Have you heard that air horn during Phillies games? If so, you’re not alone. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone heard it too.
Boone spoke to the umpires about a group of noisy fans in the middle of the third inning of Thursday’s 5-4 Phillies win after Yanks shortstop Gleyber Torres flew out to right field.
The group, called the Phandemic Krew, has been hitting that horn. Since the Phillies' summer camp, they've been watching Phillies games from beyond the Ashburn Alley gate, where 10th Street meets Citizens Bank Park.
You can deduce where “Phandemic” comes from. “Krew” is the name of Bryce Harper’s son.
After the game, Boone said more about the horn.
“You know, in the environment we’re in, it’s almost like a golf environment," he said. That sudden sound can shatter the eerie silence of the coronavirus-era ballpark.
"I thought there was a timing element to it maybe," Boone said. "Obviously, I didn’t necessarily think they would be able to do anything about it. I didn’t necessarily know who or where it was coming from, but it is something I at least wanted to point out."
It's true. The umpires can do nothing to silence fans outside of the stadium.
Phandemic Krew organizers Brett MacMinn and Oscar Alvarado said no one told them to stop sounding the horn or to only play it at certain times, but after Boone talked to the umps they decided to be more judicious about it. They don't want to ruin their very unofficial gig.
"The Phillies have been treating us with nothing but class," Alvarado said.
Boone wasn’t the only one to notice.
“It’s nice to hear at least something out there, even if they’re quite far away," Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, who hit a three-run home run, said. "But they had the horn going pretty well tonight, and I heard a few of their chants. So, it’s fun to at least get a little bit of fans out there. It’s better than listening to silence."
They taunt. They cheer. They chant. And they play that unmistakable air horn.
“You can definitely hear them, and they’re nice and loud,” Phils Manager Joe Girardi said after Wednesday’s double header. "And obviously I think everyone misses the fans. The important thing is they stay healthy and they stay safe and they have that COVID responsibility where they distance.”
Alvarado and MacMinn say the make sure the fans who join them are staying safe. They said on Twitter that they have hand sanitizer, they wear masks, there are extra masks for those who don’t have one, and they practice social distancing with X’s marked on the ground.
Not only that — they have an inflatable Phanatic.
They listen to the 94WIP SportsRadio broadcasts and watch the games on TVs. And they have a stepladder to help them get a better peek.
Thursday night’s “crowd” appeared to be fairly decent as well.
“People miss our game,” Girardi said. “There are people that just absolutely adore our game, and they miss it, and they miss being in the stands.”
It’s been a bizarre first season in Philadelphia for Girardi without people in the seats. But from his experiences as a competitor, the skipper knows he’s in a huge sports town.
“I think our fans offer a great home field advantage,” Girardi said Thursday. “I’ve seen it first hand way too many times being on the opposite side, so we’re really appreciative of the way they support us.”
And it’s not just their voices and horns making noise. They apparently hired a drum line to play in between Wednesday’s double header versus the Yankees.
Thursday’s Yankees starting pitcher, Jordan Montgomery, said the drum line was crazy, with a slight smile.
“I heard (the Phillies fans), but it’s no different than fans in the stands," he said. "I heard (Wednesday) that their announcers were being really loud mid-pitch during J.A. (Happ’s) and other guys’ pitches and not doing the same for their team. So, it’s kinda messed up that they’re out there, but it is what it is.”
So, not only is Montgomery acknowledging the impact of the Phandemic Krew, but apparently he's unhappy with the Phillies announcers.
Phils TV play-by-play broadcaster Tom McCarthy responded on Twitter with: “That’s funny.”
Fans taking in the game beyond the Ashburn Alley gates got to see their team split four games against one of the best teams in baseball.
And they made headlines in the process.