Phillies Fans Are Raucous, but They Didn’t Move a Seismograph


The love affair between Philadelphia and the Phillies has been on display throughout the postseason. With every Bryce Harper home run, Nick Castellanos sliding catch and Seranthony Domínguez strikeout, the capacity crowds at Citizens Bank Park seemed to explode with enthusiasm.

But despite a viral tweet that had the internet talking Tuesday night, Phillies fans did not react so strongly to home runs during Philadelphia’s win in Game 3 of the World Series that it registered on a seismograph.

The tweet in question was sent at 10 p.m. Eastern by an anonymous account that as of noon Wednesday had only 14 followers. It claimed that home runs by Harper and Alec Bohm — Bohm’s was the 1,000th homer in World Series history — had registered at Penn State University Brandywine’s seismograph station. “The city is physically shaking,” the tweet said.

Whether people actually believed the tweet or just wanted it to be true is impossible to say, but by Wednesday the post had been retweeted more than 3,000 times and favorited by more than 16,000 people.

Alas, like so many things on the internet, it did not turn out to be true. The graph in question does not match the seismic data that Penn State recorded in the Philadelphia area Tuesday night, according to Wesley Robinson, the press secretary of the university’s department of conservation and natural resources. Robinson also said the graph did not match the records of the United States Geological Survey.

“There have been reports in the past of seismic noise generated from sporting events,” Kyle Homman, the seismic network manager at Penn State, said via email. “However, most of the reports I have seen highlight stations that are very close to the stadium.”

Homman said that he had seen shaking on the university’s seismometers during Penn State football games, but that was a result of the device being only two miles from Beaver Stadium. In the case of Citizens Bank Park, the seismometers in question are 15 to 20 miles away, which would require far more noise or movement to register.

The Twitter user was probably attempting to mislead people — the post had its replies limited, a tactic sometimes used so misinformation cannot be easily outed as false — and there has been speculation online that the chart in question came from a recent 5.1-magnitude earthquake in California. Homman pointed out that the chart shown provided very little data to identify where or when it is depicting, but he said the two events marked are only a few minutes apart from each other, which does not match up with the timeline of Harper’s and Bohm’s home runs.

But even if Philadelphia’s enthusiasm is not enough to simulate an earthquake, there is no question that fans have provided a huge home-field advantage for the Phillies. The team is 6-0 at home this postseason, compared with 5-3 on the road, and the players have repeatedly said that the fans were playing a role in that success.

“We all come in here, and we’re ready to go,” Harper said after Tuesday’s win gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead over the Houston Astros in the Series. “We’re excited to get on the field because we know they’re going to show up and there’s going to be 46,000 people here screaming and yelling and going crazy.”



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