These Phillies are bringing Philadelphia area families together more than ever before

Phillies SanFilippo
Photo Credit: Anthony SanFilippo

I walked into Xfinity Live about 90 minutes after the Phillies had won the National League Pennant on Sunday.

It was a mob scene, made up mostly of hundreds of drunk and happy 20-somethings all singing and dancing shoulder-to-shoulder, in their own brewery-inspired stench, just celebrating the unexpected.

I made my way through the sea of red, white and powder blue to the opposite end of the building where my oldest son was hanging out with a couple of his friends from college.

Now 26, Anthony Jr. is getting to celebrate baseball a little differently than the last time the Phillies were good. He was 12 when they won the World Series. And 15 the last time they had made the playoffs.

Sure, those are great childhood memories. Ones he will never forget. Especially sitting in the stands with me, his aunt and his cousin going absolutely bonkers when Jimmy Rollins walked it off against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS.

But it’s different when you get to hang out with your friends at a bar and go a little bit nutty. It’s truly embracing the baseball renaissance at an age where you can appreciate the party atmosphere the most.

But even to a 26-year-old, the true emotions about baseball and the success of the Phillies returns to family.

For when he sees me, Anthony runs up, throws his arms around me in a huge hug and with a big smile on his face says, “We’re going to the World Series, Dad. Un-fucking real!”

When we separate, I can see his eyes welling up just a bit. It means a lot to him. So, I try to do that thing that parents do to try and trick their adult children to hang around more frequently, and I ask him if he has plans for Game 1 and 2 of the World Series, and he said he’s confident he and his cronies will be glued to a big screen at some Philadelphia drinking establishment. He asked why I was asking, and I told him it would be nice to watch the World Series with him.

That’s when he thought of his brother.

“We had our moment together in 2008, and who knows, this could be the last championship you’ll ever see. So, you should share that with Andrew. It’ll mean a lot to him.”

I was too caught up in my son’s veiled prediction of my untimely demise on this earth happening sooner than we all would like, to realize that he was thinking of family. His brother Andrew was almost 7-years-old in 2008 when they won the World Series. He was left to watch it alone, in his bedroom at his mom’s house because mom didn’t think he was old enough to come hang with his dad and brother, especially if we were going to hightail it down to Broad Street for the celebration, which we did.

Andrew also didn’t get to go to the parade, like his brother did.

But now at the in-between age of 20, still slightly too young to go hang out at bars with his brother or even his sister, but slightly too old to be banging pots with his younger cousins and his grandparents, having a place to hang out and watch the games is something he is yearning for this time. After all, his only in-person playoff experience was Cliff Lee blowing a 4-0 lead against the Cardinals in Game 2 of the 2011 NLDS.

So, we’ll find a way to share it tonight. And tomorrow. And figure it out when they are at home next week. And if the Phillies are on the brink of winning their third title in franchise history, ways to celebrate them together as a family.

Because there is no sport that brings family together and for longer than playoff baseball.

To prove this point, I reached out to several folks who have been posting people on social media to explain what baseball means to them and their family and how that all ties in to this incredible Phillies run.

Here are their brief stories:


You know I had to start in Delco, right?

Thompson, who lives with his wife Kate in Aston, but is originally from Havertown, remembers baseball from his days sitting on his grandfather’s knee in the 1980s.

Mark and Kate Thompson celebrating the NLCS victory last Sunday.

“Back in the late 80s my greatest memories centered around a 10-inch portable television in summer, sitting in our backyard squinting out the figures of Mike Schmidt and Von Hayes coming up to bat serenaded by the resonance of Harry and Whitey as I sat on my Pop Pops lap.

“We didn’t win many, but for me I was in heaven. Not long after that, the game became a together time for my mom and myself. As I grew into adulthood and now (gulp) mid-life between March and October there was nary a conversation that didn’t include how ‘our boys’ were doing. The 2008 season was special, I mean how could it not be, but nothing has come close to this improbable run that this team has made.

“Daily calls, sometimes hourly this post season have brought my mom and I even closer, if that were possible. Game 3 of the NLDS I was lucky enough to get tickets to the game with my best friend. After Hoskins bat slam there was one person I wanted with me, Eileen.

“I spent most of my cell data and battery attempting to FaceTime her into the rest of the game. After the victory, I knew where my rally towel was going, much to my wife’s chagrin, it was to my Mom. The ultimate gift! Or so I thought.

“A week later my older brother brought her to game 4 of the NLCS, the amazing comeback and dominating win. I got pictures of my Mom with the biggest smile I ever saw on her face standing at the stadium still rocking her Flyin’ Hawaiian jersey. The Phillies won big, but my brother was cemented in favorite status! The next day I went to the clincher, and when Bryce hit that legendary home run. I had one thought. Time to call Eileen!”

Eileen Thompson with her son Matt Thompson at the Ball park. Interestingly, Matt owns Blue Rooted, the company that makes all that fine Delco-centric gear.


Bill is the director of communications at St. Joseph’s Prep high school in Philadelphia, so he gets to share in the excitement of the Phillies with his Prep family every day.

But that’s not the same as what it means to spend it with his own Bensalem-based family:

We’ve been a Phillies family since my kids were little. We would watch games every night, or listen on on the radio. The last time they were in the World Series in 2009 my kids were young. So, to be there Sunday, with my three adult children, it made the moment even greater. When Bryce Harper hit the homer – I got bear hugs from each of them.

“When you put it on perspective, we are all living in different places now. Usually, in the ninth inning, we all face time each other and try to celebrate together that way. But to be able to be there together for that moment, that’s one of the top moments for me as a fan, but as a father, that’s going to be the top.

“We got Game 5 World Series tickets. I got one for my wife too. It’s so worth it. There’s nothing like the Phillies when they are good and in the playoffs, day in and day out. The Eagles are great, and I know when they won the Super Bowl it was life-changing for a lot of people who waited so long for them to win, but it was one game and done in four hours.

“With the Phillies, it’s night after night after night and the feeling each day is electric.”

Bill Avington, Dancing on his own with daughter Maura and sons Daniel and Thomas.


I was introduced to Brian through former Phillies beat writer (and now National NFL reporter for the Associated Press) Rob Maaddi in 2010, as the Phillies were making the push toward their fourth straight N.L. East Division crown.

Known to his friends as “Moose,” Brian has some of the greatest stories you will ever hear. If you ever run into him, ask him about his one-time man crush on former Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, or for him to tell his greatest story – about the night he partied hard with a one-time Super Bowl MVP (I can’t write anymore without permission, but trust me – it’s an all-timer).

But the Mantua, N.J. resident has mellowed out in recent years. Getting married and having a daughter will do that to a guy.

Yet, it hasn’t impacted his love of the Phillies. In fact, that love affair has also turned his wife and daughter into huge Phillies fans.

While he’ll tell you that his wife Lauren enjoys the atmosphere of the game more so than the game itself, his daughter, Vivian, who is only five-years-old, cares much more about the outcome.

“My daughter has always liked watching baseball with me but she has started to love it even more by watching these exciting playoff games. She asks every day when the next game is because she can’t wait to watch it. Because of her being at Game 5, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to a game without her again.”

Brian Musmanno and his daughter Vivian before the start of Game 5 of the NLCS.


Rob Benigni witnessed a harrowing event at his first baseball game and was hooked. So much so that the Phillies have been apart of every meaningful portion of his life, including his wedding.

Experiencing this run wit his wife, son and daughter from their Rockledge home or from Citizens Bank Park itself has been one that will never be forgotten.

“In short, this run, means everything. As a child my father would use the coupon inside the hotdog packs to take me to Sunday games. I would grab a scorecard hike to the top of the 700 level and pick a seat out of the sea of empty seats. My first game included Andy Ashby taking a line drive to the face.

“I never missed a game growing up. When I couldn’t watch live on TV I would set my alarm for 3AM and wake up before school to watch the replay on Prism. I tell you this in essence to explain how baseball runs through my blood. It connects with me in a way no other sport can.

Rob and his wife Christine at an earlier Phillies game.

“I started dating my wife 2 weeks before the Phils clinched the division in 2008 and we spent one of our dates watching Matt Stairs rip one into the night on TV. On Halloween I drug her to the parade to celebrate with 2 million of my closest friends. For a few years we had the Sunday plan and at our wedding we had guests sign a Phillies jersey instead of a guest book. Our son was 3 weeks old when he experienced his first game.

“Between 2008 and 2022 there’s been so many ups and downs both with the Phillies and personally but for 162 days a year the Phillies are a constant in my house. This year my son is now 4-years-old and I am hoping the homeruns, excitement, and constant blaring of “Dancing on my own” is enough to capture his heart and make him fall in love with the greatest game just like I did so many years ago.”

Robbie is already turning into his dad with his love of the Phillies.


By day, Kim is the director of marketing and communications at Merion Mercy Academy. By night, she is a playwright based in Media, PA. And while that’s cool and all, what’s even cooler is her husband, Rob MacPherson, works for the Phillies as the Director of Partnerships and Corporate Marketing. So, Kim had no choice but to love the Phillies. And it’s a love affair she wouldn’t trade in for the world.

“The Philadelphia Phillies have been a significant part of my life since my husband joined the organization 25 years ago. While I could complain about being a baseball widow each summer, the reality is that the Phillies organization–and the team–are one of a kind. Both have considerable grit and heart, determination and dedication. The fans can be described the same way.

“The lean years when we could only dream about reaching the postseason make this year so incredibly special. There’s a palpable energy and overwhelming enthusiasm that are uniting fans throughout the region, and heaven knows we need something to unite us these days! It’s such a delight to return to this place (literally and figuratively) where it feels completely normal to hug and high-five perfect strangers.

“The last time we won the World Series, in 2008, my children were 10 and 7, old enough to sense the excitement but not old enough so that it was a memorable part of their lives. Now they are 24 and 21 and it’s terrific to share this journey with them in a meaningful way. Go Phillies!”

Kim and Rob know how to celebrate a win. And they are lucky enough to be down in Houston to take in both Game 1 and 2 in person!


Sean was one of the better high school baseball players in Southern New Jersey at Paul VI the last time the Phillies were making the World Series. He would go on to play Division I ball at Iona and continues to work in the sport as a financial consultant.

But his love of the Phillies, which both he and his brother got from their dad, has never waned, and the entire Menickella family is embracing another World Series trip and hoping for a huge celebration in the next 1-2 weeks.

“The Phillies are more than just a team to me and my family. We identify as a baseball family. Our summers were spent at the ballpark either watching the Phillies or pretending to be them.  They are the soundtrack to our summer, our fondest memories, and the ties that binds us together.

“To see this team bring exciting baseball back to this city, and see The Phillies be celebrated again feels like all is right again in our world. It reminds us of those memories and passions of our youth. It allows us to get lost again in the beauty of baseball and share the experience of greatness.”

Sean (right) with his dad and brother taking in a Phils’ game – the ultimate baseball family.


Is a math teacher who lives in Forked River, N.J. It’s a bit of a drive to ballgames these days compared to growing up in Washington, but it’s not so far that it’s not worth it to go.

The thing of it is, Tina wouldn’t be a math teacher today if it weren’t for the Phillies, and her love affair with baseball and numbers started back in the 1980s on hot summer afternoons and nights sitting in the 700 level of the Vet and continues today.

“Growing up in a divorced family, whenever it was my Dad’s weekend with us, my brother and I were going to the games with him. We always went all the way up to the top. During the games, My dad would teach me math lessons tied to baseball. Like figuring out batting averages and earned run averages.

“When I was home with my mom, I would keep a scorebook as if I were the team statistician. I would use the formulas my dad encouraged me to use and then I would check the newspaper the next day by looking at the box scores to see if I was right.

Then there’s all the factors of three in baseball – from the 108 stitches, to nine innings, to three strikes and three outs – how could a Math teacher not love baseball?

Now that I’m grown and have my own kids, I take them to the games and we do the same things. On Mother’s Day, some moms like to go to the Spa or go to brunch, but my favorite thing is to watch Phillies baseball, or be at the game itself.

Sometimes I go with just my mom. Or just my daughter. We’ve been caught on TV cheering. It’s the best place in the world.”

And if this photo of Tina and her daughter Keira in the ballpark after the Phillies won the NLCS on Sunday doesn’t convey that, I’m not sure what would.

Just your everyday Mom and daughter chilling at the clinching game of the NLCS.


Russ grew up in Washington Township, moved to California after graduating from The Wharton Business School at University of Pennsylvania, but lives in Utah now. He is an author of a new book titled, “When they Win, You Win: Being a Great Manager is Simpler than You Think” which is a self-help book of sorts for business managers.

But distance hasn’t waned his Phillies fandom, and he will be in front of his television tonight keyed in to Game 1 of the World Series.

“My grandfather, Frank Scaravaglione emigrated to the US as a kid in the early 1900s and settled in Philly. He enjoyed the sports teams. As a kid in south jersey, some of my fondest memories are shooting hoops in the driveway with my dad and listening to Harry and Whitey call the games.

“I was 8 when they won in 1980 and my parents’ excitement made me excited. In 2008 when they won, I was living in California. I sat on the floor with a bottle of champagne and cried tears of joy.  Whenever I call my parents, if it’s summer, it’s a guarantee the Phillies are on the TV.

“Fast forward to the 2022 NLCS, and my cousin had a wedding at the Union League. We got into town early and I watched the home NLCS games with my cousins – all of Frank Scaravaglione’s grandkids, culminating with the Fightins winning the pennant while we were at the wedding, so of course we snuck out to see the crowd.

“I love these teams because it’s something that my family can connect with together, and it’s been that way for me for 45 years.”

Russ and his wife Verlana may be thousands of miles away. But they’re still rocking their Phillies gear for the World Series.

This is just a small sample of the thousands of families all across Philadelphia, the region, the country, and yes even the world as there are fans working overseas, who will be tuning in together, in some fashion or another, as the Phillies battle the Astros in the World Series.

It’s just another example of why it means more here than anywhere else. Sports is our religion. It’s what bonds us together as friends and families.

And this Phillies team is bringing us all together, at a time when it’s so easy to be divided.

This is baseball in Philadelphia.

There’s nothing like it.