Two million at Phillies' parade? Not likely.

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philliesparade.jpgWhat happens when baseball writers
are bored during the Thanksgiving holiday? They try to find out if two
million people actually attended the Phillies’ World Series parade in
2008.




Here’s a sampling of some of the investigative work of Peter Mucha of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

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.

The densest crowds (outside of Tokyo subway cars) have about 1 person every 2.5 square feet.

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

That means the parade-route throngs contained as many as 500,000 people – but perhaps as few as 250,000.

Combined with the stadiums’ 100,000, that’s a rough preliminary range of 350,000 to 600,000 people.

You get the point. Exaggerating the
size of large gatherings is nothing new, whether we’re talking about
political rallies or the Florida Marlins. If Philadelphia wants to
think two million people were there, good for them. It’s worth noting
that
an estimated 1.5 million people turned out for the Yankees’ parade earlier this month, a figure that seems much more realistic, if not conservative for New York.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).