Inky writer questions parade figures

BY SHAY RODDY

There was a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday questioning how many people were at that grand, overdue parade down Broad Street, headed up by the Budweiser Clydesdales and followed by the Phillies players, front office, ballgirls, batboys and broadcasters on giant floats celebrating Philadelphia’s first major sports championship in a quarter century, just over a year ago. The author, Peter Mucha, claims that, contrary to media reports, there were not two million people at the parade and perhaps the media and the city used some tricks from the guy who announces attendance at Marlins games’ book.

Mucha’s studies and research point to the fact that two million people couldn’t even fit on Broad Street, considering they were about thirty feet deep.

Police have a term for unscientific estimates – SWAG, for “stupid, wild-ass guesses,” said [crowd estimating expert Clark] McPhail. …

…To calculate a crowd, McPhail said, one needs to determine the area occupied, and factor in an estimate of how tightly people were packed.

Such an analysis quickly deflates the notion that two million people crammed the sidewalks and curbs along the official parade route – from 20th and Market Streets to Broad Street to Pattison Avenue to Citizens Bank Park.

Along that four-mile stretch – about 21,000 feet – crowds packed about 20 to 25 feet wide on each side. Suppose crowds were 30 feet deep on each side – allowing spillage over the curbs or extra room in more open spots – making 60 feet total, counting both sides.

That means the lines of onlookers filled about 1.25 million square feet – nowhere close to the room two million Phils (or Flyers or 76ers) fans would need. [Ed. Note- I can’t tell whether or not Mucha is taking a shot at our beloved Eagles with his omission or not]

One person every 5 square feet is more likely, said McPhail, after reviewing photographs of the parade.

This story, which was a mostly quiet, respectful statement of unpleasant fact was highlighted by NBC Yankees beat writer D. J. Short. Most people saw Short’s biased piece first, which caused all hell to break loose on Twitter, Facebook, the message boards, and local watering holes, especially after they read that Short thought the Phillies numbers were ridiculous, yet thought the Yankees reasonably had 1.5 million lining their route last month.

I read, listened and saw much of the outcry, but to me it just didn’t make that much sense. We were and will always be World bleepin’ Champions. They can’t take that away because some media honcho from the Big Apple says their parade had more people then ours, even though he provides absolutely no evidence.

I think we all kind of knew there weren’t really two million people there, after all, the president only had 1.8 at his inauguration. But, it was our unwritten, unspoken rule that we’d never try to disprove that favorable figure.

Unfortunately, Mucha did, and did a damn good job of proving it. But, it was still one helluva parade and one helluva season. No McPhails, Muchas, or Shorts can take that away.

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1 Comment

Filed under Editorial, Shay Roddy

One response to “Inky writer questions parade figures

  1. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/I-Attended-the-2008-Phillies-World-Series-Parade/186941578401?ref=ts

    Wahoo Join! Haha.

    I don’t think it was the less than 2 million figure that got people worked up about it, but the 600,000 figure that did. I can believe that there weren’t two million, but there had to be at least a million plus. I just watched some highlights of the parade the other day. Yeah, there had to be over a million.

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