For Philadelphians, the Phillies are a part of everyday life. But for the uninitiated, what’s it like when the Phillies come to town?
For Philadelphians, the Phillies are a part of everyday life. It’s common to spot the glow of Citizens Bank Park on game night, hear local talk radio hosts dissect a play, or have a soft spot for the Phanatic. But for the uninitiated, what’s it like when the Phillies come to town?
We put the question to George Cretekos, the mayor of Clearwater, Florida, who said he loves having the Phillies, members of their organization and throngs of fans take over the city each year during spring training.
“Our country is wrapped around Philadelphia so much,” said Cretekos. “I just feel an honor to be the mayor of Clearwater and be able to have that special relationship.”
He said Clearwater residents are accustomed to seeing fans donning Phillies gear roaming the city from February to April every year. “We consider Clearwater your second home, and we think that your residents and the people from the Delaware Valley think the same way of us,” Cretekos said.
It doesn’t hurt that the Phillies are also a huge tourist draw for the city. Cretekos estimates that the economic impact of having the Phillies and the Threshers (Clearwater’s minor league team) in town amounts to more than $100 million each year.
Click the audio player to hear Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos’ conversation with WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn.