Social distancing has forced people to get creative in the way they bond with friends during the coronavirus health crisis. Virtual happy hours and virtual game nights have become quite popular. Last Thursday night, more than 350 Phillies employees got together for a virtual pizza party.
"It was a lot of fun," one participant said. "A really nice gesture. It was great to see everybody."
The event required some significant planning. Thirty-two employees were designated as "pizza captains." Each captain reached out to a group of employees and received individual pizza orders. The orders were phoned in to each employee's favorite pizza shop for pickup or delivery. Some 280 pizzas were ordered and 180 local pizza shops were supported. A group of high-ranking team officials — the folks at the front of the media guide, as they say — personally picked up the tab for the pizza party, which was hosted by executive VP Dave Buck.
Employees from 12 different departments from the front office to the playing field participated in the 90-minute party. Folks logged in from 20 different states and the Dominican Republic.
Manager Joe Girardi participated from his home in Florida. Scott Kingery logged in. And there were two special guests — Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Not sure if they were thin-crust or thick-crust guys.
The Phillies' offices have been closed since mid-March. While some teams have cut pay and furloughed employees during the shutdown, the Phillies have committed to paying full-time staff through the month of May. The team has also offered fans the opportunity to seek refunds for April and May games that have been impacted by the shutdown.