Monday, December 22, 2014

Phillies Clinch Division - Quietly

A quiet night in the Northeast as Phillies clinch division

Phillies Clinch Division - Quietly

Outside the Mayfair Diner during final innings of the Phillies-Nationals game Monday night.

On TV, Phillies ace Roy Halladay is embraced by teammates after striking out the final Washington batter to clinch their division title. On the diner counter, banana cream pie w/coffee.

With the team's September Surge, and Roy "Mr. Perfect Game, Twenty Game Winner, Cy Young & MVP shoo in" Halladay pitching, clinching their division was a foregone conclusion for most Phillies fans.

We had two photographers at the game in Washington, and we dispatched three photographers here - to South Philadelphia, Center City and the Great Northeast - should revelers spill out into the streets flipping cars, burning trash cans, looting luggage stores, or toppling utility poles.

I went to Frankford & Cottman, scene of big crowds after previous Phillies and Flyers wins. But a division title coming off two straight World Series appearances doesn't exactly generate the same release of pent up emotions that winning the world championship after twenty eight years of waiting did in October 2008 (or for Flyers fans after a 13 year Stanley Cup finals drought).

This was a little quieter night.

I didn't get the photos we might have anticipated, and there was no place in the newspaper for the pictures I did make. But I'm pleased with the moments I captured. It's the way working the night shift has gone. New opportunities all around to see things I'm not expecting - and the challenge of trying to make pictures that convey some of that serendipity to readers.

Eric, the young man watching the game through the Mayfair Diner picture windows, made me think of the days when neighbors gathered around the only television on the block to see the big game together.

After photographing him I really didn't need to go into a sports bar to get fans gesturing and cheering into my lens believing they'll be on the 11 o'clock TV news. And I'm glad the crowds of hooligans acting out on the intersection hoping to make somebody's YouTube video never materialized.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at tgralish@phillynews.com.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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