The 2022 Philadelphia Phillies team will be remembered as one of the best in franchise history, and the coveted championship parade down Broad Street is well within grasp. However, as the possibility of a celebration looms, concerns over safety are once again coming to the forefront.
Phillies supporters have enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to a roster of energetic, entertaining, and likable players. The Fightins are making an appearance in this year’s World Series for the first time in 13 years, and are facing off against the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.
The Astros, who are heavy favorites, hope to cement their legacy with one of the best runs by an MLB team in decades. The Astros have been a juggernaut, as this is their fourth World Series appearance in the last six seasons. The Phillies are the underdog story of the year, and against all odds, they are three games away from bringing the city of Philadelphia a championship.
Life in Philly
It is the classic David vs. Goliath story leading up to a potentially big moment for all Philadelphians. Fans can’t wait to take to the streets to celebrate. This generates major concerns about Philly’s safety, as well as the lasting impact a Phillies’ parade may have.
Nicole Marotta, a Philadelphia police officer who works in the 17th district, explained what it is like to be working in the city during such a crazy time.
“Working as a Philly cop right now is pretty awesome. You know you have to protect the fans of the opposing team, however, it has not been too much of an issue in my experience. Fans are happy so it makes the job a little easier,” Marotta said.
In the midst of such an ecstatic atmosphere, safety concerns are still the city’s chief worry. With a possible Series win on the horizon, Philadelphia officials are taking precautions to keep fans safe.
The primary concerns are the hours immediately following the winning game and during the Broad Street parade. Older fans will remember the scene in 1980 at Veterans Stadium when Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo demonstrated a massive show of force.
Rizzo lined the field with Philadelphia police officers on horses and others on foot with leashed German Shepherds just before the final out. Rizzo’s intention, intimidating fans from running onto the field after the final out, was overkill, but effective.
Past sports celebrations
During the city’s more recent experience after the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018, almost a million people showed up to the parade. The night the Eagles won the Super Bowl, fires were set, poles were toppled, and store windows were broken.
The Eagles parade cost the city over $3 million in police overtime and property damage. In addition, there was one recorded fatality during the parade. It is safe to assume that should the Phillies win the Series, every police officer in the department will be on duty during these two events.
“The police department has already sent out orders to all the districts for the possibility of deployment for our officers once the Phillies reach that third win,” Marotta said. “So that will put a lot of officers on the street in their assigned district to answer 911 calls, and the officers who were scheduled off will be assigned to the major areas that fans are known to go to.”
Crime and trouble
While city residents prepare for the chaos that will ensue in the wake of a Phillies victory, they are currently enjoying a surprising lull in crime as Philadelphians unite over baseball.
Sofia Presenza, student at Temple University, said that being a resident in North Philadelphia has never been easy. Students always have their guards up and their phones never stop buzzing with constant alerts of nearby crimes. She said she was surprised to find that right now is the safest she has felt in Philadelphia in a long time.
“I think it’s because I feel like everyone is just happier and more excited and we all just share something in common right now which is our passion for the Phillies and our city,” Presenza said. “I know this is a very exciting time for the city, and therefore people are getting super excited about everything, which can lead to some unwarranted risks happening, but right now I’m just trying to live in the moment and not worry too much about it and just have fun.”
Fans are safe
Matthew Rutherford, Cabrini student and lifelong Phillies fan, is a firsthand witness to the Phillies’ insanity as a publication vendor at Citizens Bank Park.
Rutherford said the stadium gets electric during each home game.
“When fans are excited and drunk they don’t tend to put much thought into their actions. But I honestly feel really safe in Philly right now and I am not expecting too much trouble in the event of a win.”
He added, “I read online the other day that we have gone four straight days without a homicide. Philly is so united right now, real crime has actually gone down. I am very happy to be wearing red right now.”
One thing is clear, this Red October gave the city of Philadelphia a united front. The fans are ready to celebrate. The city is ready in its preparation and response.