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'This is Super Sunday': Eagles, Phils hours apart

"I'm nervous, nervous as heck," said Greg Lavin, standing in a parking lot outside Citizens Bank Park yesterday at 6:50 a.m. "It's a long day of tailgating. I've got to pace myself so I can get home tonight and not hurt myself."

"I'm nervous, nervous as heck," said Greg Lavin, standing in a parking lot outside Citizens Bank Park yesterday at 6:50 a.m. "It's a long day of tailgating. I've got to pace myself so I can get home tonight and not hurt myself."

Lavin, 34, of Conshohocken, an accountant, was already nursing his first beer, but the mug was still mostly full. He had 18 more hours to go, minimum.

"As a Philly sports fan," he said, setting up the beer-pong table, "this is the ideal world, the ideal day. We get the Giants in a battle for first place, and then the Yankees in the World Series."

Hopes soared with the dawn in the parking lots all around the sports complex in South Philadelphia. By sunrise, dozens of tailgates were already in progress, with smoking grills warming fans in the wet morning chill, and tents and RVs providing shelter from the drizzle.

Yesterday was epic for Philadelphia fans - Eagles vs. Giants at 1 p.m. in a battle for the NFL division lead, and Phillies vs. Yankees at 8:20 last night in Game 4 of the World Series.

"This is Super Sunday," said Dennis O'Donnell, 50, of Maple Glen, who parked his 42-foot RV outside Citizens Bank Park by 8 a.m., and didn't plan to leave until sometime well after midnight. "Eagles and Phillies at home on the same day."

"This is only the second time it's happened in my lifetime," said his friend Dave Miller, 48, of Media. "You want a beer?"

Lavin, the accountant, tailgates with 16 of his best friends, many of them former classmates from back in the day at La Salle College High School. The leader of his group is Jim Convey, 37, who not only would be going to the Eagles game in the afternoon, and tailgating through the Phillies last night, but would be back early to tailgate and attend World Series Game 5 tonight.

"For 36 of the next 48 hours, we're going to be sitting here doing this," said Convey, grilling flank steak and slicing rolls in preparation for the marathon ahead. "It's kind of ridiculous. But it's a hell of an opportunity."

As the legions in the parking lots swelled, it became clear there were two primary schools of thought regarding wardrobe for the day. Most, like Rich Ferns, 38, of Chalfont, for instance, chose to go with Green for the Eagles game, and then change into Red for the Phillies. Ferns would wear Brian Dawkins to the Eagles game, switch to Shane Victorino for the Phillies.

His good friend Brian Conway, 38, opted, like thousands of others, to mix their colors from the start. Conway wore his red Phillies World Series Champion long-sleeve thermal shirt beneath his custom-made Eagles jersey that said "Inittowinit" on the back. And he wore a red Phillies hat.

Conway wore the exact same wardrobe last year, when the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons in the afternoon, and the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series at night. He wanted the same outcome, so of course he wore the same clothes.

Convey and Lavin, however, declared a "red out" in honor of the Phillies and the World Series. Convey had sent an e-mail to his group earlier in the week, demanding that everyone wear red all day, even to the football game. "If you come with Eagles stuff," he said, "we're going to politely ask you to leave."

Lavin wore a Phillies sweatshirt and hat, and thought also about wearing a lanyard around his neck with a sign that said, "If found, please call my brother."

He has proved his devotion as a Philadelphia sports fan many times, but none more so than last year during the World Series.

He was in the village of Bahir Dar in Ethiopia, building a house with Habitat for Humanity. He was 21/2 weeks into a monthlong trip, loving the experience, but also simply unable to believe the one time he had taken such a trip his beloved Phillies reached the World Series.

After the Monday night Game 5 was postponed in the sixth inning because of rain, he made a radical decision. He texted his tailgate friends and told them to buy him a ticket on Stub Hub - for $650 - to the conclusion of Game 5. He was catching a plane home.

He arrived in Philadelphia four hours before game time - just long enough to tailgate before heading to witness the Phillies win the World Series.

He was hoping yesterday might be just as satisfying.

When the Eagles scored a touchdown less than two minutes in to the game, that was a good omen.

When they scored another touchdown just 3:45 into the game, even better.

The Eagles romped, 40-17.

As Eagle fans streamed out of the Linc, back to their tailgates, and Phillies fans were arriving, the scene around the sports complex looked like Christmas morning - lots of red and green.

Many headed right from the football stadium into line to enter the baseball park, stretching Phillies T-shirts over Eagles Jerseys.

Ferns went back to his Winnebago, started the grill, and cooked up some kielbasa and some venison wrapped in bacon.

"Giants for lunch, Yankees for dinner, baby!" he screamed. "This is just a little snack."

His friend Ed Katzianer headed into the Winnebago, pulled off his Eagles sweatshirt, put on a 2008 World Champion sweatshirt, and slipped a vintage 1933 replica jacket - blue with a red P - over top. "Now I'm ready," he said.

Buoyed by the Eagles' stunning blowout, hopes of so many fans were rising like the moon in the East.

The Phillies could win. Everyone knew - had to win.

Rick Riddle, 39, of Landing, N.J., headed into McFadden's to grab a bite before the first pitch.

How was he feeling, 12 hours after his day began, and with probably eight more hours to go?

"Thirsty," he said.

Lavin, the accountant, opted for a couple of hours' sleep between games.

Maybe the Eagles, the way they played, were now headed for the Super Bowl. And if the Phillies won, and tied the Series, and turned the momentum back in their favor, and went on to win, then maybe this day would go down as the greatest in Philadelphia sports history.


As they awaited the first pitch, the fans could dream.

In the seventh inning, with the temperature dropping and the Phils losing, 4-2, one fan heading down the elevator from the 300 level said to his friend: "Whose idea was it to come here at 10 a.m.?"

The friend replied, "Yours."

But Ferns was still in his seat in Section 319 behind home plate, still carrying the faith. "It's a little rough," he said. "But what are you going to do?"

And then, the Phils rallied. "We have life," Ferns said exultantly, life on a day that seemed it would never end.

But then it did.

The Phils lost it in the ninth.

But back at the tailgate at 12:30 a.m., Ferns' last words were: "Three in a row, baby. See you at the parade."