"It was the greatest thing I've ever been around in my life," Charlie Manuel said a couple of hours later. "It's absolutely amazing. I thought it would be good, but not this - it's nothing like I thought it was going to be.
"And what's good about it is it's all real," he said.
Manuel, the Phillies' manager, is the philosopher king - no matter how hard Chase Utley tried. Because if Utley did indeed supply the two-syllable gerund that captured a city's mood - "world f------ champions," a phrase that will live in fabulous infamy - it was Manuel who caught the spirit of the day in that one sentence.
Because it was all real.
So much of our sporting life is based upon artifice. We all play our roles - screamers, schemers, skeptics, all. There are days when none of us wants to let the facts get in the way of a good rant.
We worry when we should be happy. We shout when we should listen. There is plenty of unreality and insincerity built into a quarter-century of waiting for a championship. There just is.
But then it came for the Phillies. And then the day of the parade arrived and exceeded every rational expectation - in size, in scope, in sound and mostly in smiles.
That was the part that Manuel got exactly right. It was all genuine. It was all joy.
"When you see people come out, and they're hollering at you and screaming at you, you can tell it's all real," Manuel said. "There's nothing phony about it. This is way better than I ever expected.
"It feels unreal. I've never seen so many people happy in my life."
It began at 20th and Market, just past noon, following a heroic job by the police just to clear a path for the parade to begin. Pat Burrell got the place of honor, along with his wife Michelle and dog Elvis, on the front of a Budweiser beer wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdales.
Behind them, owners and broadcasters and players and families and sponsors filled a succession of floats. At least on Float No. 5, based upon the visible beverage selection, somebody had the foresight to pack a cooler. Perhaps that was Utley's float; the notebook is a little unclear on that topic.
Crowds, ridiculously deep crowds, red and roaring crowds, lined the route in Center City as the parade turned onto Broad Street at City Hall. The intersections were amazing. At Locust Street, the people on the east side of Broad were packed all the way back to Juniper Street, straining for a glimpse.
Mayor Nutter lifted the World Series championship trophy and people cheered. Broadcaster Harry Kalas was Harry Kalas, and people cheered. They sang and they shouted and they stood in the damnedest of places - fire escapes, on top of gas pumps, stoops, balconies, wide windowsills, not-so-wide windowsills.
They held signs, from the sentimental ("Remember Tug, Vuke and Whitey"), to the funny ("Show Us Your Dobbs"). And then there was the guy, standing on a newspaper box, holding a framed copy of the 1980 Daily News front page that proclaimed, "We Win!" Oh, and did I forget to mention that the guy was wearing a slasher-movie hockey mask?
The police were great, including the few who managed to snap a cell-phone picture or two along the way, and especially the guy near Oregon Avenue who was high-fiving people with his left hand as he steered his police cruiser with his right hand.
Down by Bigler Street, the crowd had surged to the point at which the caravan could not continue for several minutes. Finally, at Hartranft Street, the whole wild mess made a left turn into the parking lot - newly named as the corner of Phillies Way and Champions Way - with rallies at Lincoln Financial Field and then Citizens Bank Park. What was supposed to take 3 hours took nearly 5.
And there was one more sign, right at that turn. Simple, eloquent:
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