How to prepare a Halloween Phillies Parade

Karen Heller: Halloween Phillies Parade

By Karen Heller

Inquirer Columnist

Serves 1 million

25 premium players, Grade-A talent including:

Almost a dozen pitchers, a bouquet garni of a refined MVP, a seasoned hurler, a flawless closer

1 versatile centerfielder, Hawaiian

1 effervescent shortstop

1 full-bodied first baseman

1 catcher, Panamanian, slow to rise

2 bunches of zesty sluggers

1 manager, aged and russet

1 heirloom general manager

1 announcer, robust yet mellow

1/4 gross acidic sports reporters

1 entire region of previously shredded, extra-bitter, overly coarse, diced, sliced and julienned fans (plus ex-pats generously sprinkled across globe)

1. Preheat city to roasting.

2. As appetizer, prepare several half-baked, semi-collapsed and also-ran tasteless seasons.

3. For additional agita, fold in 10,000 acrid losses.

4. Stew sorrows in toxic, turned swill of Von Hayes, Freddy Garcia, Lance Parrish, David Bell, J.D. Drew and - if sparing no expense - the Chateau d'Yquem-priced, but plonk-performing, Adam Eaton.

5. Wait 28 years.

6. Blame Billy Penn. Blame Phillies. Also: Other teams. Especially: New York. Of late: Boston, as puffed-up, caloric as cream pie. Rinse acrid aftertaste in salty tears. Resume blaming.

7. Begin anew and in earnest. Assemble the aged richness of Charlie Manuel, Pat Gillick. Marinate.

8. Reduce boil to simmer.

9. Add rack of flavorful, colorful, intoxicating, young and, if we may add, winsome players. (Why sports-writing brethren have failed to mention the team's overwhelming pulchritude is puzzling. These are the best-looking Phillies in history. Irrelevant to winning recipe? We think not.)

10. Believe.

11. Savor delicious postseason. Dredge Brewers. Pound Dodgers.

12. Experience Series. Saturday: Reduce ballpark temperature to freezing. Soak repeatedly. Chill for six hours overnight into early hours.

13. Sunday: Recover from too much baseball, too little sleep. That night's menu: Filet-O-Rays. Delectable.

14. Monday, closure interruptus. Begin. Sprinkle. Douse. Drench. Drown. Wait. Freeze. Boil. Smoke. Burn.

15. Curse Bud Selig. Also Rupert Murdoch. Joe Buck, too, especially for favoring Floridian fish.

16. Wednesday, after 1 hour, 18 minutes, at 9:58 p.m., pure perfection! Cooked! Finito! Forget woes! Forget fried economy! Love world! Though not Selig, Murdoch, Buck. Inhale Mardi Gras spectacle of Pattison Avenue. High-five strangers. Hug, too. Experience surreal Fellini-like carnival on Broad. Watch 20 people riding north atop one car. Weird. Also: Kind of great. Marvel at the restraint of police, the (relatively) peaceful behavior of fans. Sea of scarlet. Ocean of love.

17. Savor Harry Kalas calling the game repeatedly, as joyous as a Mozart aria. Learn to fancy Queen.

18. Voila! Relish Halloween Phillies Parade at noon today, bonding fans of all ages, cultures, classes, politics, races together in heady ambrosia of delight, two years shy of three decades in the making.

For optimal enjoyment, wear red, don caps, wave towels, exhaust lungs. Repeat. Bring kids, exult.

Per serving: 5 million calories of joy, countless grams delayed gratification, 100 percent of daily requirements to repair 25-year loss of faith.