‘Phandemic Krew’ supports Philadelphia Phillies during COVID-19

Founded by Oscar Alvarado, the Phandemic Krew was the only fan group in the MLB that showed up outside the ballpark gates for their team. The group grew as the season progressed and received national recognition.

Due to state mandates banning mass gatherings, a Phillies fan group showed their support outside the gates of Citizens Bank Park this past season. The group used air horns and cowbells during the games.
On July 24, the Phillies played their first regular season game in almost nine months due to COVID-19. Because of this, Citizens Bank Park looked very different, as there were no fans in the stands.
Contrary to any other fan base in the MLB, there were still fans that could be heard. Those fans, a group named “The Phandemic Krew” was started by Phillies fans Oscar Alvarado and Brett MacMinn.
The two started going to the ballpark during the second part of spring training, after the Major League Baseball (MLB) season was put on hold to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Alvarado, he and Brett were “two guys out there with two lawn chairs and a radio just trying to catch any glimpse of baseball we could watch,” Alverado said.
The first experience that got him and Macmin really excited was when they heard the broadcast crew mention them, according to Alvarado.
“They mentioned that, ‘hey, there’s a couple fans out there, they’ve been out there over the weekend, and they’re starting to gather a little more fans out there.’ So we heard that and got all excited,” Alvarado said.
According to Alvarado, during a series against the Marlins, a Phillies executive came down to them and said, “We love what you’re doing, and love how you’re doing it in a safe manner.”
That same executive, says Alavarado, suggested that they should make a name for the group.
“So, me and my buddy Brett said, ‘Hey, you know what, this is a good idea. We have the same core group of 5-10 people out here every night, so why not?’”
Alvarado’s fiance was the person who came up with the name “Phandemic” and he and Brett always wanted the word “Krew” in the name to pay tribute to Bryce Harper’s son Krew. So, they combined those two words to call the group the “Phandemic Krew.”
According to Alverado, so that the broadcast team and the players can hear them and they could “create a home field advantage,” they started to use cowbells and air horns.
“During a series with the New York Yankees, the manager, Aaron Boone, did not like the airhorns,”said Alvarado.
According to Alvarado, they were not blowing those horns intentionally while the Yankees batters were up to bat.
“We were just putting our thumbs on air horns all throughout the game. So, it rattled them a bit, they complained to the umpires,” Alvarado.
“The umpires pretty much told Mr. Boone, hey we can’t really do anything to these fans because they are outside the park, so let’s continue playing,” Alvarado said.
According to Alvarado, this is what got the group national and international attention.
“That’s when our story started to get nationwide, and actually international because there were some Japanese and Chinese reporters with us the next day outside Citizens Bank Park that wanted to take pictures with us and talk to us,” said Alvarado.
Inside the stadium, Phillies color commentator Ben Davis, says the group was “inspirational.”
“My first reaction was, man, these fans really do miss being at Citizens Bank Park and watching the Phillies play,” Davis said. “Even being able to get a glimpse of the field and what was going on on the actual playing surface, these guys just really needed their Phillies fix.”
Phillies fan Evan Holahan was one of the first participants of the Phandemic Krew, showing up while there were only a few other people during the second part of the Phillies spring training.
He was the one that came up with the “Sign JT’ chant the group used to show that Phillies catcher J.T Realmuto should be re-signed.
“One day I came to a home game. The name “Phandemic Krew did not even come out yet, Brett was not even there, and we were out there with no ladders, no “Sign JT” chant,” said Holahan. “We were just rooting for the Phillies. I barely saw anything. But then I went home and thought to myself, hey I’m going to make this “Sign JT” chant and sign and come back every game until they sign him and hang that sign up.”
While he was gone Holahan says the group grew.
“I might have missed a home game after that, but then I came back and there was this whole group there,” Holahan said.
According to Davis, who works with Phillies play-by-play announcer Tom Mccarthy, being inside the stadium without fans was “strange, to put it mildly.”
“It was even more strange when the team was not even there,” Davis said.
“When we were [broadcasting] away games, Tom and I each had a monitor in front of us, and we had a big monitor in the middle of us with six different streams showing six different angles at the same ballpark,”Davis said.
Davis said broacating away games was like “sitting in our living room.”
“It was almost like Tom and I were sitting in our living room just talking about baseball back and forth to each other. It was a little better when the team was at home and we could watch the game right in front of us, but it just was not like having the fans there,” Davis said.