Million-plus expected for Phillies parade

The Phillies' World Series banner is carried across Citizens Bank Park after Game 5. A crowd and the team will return to the ballpark for another celebration at the end of today's parade.
The Phillies' World Series banner is carried across Citizens Bank Park after Game 5. A crowd and the team will return to the ballpark for another celebration at the end of today's parade.
Posted: October 31, 2008

It's OK to say the word now.

Parade!

And, oh, how we've waited for this one.

The only other time the Phillies won a World Series, in 1980, fans threw boxloads of computer punch cards and shredded paper from office windows onto Broad Street.

Today, you're more likely to see water-soluble, eco-friendly confetti flying around.

Police expect more than a million people to converge on Center City to watch the Phillies take their noontime victory ride on flatbed trucks from 20th and Market Streets, around City Hall, and down Broad Street to Citizens Bank Park.

An hour-long rally at the ballpark, expected to begin at 1:45 p.m., will be telecast live to fans across the street at Lincoln Financial Field. Gates at both stadiums will open at 10 a.m., but only fans with tickets will be allowed in. The free tickets were snapped up within an hour of becoming available on the Phillies' Web site yesterday.

Because of the expected crush of people, Mayor Nutter urged fans to take public transportation even as he asked them to understand that SEPTA will be stretched to the limit.

Parking on Broad Street will be banned until the parade passes; the Philadelphia Parking Authority warned that violators' cars will be towed. The city also told downtown businesses not to plan deliveries during the parade.

At a news conference at Citizens Bank Park yesterday, Nutter urged restraint.

"Take your patience pill," he said. "You can be joyous, but you can't be a jackass."

Too many who fit the latter description spoiled the party Wednesday night. Police made 76 arrests and reported that 10 Center City businesses had been vandalized. To boost coverage, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said the department had canceled days-off for today and would extend shifts.

Nutter added that police would be "very aggressive" in going after vandals.

Police also have asked newspaper companies to remove honor boxes along the parade route so revelers won't throw them through windows - which happened Wednesday night.

For the 1980 World Series parade, state liquor stores in Philadelphia shut down and Center City banks closed out of fear that police would be occupied elsewhere.

This time, liquor stores will be open, according to the Liquor Control Board.

However, Commerce Bank, a target of vandalism Wednesday night, will temporarily close branches along the parade route. The decision was made for employee safety and was not a response to the mayhem after the Phillies' victory, said Rebecca Acevedo, a bank spokeswoman.

More than a dozen Philadelphia businesses - including Comcast, PNC, Peco Energy and Tastykake - have donated "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to help the city pay for police overtime and parade cleanup, Nutter said.

"It's because of their support that we're able to put on this celebration," he said.

Players will take the World Series trophy along on their joy ride down Broad Street. Joining them will be the Phillie Phanatic and Phillies ball girls. Scott Mirkin, hired by the city and the Phillies to arrange the event, said the parade would be "modest, simple, basic."

In 1980, almost a million people lined the route. A shower of streamers, confetti and toilet paper rained down on the players from office windows. People stood on roofs, sat on ledges, and hung out windows.

But in the annals of Philadelphia sports parades, the biggest crowd turned out for the 1974 celebration of the Flyers' Stanley Cup. More than two million fans flocked to Broad Street.

Not far behind was the 1983 parade for the champion 76ers, which drew an estimated 1.7 million supporters.

With no victory parade since then, Philadelphia fans relish the chance to celebrate. Tom Nace, 56, of Washington Township, will be among them today.

Waiting at Modell's Sporting Goods in the Cherry Hill Mall, with an armload of T-shirts for everyone in his family, he said he would take his son and daughter out of school to go to the parade.

"Normally I wouldn't let them miss a day of school," he said, "but this is an exception."

Nace was 28 for the 1980 World Series parade. He remembers it as if it were yesterday - the overwhelming crowd, the cheering, and the giddiness of victory. He said the parade had made it feel like the whole city was celebrating.

"The thing is I wouldn't even say the word parade until the end," Nace said. "I would say, 'Don't say the P-word!' I was terrified of jinxing it."

In front of Nace in a line that wrapped around Modell's, Linda Dennin, 60, said she'd stay home with her granddaughter while the rest of the family went to the parade.

In 1980, she said, fans were mostly well-behaved. But by the end of that day, the atmosphere had become a bit riotous. Dennin said she imagined that people will let loose a little today, too.

"We're just so happy," she said. "Look how long everyone's waited. There's a lot of emotion built up."


The Parade on TV

CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10, Fox29 and Comcast SportsNet will televise today's Phillies parade.

CBS3's Eyewitness News and its sister station, CW Philly 57, will be on from noon to 4 p.m. (with a repeat from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday).

6ABC's Action News will have Jim Gardner and Gary Papa anchoring from noon to the event's conclusion.

NBC10 will have 10! hosts Lori Wilson and Bill Henley anchor pre-parade coverage at 11 a.m., leading into noon-to-3 p.m. coverage.

Fox29 will cover from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Comcast SportsNet will cover the entire parade, commercial-free, starting at 11:30 a.m. (SportsNet will rerun it at 11 p.m. today, 1:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, 1:30 a.m. Sunday, and 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Comcast SportsNet will stream coverage live at www.csnphilly.com.

- Michael Klein


Contact staff writer Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com.

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