Brad Bechtel has visited Citizens Bank Park many times.

An ardent Phillies fan, he made countless trips from his home in Spring City, Chester County, to the ballpark to catch a game. He would cheer up, eat, rest and have fun.

Tuesday was different. Many, many other things.

“I’ve never seen that many people try to get on the field before,” he said of his experience in Game 3 of the World Series. “It was a mass of people, the number of bodies trying to get in there was crazy.

“But everyone was fine. People gave each other high fives, it was fun.”

Brad Bechtel of Spring City, Chester County attended Game 3 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies beat the Astros 7-0. (Courtesy of Brad Bechtel)

Until Tuesday, it had been 4,747 days since Philadelphia last hosted a World Series game. And the Phillies fans who poured into the stadium to watch their team take on the Houston Astros were more than a little excited about it.

“The energy started before we even walked in,” Bechtel said.

And it did not lift.

Game 3 was a perfect storm of fanatical fans and winning baseball. The Phillies dominated the contest, spurring those who screamed hoarse in support and appreciation.

Bechtel, who held seats in left field, said the packed house was on its feet and excited for the national anthem and the ceremonial opening remarks. A quick top of the first, including a sliding grab by right fielder Nick Castellanos, kicked things up a notch.

And then, at the end of the first, superstar Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate and went nuclear.

“When Bryce came up, it was already loud,” Bechtel said. “And then, the first inning. As soon as he hit it, you knew it was gone.’

Harper hit a majestic two-run homer to right field that gave the Phillies a lead they would not relinquish. The reaction of the crowd was so intense that it was registered as an earthquake in a laboratory 20 miles away.

“It was like an earthquake,” Bechtel said of being at the center of the madness. “I’ve never heard anything so loud.”

Bechtel, 52, said he and the rest of the crowd didn’t quite calm down by the end of the game. A career-high five home runs and a 7-0 win will help that.

“My hand is still a little red from being hit by people I didn’t even know,” he said Wednesday. “I was a little tired today, we got back into town a little after 1am but it was worth it, it was worth every penny.

“Everybody understands that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you try to make the most of it.”

Crazy week

By Thursday, Colleen Moyer was pretty tired.

She has attended every World Series game thus far, including Games 1 and 2 in Houston. Both her son and daughter’s boyfriend work for the Phillies, which means her fandom goes beyond just enjoying baseball.

“You could say my family’s livelihood depends on them,” she said.

Mayer, who lives in Reading, said the experience of attending games in Houston was a far cry from what she found at Citizens Bank Park.

“Houston is very different from Philly,” she said. “Phillies fans don’t sit the whole game.”

This was especially true during Game 3.

“It was electric,” she said of the feeling inside the stadium. “Game 3 was a crazy type of feeling as soon as you walked through the door. Just the anticipation — it was the first World Series game since 2009 — the crowd was ready for it.”

Moyer said as soon as Harper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, she felt the electricity in the crowd. And when he went deep on the first pitch, it unleashed pandemonium.

Reading's Colleen Moyer, center, poses with her daughter, Danielle Moyer, left, and her son's girlfriend, Katie McHugh, outside Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia before heading to watch Game 3 of the World Series.  (Courtesy of Colin Moyer)
Reading’s Colleen Moyer, center, with her daughter, Danielle Moyer, left, and her son’s girlfriend, Katie McHugh, outside Citizens Bank Park before heading to watch Game 3 of the World Series. (Courtesy of Colin Moyer)

“I felt out of this world,” she said. “It just didn’t feel real.”

This out-of-body experience is not over.

“After the fourth homer, we all looked at each other and were like, ‘Is this real?'” she said.

Of course, it’s hard to maintain a Tuesday night high. Moyer said the crowd at Wednesday’s Game 4 felt more subdued.

“The crowd felt like everyone was hungover, but not from alcohol,” she said. “They had a gaming hangover.”

Perhaps they foresaw what was to come.

The Phillies lost that game in historic fashion, becoming only the second team ever to go without losing a World Series game en route to a 5-0 loss. Mayer said she expects this game to be just a tip.

“I hope everybody got the cobwebs out,” she said shortly before heading out for Game 5 on Thursday.

A game with a list

When Bobby and Mark Helms decided to buy next season’s season tickets for their grandchildren as a gift, they had no idea that it would lead to an unusual experience.

“I didn’t even know it was going to give me the opportunity to buy postseason tickets this year,” Bobby Helms said.

Bobbie said she and her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease, were able to trade their four Game 3 tickets for two available seats just under the jumbotron in left field at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The couple originally left their home in Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, for Philadelphia on Monday. They were already sitting in the stands when it was announced that the game was being postponed due to rain.

So they went home and returned to the field the next day.

“It was actually great because we got double scarves and towels,” Bobby Helms said, referring to the items the team gave out to fans.

Bobby Helms said Tuesday’s crowd was “fabulous but very Philly.” Along with rooting for the Phillies, she admitted to rooting for the Astros quite a bit, too.

“People were yelling ‘Houston sucks’ and ‘Cheater, cheater, cheater,'” she said.

Bobby and Mark Helms of Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, called Game 3 of the World Series “a bucket list game.” (Courtesy of Bobby and Mark Helms)

When the game started, Bobbi Helms said she and her husband were overcome with excitement.

“Being there in a sea of ​​waving red towels was pretty amazing,” she said.

And when Harper hit his home run, it created a moment neither of them will ever forget.

“I was kind of lost,” Bobby Helms said. “It was just crazy, people were jumping, screaming and waving towels. People kiss and hug.”

Bobbie Helms, who is 70 and her husband is 72, said she doesn’t think either of them will ever have anything like it.

“How many more games like this are we going to see?” she said. “It happens once in a lifetime. I call it the list game.”

“It was fun”

Erika Brown and Michael Yenser have been with the Phillies every step of their march through the postseason.

The couple enjoyed going to Phillies games over the years, usually finding up to five or six each season. This year, they decided to purchase a partial pass that allowed them to visit more than 20.

“It’s our thing, we always have a good time,” Brown said.

It also gave them a chance to get their hands on postseason tickets.

The Bernville couple watched the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. Then they watched as they blew out the Astros in Game 3.

Brown said she usually likes games that don’t have a lot of people. They allow you to take a break from traffic and long queues for the bathroom.

But she said she was happy to trade those little things for playoff experience.

“It was a lot of fun,” Brown said. “Oh my god, that was fun.”

Erica Sager and Michael Yenser are photographed in their seats during Game 3 of the World Series between
Bernville’s Erica Brown and Michael Yenser in their seats during Game 3 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros. (Courtesy of Erica Brown)

Yenser said he could feel the excitement slowly building in the stadium on Tuesday. It crescendoed with Harper’s home run.

“When he came over, I said to her, ‘Maybe he’s going to make this place crazy,'” he said.

He certainly did.

“As soon as he hit, we knew we were going to win,” Brown said.

Yenser said the crowd’s reaction to Harper’s home run was unlike anything he had ever experienced.

“You can’t even hear yourself think,” he said. “I couldn’t even talk to her around. It’s louder than a rock concert.

“It’s really cool. It really is. For a few minutes, everyone is on the same page.”

Yenser said it was clear the crowd couldn’t get enough of the success the Phillies had on Tuesday. They wanted to bask in it as long as possible.

“You could tell after the game that people didn’t want to leave,” he said. “No one wants to go anywhere, they just hang around.”

Yenser said he doesn’t know why Phillies fans behave the way they do, why their loyalty to their team is so much greater than fans of other teams. Maybe, he said, that’s just the way people live near Philadelphia.

“Everyone is passionate about everything they do,” he said. “They are crazy animals. They love what they love and really love it.”

A family affair

Kelly Rapp-George comes from a family of Phillies fans.

In particular, her grandfather, Preston Rohrbaugh, was committed to the team.

He traveled to see the Phils in spring training in Clearwater, Florida. He went to as many games as he could. And when COVID forced the team to play without fans in 2021, his expression was one of those plastered to a seat at Citizens Bank Park.

Rohrbaugh died at the end of September, just before his beloved Phillies began an epic postseason run that propelled them to baseball’s biggest stage. So, to honor him, Rap-George’s mom, Susie Watrous, decided to buy World Series tickets for the whole family.

Rapp-George, her mom, stepdad and brother headed to Philadelphia for Game 4 on Wednesday night.

And while the outcome of the game wasn’t what they were hoping for, she said they still enjoyed it.

“It’s not the result we wanted, but it was still a great atmosphere,” she said. “It was wonderful there.”

(From left) Bob Watrous, Susie Watrous, Ben Rapp and Kelly Rapp-George in Game Four of the World Series.  (Courtesy of Kelly Rapp-George)
From left, Bob Watrous, Susie Watrous, Ben Rapp and Kelly Rapp-George in Game 4 of the World Series. (Courtesy of Kelly Rapp-George)

Rupp-George, who lives in Wernersville, said there was a lot of energy at the venue, at least at first.

“By the fifth inning, the feeling was electric,” she said.

The Astros then took control of the game, scoring five runs.

Despite the trajectory of the game, Rupp-George said the fans in attendance didn’t give up hope.

“Everybody was standing, everybody was cheering the whole time,” she said. “The whole time nobody gave up.”

Rupp-George was also able to keep some perspective, admitting that seeing history made with a no-hitter in the World Series — even at her team’s expense — was pretty neat.

“It was great to witness,” she admitted. “We were still seeing history in the making.”

And, she added, the game at least didn’t end the Phillies’ season. They still have games to play and hopefully wins.

“I want Phyllis at six, obviously,” Rupp-George said with a laugh.

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