Broad Street Billy: To firefighter, Phils' home-opener extra meaningful

Posted: April 10, 2012

DESPITE the sad 6-2 home-opener loss to the Miami Marlins, Broad Street Billy enjoyed hanging out with fellow Phillies fans braving the gale-force winds of Ashburn Alley.

HERO & SON: Rich Davis, a five-year Philadelphia firefighter assigned to Engine 41 in West Philadelphia, was working overtime early Monday at Engine 29, one of the first companies called to the 3 a.m. warehouse blaze in East Kensington that killed two firefighters.

Davis fought the five-alarm fire for hours, then went to grief counseling. By the time he got home after 11 a.m., he had decided to keep his promise to take his son Tyler, 3, to the Phillies game.

"I thought about life and how it can end suddenly - about how that could have been me killed in the fire," the sleepless Davis said, holding Tyler on his shoulders while the little guy worked on a box of popcorn that was almost as big as he is.

"I thought about what is real and what is most important in my life," Davis said. "After that fire, being here with my son is comforting. The time I spend doing things with him is even more special to me now."

VOORHEES PALS' REUNION: For more than a decade now, Bob Balmores and his Voorhees buddies from the days they played baseball together for Eastern Regional High reunite at the Phillies' opener.

On Monday, Bob (second baseman) brought his wife, Gina, and son Miles, almost 2, along with Adam Rosenblatt (centerfielder), Bill McNamara (shortstop) and Eric Paik (third baseman). Paik had flown in from Rio de Janeiro two hours before the first pitch and said, "After this, I'm going to take a long nap - except it's Bob's 33rd birthday so I don't think I'll get one."

"My husband," Gina said, "is just a crazy Phillies fan, and I'm just a crazy Phillies fan through marriage. We went to the 2008 World Series Game 5 - both halves. When we won, I've never seen so many old men crying. I've seen Bob cry twice - that game, and the day we got married."

Contact Broad Street Billy at 215-854-5961 or

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