Late - or very early - Phillies fireworks confuse neighbors

CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Protest signs (are draped on the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo outside the Municipal Services Building.)
Posted: July 16, 2013

ONE PHILLIES doubleheader + one rain delay + six extra innings + one controversial court verdict = one fierce fireworks kerfuffle early yesterday morning.

The Xfinity Fireworks Show lit up South Philadelphia skies about 1 a.m., the latest - or earliest? - such celebration many stadium neighbors could remember.

That left some grousing about rousing: "The kids were excited but never got to see them, because it was so late they went to bed. We were sleeping and it woke me up," said Nicole Cassello, 38, a mother of two on 10th Street near Johnston.

Others would have stayed up all night to see them: "It was late, but it was beautiful. I never miss them," said Anthony Gatto Jr., 83, who lives on 10th near Bigler.

Bad weather booted Friday's Phillies game to the next day, prompting a doubleheader Saturday, with extra innings in both games: The first stretched an extra two, in the second, an extra four and a rain delay added 41 minutes to the night. So the fireworks, which should have happened by 11 p.m. instead crept into the wee hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, aghast newsies from Philadelphia and beyond who heard fireworks - those in South Philly and elsewhere - assumed they were sent into the skies by racists celebrating the Saturday-night verdict in Florida's George Zimmerman case.

Sana Saeed, a senior editor at Islawmix, a project of Harvard Law's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, tweeted:

"People were afraid a guilty verdict would have resulted in riots," wrote Saeed, who is based in Canada. "Thank god #Zimmerman's verdict only resulted in white pride fireworks."

Such sentiments prompted only scoffs from fireworks fans in South Philly. Pyrotechnics elsewhere could be Fourth of July leftovers, Bastille Day revelry or other celebrations, they said.

"Somebody always rains on the parade," said Cassie McCallion, 48, who had a stunning view of the Phillies fireworks from the rooftop deck of her home on 10th near Bigler.

On Twitter: @DanaDiFilippo


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