Sunday, August 30, 2015

The voice of the fans

Phillies fans talk about what winning the World Series means to them.

The voice of the fans


This is the second of four posts about the Phillies' parade and celebration at Citizens Bank Park. Click here to see the others.

Journalism as a concept is technically a right protected by the constitution. But the ability to practice journalism as a profession is in many ways much more of a privilege than a right.

Never was that statement proven more true to me than it was today. I was truly privileged to be among the credentialed media for yesterday afternoon's parade, which allowed me to ride down Market Street and Broad Street on an open-top double-decker bus instead of making the journey on foot.

I did walk down a significant part of the Broad Street portion of the route, getting off the bus at Chestnut Street and getting back on at Moore. But I started out on the bus, and had quite a bit of time to sit and watch the fans at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard before the parade got under way.

As I looked around the huge throngs at all four corners of the intersection, I began to realize in a way that I never really had before just how deep the bond is between this team and this city. I started focusing not on the size of the crowd but on individual faces within it.

It was, as one of my old sociology professors used to say, authenticity. Sure, there were lots of television cameras and newspaper photographers, and people gravitated to them like flies to a street lamp at night.

But the joy and the passion the fans expressed was real. It might have been a bit influenced by alcohol, but it was real.

When the bus turned onto Market Street, the crowd seemed to grow exponentially. Fans were packed 20, 30, even 40 people deep at intersections. It was true on Broad Street as well, where the hotels and office buildings created a roar that rivaled a Penn-Princeton game at the Palestra.

(In other words, it wasn't quite the Holy War, but it was pretty loud. Or pretty ***** loud, to paraphrase Chase Utley.)

I got off the bus just after we swung around City Hall to take pictures of the players' caravan. But I wanted to do something more, something deeper. So I decided to take out my audio recorder and ask as many fans as I could a simple question:

What does this mean?

I got answers from all kinds of people. Men, women, children, teenagers, people who have been Phillies fans for decades and think they won't be alive for the next parade.

I put all the clips together and combined it with some of the photos I took along the parade route. It's not the most polished thing in the world, but at least it's handmade.

I hope you like it.
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About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Jonathan Tannenwald
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