Well it did. Rose and I watched it in the warmth and comfort of our home, yelling and hugging each other when it was all over with, watching the celebration until we were bleary-eyed, knowing full well I had to get up 5 1/2 hours later to catch my train. Who cares, though? This may never happen again in our lifetimes. Alas the boys are too young to appreciate it. Vincent woke up at some point during the celebration and I brought him downstairs to sit for a couple of minutes to watch. His response was a groggy, "I want to go back to bed."
My lucky-ass sister, Kate (who is a great writer), and her boyfriend, Kyle were able to secure tickets for the game and witnessed the surreality, the drama, and the glory firsthand. After it was over, I asked her to "write me a novel" so I could get as close to the real thing as possible since I couldn't be there (or at the parade for that matter).
So for the first time in Chachi Milk history, we have a contributing writer. Please enjoy Kate's wonderful retelling of the events surrounding her championship experience.
The excitement is high as we step out of the subway on Pattison Avenue. Even the guards are happy, and handing out pennants under a balloon banner - “GO PHILLIES.” This is our night!
As we walk into Citizens Bank Park, all troubles are forgotten. Economic crisis?! What’s that? There’s Phillies gear to buy! There are lines a hundred people long just to get into the stores. Fans who weren’t lucky enough to have tickets want to be as close to the action as possible, and pack McFadden’s bar. Those of us who have them enter into the promised land, and join the crowds at pretzel, hot dog, and beer lines. It’s 6pm.
We stand for a while on the first landing and watch batting practice. This is as close as we will get to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins tonight....about 200 feet... Kyle asks a policeman, “What is the verdict on rushing the field if they win?” The cop is not amused. He will be preventing that from happening, he says, as he subtly steps in our path down to the field in an unspoken gesture. We move on.
I am cold, and there is a light mist. It won’t stick around, we all say. It’s not supposed to rain that hard. It stops, and we forget about it.
We weave in and out of Phillies Fans for the next hour or so - not a Ray jersey in sight - and make stops at McFaddens to see a friend (doesn’t last, we are crushed by the crowds) and around the perimeters of the park to check out the city of Philadelphia, lit up in red.
It’s time now, to make our way to Section 309, seats 17 and 18.
The stands hum with anticipation as we patiently watch video after video of Phillies footage, waiting for Fox to be ready to broadcast us. John Oates - alas, no Darryl Hall - sings the Star Spangled Banner. Some sing along.
The lineup is announced. After almost every Ray, a scream of “SUCKS!” emanates from the stands. “Batting second, left fielder Carl Crawford....” “SUCKS!” The only exception is Evan Longoria, who is heckled with “EVA, EVA, EVA”...
The Phillies are on top, and we know it, and it feels good.
Cole Hamels takes the mound. The decibel level is one previously unreached. We are going to win tonight.
Hamels holds off the Rays for the first inning, and Rollins starts the Phils off strong. At the bottom of the first we are leading 2-0. Even the most skeptical and defeat-beaten amongst us begin to hope that this may happen.
A misty rain has resumed - we’re not sure when it came back, we didn’t notice. But now it’s driving, and gusting, and as we look at the screen we can see our fielders being pummeled by drops. We realize that we too, are wet. Those amongst us with trash bags and parkas protect themselves as best they can. Kyle and I, lucky again, are under an overhang, which protects us for a while. But by the bottom of the fifth, no one is dry and no one is warm.
In the driving rain, the Rays tie the score. Fans are angry and screaming that it’s time to suspend the game. When batters hit the ball, no one in the stands can see where it goes. When Rollins can’t catch a pop up, we know that this rain is getting to our players. This is the moment when Bud Selig earns his reviled status.
The tarp comes out, and they finally call it. Masses of freezing humanity clog all the ways out. We shuffle and slog our way to the subway. This is the disappointment that Phillies fans have learned to expect. It’s familiar. But the ray of hope remains - this game is not over. Once home, we try to shake off the cold from our clothes and hearts, and go to sleep knowing that, at least, the Phillies didn’t lose tonight.
Driving rain, strong winds...even the most impatient amongst us are relieved when the game is postponed one more day. Wednesday night. 8:37pm. We will be there.
We have learned our lesson from Monday night, and bulk up in as many layers of warmth as we can fit under our Phillies jerseys, tees, and sweatshirts. We must look like swollen red ticks from the view of all the helicopters circling above us.
The excitement tonight is more resigned. Monday reminded us that we are still Philly fans. We can’t take anything for granted, as there has always been something that got us. But we continue to hope. The superstitious are buoyed by the fact that a tiny 2 foot statue of William Penn rests atop the Comcast Building. Once again, no building stands higher than Billy. Perhaps the curse is broken. Perhaps we can get ready to win?
We take our now-familiar seats in section 309. The people who never sit are in front of us, in different clothes. The girl who left after the 2nd inning on Monday has come back. People bring the same signs we saw on Monday. This is what it must be like to have season tickets. We feel special.
The bottom of the 6th starts out as we all hoped, with a run. Jenkins is our hero, for now.
It seems like every time one team gets a run, so does the other. We are not thrilled with Ryan Madson, but give him a cheer as he exits. JC Romero comes next. As the count rises in balls and not strikes, the crowd senses that he needs help. We all begin cheering...”JayCee, JayCee, JayCee....” It works. He begins to throw strikes.
Pat Burrell, unlikely postseason hero (as all of our postseason heroes turned out to be) whacks a double. Bruntlett runs for him. A seed from Feliz sends Bruntlett home. The fans go wild. If we can keep this lead we will win. We will win the World Series.
Brad Lidge comes out. Everyone in this ball park trusts him.
We are tense. The Philadelphia Fan in all of us wonders, “what is going to happen now to ruin this?” The Phillies are leading in the top of the ninth. We have 2 outs, and 2 strikes on the batter. Is this really possible? Lidge throws a strike.
The crowd erupts with screams, jumps, high-fives, handshakes, and tears. This is what we’ve all been waiting for. Some have seen it in their lifetime. Kyle and I, and many of the Phillies players, have not. THIS is what it feels like. Wow.
We cannot see what is happening on the field, except a pile of players on the pitchers mound. They celebrate with us, taking a victory lap around the field with the 2008 flag. Ryan Howard carries it, appropriately. Before we know it, a red car is driven onto the field and a stage is set up.
Bud Selig gives remarks. We can’t hear what he says. The booing is too loud. When the Phillies owner congratulates the Rays on a great series, the crowd boos again. You can see that he doesn’t mind too much. They announce Charlie Manuel, and the screaming turns positive. Here is the man who gave this to us.
Cole Hamels is MVP. He will give the car that he won, tonight, his wife’s birthday, to her. We could not love these players any more.
The celebrating dies down as we make our way out of Citizens Bank Park and onto the streets. People are going crazy on Pattison, on Broad, fireworks explode in the sky in every direction. Philadelphia will not waste this win.
We head home, on a subway car full of happy screams. Everyone we meet wants to high-five us. We are somehow winners too.