They came, they left, they returned and then they celebrated.
As the last stragglers made their way to Citizens Bank Park, the subway car doors opened to an eruption of 28 years of pent up celebrating.
Even before the fans who were at the game exited the park, the streets were filled with Phillies fanatics. Steve Mauer, a lifelong fan, wasn’t lucky enough to be at the game but was celebrating outside.
“This is awesome. Twenty-eight years, I’m old enough that I was alive in ‘80, and this is great,” Mauer said.
Enthused fans scaled the light posts at the park entrance to the delight of the crowd. A group singalong emerged when Queen’s “We are the Champions” played over the loudspeakers. Other than singing and screaming “woo,” most were unable to muster few words.
One raucous man yelled, “I think that was better than sex.”
As the ballpark finally emptied out, the exiting fans were cheered and applauded as if they were the actual Phillies. For the few who were able to afford a ticket for the three-and-a-half inning game, there weren’t any words to explain how the game felt.
“It was ridiculous. I wouldn’t disrespect it by trying to describe it. It’s indescribable,” Jeremy Vithofer said.
Jeanie Squitier couldn’t afford tickets to the World Series game but has been at every regular home game. For her, what meant the most was sharing the game with her son.
“Only thing in the world that matters for me is to see my 16 year old son see them win it all,” Squitier said. “It’s all for him.”
Sharing the win with their children was a sentiment many expressed. Peter Klenk attended the game with his son and said it is a memory he will always cherish.
“It was a wonderful experience. We’ll remember it forever,” Klenk said. “It’s something wonderful to share.”
After celebrating at Citizens Bank Park, exhilarated Phillies fans began the traditional march to City Hall. The 75-minute hike, longer for those who were inebriated, was punctuated with hugs, cheers and the ever present high-five.
As the crowd passed the traffic attempting to get on the Schuylkill Expressway, cars were subject to fans screaming in their windows demanding high-fives from passengers.
The walk slowed down at Broad and Catherine streets when the crowd stopped to watch a man who had scaled a light post to retrieve the Phillies banner hanging from it. Pandemonium erupted when he captured his prize.
For drivers who were brave enough to bring their cars on Broad Street, they most likely felt immediate regret as partiers climbed on the few cars lining the street, even those that were occupied.
Joe Boyle, one of the thousands who marched to City Hall, said the walk is a Philly tradition.
“The people in this city have a huge sense of history,” Boyle said. “They enjoy keeping traditions alive.
They want to recreate what happened in ’83 with the Sixers and in ’80 with the Phillies.”
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.