Archive: October, 2008
The crowd is big enough now -- most of the lower level is occupied -- that a line of police are arrayed around the infield.
They look pretty relaxed.
This is nothing like Game 6 of the 1980 Series when K-9 units were within snarling distance of the Royals' Willie Wilson, the guy Tug McGraw struck out to clinch the victory.
Leaving Citizens Bank Park the Broad Street Subway train was almost empty. Not even half a car was filled with passengers. Everyone on the car, however, was in good spirits, mainly because they were drunk or drinking their way to it. Since there were only a few people, everyone became friends with everyone and sharing beers and chugging contests soon began.
The friendliness and emptiness ended once a platform full of people piled on at Lombard-South Station. After that, it was standing room only. The crowd wasn't as rambunctious as the crowds heading to the stadiums, except for the one or two intoxicated passengers..
The mood quickly turned sour about 1:45 p.m. when a passenger lit a cigarette on the car. After many failed requests that he put it out, the ride went from a calm, quiet one to a violent, overexcited one. In the middle of the car passengers were trying to hold back from swinging. As soon as the doors opened at the Race and Vine stop, a pile of 10 or so men tumbled out throwing punches every which way. The brawl lasted only a few moments after they had gotten the smoker off the train. Some men, still angry and wanting a fight, continued to go after the smoker but were then pulled back onto the car. Blood was everywhere: on the participants and on the platform.
Some Phillies fans took their enthusiasm for the team a little too far.
There was the teenager who streaked across the parking lot outside the ballpark shortly after noon. He somehow managed to elude police.
Another exuberant fan wasn’t so fortunate.
From City Hall, fans were streaming into the subway only to find that all southbound trains had been canceled.
People were angry. “We won’t go. The subway is lame. This is stupid. We won’t go”
As a train arrived, people rushed toward it and it was empty. Trains did not stop because the subway had closed.
Once the parade passed through Center City, fans swarmed the subway’s Broad Street line heading toward the stadium. The cars were overloaded. Four girls squeezed into one seat, standing room only. There was nowhere to turn.
Once they got on the subway, riders were in good spirits singing, “We are the Champions” and “Go Phillies,” until the train stopped to let someone off or, (how is this possible?) to let others on.
That’s when the crowd got angry. All they wanted was to reach the end of the line and the stadium.
Inside Citizens Bank Park, best friends George Else and Chris Breslin, both 31 and from Drexel Hill, came dressed in tan jumpsuits as ghostbusters and posed for dozens of cellphone pictures snapped by exuberant fans.
They held a sign emblazoned: “The Phillies Ghosts Have Been Busted!”
Else’s parents, George Sr. and Patricia, stood by, sporting Phillies red jackets and hats.
And then it was past.
After the last truckload of players passed, followed by a cluster of police on rumbling motorcycles, the crowd pressed through the barricades and poured back onto Market Street and 20th. The determined ran after the parade, trying to hold onto the moment awhile longer, but within minutes, the crush made anything but a slow, deliberate shuffle impossible.
The sea of red flowed into the side streets as the fans left to catch lunch at restaurants, the 3-D images in the Comcast Center lobby, or a ride home on the subways or in their cars.
At 16th and Market, Jim Nicholls had a catbird seat to watch the parade thanks to his own quick thinking.
“I came down and saw what it looked like,” said Nicholls, who works nearby at Elsevier, a medical publisher. “I went upstairs and got a ladder.”
As the parade made its way down Market, Nicholls, of Erial, N.J., stood on his orange ladder, hovering over the crowd with a clear view toward Market and happily snapping photos for anyone who handed him a camera.