Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Once there was this silly old ant...

For some fans at the park, never a doubt Philadelphia Inquirer

By Jeff Gammage and Kristen A. Graham
Inquirer Staff Writers

Many fans at Citizens Bank Park bounced with edgy, nervous energy last night as the Phillies fought for their baseball lives, but two friends in Section 314 stayed calm. They knew the Phillies would win - and were they ever right. Perhaps they had inside information, a word from a highly placed source? No, they insisted.

"You have to have faith," said Sister Joan DiRienzo.

"You have to believe," added Sister Shirlee Tremont.

They believed. And so did the Phillies, scoring an 8-6 victory to send the World Series back to New York for Game 6. The Roman Catholic nuns, both residents of Brooklyn and members of the Religious Teachers of St. Lucy Filippini, carried homemade signs, one of which urged, "Chase the Dream." Sister Shirlee grew up in Atlantic City, a lifelong Phillies fan. Sister Joan is a New Yorker who grew to love the team in red. They were given tickets by a friend and took the day off to see the game.

By game time last night, the sports broadcasters had used up their full complement of cliches: The Phillies had their backs against the wall, in a must-win game, because it was do-or-die, and there was no tomorrow. Nobody needed to tell that to Steven McGowan, 52, who came to the park wearing a Phillies shirt and a grim expression. "It starts one game at a time," he said, which is precisely the kind of thing fans say when their team is down 3 games to 1.

Across Citizens Bank Park, fans were tense and anxious as the game began. A World Series that opened with a Phillies win in New York had fans considering where they might stand on Broad Street for the victory parade. But by last night, the Phillies having lost three in a row, the faithful were just hoping the team could force the World Series to go back to New York for a sixth game. By the third inning, the Phillies were leading 6-1. By the seventh, 8-2.

"This is over," said Kevin Harkness, 21, of Chester. "This series is going seven. I'm sure of it." The Yankees then scored three quick runs in the top of the eighth to make it a close game.

Karen Custis had trouble concentrating all day at work yesterday, and it got worse when she arrived at the ballpark. "My nerves are going. My heart is pumping," she said. She came to the game with her son, Jason Griffith, and grandson, Gavin Griffith, a Citizens Bank Park veteran at nine months of age. The Kennett Square family was crushed Sunday night when the Phillies blew Game 4 in the ninth inning, but managed to rally their spirits last night. "We have [Cliff] Lee. Our ace," Griffith said.

Custis, a hairdresser, had sculpted her son's haircut into a Mohawk. Yesterday she dyed it red and shaved a Phillies P onto both sides of his head. At game time, the atmosphere was decidedly cool - fitting the 50-degree November weather that had fans in parkas and gloves, blankets spread across their laps. Two losses in Philadelphia had taken the pop out of the pistol. "I'm nervous," said John Graham, 16, a fan who stood in the left-field stands with his glove in hand, hoping to catch a home-run ball during batting practice.

By the middle innings, Citizens Bank Park had turned from cool to crazy, fans cheering every Phillies hit as the team kept its lead. In Section 418, Dorlynn Starn, 43, and her friend Akiko Kimura held a sign that showed New Jersey split north and south with a new version of the Mason-Dixon Line. "Lee is going to take us north to New York," said Starn, of South Philadelphia. "You have to have faith."

Kimura, of Manhattan, started life as a Yankees fan but changed her allegiance to the Phillies in recent years. Was she worried that friends in New York might not appreciate her coming south in a Phillies jersey? "They don't have to know," she said with a laugh.

Jackie Andrietta and boyfriend Tim Ruby believed the Phillies would win Game 5. "Philadelphia's a tougher team," said Andrietta, 24, of Collegeville. They waved a sign that read: "The House that Howard Built." "We did it," Ruby, 28, also of Collegeville, said of the sign, "just to annoy New York."

Ende, Gus, Herb and Lou from Little Sicily Pizza in Somerdale, NJ make the best pizzas!

Students from Immaculate Conception wore their colors...

and the students from St. Ignatius were pumped as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment