On the surface, last night’s pennant clinching victory was everything I could have possibly hoped for… well except for Hamels struggling again, but you get the idea. This city finally has a genuine winner. A possible dynasty on par with the “Big Red Machine” and the 95-96 Yanks is forming just about 20 miles from my home. But even as the city screamed around me I felt my heart drop, something didn’t feel right.
I watched the game with friends, the same small group that has watched games with me for years (mostly) and the same group that I know has followed this Phillies team through times where they weren’t exactly contenders. After screaming at the top of our lungs and jumping up and down like giggling Jonas Brother fans during Rollins’ walk off the other night, we reconvened for last evening’s clincher. We made sure to align ourselves in the same seating arrangement as the previous playoff victories. We don our lucky shirts, and make sure our bottles of champagne are adequately cooled in the fridge. As soon as that lazy pop fly landed in Shane Victorino’s glove, there was instant glee.
After a few moments of revelry we decided to head down to Frankford and Cottman Avenue just like we did last year. The drive down is a lot of fun, families are on street corners banging pots and pans holding up signs and car horns are honking happily throughout the area. Sadly, as we exit our car and begin the trek on foot towards the gathering mob, the tone seems to become less joyous and more anarchist. Storefront windows are smashed in, garbage cans are strewn about the street and once we reach the intersection it is surrounded by riot police.
Mixed among the strangers high-fiving and friends embracing, there are people lighting shirts on fire, women being thrown up on shoulders and groped from every direction. I witnessed a young woman sporting a Victorino t-shirt projectile vomit right in the middle of the crowd and then continue to drink her Miller-Lite in the same exact spot. Interspersed with the flowing alcohol were people relieving themselves onto buildings and cars. With every derisive Yankee chant came a “F*** the police” mantra. One brave guy asked a female police officer to show him her chest, surprisingly she politely ignored him and continued on her way.
What the hell is this?
After a few moments we decided to head back to the car and on the way we watched an SUV get T-Boned making a left around Frankford and Chippendale. Just moments after the accident, oblivious people continued to drive past the mangled vehicles at the scene, hanging out of their car windows screaming loudly as a man lay with a neck brace inside an ambulance.
After making my way onto I-95, I watched a driver swerve from the far right lane into the center, nearly striking a black Chevy. The driver of the Chevy performed a hollywoodesque evasive manuever and then to the surprise of everyone in my car and I’m sure to the surprise of the responsible citizen in the other, flipped on lights and sirens and pulled the reckless driver over.
Thankfully, I made it home and went quietly to sleep.
I woke up this morning feeling empty. Is this what it is like in all cities that win? Do scumbags come out of the woodwork and just because they are donning the home teams colors believe they are untouchable?
The Phillies victory means so much to me because of the time I have invested in them. From watching scrubs like Ron Gant and Ricky Otero patrol the cavernous outfield of the vet, to going to every firework night with my parents growing up. I despise the idea that people use events like this as an excuse to act like animals and hurt themselves or hurt others.
I’m not one of those fans and I do not ever want to be recognized as one.
I’m going to have to figure out other celebration plans in about two weeks. Any ideas?