The swine influenza grabbed mass attention both locally and abroad. West Chester is now facing an illness that cannot be stymied by a simple H1N1 vaccination. The nights are getting shorter, the wind is getting colder and West Chester University has got a fever, with the only prescription being “more cowbell.”The Philadelphia Phillies traveled to New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to face the New York Yankees in a best of seven series for the title “World Champions.” Game 1 commenced in New York on Wednesday night to the excitement of Phillies fans. Cowbells ringing, pots and pans banging and hundreds of enthusiasts painted a scene late last Wednesday night after the Phillies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to advance into their second straight World Series appearance.
Baseball fever is in the air. Red and white jerseys, caps and t-shirts canvas the student body to momentarily change university spirit colors away from purple and gold. Phillies fanatics are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes, including an outgoing and overly interesting English Professor at West Chester University whom opened her class with a declaration of faith to the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I watched my first game last week,” she said as she raised her arms in the air and swung them downward in pride.
The campus is divided, however, due to the large following the New York Yankees maintain. Even families are torn, with Phillies and Yankees fans both under one roof. The debate will rage on until the final pitch is thrown, but the general distaste for the opposing side is evident.
Last year’s World Series victory ensured a parade down Broad Street in Philadelphia. West Chester’s own Walnut Street also hosted an enormous gathering of chanting fans and interested observers. Cars were turned over and light poles were lifted from the ground in the mass celebration. The passionate Phillies fans were all ill with baseball fever. The riots of yesteryear were imitated last Wednesday by fans ill with the same disease.
Police intervention prevented a repeat of last year’s madness. Cops stationed on the corners of each street that runs through Walnut were strategically used to prevent another riot. Students were also asked to remain on the sidewalks or bear the consequences of their actions. One victim, an unthreatening Phillies enthusiast, was one of many students to be sprayed with tear gas late last Wednesday night.
“I couldn’t see the entire walk home,” she said of her adventurous night, “I am just happy we are going to the World Series.”
The police intervention is necessary and even admired by one Philadelphia native who lives on Walnut.
“I was relieved to see a cop standing on the corner after the game,” the resident said while standing with a group of people outside of his car parked on Walnut Street.
“Last week someone knocked off my car’s mirror.”
Game 1 matched two former Cleveland Indian pitchers, Cliff Lee (PHI) and C.C. Sabathia (NYY). Game 3 sent the players back to Philadelphia for Halloween night.
While the players settle it all on the field, the fans will settle it on the streets of West Chester University. The excitement of post-season baseball is a gift that Philadelphia has not recently been able to savor. Phillies fans rejoice while you can, flu season is sure to end sometime.
Eric Reinhimer is a fourth-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at ER626593@wcupa.edu.