A large group of Phillies fans will be invading Citi Field this Saturday.
Put together by the guys and girl at Phillies Nation, a convoy of buses will make it’s way from Philly to Flushing for Saturday’s night game at Citi Field. Coincidentally, that’s also the night of the 1969 World Series celebration.
I sent a few questions out to Phillies Nation and Brian was nice enough to answer them for me. Here’s the quick Q&A…
The ‘Ropolitans: How did this trip come about? When was it first planned?
Phillies Nation: We've been doing trips for about four years now, but they've been mostly to DC or Clearwater. With the Mets' new stadium, the (formerly) heated rivalry on the field, and proximity to Philly, it just made sense. Plus this is the only weekend this season that the Phils are in Flushing, so that made picking the date easy as well.
T’R: How many fans are you expecting to make the trip to Citi Field.
PN: Phillies Nation has 5 buses coming up from Philly, so that's 250 right there. Then we're planning on meeting up with another 50 or so local fans. That's just the Phillies Nation crew. Just in the past three days, I've encountered at least a dozen more people that are going up. With all the other bus trips and individual friends and family going, I wouldn't be surprised to see 5,000-10,000 Phililes fans for the games on Saturday and Sunday. We've been averaging around 15,000 fans at Nationals weekend games, but I don't think it would be that overwhelming.
T’R: If you don't know by now, but the Mets are hosting a celebration for the 1969 Mets team. These shirts will be given away. Do a bunch of Phillies fans going to a 1969 celebration have some hijinks in store? Going to burn the shirts as an effigy or are they so silly ('69 on a Mets shirt - 15 year old humor) that you'll cherish it forever?
PN: I'm sure there will be a lot of booing, but I doubt my shirt will make it out of Citi Field. I'll likely use it in place of toilet paper.
T’R: Pedro Martinez is returning to Citi Field to face the Mets, does that mean anything to you?
PN: It doesn't mean a whole lot to me, but I'm sure it does for Pedro. He didn't have the success in NY as he had in Boston, so maybe he'll have something to prove in that regard. He still has something to prove to Phillies fans as well. Although he's looked good on the mound, his two outings have been only 5 and 3 innings. He has a long way to go before he reaches Cliff Lee status in Philly.
T’R: Luckily for you, you'll get to see the Phillies face Tim Redding, since the Mets released Livan Hernandez. Does that tickle your fancy at all?
PN: We're pretty familiar with Redding from his days with the Nationals, and he has pitched well against the Phils. I know Utley hits him well, but he's definitely a solid starter...a decent replacement for Livan, who I certainly enjoyed watching. Even more so than Redding, I think it will be fun to watch J.A. Happ who is also starting on Saturday. He's quietly becoming a front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year.
Thanks to Brian at Phillies Nation for answering all my questions.
And if you’re heading out to Citi Field on Saturday, Mets fans, be prepared for a lot of Phillies fans in the stadium. And be prepared to out-cheer them during the ceremony.