The arrival of the home opener is a familiar and cherished tradition among local fans, signaling the onset of spring. When asked about the significance of the day, one fan remarked that it embodies a sense of optimism. Despite the Phillies’ sluggish start this season, and a delay caused by a rain day, fans eagerly converged at the sports complex in South Philadelphia to witness the fightins’ return to the field after an exhilarating 2022 season that culminated in a World Series appearance.
Sean Conway from Norwood, who was tailgating with his friends in two RVs next to Infinity Live, joked that the first six games of the season shouldn’t count since it’s just the beginning. Conway’s group was well-prepared with flags, big-screen TVs, and an abundance of food including meatballs, hotdogs, tacitos, and peanuts to complement their coolers of drinks.
“We always park in this same spot every year. It’s also where we park for Eagles games,” shared Al Tedesco, a Phillies season ticket holder for more than 15 years from Newtown Square. “Yesterday, we were more thrilled but then the game got postponed.”Meanwhile, down the parking lot, Dominic DiMemmo from Drexel Hill rushed over from his work as a Chester firefighter to catch the game.
DiMemmo, who worked as a firefighter in Chester, decided to leave his job to attend the game. He expressed his excitement by saying that it felt like a holiday. John Liberio, who was also tailgating, shared the same sentiment and stated that it was the second-best day of the year after Christmas.
Jim Fee from Havertown, who reunited with some of his former neighbors from Mayfair, expressed that he has been attending the event for many years. Despite the difficulty in obtaining tickets this year, they were able to secure a bloc of 30 tickets. Having grown up together from grammar school to high school, they are now all senior citizens and enjoy this fun-filled day.
Aiden Sceno from Springfield, along with 40 of his fellow Springfield High School students, was on his way to the game. Sceno mentioned that they attend a few games and were present at the World Series last year. Kim Sparks from Westhill, New Jersey, was among the early fans to enter the park as the gates opened at 12:35.
“I’ve attended every opening game since 1971,” she declared. Not far away, Nate Durant and his 10-year-old son, Karl, were waiting in full gear to enter the park. “In the past, the only way I could attend a game was through a coupon in Phillies Franks,” Durant disclosed. “But now that my finances are more secure, I want to bring my son along and create lasting memories.” Although Durant witnessed the Phillies in the World Series last year, the game was tough as the team was no-hit.
He expressed that a new year brings new opportunities, and baseball can help alleviate stress and provide a sense of escape. Many families, including Rob Taylor’s from Logan New Jersey, attended the game. Taylor and his family enjoyed playing cornhole before the game
and they have made it a tradition to attend every year, even during the COVID pandemic where they brought cutouts of themselves.