RIDLEY PARK — The screams of the students were likely heard as far away as Citizens Bank Park as The Philly Sports Guy visited Lakeview Elementary School to wow the young Phillies fans.
Jamie Pagliei, known to Philadelphia sports fans as The Philly Sports Guy, visited Grace Park School and Lakeview School, both in the Ridley School District, on Tuesday afternoon to get the students even more ready for World Series Game 3. The painted Phillies fan brought his longtime friend Daniel “Two Cans Dan” Flores of Harlingen, Texas, who happens to be a die-hard Astros fan.
Pagliei traded with Flores earlier in the season. The Philly Sports Guy promised Flores that if Flores Pagliei got tickets to Game 1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, he would win Astros fan tickets to World Series Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Both men came through and kept their promises.
Though Flores received plenty of thumbs-downs and boos from the Lakeview students when they found out he was an Astros superfan, the Texan good-naturedly endured the students’ Phillies fever and helped egg them on, all in the spirit of fun.
The Philly Sports Guy got the students pumped up, yelled and yelled Phillies chants, and then took selfies with students and signed autographs on everything from notebooks and sneakers to sweatshirts and t-shirts.
Lakeview student Emily Dukaj, 10, oozed excitement as she waited to have her hoodie autographed by the local legend.
“I love the Phillies and I love sports,” Emily said. “I am very happy to meet him (Pagliei) today. This day is a lot of fun.”
“I’ve seen him on TV a lot and he seemed like a really cool person,” added Rylan Hendler, 10. “I just knew he was going to really upset us.”
“I saw The Philly Sports Guy at a Flyers game once, but my parents wouldn’t make us wait to meet him,” interjected Keira Gevaert, 10, a fifth grader from Lakeview. “I always see him on social media too, I was really excited to meet him today.”
Pagliei has spent his entire life supporting sports teams in Philadelphia.
The super fan originally discovered his passion for the sport when his mother worked at Spectrum, which has since been demolished. Over the years, he transferred his love of Philly sports to the seats of Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, Wells Fargo Center, Subaru Park and other professional venues in the Philadelphia area.
He has season tickets for the Phillies, the Eagles, the Union, the Flyers, the 76ers, the Wings, Ultimate Frisbee, and others, and paints his face and dons his sports-logo apparel accordingly.
Pagliei says he rarely misses a home game from his favorite teams. The die-hard Philadelphia fan has used his high-profile status not only to garner thousands of followers on social media platforms – @thephillysportsguy – but also to raise money for the Philadelphia Eagles Autism Foundation and other charities associated with the Philly teams to collect.
Pagliei’s visit to spread the excitement about the World Series at Ridley Elementary Schools was made possible by his niece, Nicole McCaffrey, a teacher in the Ridley School District and a 2014 graduate of Ridley High School.
Pagliei, who has lived in Ridley Township all his life, is a 1990 graduate of Ridley High School. His children James and Alena attend Ridley Middle School. Pagliei said he’d also like to pump up some hardcore spirit on his beloved Phillies in middle school, but it wasn’t arranged yet. The Ultimate Fan said most of his bookings are spontaneous, and this week, he said, he’s “been everywhere.”
“Right now I’m everywhere because there’s so much power in the air this week,” Pagliei said. “I just want to spread it and share it with everyone.”
When asked what his prediction for the World Series outcome was, The Philly Sports Guy didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Phillies in five,” he shouted, thumbs up.
Lakeview School Principal Gloria Goldey was intent on increasing the excitement level of the World Series and seemed amazed by the positive energy and enthusiasm radiating through the school.
“It was really a great way to celebrate our support for the Philadelphia Sports teams,” Goldey said, smiling at the cheer that crowds spread throughout the lobby and hallways. “I was at the World Series in 1980 and our excitement for the Phillies here at Ridley now brings back the same excitement I felt that day. It’s heartwarming to see our kids so excited. Los Phillies!”
Most students could not have agreed more.
“I was so excited to meet The Philly Sports Guy,” gushed 10-year-old Keeghan Fisher as she posed for photos with Pagliei. “On a scale of 1 to 10 for excitement, I’m like 100. My dad and brother saw him at a Phillies game once and I was kind of jealous. Now I’m glad it was finally my turn to meet him today.”