Philadelphia, PA – A whole lot of blue and white love was expressed last night at the Phillies Greek Heritage Night baseball game. The Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, in what turned out to be another loss for our hometown boys. However, the fans kept their spirits high, by enjoying the company of more than 700 plus Greek-Americans, who danced and cheered throughout the evening.
Hosted by the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) in Washington DC. For the third year in a row, the annual Heritage Night has become a spring tradition. A food concession stand featured Greek cuisine under the tunnel. Fans got in line for a Greek spring treat and got to see the “Olympians” dance troupe of St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Church (Broomall). They performed before the game at the gate entrance, where fans entered. And then during the 7th Inning stretch they climbed onto the dugout of the Phillies where they joined up with none other than famed mascot, the “Phillie Phanatic”, who seems to be making a lot of appearances with Greeks lately.
Nick Larigakis of AHI introduced the crowd and the Phillie Phanatic to Gabriella Pethokoukis of Chicago. Pethokoukis was a star Villanova middle blocker for the Women’s Volleyball team. In April 2014, Pethokoukis was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a fast-growing form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She and her family flew into Philly to throw out the first ball to the Phanatic. Pethokoukis inspirational comeback and story made headlines at Villanova and with the Greek-American community around the nation. “She is the comeback player of the year and a courageous athlete”, said Larigakis of AHI. Today, Pethokoukis is cancer free.
Kathryn Corbino of the “Olympians” dance troupe was given the solo honor of the evening. At the end of the 5th inning, dressed in full Greek folk dance attire, she sang a rendition of the 1908 classic, “Take me out to the ballgame.” The unofficial North American baseball anthem was met by cheers and dancing by all making Greek Heritage Night a fun memory until next year.