World Series Parade.

Archive, November 2008.

So you know when you bet too much on a certain color in roulette. You hope for red. You secretly prepare for losing with black.

And the little ball lands on green.

That was the atmosphere in Philadelphia last Monday night as the potential clinching World Series game against Tampa was postponed for rain.

It was the moment of which the city with an inferiority complex and a penchant for losing, realized that this wasn’t going to be easy. And it was if the whole crowd said: Crap, I did NOT see that coming.

Two days later, though, the game resumed and the final few innings were played. It was a quick conclusion to a short series putting an end to a 25 year long championship draught for the city’s four major sports teams Just two days after that, on Halloween, the city known for negativity dressed up like winners., however, didn’t get to see the parade. Sure he had tickets to attend the event at the Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. Heck, he even paid for the free tickets. Unfortunately, he was busy standing on line at one place or another. Like everybody else.

You see the city and its local media encouraged the masses to take public transportation. was at his local train station for over two hours waiting for a train that was scheduled to come every hour. Two trains did come, but they were full and sped past us without stopping. One man in the crowd watched the gigantic steel cars pass substituting for the floats going down Broad Street and said, “This is about the worst parade I’ve ever seen.” The ordeal became so discouraging that remembered a scene in The War of the Worlds in which a train sped down the tracks on fire. Nothing would have surprised him. finally boarded a train and took it to the City Hall area where he had to make a connection. Underground he spent an hour waiting for the subway before the loud speakers explained the subway was no longer going in that direction.

So back above ground, where people walk erect and the sun still shines, he had missed the parade. He saw the mess and the euphoria. The bars were crowded so he went to one called Time and two places known as The Irish Pub looking for other folks he knew stashed around the city.

On TV, the fans cheered the ceremony that was taking place at the stadium. There were cheers for the young men who played the games. There was the guy nicknamed Hollywood who was the MVP of the World Series (and the series before that). There was another who cursed on live TV for the second time this season. There was MVP from two years ago who could potentially win again this year. There was last year’s MVP who taunted the Mets for no reason other than he could
(maybe he’s understanding the city better after all).

However, the stars of the show were the lifers. The guys that have seen it all. Sure amongst the players there were guys that had been around forever who hadn’t made it this far. Jamie Moyer lead the list along with Matt Stairs.

Charlie Manuel managed the feisty bunch. He had a playing career in both the US and in Japan. He first managed with the Cleveland Indians before being fired. Later, he accepted the job in Philadelphia where he garnered the reputation of being a player’s coach. He has become a hero in the city as because he is looked at as a person who has earned it and just as importantly, he appears to be enjoying it.

However, the day belonged to the master of ceremonies, Hall of Famer Harry Kalas. In a world where even your favorite players are mercenaries, the organization’s most beloved figure might be their announcer who’s been with the team for decades. The fans have related to Kalas for years. His calls are both knowledgeable and polite, but more importantly he gets excited like everybody else. The listener gets invested in his calls because he cares about the game just as did when he first started whether they win or lose. Just like us.

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