Phillies ‘amazed’ by scene at parade
Free-agent-to-be Burrell leads spirited ride down Broad Street
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Yo, idiot owners, keep Pat the Bat here. Period!!! End of story!!!
PHILADELPHIA — Eight Clydesdales pulled the Budweiser carriage in 32-legged precision, stopping and starting frequently down an overflowing Broad Street decked in red and white.
The cargo, Pat Burrell, his wife Michelle and Elvis, the 125-pound English bulldog, who has become the team’s unofficial mascot (Sorry, Phanatic), rumbled through a red sea of euphoric Phillies fans.
With hair slicked back and dressed in jeans, black shoes, a black coat and sunglasses, Burrell appeared as cool as his on-field persona.
Except for his constant state of smile.
“We did it! We finally did it, didn’t we?” Burrell told an appreciative Citizens Bank Park crowd. “None of this would have been possible without you guys, and I want to thank you guys so much for the support over the years. You made this whole thing possible. I think you guys know how important this was for me, being here as long as I have.”
Fans who lined the streets chanted “Stay, Pat, Stay!”, “Re-Sign Pat!” and “Pat the Bat!” every chance they got. Up front and up high next to the reins, he must have stood up to acknowledge the crowd at least 200 times during the four-mile parade route that took nearly 3 1/2 hours to complete.
Symbolically, Burrell’s appearance at the front of the processional meant plenty to Burrell, the team’s longest-tenured player. He arrived during the 2000 season.
“I’m sure he was elated by the way the Phillies, the way the city handled everything,” starter Brett Myers said. “That was unbelievable. [But he was up front] because of his dog. Somebody said he was going to ride with Elvis because he was at every home game, and we didn’t lose at home in the playoffs. A lot of credit goes to Elvis for slobbering on us. He was our good-luck charm.”
While it’s possible that Burrell has played his final game with the Phillies — meaning the free-agent-to-be’s last hit was a seventh-inning double that set up the winning run in Game 5 — Burrell didn’t speak after the celebration, leaving Friday to be about the party.
And it was quite a party, from the moment Burrell’s carriage rolled from City Hall.
“The greatest thing I ever seen in my life, and I’ll always remember it,” said manager Charlie Manuel, who was dressed in a navy blue, pinstripe suit.
Earlier, he hoisted the World Series trophy, and later he waved to fans from one of the team’s eight flatbed trucks. The city’s first sports title parade in 25 years — 28 years for the Phillies — was a constant wall of sound.
Harry Kalas’ call of the final out could be heard throughout, as well as Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” and Bobby Burnett’s “Goin’ Back to Philadelphia, PA.”
People were everywhere, in windows, trees and rooftops, and no one got tired of yelling, screaming or waving. Center fielder Shane Victorino tossed soft pretzels to the crowd while shortstop Jimmy Rollins turned his hand-held video camera on the crowd.
“I was amazed,” Rollins said. “There were people on [Route] 76 just hanging out, I’m like, ‘This is dangerous.’ People acting like Spider-Man climbing on light pole. I saw a guy stretched on the side of the building, with a beer in his hand. They’ve been wanting this for a long time. You know when your ears start hurting because you’re trying to think about what to do, but you can’t think because your ears hurt? That’s what it was like. I wasn’t even yelling, I was just barely talking [to teammates on the float] and my voice is gone.”
When his voice got hoarse, Rollins’ mother, Gigi Rollins, suggested simply waving, but Rollins said his “shoulders were tired. It was great. It was an ocean of people and there was never a dull moment. People just kept giving you energy, so you couldn’t stop smiling and you couldn’t stop waving.”
Rollins didn’t and neither did any of his teammates.
World Series MVP Cole Hamels tried to fist-bump a fan dressed like Philly’s favorite fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, but authorities intervened before they finished. Victorino enjoyed “encouraging” fans to climb poles. The surging crowds flooded the streets at some points, leaving barely enough room for trucks and their police escorts.
“Everybody is celebrating for the right cause and that’s good that a city can do that together,” said veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer, who attended the 1980 World Series parade as a fan. “This time, I took it all in. Seeing this parade from start to finish brought tears to my eyes.” (Phillies.com)
Thanks for the parade, guys, and glad to hear that you’d enjoyed it as much as we, the fans, did. And Pat, do everything you can to stay here.
Just got back from watching the parade, or at least watching what I could see from along 20th and Market St. over two hours ago, and I’m still reeling from all the excitement. I’m sure that some of the other Phillies’ mlbloggers will be giving better and fuller reports on the parade later on, so I’m just going to blog about it from my own perspective. Around 11:35 am, I have left Drexel University’s (which I am an alum) Hagerty Library and began to walk towards 20th and Market. As I did, I noticed several other people, all wearing various type of Phillies gear (I was only wearing the hat that I’d gotten last year when I went to see my first Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park) and they were all in various states of happiness over the Phils finally winning it. When I heard someone mention the so-call Curse of Billy Penn, I told them that it was a lame excuse to explain away why our sports team kept on crapping out towards the end after I’d first heard about it a couple of years ago, and quite frankly folks, I still do. That Curse is in my my opinion a joke. Just an lame excuse someone came up with to explain away the reasons why none of the city’s major sports team had won a major championship since 1983 and the Sixers. Sorry, I just can’t buy into it. If our boys lose to a team that was better prepared to win, just say so and be done with it. Do not make excuses. Anyway, we had a good laugh on that, and I’d continued on. By the time I’d reached 30th Street Station and the now closed 30th Street Post Office Building, the place was starting to fill up with Philly red like you would never believe, and all headed for the downtown area and the parade route. Me, I was determined to just find a place around 20th and Market so that I can get a good enough view to see the floats go by. As I continued on, and walked past even more folks in Phillies gear, I began to see the area that was blocked off to traffic (I would say about 25th and Market) as well as notice several cop vans. As I started to cross about 23rd and Market, I saw a couple of Philly cops. I stopped next to them and then congratualted them on doing a good job. One of the officers smiled and thanked me, since I’d obviously made his and his partner’s day, before I continued on. Upon about 21st Street, I’d saw the place starting to fill up and I began to do some strategic manuevering so that I could get to the corner of 19th and 20th and Market Streets. I won’t give you the details, but I soon reached where I wanted to get to around about 11:50 am. At the moment, I’d decided to take a break, and go into my green bag and get out the lunch that I’d made for myself before I’d left my apartment in West Philly: a couple of hot dogs and a bottle of water. As I’d ate, I’d noticed that across the street from where I was, there were a couple of double decker tour buses filled with people, which I was to later learn contained photographers who would be taking pictures of the parade as it went along its way up Market, around City Hall and then down Broad Street towards the Sports Complex, and behind them was what I believe to be the Budweiser Clydesdales wagon. As I was doing that, I was listening to the people around me and to say that they weren’t a very happy bunch of people is an understatement. They were, like me, very glad that one of the big local sports teams have finally won the big one. Anyway, as soon as I was done eating, and had put the wrapper inside one of the pockets of my ‘tanker’ jacket, to throw it away later, I began to move again so that I could find myself a spot in front of the Soverign Bank Building on 20th and Market from which to watch the parade. After a while, I’d finally found a spot, and began to wait for the parade to start. While waiting I struck up several short conversations with the people around me, especially one with a lady who was about my age, who, unlike me, had seen the earlier 1980 parade with her 4-years old son, and was now going to watch it with her young teenage (or close to teenage) daughter. It was quite obvious to me that she was going to enjoy herself. Before then, the confetti has began to appear, being blown forward by some big fans, and soon starting to cover the area with it. Of course, as we waited, we all noticed that it was now after 12 noon and that the parade hasn’t started yet. The lady and I were soon talking about that, with both of us joking about things never being on time here, but hey, this is Philly. We’re never on time with anything. Soon we started to hear cheering and whooping, and I’m figuring that the parade must have finally started, but we just can’t see the floats yet. Around the same time, the two double decker buses with the photographers were both starting to head for the corner of 19th and 20th and Market Sts., so that they could make the turn onto Market Street so that they could start taking photos of the route, soon followed by the Clydesdales and their wagon. After a few more minutes of waiting, what we have all been waiting to see have finally arrived, as here comes the floats, as a very loud cheer is heard from the crowd around me. On the first float, at the front, was of course, the Phanatic, being, well, the Phanatic, along with, I can assume, the folks who work for the team. Also on the float, a couple of guys were holding up a couple of the local newpapers upon which were placed banner headlines that both announced that the Phillies have just won the World Series. Shades of 1980!!! About the second or third float in, there it was, what folks out here have wanted to see again for 28 years, the World Series Trophy, with it being raised high in the air for everyone to see. That cause a very big roar to erupt from the fans, but not as big a one as when the first of the floats that contained the players and their families have finally arrived. Not only did it produced a loud roar, but there was also some loud clapping, several yells of “PHILLIES” and dozens of excited fans putting their fingers into the air in the we’re number one sign. The floats would stop several time to give everyone a chance to see the guys, and, of course, that caused even louder cheers to occur. Around about the seven or eight float, we all began to see, at the back end of the float, the 2008 flag that Ryan Howard had carried around the park in a victory lap during the middle part of this Wednesday’s celebration. I know a lot of fans were happy to see that flag, since it meant what we had all year been hoping and praying for, a new championship flag to fly over the park alongside the 1980 one. After that float went by there came one more float, upon which one of the folks standing on it was holding up a placard that displayed the symbol for this year’s World Series. A short time after that float went by, soon followed by the police in car and on horseback, the crowd began to leave. It moved slowly at first, because of the large numbers of fans trying to leave at the same time, but it would start to move a bit more quickly once the bottleneck has been gotten through. While some folks soon headed towards 15th Street, or probably to the rest of the downtown area, I’d head back here to Hagerty so that I could write this report up. 🙂 Well, I can now say that I’d seen a victory parade, and man, this one rocked!!! 🙂
Update: Pat Burrell was on the Clydesdales wagon!!! Yay, Pat the Bat! I hope he stays here.