The Phillies opened the 2015 baseball season against the Red Sox on Monday afternoon, scheduling the game during the workday because that’s how baseball has always done it. Back in the 50s, when the only question that mattered during a client meeting was, “dirty or dry,” you could skip out of work to watch baseball no questions asked. In modern times, we’re not so lucky. People actually expect us to go to the office and be sober (thanks, Obama).

So the first Monday of every April, you have a choice: Baseball or work? Outside the stadium, a man among a group of Phillies and Red Sox fans tailgating together on Pattison Avenue summed up the proper decision by saying, “It’s way too nice to be at the office.”

Yes, yes it was. Monday afternoon provided a perfect Philadelphia day for baseball, one that begged you to leave your job for a few hours — if you had the right excuse. While most people used a vacation day so they could cheer the Phils, some people decided to play hooky the old-fashioned way, concocting a great excuse. So Billy Penn went to Citizens Bank Park to soak in some sun for a couple hours and discover the excellent lies people were telling their bosses so they could maintain the tradition of Opening Day.

To protect the innocent (because a person who seeks to enjoy the warm glow of Opening Day instead of hopping on that 2 p.m. conference call is guilty of nothing) no names will be used, except for Bruce Jenkins. Jenkins, who works in marketing, insisted over and over and over that he wanted his name to appear on our website with his reason for being at the game. That reason?

“I do what I want.”

The ailments

As you’d expect, some strange illnesses took hold in the Philadelphia area over the weekend, peaking on Monday.

Stomach Flu, called in this morning: Classic. A true 24-hour sickness. Added the culprit, “And if I drink enough I will have stomach flu.”   

The Delaware State Cough: Not quite a real sickness, but definitely get some creative points for this one.

Grad-student reasons

That time in your life when you can still get away with just about anything.

The switcheroo: “I saw my boss in the lab (this morning). He thinks I’m in class.”

Holiday: “I told them I had Easter plans even though I’m an atheist.”

Money: “Me and my boss had money on this game, so I had to watch my investment.”

The Businessman’s Special

Not everyone is ready to give up the glory days. One man wearing a Tim Wakefield Red Sox jersey had told his employer he was working on a banner. Theoretically, he wasn’t lying. He had worked on a banner, just not for work.

Decades ago, “Businessman’s Special” was a term used for daytime baseball games because businessmen were expected to not give a damn about their jobs and enjoy our national pastime instead.


These two people deserve credit for the craziest excuses. They’re also the most-likely to backfire.

Near-death experience: “My boyfriend’s in the hospital. And I don’t have a boyfriend.”

Near-life experience: “My wife’s in labor.” This guy then proceeded to say he doesn’t have a wife, nor has impregnated any woman.

Not everything is fake

A couple of dudes enjoying the tailgating scene had taken vacation time for Opening Day as they do most years. They provided a reminder that some excuses are real excuses. One man’s brother had broken his foot on Saturday night, which would have for one of those seemingly-good excuses that you would backfire instantly. But this broken foot was real. The good news was he now planned on watching the Phillies game on TV instead of going to work.

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...