10/01/08 3:00 PM ET
Philly faithful rally before Game 1
Fans celebrate season, show support prior to NLDS
By Kevin Horan / MLB.com
But the hundreds of fans who flooded Citizens Bank Way before Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Phillies and Brewers were also reminded that their support will be crucial if the Phillies are to make it further into the playoffs this year than they did last season.One by one, Phillies icons strode to the center of a stage set up near the corner of Pattison Avenue and Citizens Bank Way to address the red-and-white-clad fans before them. "This is our time of year," said Greg Luzinski, a Phillies outfielder from 1970 through the team's 1980 World Series championship run. Luzinski held up his hand to show his ring from that World Series to the crowd. "When it's all said and done," Luzinski continued, "we're gonna be like the 1980 team and bring one of these rings home to Philly." Larry Andersen, a relief pitcher on the Phils' 1993 National League championship squad, was equally as optimistic. "Hopefully, we'll have this big a turnout for a parade down Broad Street in a few weeks," Andersen said. Until then, the crowd will have the excitement of the current series and their memories of the regular season that just ended. The rally included a highlight reel, narrated by Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, showing some of the Phillies' most memorable plays and games of 2008 so far. There was right fielder Geoff Jenkins scoring the winning run that capped a four-run, ninth-inning rally against the Astros on April 15. There was Jayson Werth's three-homer barrage against the Blue Jays on May 16. There was Greg Dobbs' pinch-hit home run that cemented a six-run comeback against the Braves on July 26. But perhaps the biggest round of applause was reserved for when Kalas himself walked onto the stage. "Your passion and support leads us to even greater heights than we were last year," Kalas told the crowd. The Philly faithful got even more riled up when the Phillie Phanatic produced a blue Brewers helmet. The mascot ceremoniously placed the helmet on the stage and then smashed it to pieces with a tool given to him by the stadium's grounds crew. "Swing and a miss, struck him out," Kalas said, invoking his famous strikeout call.
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.