With Philly Elmo leading a drumline through crowds that swelled to surround SEPTA buses flashing “GO PHILLIES” and people cheering on intrepid climbers who managed to make it up lamp posts coated with grease, Philadelphia on Sunday night celebrated the city’s first World Series berth since 2009.
Game 1 of the MLB championships takes place Friday, with the Fightins’ first home game coming the following Monday, on Halloween.
Even with the Phillies needing just one victory to eliminate the Padres to win the pennant, the result was up in the air for a while on Sunday as the lead teetered back and forth during the matinee at Citizens Bank Park.
When Bryce Harper lived up to the hype, that’s when fans knew.
The slugger, who was playing in his first postseason since signing a giant $330 million contract three years ago and was named 2022 NLCS MVP, smashed an 8th inning bomb into the stands, driving in a run and putting the Phils up 4-3. The last inning wasn’t exactly easy, but manager Rob Thomson wielded his weapons carefully and his pitching staff delivered, keeping San Diego from scoring again.
As soon as that final out was caught, the city erupted in celebration — including folks who were at a different game.
The Phillies also celebrated, though a beaming and grateful Harper didn’t miss the chance to note that the real goal — to be world champions — was still four wins away. “Let’s bring this shit home,” he said at one point, as TV cameras bleeped him out.
Inquirer beat reporter Alex Coffey captured outfielder Brandon Marsh as someone poured beer down his throat, more of it ending up on his long beard than in his mouth. Third baseman Alec Bohm was shirtless as he chugged his on live TV, then turned to the cameras to deliver a message to the city: “I love this place!”
Out on the street, jubilant shouts filled the air in almost all neighborhoods, as fireworks began popping off and horns began honking. People ran outside and started streaming toward classic sports celebration spots — including Frankford and Cottman and Broad Street near City Hall.
The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management even put out a traffic alert to avoid those locations, warning of delays and rolling road closures “[d]ue to celebratory activity from today’s Phillies NLCS clinching game.”
And of course, those locations are where city officials followed protocol and painted the lamp posts with slick grease in hopes of deterring folks from clambering to the tops.
If you know Philly, you know that didn’t work. Whether the rain washed the grease away or the city just didn’t get the right poles — or the adrenalin was just that powerful, several people climbed.
Scroll down for some pics from the scene and videos of the chaotic fun from social media.