Phillies’ fans can’t rattle Lincecum

Posted: October 16, 2010

You can learn how to wolf whistle - or, if you prefer, cat call - without much trouble. There's a helpful tutorial on YouTube that takes you through the steps and promises to make you an expert in just a few short minutes.

Citizens Bank Park was evidently full of quick learners during Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Each time San Francisco's slender long-haired starting pitcher stepped to the plate, the crowd whistled in unison the way the Jets might when Ines Sainz stops by the locker room.

When Jaromir Jagr was in town, the Flyers would periodically play Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady." Tim Lincecum and his locks were treated to a slightly more clever variation of the same theme Saturday night. The assembly had some fun at Lincecum's expense, but with the exception of two mistake pitches that cleared the outfield walls, the pitcher didn't seem bothered by much.

Still, if you dig gender bending insults and insist on calling Lincecum a lady, think of him as the Giants version of Nancy Sinatra. He strapped on cleats instead of boots and helped San Francisco walk over the Phils on the way to 4-3 victory.

What a buzz kill. I thought the longhairs were known for enhancing everyone's groovy good time, not ruining it.

There was always a chance that the Giants would win Game 1, but how many people actually thought it would happen? The last time the Phils fell in the first game of a series was back in 2007 against Colorado. I think Taft was president. Since then, the Fightin's have provided the sort of opening-game certainty that makes bookies blanch.

Besides, Roy Halladay was on the mound for the first time since throwing just the second no-hitter in playoff history. The matchup was billed as one of the greatest postseason pitching clashes of all-time, but no one east of the San Andreas fault line expected Lincecum to actually get the better of it in the end - especially since he was hampered by a well-publicized boo-boo (otherwise known as a blister) on his finger.

But maybe we expected too much. Maybe we underestimated Lincecum and the Giants. Maybe it was unrealistic to think Halladay would single-handedly carry the Phils to a victory each and every outing. Maybe Charlie Manuel was the only one who realized that baseball is sometimes cruel and has a way of evening things out when you least expect.

Before the game, Manuel was asked about his starting staff. He gushed a little, but he also cautioned everyone.

"Our pitchers, let me tell you something, guys - they're human," Manuel said. "I mean, they're going to give up some runs some time."

You should have been in the news conference when he delivered that line. It was like Manuel went into a room full of people who were convinced the world is flat and told them otherwise. Some seemed shocked. A few others laughed - as though Manuel was telling a joke. He wasn't, of course. He was being serious, and he was right.

None of which means you should panic. It was one game. It wasn't the end of the world - or even the end of the series. It just means Roy Oswalt, who happens to be human like all the rest, has to pitch better in Game 2 than he did against the Reds in the NLDS.

The Giants, meanwhile, will counter with Jonathan Sanchez. If you're wondering, he has short hair. Keep thinking, Philly.

The crowd was in a mean mood at times last night. Vice President Biden and his wife heard some boos. . . . Best crowd sign: "Pat: Elvis roots for the Phillies" . . . It's been a while since Aaron Rowand mashed his nose (and eyes and mouth and cheekbones) into the center field wall. His head has healed, but his heart never did. Rowand said he was disappointed the Phils didn't sign him to a long-term contract, but at least the fans haven't forgotten about his sacrifice. "I still buy my meals, but I'd be lying if I said a lot of people didn't send over stuff when you go out to eat. It makes you feel good," Rowand said. A few appetizers in exchange for reconstructing his face. Seems like a good trade-off. . . . MLB Network has Billy Ripken doing its pregame show, while TBS employs Cal Ripken. MLB Network should look into hiring the less successful Boone and Giambi brothers as well, then set them up at a smaller desk off to the side of the main studio desk. It could be the broadcasting equivalent of the kids table at holiday gatherings. . . . The winner of Game 1 of the NLCS has reached the World Series 15 of the last 18 years. Don't sweat it. To borrow from Homer Simpson, you can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true. Put another, less-artful way: plenty of baseball left.


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com

Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly

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