This is what I saw -- the crowd at the Good Dog Bar exploding, screaming, hopping, arms-locked, ecstatic as Lidge shuts out the lights and the Rays, and then like some giant centipede rolling down the stairs, third floor to second and out the door, everyone piling out onto South 15th Street, where Bedlam awaits.
This is what I saw -- the crowd at the Good Dog Bar watching, waiting ... waiting, then exploding, screaming, hopping, arms-locked, ecstatic, as Brad Lidge has shut out the lights and shut down the Rays, and the season and all this losing is over, and then, like some giant centipede rolling down the stairs, third floor to second and out the door, everyone just careens out onto South 15th Street.
Where Bedlam awaits.
Septa busses are honking. People are streaming out of everywhere - bars, apartments, restaurants. A tall guy comes at us, screaming. He drops his backpack. Drops his thermos. Drops his jacket. Then strips off his shirt, and he's hollering up and down the street:
He's Paul Basenfelder, 29, from Northeast Philadelphia, he's coming from Temple, and he is a winner.
At 10:06 p.m. people are moving toward Broad and Walnut from all directions. Tens, hundreds, thousands in minutes. What bring them here, muscle memory? An old muscle memory.
"Let's Go Phillies!" some are chanting. "Let's Go Phillies!"
The police are on the perimeter, watching, laughing, high-fiving occasional revelers.
Then several people climb the Septa shed that leads down to the Walnut-Locust station. The police yell, and shoo them off of there. Across the street, others have climbed atop newstands, too, blowing horns, banging pans. Where did they get their pans?
There are many thousands of people screaming out here, and walking through this madhouse are two nicely dressed ladies who have come from the Pennsylvania Ballet, and they look a little stunned.
But they're not. They tell me how they were watching a Twyla Tharp piece, called "Push Comes To Shove," in which the dancers wore Bola hats, and for the curtain hall the lead dancer came out wearing a Phillies hat.
"And that," said Cherry Bombeck of Society Hill, "was how we know we'd won."
She and friend Linda Skale were not sure how they were going to get home with all the streets filled with people. So they went to the Ritz for a celebratory cocktail.
I keep pushing north toward Callowhill.
Finely dressed men and woman are standing on the balcony of the Union League, holding adult beverages in "go glasses." A Phillies banner hangs over the balcony. They're into it in a sort of subdued spectator way.
It is starting to get crazier. All of Temple University seems to be running south on Broad Street toward this impromptu party. Six people are riding atop a Chevy Blazer. Others are sticking their heads through sunroofs, out of driver and passenger windows. Honking, honking. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic - it doesn't matter. High fives all around.
And then a Budget truck passes - I count 27 people on it, either sitting on the top of the cab, hanging out windows, holding on to the back.
At Broad and Vine cars are trying to pass when they get the green light, and the crowd will not yield. Shirtless guys are doing jumping jacks in the midlde of traffic. At the front of one line, Kai Browner, 21, from Philly, leans out of his Grand Cherokee and instead of yelling for people to let him through, he is honking his horn and screaming, "Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed."
Welcome to Winnerville