Giants Win! Giants Win! Giants Win!
Phillies’ fans were in fine form at “The Bank” on Saturday night, whistling derisively every time that Tim Lincecum came to the plate (“you forgot your skateboard”), picking away at the gaggle of orange and black clad fans grouped along the third base line (“is that the color of your panties?), and hooting the Phillie Phanatic’s pantomime of a ’60s hit (“Are You Going To San Francisco?”), that featured the disrobing of a Giants-clad hookah toker. But the Phillies’ faithful could not reverse the final score (a 4-3 Gigante squeaker) made possible by Lincecum’s steady seven inning performance, Cody Ross’s two home runs, and Brian Wilson’s five-up-four-down blow-it-by-em save. It must have been a humbling experience for the Broad Street Bombasts: by the bottom of the 8th, even the most feverish Phillie follower had to admit that in the battle of Bullies vs. Hippies, the scales had tipped decisively in favor of the pantywaists. “My God. You know, we’ve just got to bench Jimmy Rollins. He can’t hit anything. Charlie’s gotta sit him down.”
After the game, San Francisco ace Lincecum made light of the whistling that greeted his every plate appearance. The hooting wolf whistles (“you sure are pretty, Timmy”) from the City of Brotherly Catcalls didn’t bother him, he said. “I was thinking, ‘I must have a nice butt, or something,’” he laughed, then added: “Those Phillies fans must like something about me. I took it as a joke.” Well, maybe: but for Lincecum to say that he “must have a nice butt” would be Fightin’ Words in South Philly — where such jokes are made very privately. If. At. All. The hand-lettered made-in-the-kitchen signs (Wanna Smoke?”) that greeted Lincecum’s appearance seemed less than welcoming (“Hippy Trash”), in keeping with Philly fandom’s habit of picking fights simply for the sake of it: “Fix Your Teeth,” one said; while another (just a few rows over), evinced the struggle its author had with creativity: “You Stink!”
In truth, while the made-for-TV pitcher’s duel ended up being something less-than, it was Roy (“Doctober”) Halladay who struggled, while Lincecum proved more than capable (113 pitches, 71 for strikes). Halladay’s thigh-high fastballs didn’t impress Marlin import Cody Ross, a former rodeo cowpoke who planted two of them unceremoniously in the left field stands. And Halladay struggled in the 6th, giving up a double to the roundly booed Pat Burrell, a former Philly whose career has been revitalized by his steady play for Bochy’s Bashers. Burrell’s double angered Halladay, who complained that his third pitch on an 0-2 count should have been a strike. But Halladay wasn’t alone in his complaints, as the strike zone shrank as the game went on, so much so that a similar get-em-across offering from Lincecum to Jayson Werth resulted in an unnecessary two run shot. But that’s all that Philadelphia would get, as Brian “Beach Boy” Wilson (97 on the gun) set down five Ashburns on four strikeouts for the save.
The Wisdom Of Section 131 — Philadelphia Edition: There were dozens (but only dozens) of San Francisco hats at Citizens Bank Park, but only one “Curly W” from Washington. The appearance of the “W” brought puzzled looks and a few jabbing comments: “You’re kidding, right?” There was a suspicious squint and then a shrug: “Don’t worry pal, you guys’ll get here. You got that Strasburg guy and I hear you have a beautiful ball park.” Two rows up, and just behind the Giants dugout, a Philly fan (his Spiderman tattoos covered biceps the size of tires) reached out after the game, then stopped: “Am I shaking the hand of a Giants’ fan?” No, no. “Well, good,” he said. “And anyway. That was a heck-of-a-game.” So give them this: Philadelphia’s faithful know baseball. Between the 1st and 9th innings no one left for chili dogs or beers, but stayed riveted in their seats, snapping their white rally towels like a bunch of kids . . .
Philadelphia fandoms’ brutish approach might be a bit overdone, but the constant catcalls brought ushers down into the stands in the 6th, eyeing the environment like weathermen gauging an approaching storm. They herded the Giants’ faithful into the section’s first two rows, away from any offending comments. When a Phanatic (clad in a #26 Chase Utley jersey) seemed on the verge of picking a fight with a Giants fan sporting a large #27 on his back (Juan Marichal’s old number) — “Hey, number 27, sit down . . . do yourself a favor and just sit down . . .” — a Philly’s fan turned ominously in his seat and slowly shook his head, warning the offender. He got the message . . . Meanwhile, up under the stands in the middle of the game, a group of plainclothesman broke up a three-way fight, clapping the offenders in handcuffs, which brought a whining protest. “C’mon officer, Doc is pitching. Can’t you arrest me after the game?”