Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants

Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants
July 27, 2011, 2:34 am
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July 26, 2011

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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

PHILADELPHIA -- It's a big series, no question. But to whom is it bigger?Virtually every bit of evidence points to this three-game rematch of last year's National League Championship Series being a bigger deal to the Phillies and their fans.RECAP: Phillies pound Zito, Giants drop opener 7-2
Especially their fans. Good lord, are these Philly phans phired up.How do you know this is a big damn deal here? The local media is all over it, and that in itself makes it big. Sports-talk radio, even with the return of the NFL, was smothered in Phils-Giants chatter late Monday and all of Tuesday. Same deal on the tube. And based on how many satellite trucks were parked outside Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, you'd think it really was the NLCS.

The fans are all over it, too, adding to the electric atmosphere not just at the park, but in the entire City of Brotherly Love and the surrounding areas. On Monday night at about midnight, in a local watering hole, the Braves were on the big screens -- but the Giants were on the patrons' minds."Revenge is gonna be sweet, bro," said a 33-year-old Philly native who goes by the name Deli Dave, wears a green Phillies lid that looks older than him and drops "bro" at the end of virtually every sentence. "The Giants got lucky last year, bro. Everybody knows it, bro. You know it, right, bro? Tell me you know it, bro."Having been told that his partner in conversation, his newfound bro, did not believe in luck when it comes to a seven-game postseason series, Deli Dave turned tail and left wide open for interpretation his final, disgusted statement on the issue: "Bro!"Yet Deli Dave, cartoonish as he might seem, isn't far off a fair representation of Phillies fans when it comes to this series. They're kind of nuts about the whole thing, as if last year's NLCS loss still hurts, as though Ryan Howard's strikeout happened days ago rather than months. That's why, when Raul Ibanez's three-run homer during the Phillies' four-run first inning against Whipping Boy Zito landed in the bleachers, the roar of the crowd sounded more like a mass catharsis than standard baseball joy.Oh, and the Giants fans brave enough to wear their team colors for the series opener? Heckled harder than they were last fall."Brutal," said Jordan Hallery, a Philly resident who grew up just outside of San Francisco and still bleeds and wears orange and black. "I don't mean to be dramatic, but wow. It was a little scary how mad some of these people are at anything associated with the Giants."And that was before the game even started.Meanwhile, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, lounging just outside the visitors' dugout before batting practice, was asked if this particular series felt bigger than usual.The look he shot before responding was essentially a non-verbal, "Bro!""Just another game, just another series," said the Panda. "No big deal to me, man."It is a big deal to some of the people in uniform, mind you. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, after his club beat Zito with three homers despite having to juggle its lineup when Tim Lincecum was scratched about 90 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, called it a "great way to start a big series."Over in the losing clubhouse, ever-eager Andres Torres played the anti-Sandoval."It's big for us, too," he said. "Last year is over."Ah, but is it? Not to Philadelphia, it's not.