The vibes were pristine. A day before the Phillies clinched their second consecutive NLDS over the Atlanta Braves, advancing for the chance to defend the pennant, the parking lots at Citizens Bank Park were full of high hopes.
On the bright and sunny Wednesday afternoon, Billy Penn set up a tent filled with snacks and swag to host our second tailgate with Hittin’ Season, our podcast about all things Phils.
The show, by the way, climbed last week to be ranked No. 2 nationally in Apple Podcasts’ Sports News category — a testament to hosts John Stolnis, Justin Klugh, and Liz Roche’s great work breaking down all things Fightins as this Red October fires up fans.
Those fans were out in full force, and raring to go.
“This season has been amazing,” Karen Gronek told Billy Penn. “All of the team members are so wonderful and brotherly. They are doing everything right, sliding into bases, hitting home runs. Everything is perfect.”
Also pretty perfect was the selection of sips generously donated by local businesses that want to support local news. As fans in the Jetro lot soaked up the sun, they stopped by our tent to choose from an array of drinks.
There was 2SP Brewing Co.’s Voluptuous Fuzz, a wheat ale the Delco brewery makes with real peach and apricot — it proved especially popular among beer lovers who aren’t necessarily fans of IPAs.
People who do enjoy a sharp classic craft beer had a choice of either traditional or hazy IPA from Iron Hill Brewery, helpfully handed out by Chris LaPierre, a 21-year employee of the brewpub chain that has locations in Center City, Chestnut Hill, and all across the Delaware Valley.
Those who didn’t want a beer also had a lot of choices, thanks to Boardroom Spirits, which has a new line of hard seltzers.
There was Rosenberger’s Iced Tea & Vodka, which had some tailgaters nostalgic for the old-school juice and dairy brand, plus a unique unsweetened Irvine’s Vodka Iced Tea, and a simple but refreshing vodka and soda.
As fans drank and ate some soft pretzels, they were sure to get some cookies for dessert from The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company, a longtime Billy Penn supporter that sent dozens of their best chocolate chip, blueberry muffin, snickerdoodle and other varieties.
Most people made sure to grab some extra to share with their friends and family or to have a sweet snack later.
Game 3 was an early one, with a 5:07 p.m. first pitch, and when the time drew close, the parking lot grew quieter as fans made their way to their seats (or standing room only spots, which still cost upwards of $250).
The silence did not last long: as the fireworks popped off to mark the start of action, the entire ballpark roared.
The noise didn’t quiet all night as the Phillies put on a show, a home run clinic that continued through Game 4’s victory and moved the club forward to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a quest to return to the World Series.
Scroll down for more pics from the party.