I’ve been to a lot of baseball games in my lifetime. Like, a LOT. Like most local Phillies fans, I grew up in the 700 level at the Vet. I’ve never gone a single season (besides 2020 when fans weren’t allowed in) without attending multiple games. The most I’ve attended in a single season was somewhere in the 120-game range. I’ve traveled to 13 different Major League stadiums and 12 Minor League stadiums. I’ve worked in baseball for the past 6 years and in the past 30 years have experienced a plethora of high-energy atmospheres: Playoff runs, World Series wins and losses, all star games, you name it. I’ve also been to four out of the five home games so far this postseason.
All this is to say: I feel I’m qualified to make the following statement. The Philadelphia Phillies have a unique advantage when it comes to the playoffs that isn’t seen in other cities — Their fans.
This is far from a groundbreaking comment, but it has been prevalent for the past few weeks and will be on display for the next few days. Don’t get me wrong, other cities have passionate fans as well. But Philadelphia takes it to a different level rarely seen in professional sports.
During game one of the World Series, five-year-old Phillies fan Carson Wallace went semi-viral for his celebration of J.T. Realmuto’s tenth inning solo homer, where he yelled at the Astros fan sitting next to him.
The Astros fan, a season ticket holder, posted this response on his Instagram about the interaction:
Ignoring the fact that a grown man said he wanted to give the child “a forearm to remember,” (which is one of the most disgusting things I’ve read in a while) he at least got one thing right: We do raise our kids different in Philly.
We raise our kids to live and breathe with their sports teams. We raise them to ride high on the euphoria of a win and to fully feel the disappointment of a loss. We teach them to be vocal — both when they’re happy and when they’re not. We teach them about significant sports history and about the rules and strategy. Even a five year old in Philly understands the significance of an at bat like Brett Myers vs CC Sabathia in game 2 of the 2008 NLDS.
We raise our kids to be engaged with every second of every game. You’d never find us sitting down quietly in the bottom of the ninth of a World Series game with the winning run on second base, which is what happened in Houston in game 1 of this series.
Or leaving a playoff game early, like Cardinals and Mets fans both did this year.
It’s this passion that makes Philadelphia such a tough place to play as an opponent and gives the home team a massive advantage. Will Houston be prepared for an atmosphere so loud that they can’t hear their PitchCom?
How loud was Citizens Bank Park? Bryson Stott said he turned up the volume on his PitchCom ear piece to 20 and still couldn’t hear it. He usually keeps it at 8.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) October 15, 2022
And what about the chants that are brewing for the Astros’ at bats? Are they prepared for everything from Austin Nola’s friendly reminder that “Aaron’s better” to more personal taunts like Marcell Ozuna’s “DUI” serenade?
“Aaron’s better!,” crowd chants at Austin Nola. pic.twitter.com/6RWy5If706— Kristen Graham (@newskag) October 23, 2022
Marcell Ozuna is receiving “DUI” chants from Phillies fans pic.twitter.com/zr0ZoCKbEw— Starting 9 (@Starting9) October 14, 2022
After each of the four games I’ve been to so far this postseason, I’ve had ringing in my ears from the noise. My throat has been sore, my voice has been gone, and my whole body has been exhausted from standing, cheering, and waiving my rally towel for hours on end — and I haven’t been alone. With emotions and adrenaline running high in such a high-stakes situation, an engaged, passionate, and often rowdy fanbase can make all the difference. The Phillies have stolen the series home field advantage away from the Astros with their game 1 win. Now it’s up to Philadelphia’s biggest weapon to do everything within their (legal) power to keep them from taking it back.
I’m up for the challenge. Are you?