It’s Red October
Erin Drumm | Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Anybody who says they wouldn’t want to live in Philadelphia hasn’t been to Citizens Bank Park during a Red October.
The air is cool, the kind of weather that reminds you of soccer practice as a kid. And you feel like a kid, antsy and excited and so full of hope, standing in front of a seat you won’t touch for nine innings. You eat an overpriced ballpark frank, talk to the random people in front of you (your new best friends) and prepare to yell for your team and at the other.
It is a practically religious experience, one I recently got to experience at the second game of the National League Championship Series in Philadelphia.
Everywhere I went on fall break, people were talking about the Phillies.
At my favorite restaurant, Chickie’s & Pete’s, home of the crab fry, they wished me a happy Red October.
At the hairdressers, they talked about Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm’s strikingly beautiful locks.
WIP, Philadelphia’s sports talk station, was full of phone calls about the team: overconfident predictions, outlandish stories, general musings and joyful anticipation. Even “The Big Piece,” legendary former Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard, weighed in with his opinion.
When the Phillies thrive, the city thrives. People practically beam with pride, as if they know the players personally.
Being a loyal fan can be difficult, even painful on occasion. Your team might make decisions that drive you crazy or go years without making a playoff run. After all, the Phillies are generally acknowledged to be the losingest team in the history of all professional sports. But I’d bet most people would say that being a fan is fun.
Lately, being a Philly sports fan is about as fun as it gets.
Philly sports fans often get a bad rep, known to be tough and gritty and have a general attitude of “no-one likes us, we don’t care.” But, I would say we’re the best fans in the business.
Now, as a Philadelphian, I am inclined to believe that the Phillies and their fanbase are special.
However, I don’t expect you to hold my same belief that the Phillies are special given my City of Brotherly Love pedigree and admitted bias.
Take it from “Time” writer Sean Gregory who recently pointed out that plenty of teams have fans who love their players, but not many teams have players who love their city. And the Phillies love their city.
Gregory, a New York Mets fan, said, “We could all use somebody who loves us as much as Bryce Harper seems to love Philadelphia.”
Take it from the ticket prices in Philadelphia compared with those in Arizona, home of their opponent, the Diamondbacks. Standing-room-only tickets for Phillies home games in the NLCS were going for $283, while those in Arizona were priced as low as $10.
Take it from the Phillies organization itself, whose hype video will make you want to put on the red pinstripe and play a few innings yourself.
Take it from Phillies shortstop, Trea Turner. Earlier this season, when Turner was in the middle of a hitting slump, Phillies fans gave him a standing ovation each time he came up to bat. The show of support worked wonders and his slump was broken. Turner put up billboards that thanked the fans throughout Philadelphia.
Talent-wise, the Phillies are exceptionally strong. They have four Gold Glove finalists, including J.T. Realmuto, who many believe to be the best catcher in baseball. Add two-time National League MVP, Bryce Harper, to the mix, plus two pitching aces and half a dozen players capable of “going yard” at any at bat. The result is baseball magic. But oftentimes teams are compelling because of the stories that surround them rather than statistics.
Great teams tend to have traditions that add to their motivation, team bonding and fanfare. The Phillies have adopted Calum Scott’s “Dancing On My Own (Tiesto Remix)” as their victory song. The song’s refrain goes: “I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh / I’m right over here, why can’t you see me? Oh / And I’m giving it my all / I’m not the guy you’re taking home, ooh / I keep dancing on my own.”
Despite the fact that most people might hear these heartbreak ballad lyrics and think about well, heartbreak, the song means victory to Philadelphia.
Win or lose, Red October is a sight to behold and Phillies fans are a force to be reckoned with.
Erin Drumm is a senior at Notre Dame studying American Studies, journalism and history. She is from Philadelphia and spends her summers (and every weekend possible) at the shore in Cape May County, New Jersey. Outside of The Observer, Erin can be found cheering on the Fighting Irish and the Phillies, reading and talking about pop culture and history. She can be reached at [email protected].
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.