A wicked double dose of Boston at sports complex

Red Sox fan Stephane Thouin of Montreal gets a look from Philadelphia fan Colin Hess, 12, of Sicklerville, before the Phillies hosted the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. The Boston Celtics were also in town to play the Sixers in the NBA basketball playoffs. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Red Sox fan Stephane Thouin of Montreal gets a look from Philadelphia fan Colin Hess, 12, of Sicklerville, before the Phillies hosted the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. The Boston Celtics were also in town to play the Sixers in the NBA basketball playoffs. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 19, 2012

Mike Demontigny, 28, drove 6? hours from Boston with his girlfriend to watch the Celtics, he hoped, take the Sixers to the brink of elimination.

Was he fired up by the Sixers-Celtics rivalry?

“I really don’t think it’s a rivalry,” Demontigny said as he sat parked near the Wells Fargo Center with Paige Rawlins, 26.

Maybe there was a rivalry in the 1980s, when Julius Erving punched Larry Bird, but there hasn’t been a true one since, he said.

Fans on both sides might react differently depending on the outcome of the game and the amount of alcohol imbibed.

The South Philadelphia sports complex was experiencing a wicked double dose of Boston on Friday evening, with the Red Sox visiting Citizens Bank Park.

Wesley Arning, 19, also drove from Boston to attend his first Red Sox game in Philadelphia, and he said he was secretly “scared to death.”

Outwardly, he appeared happy that he was going to watch a game at Citizens Bank Park. He wore a Boston cap and a T-shirt commemorating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

But his friends warned him to “get ready to be heckled” in the stands. And if he said anything, he was told, he’d get a beer poured on him.

He walked around the city earlier in the day, however, “and I haven’t gotten an [obscenity] yet.”

Philadelphia Police Lt. Ray Evers said that there was an increased police presence because of the two games, but that it had nothing to do with the teams playing.

The Boston presence was not overwhelming, but the fans were not shy about wearing Red Sox and Celtics gear.

Before the games, a reporter walking between the two venues saw no obvious hostility among fans.

Allen Pipkin, 52, of Roxborough, said Phillies fans save their harassment for Mets fans.

Philadelphia has a rivalry with New York City, he said. Friday was the first time he would see the Red Sox play.

As for the Sixers, Pipkin said the last time he cared about basketball was when Bird played.

Paul Poz, 30, and his younger brother, Chris, wore Sixers jerseys as they picked up their tickets for the playoff game.

Did they expect a rowdy night?

“There’s a lot of Boston fans here,” noted Chris Poz, 26.

But both brothers were relatively subdued, and neither said he believed there was a Sixers-Celtics rivalry.

“Maybe it’ll start off this year,” Paul Poz said.

Demontigny said he had been to Philadelphia seven or eight times in recent years for games and had not experienced any trouble with fans here.

He said the Sixers have been in a developmental stage, and their fans had no legitimate reason to talk smack to him.

Could that change?

“I guess we’ll see tonight,” his girlfriend said.

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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