I used to ask my grandfather what it was like on that glorious night in 1980 when the Phillies won the World Series.
He always told me, aside from the occasional looting of stores, trashing of vehicles and the occasional fires started on the street, that is was a night unlike any other.
It was a night when people hugged total strangers and a night when grown men cried.
I don’t know if that four-inch statue of William Penn mounted on top of the Comcast building was the deciding factor in crowning the Fightin’ Phils the 2008 World Series champions, but I can tell you what I do know.
I know that no longer will desperate fans have to continue finding scapegoats and curses.
I know that the entire generation of Philly fans under the age of 25 finally have that taste of deliverance.
We finally know what it’s like to win.
I can finally replace that memory of Tug McGraw jumping for joy after recording the last strike out. That was 1980; an amazing moment for that generation, but the replay seems old and grainy in a new era of television.
Yes, on that cold October night, Brad Lidge getting Eric Hinske with that in-your-face slider and then falling to his knees in front of a record number of fans in Citizen’s Bank Park, that is our moment.
Perhaps it was even sweeter that the legendary voice himself, Harry Kalas, made the final call, the one that he did not get to make the last time.
I will remember those final moments for the rest of my life.
The roar of the crowd, just a block away from the parking lot where I stood, the green static color that the television in the back of my friend’s truck produced, the taste of the burger I had just finished and the tears in the eyes of the middle aged stranger who watched the game along-side.
He didn’t seem like a stranger on that magical night. No one did.
For one night, every last red-clad person on Broad Street was my best friend and everyone that walked by got a high five.
Oh yeah, and that parade down Broad Street, the one that seemed so far away for the past quarter century and then was delayed yet again thanks to the crazy rain postponement Monday, Oct. 27, actually happened on Oct. 31, Halloween day.
For just the second time ever, people flocked to Broad Street by train, bus, boat, plane and maybe a few even swam across the river, in numbers close to two million.
I have never seen two million people in one place, let alone all wearing the same Phillies red and white.
Upon the closing ceremonies of the series, I remained unsure that the players understood exactly what their accomplishments meant for this city. But when it took them literally four hours to finish the parade route and make it to the ballpark, I think it was widely understood that seeing that shiny trophy fulfilled the hearts and minds of a city absolutely starved for a reason to celebrate.
My grandfather called me right after the game was over and asked where I was. As loud as it was outside of the stadium, I was able to tell him, “Strangers are hugging and grown men are crying, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.”