Phillies fans pack parade route
World Series heroes the center of attention in Philadelphia
By Kevin Horan / MLB.com
We certainly do know how to party, do we?
PHILADELPHIA — They spread like wildfire, their red-and-white Phillies gear engulfing more than three miles of city sidewalk.
When there was no more room, Phillies fans clustered onto staircases, balanced themselves on top of trash cans and even perched on tree limbs.
The youngest among them had never seen anything quite like this. The older fans had witnessed it once, but received no assurance that it would grace this town again.
Their ecstatic cheers melded with the rumbling trucks, blaring horns and clomping of horses hooves for two glorious hours on Friday afternoon. The attention of an entire city zeroed in on the 2008 Phillies, as they marched from 20th and Market Streets to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex for the second time, and the first time since 1980.
“There’s Blanton!” screamed an overjoyed young fan, pointing toward the truck that carried Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, a July trade acquisition. “Blannnntonnnnn!”
In the middle of Passyunk Avenue, another fan squeezed a cell phone against his ear, yelling as loud as he could the name of each player he saw pass by: “Jamie Moyer, Greg Dobbs, Jimmy Rollins.”
Robert Grant, a 21-year-old college student, leaned up against a tree to get a better view as the parade neared his spot at the corner of Broad and Wharton Streets. A student at Philadelphia University, Grant was scheduled to be in Japanese class Friday afternoon.
So much for that. Class was canceled.
“That was all the motivation I needed,” he said. “I don’t think anybody was going to show up today. So I said, ‘Forget it.’ I might as well be down here. It’s 28 years since this happened. Might as well come on down.”
Police officers manned metal barricades, turning around with bright smiles and misty eyes when the parade neared their respective spots. Some even pulled out cameras to capture the occasion.
Mike Kean, a Delaware County resident, ducked out of work early as a 23-year-old to see the Phillies’ World Series championship parade in 1980. Now 51, Kean did the exact same thing on Friday afternoon to attend this year’s parade with his wife.
“This is better,” Kean said, standing on a staircase on Broad Street. “It’s more crowded, for one thing. It’s just amazing. It’s an amazing outpouring of love by the city.”
Perfect strangers exchanged high-fives, hugs and excited cheers. Fans sprayed miles of silly string into the air, while others shot champagne off balconies.
No one seemed to mind.
“It’s all right here,” said Matthew Schuh, a fan who lives on Broad Street. “All morning, it’s been great — ever since they started playing in the playoffs, Broad Street has been a fun place to be.”
Many fans thought of creative ways to show their support — there was a homemade World Series trophy, a gigantic cardboard Phillies “P,” colorful wigs, face-paint and capes.
Standing in front of a funeral home owned by her brother, Annamarie Stolfo pointed toward a sign in the window that read: “R.I.P Rays.” In front of her was a bouquet of red and white flowers that she intended to present to manager Charlie Manuel and the rest of the team.
“Red and white is for the Phillies,” Stolfo explained. “And Charlie is the man!”
Even a non-Phillies fan, 26-year-old Jason Solinsky, was able to appreciate the scene.
Solinsky grew up in Connecticut, then Vermont, and donned a Buffalo Bills cap as he stood perched on top of a railing, watching the parade.
When Solinsky saw the players pass by and heard the symphony of blaring horns, clomping hooves and cheering Phillies fans, however, he cracked a wide smile.
“It’s cool to see so many people united over one thing,” he said. “They needed something to appreciate.” (H/T Phillies.com)
Don’t you just wish that this would never end?
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.