Archive: October, 2008
Theresa Gallo, her husband Vince, and their 13-year-old son Nicholas, stood in the stands directly behind home plate as Philly after Philly spoke from the heart and took a bow.
The Washington Township, N.J., family are baseball fanatics. Nicholas has even played with his youth league team at the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Theresa, a school lunch monitor, was born in South Philadelphia and rooted for the Fightin’ Phils her whole life.
While the victory party was going on inside Citizens Bank Park, another was in full swing outside.
In the parking lot, with helicopters hovering overhead, firecrackers going off and innumerable crushed beer cans at their feet, the fans were happily tailgating, throwing footballs, and just soaking up the moment. One group came in a U-Haul truck equipped with two upholstered chairs in the back.
"World champions. World (f-bomb) champions."
Chase Utley is the quiet man no more.
And the crowd is stunned for about a millisecond, and then gives him the biggest cheer of all.
Elvis the Burrell dog is curled up on the infield dirt, the calmest creature in the park.
Pat Gillick tells the crowd a secret that Charlie Manuel's nickname is Fuq. It comes from his middle name, Fuqua.
"Fuq, Fuq" shouts the crowd, but some persist with Charlie.
The pennant is raised on the pole, lifting the hearts of fans.
Alas, there's no wind so it doesn't unfurl in all its glory.
And then, finally a gust, and 2008 unfurls.
For every Phillie a convertible.
As they circle the field, the cheers cascade from the stands -- it's hard to tell who gets the loudest cheer. Utley? Hamels? Victorino? Burrell? Howard? Rollins?
Inevitably, "We are the champions" blares, the Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom."
The crowd is chanting, "Let's go Phillies," then a hush.
The Phillies play their "tough road" intro, reprising season highlights.
A mighty roar goes up, puncuated by screams. Lidge's final pitch is replayed. Rhythmic clapping. The Phillies' kids dance near the stage.
The Phillies front office has arrived at the ballpark. The players' families are taking seats near the stage. Soon, the team will arrive through the right field gate.
The fans are getting restless. The crowd is doing the wave.
Live pictures from the Linc are beamed to the Bank.
Anticipation rises. Down on the field, the police brass shows up, recognizable by all the braid on their hats. Not your usual security contingent.
Victorino and Moyer speak at the Linc.