Philadelphia, PA – The Greek American community added a little spark last night in South Philly to a dismal Phillies baseball season. They shared their blue and white in the stands and on the field at Greek Heritage night.
The Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Baltimore Orioles at Citizen Bank Park where two of the sections (104 and 106) had Greek-American baseball fans waving Greek flags. The Olympian dance troupe of St. Luke Greek Orthodox church was the featured attraction. They danced Greek before the game and after the 5th inning, where family members and Greek fans snapped up the historic moments with their cameras.
The American Hellenic Institute in Washington DC sponsored the event that was also sponsored by Cosmos Philly, Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley, and the Hellenic News of America. Nick Larigakis of AHI threw out the first ball and received a big hug from the Philly Phanatic that followed. Greek-American Elena Stavrakas added the national Anthem introducing the evening as a Greek Heritage night.
The highlight of the evening was arguable was a surprise marriage proposal by Chris Papadeas to Despina Sourias who sat in the Greek section (104). Camera crews had surrounded the couple at the end of the fourth inning while the Greek community looked on. As Sourias looked up at the jumbo screen she saw that she and her beau were suddenly on screen and at the center of attention. With eyes all on the couple, Papadeas dropped to one knee and popped the question. An ecstatic and surprised Sourias joyfully accepted and hugged Papadeas. The crowd of 26,000 roared as family members and the whole Greek section cheered on. With the ring on finger and a few sips of champagne later, the game went on.
Many Greek fans in attendance were also from Baltimore who made the short trip up the I-95 corridor. Sitting together they cheered both their teams as they united behind the theme.