DIBIASE: Dream come true for Phillies fan

Justin Dibiase

I always thought I would be there when they finally won. I just didn’t know how. There would be pennants waving freely in the air, champagne corks gloriously bursting into the dark night sky, its effervescent discharge thrashing about in the chill air. That was how I saw it.

There I sat last Wednesday afternoon in class, watching my professor’s lips move up and down, not heeding what the noises emanating from her mouth actually meant.

I was thinking about that night and about how and where I would celebrate the win. There I sat, ticketless, somehow still believing that I would end up at the park that night despite having next to nothing in my wallet.

When I become old and gray and my kids ask their Daddy where he was when the Phillies won the World Championship, this is what I will tell them:

Friday, Oct. 24

The series stood at 1-1 and was returning to Philly tomorrow. My usual excitement for Hoops Mania was stifled by the magical run. Amid the Cunningham dunk and T-Pain’s silly hat, one of my closest friends at Villanova miraculously won two tickets to Game 5 of the World Series in a fan contest of “Let’s Make a Deal.” My friend was not a big baseball fan, nor was he a Philadelphia sports fan. This was my golden ticket to the chocolate factory. I had to pounce on this opportunity, and it had to be quick.

The negotiations ended as quickly as they began. I courted my friend with text messages throughout the night. My friend offered me a gracious discount off his Craigslist ticket price. The discounted price, however, was still so astronomical that when I shook my empty piggy bank, I think it actually squealed. Friday night, no ticket. Strike one.

Saturday, Oct. 25

Homecoming 2008. I found myself on the World Wide Web, searching the whole wide world for tickets. StubHub was my best bet. The cheapest seats? Well, they weren’t actual seats but standing room-only tickets going for over $600. Without even consulting my Nicole Richie-skinny piggy bank, I did what any college kid would do in my situation. I dialed home. My mother did not buy my sweet talk and shot down my request. I asked her to put Dad on. A quick laugh, followed by a stern “No.” So much for family. Strike two.

Sunday, Oct. 26

Still high from the walk-off win the night before, I hurried to Wawa to add to my collection of World Series newspapers. As I wrestled with homework, I heard about a contest on a local sports radio outlet. To earn tickets to Game 5, you simply had to call in and explain how badly you wanted the tickets. The best rant would win. After waiting two hours to get on the air, I realized that I hadn’t thought of anything to say. My grand 30 seconds of fame consisted of loud noises, childlike begging and a bribe. The hosts of the show got a chuckle from my babbling but respectfully declined. Strike three.

Monday, Oct. 27

The Phillies were on the verge of setting off the biggest party Philadelphia has seen in 25 years. I went to South Philly with my friends to a nearby bar, defeated in my effort to obtain tickets. My dream of being at the clinching game seemed not meant to be, but then during the game came a miracle. Maybe it was Bud Selig. Maybe it was God. The game was suspended due to the severe weather moving through the area. Little did I know that this nuisance would be the best thing that could possibly happen to my hopes of attending a World Series game.

I went home that night championship-less. We didn’t lose that night, but it sure felt like we did.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

This was the day. The game was to be resumed at 8:30 p.m. in frigid weather conditions. Early in the day, I made plans to watch the conclusion of the game in a bar on the Main Line. I had given up. Around 5:30 p.m., I received a call while I was enjoying a nice dinner with my visiting parents. I’m not sure what God’s ringtone sounds like, but I imagine it sounds similar to the noise that rang in my ears. It was a good (now greatest) friend of mine. The conversation ensued:

Greatest Friend: So what are you doing for the game tonight?

Me: Probably watching it at a bar near here.

Greatest Friend: That’s cool, but how would you like to go to the game tonight?

Me: (Silence)

Greatest Friend: I have two tickets, man.

Me: (Silence, heavy breathing)

Greatest Friend: Well?

Me: YES!

It was the 11th hour, and I was headed to the game. The night from there is a blur. My vision had come to fruition. Lidge. Hinske. Strike three. Pennants waving. Champagne everywhere. I made the long, slow walk from Broad and Pattison down to City Hall, celebrating with thousands of strangers who were my family on this night. As I stood directly below William Penn at City Hall, I gazed wide-eyed down Broad Street and smiled. Dreams really do come true.


Justin DiBiase is a senior civil engineering major from Franklinville, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].