundred fans at Citizens Bank Park.

A short bus ride to the airport, then a short flight to Pittsburgh, and like magic the Phillies are ready to face the same team they faced the last two nights before; only this time it counts.

Even for a team that's won the division the last five years, the goose bumps are there with Thursday's season opener approaching.

The Phillies finished batting practice Wednesday afternoon, and the next time they take the field it will be with Roy Halladay taking the mound for his 10th straight opening day start. He says it never gets old. It's like getting married; a little nervous, a little excited.

Halladay took the field Wednesday hoping to get his body ready and his mind right as they prepare for the opening day start against the Pirates Thursday afternoon.

While Charlie Manuel won't reveal who will be playing behind him, expect Hunter Pence to play cleanup and playing right field.

If it were up to Manuel, he would have Pence and company playing right away.

"I'm ready to play," said Manuel. "I think our guys are ready to play. We've been waiting to play for at least 10 days to get the season underway."

"There's always a lot building up to opening day; a lot of excitement, a lot of different things, but once you get out there, it's all the same," said Halladay. "I think that's what we look forward to as players, is actually getting out there and competing."

Even though the Phillies won't have Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, Charlie Manuel says they are still the team to beat.

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philadelphia phillies, mlb, jeff skversky
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