Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants


Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants

July 26, 2011


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Mychael Urban

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.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home


SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  


Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.


The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.


Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 


The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.