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10/20/08 3:58 PM ET

Fans give Phillies airport sendoff

Faithful gather to watch favorite team take off for Fall Classic

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies reaching the World Series is something that doesn't happen every day. When it does, this city's fans take every opportunity to enjoy the moment.

A handful of diehard Phillies fans gathered on the outskirts of Philadelphia International Airport on Monday afternoon. There, they watched their favorite team step off three buses and step onto a charter flight bound for St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Phils will prepare to take on the Rays in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

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There was little fanfare at the airport sendoff, save for a troupe of Mummers playing music and dancing on the tarmac. J.J. Jordan, a 22-year-old Phillies fan from Upper Darby, Pa., stood inches from the fence that separated the airport from the public.

Jordan was also present when a much more raucous crowd welcomed the Phillies back from capturing the National League pennant in Los Angeles last week. On Monday, he told his boss that he'd be taking an "extended lunch" so that he could see the Phillies off.

"I tried to watch every game, unless I'm at school or working," Jordan said. "This is what you wait for. We go through all the down times for moments like this -- the chance, the thought of possibly winning. And, when you do -- when we will -- it just makes it so much better."

J.R. Wanner, a fan from Manayunk, Pa., held up a "Go Phillies" sign as he watched the plane prepare for takeoff. He recalled the ups and downs of being a lifelong Phillies fan -- staying up late in 1980 to watch the Phils win the World Series. Thirteen years later, Wanner was driving home from Colorado during Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. He made it to a friend's house in western Pennsylvania in time to see Toronto's Joe Carter end the Phils' World Series hopes with a walk-off home run.

But Wanner is optimistic that he'll be able to come back to the airport next week to welcome back the Phillies as World Series champions.

"Tampa Bay had to struggle to get to it," Wanner said. "I think our chances are great."

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.