Fan Watch: The fans are ready

Kristen A. Graham writes: 

Mary Berger is 88, a Phillies season ticketholder and a true believer. When she could barely walk, before her double knee replacement 20 years ago, she still made it to the Vet, using a motorized scooter to maneuver around the cavernous stadium.

She and son Dan Berger, 65, are in the stands for their first World Series game tonight.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Dan Berger said, chuckling at the understatement.

The Bergers, who live in Oaks, have been Phils fans their whole lives, but missed the Series in ’50, ’80, ’83, and ’93. When they got the chance to buy tickets for Game 5, they jumped. They bundled up in Phils gear, Phillies coats, and “Go Phillies Go” pins and arrived at the stadium when the gates opened to take their seats in left field.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Mary Berger said. “I’m even wearing my Phillies shirt from ’93.”

Their prediction: the Phils will triumph in front of the hometown crowd.

“Cole’s going to be good, but he’s not going to hit a home run,” Mary Berger said.

That doesn’t matter, friends Ken Isakson and Damian Randis said. Isakson, from Roxbury, N.J. and Randis, a former Phillies farmhand who lives in Austin, Tx. now, are avid baseball fans but not particularly avid Phillies fans.

Still, they didn’t want to be anywhere else tonight.

“I just want to see Cole pitch,” said Randis, a former pitcher who played for Phillies farm teams in Williamsport and Reading until 1993. “I am ecstatic to be here. I have butterflies, just being here.”

Bud Palmieri used to take his nephew Herb Eutsler to watch games at Connie Mack Stadium. They saw Sandy Koufax throw a no-hitter against the Phils in the 1960s.

Being at Citizens Bank Park last night topped that, they said.

“This couldn’t be any better,” said Eutsler, 57, of Clementon. “All the way, in front of the hometown crowd.”

They trudged to games in the lean years, when losses far outnumbered wins and futility was the order of the day. They still believed, said Palmieri, 78, of Bellmawr.

“It’s never hard to be a Phillies fan,” said Eutsler.