City of Brotherly Love waiting for title
Fans hoping to see Phillies win first World Series since 1980
PHILADELPHIA -- They are here. They are waiting. They are ready.
They are people like Terry Corkery, sitting in section 231 with his daughter, Erin. He brought his other daughter, Theresa, to Game 3 of this World Series, his 77-year-old father-in-law to Game 4 and now the two are here for Game 5 on Monday tonight.
"Just the memories are important -- that's why I've brought each of them out here," he says, just before the first pitch by Cole Hamels to Akinori Iwamura in a possible clincher. "It's great to be able to take them to a situation they can remember forever."
They are people like Dawn Gianforcarlo of Holmes, Pa. She is here on Monday celebrating her 35th birthday, in a beautiful way. She's wearing a tiara on her head and a silver "BIRTHDAY" beauty-pageant sash around herself.
"It's the best birthday ever, and I'm never going to let my family live it down if we win," she says, as her husband, Russ, stays at home with their five kids so that she can watch a possible World Series championship won along with her mother and two sisters. "Although I love the Phillies, my dad was a diehard Red Sox fan, and I grew up loving them because of him, so 2004 was a great birthday, too. Guys had to know the starting lineup to get in my house because of him. I made sure they knew -- I quizzed them."
She is quizzed about what might happen here on this cold and drizzly night of winter-wait-a-little-longer wonder, just before the Phillies strike early in the first inning.
"I'm hoping Cole pitches the way he did the first game of this series and shut them down early," Gianforcarlo said. "I think if we go to Tampa Bay, we're done. ... But we won't. It will be mayhem. I'm a little worried about my car in the lot here. It's going to be crazy."
They are people like George Will, the noted author and journalist. A few weeks ago, he was interviewed by MLB.com at a scene just like this, except it was at Wrigley Field as he walked to his seat to watch his beloved Cubbies. They were swept again, this time by the Dodgers. Now he was here again, wherever there is baseball.
"We didn't quite get this far, did we?" he says, as fans in front of him reach up to get his autograph.
They are people like Mike Price and Mike Richey, both from North Philly. They are brothers-in-law, sharing season tickets during the year and now here and soaking it all up.
"Things really changed when we came to this new ballpark," Price says. "They started investing in the team. Fans had a new attitude.
"It's going to be wet and cold, but we can take it. We're tough. We've waited a long time. ... We expect it to be crazy. I think people will appreciate it, though. I just think they will be hugging and celebrating, not tearing up the city."
Richey is a firefighter here. He said he is confident that Philadelphians know how to act if they clinch the World Series title in five games on this night. Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey was on local TV news outlets before the game, urging citizens on how to celebrate should they have the opportunity. Richey said he expects no issue.
"Today felt like Christmas Eve, so to speak," he says. "At the firehouse, everyone was being nice to everyone else. All were wearing red, and I'm thinking to myself, we're going to win. We are so close. I like this feeling."
They are people like Charlie Manuel, manager of the Phillies. He is asked before the game what it would feel like to be called a World Series champion.
"I think it would be good," he says. "I think it would be great. I think it would be great for me to be called world champion here or in Buena Vista, [Va.], where I grew up, or in Florida, where I live, or in Japan. I think it would be great, really.
"People are going to say a lot of things about you, and I've always taken that sometimes personally. When somebody attacks me personally, yeah, that kind of upsets me, because I wish they were standing in front of me. But at the same time, that's part of it. And that's part of being mentally tough. That's part of being able to handle things.
"I know what I can do and I've always been, what do you call it, I've always felt free of who I am. And I go where I want to go. I do what I want to do. And really that's kind of that's who I am."
They are people like Jim Egleston of Ridley Park, Pa. He predicts a 6-3 clinching victory by the Phillies. The last and only time the Phillies won it all was in 1980. No other original Major League franchise has won only once up until this point. But he says the Flyers' Stanley Cup victory in '74 was pretty big.
"It'll be more exciting than the Flyers winning the Cup," Egleston says. "I have a place in Indian Shores, Fla., about a half-hour from Tropicana Field. My housekeeper there said Philadelphia fans were not too happy with the cowbells down there."
Whether cowbells will return to this 104th World Series remains to be seen. It is cold, it is windy and it is boisterous with white rally towels twirling in the night air. The Phillies are on the verge of winning their second World Series title.
They are here. They are waiting. They are ready.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.