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Phils enjoy 'Broadway in Clearwater'

Phils enjoy 'Broadway in Clearwater'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Francis Scott Key couldn't have had this in mind.

His "Star-Spangled Banner" received a glitzy makeover at Bright House Field on Tuesday, when Broadway producer Dale Badway performed a rousing rendition of the national anthem before the Phillies-Rays game.

"That was Broadway in Clearwater," Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "It was a show out there."

Dressed in an off-white sports coat and pink shirt, Badway waved his arms passionately for emphasis and paced back and forth behind home plate. He held the word "free" for 10-15 seconds, prompting applause from an appreciative crowd of 8,891.

The only thing missing was a show-stopping dance number.

Badway left the field to thunderous roars, and kept the energy up long after he sung the line, "Home of the brave." Still juiced, he pumped his fist and bounced toward the dugout, sharing fist-bumps with manager Charlie Manuel and pitcher J.C. Romero, then a spirited high-five with outfielder Jayson Werth.

"You can't teach that type of enthusiasm," Werth said. "He was giving everybody knuckles and fives. I wanted to congratulate him on a job well done."

As with any performance, Badway's interpretation was left open to criticism, so the reviews were mixed. Some emerged from the dugout and watched intently, while others tried to keep from laughing.

"I enjoyed it," catcher Chris Coste said. "The guy did a really good job. He took it seriously. It was the first time I saw a guy move around a little bit. He put his own spin on it, and I thought it was pretty good."

"That might have been the worst I've ever seen," countered outfielder Geoff Jenkins. "Simon Cowell [of "American Idol"] would have ripped him apart. Paula [Abdul] would have said he looked good, though."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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