Friday, October 31, 2008

The end of the baseball season.

Today was parade day in Philadelphia. The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies boarded flatbed trucks and made the slow trip down Broad Street to the ballpark, where 40,000 fans waited to see them. The parade started at 12:20 and they didn't get to the ballpark until well after 4:00, two hours behind schedule. How they could make a schedule is anyone's guess, since most of the 2 or 3 million people who came to Philly would wind up on Broad Street. There were a few glitches in the area of public transit, but if you came from New Jersey it mostly involved waiting in long lines to get on the train.

This is the inside of the Lindenwold station of the PATCO Hi-Speed line at 9:20am. We had to wait in line 45 minutes just to get to the ticket machine. Thankfully, a train left every 6 minutes and, since this is the start of the line the train was empty when we got in. Three stops later, however, it was clogged full of people to the extent that the conductor was telling people that there was another train coming. I felt badly for people who had to use the train to go to work. If they didn't get on in Lindenwold, they weren't getting there. At the Woodcrest station we could see the line wrapped around the parking lot about 500 feet just to get to the building. Little did they know that when they got there the train would be filled.
We came out of the train at Broad Street near Locust, a few blocks from City Hall. It's over 2 hours from the start of the parade and the sidewalks were nearly clogged. They started showing up at dawn. Parts of Broad Street were jammed so badly that we wound up walking down 15th Street until we got further away from Center City. I found it odd that so many people congregated in such a small area, and further down the street there were places to stand - at least for a little while. The parade was the same at the start as it was at the end. I guess Center City was "the place to be?"
Broad Street at 10:30am. The crowd is assembling in front of the Union League building. Local sports talk station WIP was perched on the balcony. I thought I'd be able to see them, but I needed to be on the other side of the street - and that wasn't happening.
The original plan was to take the Broad Street subway down to the stadiums, but we used our experience with PATCO to convince us to walk the length of the nearly 4 miles. It turned out to be a genius move, since later in the day the crush of passengers would cause SEPTA to suspend train service.
Finally ... After the nearly 4 mile walk through the morass of people ... the Ballpark at noon. The lucky 40,000 or so of us who had a ticket to the ceremony got to go inside. As it turned out, there was plenty of parking down by the ballpark. SEPTA and the city pleaded with people to take the train, then they dropped the ball by leaving several thousand people without train service. As it was with my walk back from the game on Sunday, I was rewarded by the scene on the street before the parade. Oceans of people dressed in red, screaming like maniacs.
The final stretch of the parade route came off Broad Street (top) and down Citizen's Bank Way, outside the ballpark. This is the view from the ramp. They went from here to Lincoln Financial Field (where the Eagles play) where a crowd awaited them. They did a quick walking lap around the field before heading back to the ballpark where the real ceremony would take place.

Me and my friend Carol, who made the train ride and long walk with me. She is now forever in my debt. Her boyfriend met us down there and gave us a ride back, so we didn't have to bother with any more congested train rides.
Me and "The Bull", Greg Luzinski, left fielder on the last Phillies championship team in 1980. He runs a Bar-B-Que place inside the ballpark. He signed my hat.

Phillies. 2008 World Series Champions. Just rolls off the tongue. I'm pretty sure they'll take the sign down before the first game next April.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and the strange disembodied hand. Photos were hard to come by, with rally towels waving and people moving around. We had prime seats though, in the fifth row of section 131, behind the visitor's dugout. I have no idea how I wound up with them, other than the fact that I jumped on the Phillies e-mail offer quickly.
Outfielder Geoff Jenkins. His double started the second half of game 5 and set the tone. The players entered through the right field gate and circled the field in Toyota convertibles.
Action News broadcasters Gary Papa (left) and Jim Gardner were part of the local TV coverage, from behind the visitor's dugout.

Pitcher Jamie Moyer. He grew up in Souderton, PA and attended the 1980 parade. He's the sentimental favorite on the team, partly because he's the oldest player in the majors (45) and partly because he's a great pitcher who almost always finds himself pitching big games.

NLCS and World Series Most Valuable Player, pitcher Cole Hamels. The girls like him.

Left fielder Pat Burrell. Most believe this was his final ballpark appearance as a Phillie. I hope not.

Right fielder Jason Werth. I'm pretty sure that's not his real hand.

After they made the rounds in the cars, the players made their way to a stage at second base where 9 players and manager Charlie Manuel spoke to the crowd. I had some weird boom camera device clogging my view, so most of my photos have a crane in them. This is shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Daytime fireworks. Can't beat 'em!

The World Series flag flying aside the U.S. flag. It was a long day with a lot of walking and waiting around for stuff. But I had good company and we didn't encounter a single rude person or any trouble of any kind. I had that tiny grip of fear when I decided to go, because I felt like I was leaning into a punch, with almost 3 million people in a small part of the city, but in the end, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Those were the photographic highlights of our day, but this was by far the greatest moment of the day. It's Phillies second baseman Chase Utley in front of 40,000 fans and live television. You'll hear all about it soon, I'm sure...


kimmyk said...

first, love the pics! and holy shit that's a lot of red!!!

love seeing your pic...great to put a face to a blog! not every man can pull off the fannypack my friend. you did good!

speaking of good....nice that his speech was on live tv. i'm sure everyone loved that! i thought it was funny. can't blurb that out.

Anthony said...

Gotta have the pack for the camera and 3 lenses.

kimmyk said...

i didn't know you could get a pack like that for your camera. are you kidding me? omg. i'm so totally gonna look that up. cause my backpack gets heavy after a while.

i'm off to watch my kid play football in the playoffs. then tomorrow if GOD likes me tomorrow that is, i will be at the state house listening to obama speak. i'll be toting my camera tomorrow but no backpack because they told us that's a no no-no bags! goin' lite with the lens tomorrow.

enjoy your weekend!

(oh and i totally love that you get notified by email when this blog comments back cause i'll be doin homework and a little envelope will pop informative that google!)

susan said...


I just found your blog and I love it! I wrote about the Phils also in mine.

I have added you to my RSS feeds and will be reading you regularly. I don't know any other bloggers from NJ.....

Anthony said...

Kimmyk: Go to

They make the best cases and packs. You'll be able to find one in the size you need. Measure your lenses to make sure you get side pockets the right size.

They're a little pricey, but I've had mine for 10 years and it's been through a few washings, so they're worth the money.

susan said...

Hey Anthony, I am right outside of Princeton.

Any idea where I can get a Phils T shirt or sweatshirt?

I have no problems finding Mets or Yankees- and would love to get one of these for my dad for the holiday.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I agree with what you said about baseball. I cannot wait for my nephew to get bigger (he is 2) and start playing Pee Wee baseball!!!

Kate Michele said...

well since you already have the pack ill let you carry my tiny camera for me :-P

old fart DMB fan said...

I'm so happy for you Knee!! You've been a loyal fan for YEARS!! just glad you got a chance to enjoy!!!