I had a free ticket to Sunday’s game, and I almost didn’t take it. Those of you who follow this blog know that the Phils lose almost every time I go to a game (I honestly think that before Sunday they were 3-13 in games I went to this year, including the opening day loss, the 10,000th loss, and the loss on Saturday), and I was going to honestly blame myself if I showed up and they lost again. But a free ticket is a free ticket, so off I went with my buddy Brian.
We sat beside a father-son duo. The father was in his 80s and the son was in his 50s. They were both delightful to talk to, and it was obvious that they had been to dozens of games together over the years. They had been through a lot of frustration together over the years, but not today. The energy at CBP reached a fevered pitch, the crowd began to sense a victory, and the towels began to wave furiously after every called strike. The grandfatherly man leaned over toward me, smiled and said, “This is the greatest day I’ve ever had at the ballpark.”
Things only got better. After the game, I ran into D-Mac, and we headed toward the subway. Before getting on, I saw a couple of people wearing “Phillies-NL East Champions” shirts. I asked, “Where did you get those from?” Before they could answer, a 20-something gentleman leaned forward and asked brusquely, “How many do you need?” I answered two, and he rolled up his pant leg, showing off the new white shirts tied around his leg, giving new meaning to the term bootlegging. We each bought a shirt for ten bucks and hit the Express.
Art had sent me a text when I left the park saying that he was Broad and Walnut. “Broad and Walnut?” I thought. “Where in the hell do we ever hang out at Broad and Locust?” I certainly was not prepared for the sight that emerged as I rose from the underground. There were Art and his friend Mary Anne on the island in the middle of Broad Street encouraging people to honk their horns. D-Mac and I headed over. Still euphoric from the win, I waved my rally towel wildly and jumped up and down repeatedly. People continued to honk, and pedestrians continued to make their way to the island. Others gathered on the other side of the street. Strangers high fived and hugged. When the light turned red, people would run out in the middle of the street and start dancing wildly. Vince Fumo drove by in a giant, shiny black Chevy Suburban (seriously). A convertible with four people waving giant Phillies flags did laps up and down Broad. A teenager in an orange Little League shirt rode by on his bike, waving his Phillies hat. The good sized crowd now on the island went wild. A crazed lady on the other side of the street screamed wildly, “You should all be arrested. You are breaking the laws of the state of Pennsylvania!” And then she yelled (I swear to God), “Whoop! There it is!”
It was so surreal, cab drivers honking their horns, black women in their Sunday finest cheering and honking theirs, teenagers high fiving octogenarians who drove by. It was, for just a moment, the world as perhaps we wish it was. But the beauty of such moments is that they are so fleeting, and it wasn’t long before we were snapped back to reality. One guy on the island screamed, “Hey everybody, let’s go get drunk!!!” And with that the entire crowd fled the middle of Broad Street at once and headed for their local watering hole. I walked into the night with a grin from ear to ear. 4-13 never felt so good.
RELATED: D-Mac tells essentially the exact same story. And it’s still good. Whoop! There it is!