Fans roar as Phillies parade through Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - October 31, 2008 Left fielder Pat Burrell led the confetti-filled procession, riding a horse-drawn carriage and pumping his fists. Next came several flatbed trucks filled with waving players and other members of the Phillies organization, including the furry green Phanatic mascot.

CLICK HERE to watch video from the Parade of Champions.

Throngs in Phillies gear packed downtown sidewalks, making them almost impassable. So fans climbed trees, hung out of windows, watched from balconies, brought stepladders and stood on roofs to get a better view.

Center fielder Shane Victorino tossed soft pretzels to the crowd while shortstop Jimmy Rollins turned his hand-held video camera on the crowd.

World Series MVP Cole Hamels tried to fist-bump a fan dressed like Philly's favorite fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, but authorities intervened before they quite pulled it off.

Organizers couldn't have asked for better weather. The clear, sunny skies and 60-degree temperature stood in contrast to the miserable, near-frigid rain that forced an unprecedented suspension of Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Phillies ended up winning the title on Wednesday in wintry cold.

Surging crowds pushed onto the streets at some intersections, leaving just enough room for the trucks and their police escorts to pass. Fans took to the streets to trail the parade as it went by.

The procession took about two-and-a-half hours to travel from the heart of the city to the sports complex in South Philadelphia, about four miles away.

Another hundred thousand fans watched the festivities on big screens at the city's baseball and football stadiums, where the parade ended around 2:45 p.m. A rally was scheduled for Citizens Bank Park, and some players were slated to make a brief appearance at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play.

The last time a Philadelphia team won a major championship was in 1983, when the 76ers won the NBA title. The Phillies won their only other World Series in 1980.

Havertown resident Keith Goodman skipped work to bring his 7-year-old son, Richie, to Citizens Bank Park.

"I don't know if we'll ever get this chance again," Goodman said. "He's been saying it's been seven long years. I say it's 25 long years."

Nick and Patricia Gavin of suburban Delaware County, who were children when they attended the 1980 parade, brought their own downtown on Friday.

Jaclyn, 10, planned to dress as a Phillies ball girl later in the day for Halloween, but her brother Nicholas, 8, was too excited about the World Series win to think about trick-or-treating.

"This made me forget about Halloween," Nicholas said.

Officials had earlier stressed the importance of using public transit, but the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reported being overwhelmed by midmorning Friday.

By the time the parade started, the agency had temporarily suspended commuter rail service into Philadelphia so that trains would be available for those leaving the parade. Subways and trolleys were still operating, SEPTA spokesman Gary Fairfax said.

"It is simply a tremendous crowd in Center City," Fairfax said.


AP writers Bob Lentz, Randy Pennell and Dan Gelston contributed to this report.

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