A rude welcome for Phillies fans

Posted: October 16, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Michael Cooper thinks Dodgers fans aren't bright. Originally from Mount Laurel, he has lived in L.A. for 10 years, and believes his opinion is educated.

"They throw at [Shane] Victorino and then they boo Victorino - for what, not getting hit in the head?" said Cooper, who goes to law school here and has seen two games in the National League Championship Series.

Last night, his father, Dave Cooper, in town visiting, was with him in the front row of the upper reserved level, right behind home plate. Wearing Phillies gear, they were an obvious target in the front of the section.

"The price you pay for being a winner," said Dave Cooper, who lived in and around Philadelphia for 52 years before moving to Phoenix a few years back.

"Dodger fans are not real baseball fans," his son said. "It's like old Raider fans who just come as an excuse to get drunk and just get rowdy."

Really rowdy

So much for the myths about fan behavior in our two cities. Dodgers fans sitting near Rob Palmer and his two buddies during Game 4 kept telling the guys that Dodgers fans don't usually act like this. Whatever they don't act like, they were doing a lot of it.

"I was wearing a Phillies T-shirt with an emblem on the back," said Palmer, who grew up in Huntingdon Valley but has lived in L.A. for nine years. "It was like a bull's-eye."

There were peanuts, pretzels and uncreative insults. But there were no beer drenchings, although Dodgers fans "would go get beer and stand in front of us and not move - stay there like a second too long," Palmer said. "They booed a very attractive Phillie fan and her company away. . . . We said, 'We're not leaving. We're Philly. We're holding our ground.' "

Things got ugly

This stuff was going on all over Dodger Stadium during the series. Three Philly guys who flew to Sunday's Eagles game in San Francisco and then drove to L.A. for Game 4 said things were just as ugly in their section.

Joe Wachter of Northeast Philadelphia said a guy came up to his buddy John Hockel and wanted to fight, suggesting they go to the parking lot right then. "They were nose-to-nose," Wachter said. "We had to pull [Hockel] away."

Vinny Fantazzia of Port Richmond was with them. They were driving back to San Francisco right after the game to catch a 7 a.m. flight home.

"These people were idiots," Fantazzia said.

They certainly weren't happy watching Chad Billingsley take the Dodgers out.

"Joe, just sit there, you idiot," some guy yelled at Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "C'mon, Torre, you [expletive]. Go back to New York."

Short attention spans

A lot of Dodgers fans really do seem to have only a passing interest in the game or the team. After Matt Stairs put the Phillies ahead in Game 4, "they stopped harassing us and they turned on Manny [Ramirez]," said Palmer, the fan from Huntingdon Valley.

"I couldn't understand it," he said. " 'Manny, you're not worth it!' Manny had to carry their whole team. Ryan Howard isn't hitting and we're all behind him."

Even when Dodgers fans were being positive, the support was misplaced.

Two straight pitchers failed to contain the Phillies in the eighth inning of Game 3. Both received polite applause while leaving the game. Huh? All right, if you don't want to boo them, you have to applaud their efforts. This is a different place.

This game was so big . . .

. . . they brought out Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. to do the national anthem before Game 5.

The Harry Kalas of L.A.

This is an insult-free section.

Vin Scully announces the games on radio by himself, still sounding smooth. In the back room of the Vin Scully Press Box at Dodger Stadium, you can hear his radio call instead of the TV sound. Or you can see Scully, just off the air, wander over to the food area of the Scully Press Box and wonder if maybe he could get a little ice.

For the uninitiated, or those that remember only his national telecasting, he's been doing Dodgers games since 1950.

Anybody need two?

On Tuesday evening, a ticket broker came through the 35er, a bar in Pasadena, offering good seats - "12 rows [above] Vin Scully." His asking price was $75 for tickets with a $68 face value. He had plenty of inventory, he said. Dodgermania was gone.

Last word

Dave Cooper, the Philly transplant in the front row of the upper reserved level, agreed that the view from Dodger Stadium, past the palm trees out to the San Gabriel Mountains, was not bad.

"You think it's a nicer view than the Holiday Inn?" Cooper asked.


Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com.

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