Mixed bag from fans in Philly

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October 26, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

PHILADELPHIA - Depending on whom you ask, the City of Brotherly Love has been nothing but brotherly to the upstart Tampa Bay Rays.

Or Philly and its rabid fans have been as nasty as advertised.

Philadelphia hasn't won a championship in the four major professional sports since the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982-83. The drought has made its legendary fans, well, a little edgy.

Hosting a World Series for the first time in 15 years, however, Philadelphia couldn't be more excited.

"The Philly fans have been very cool, actually, very cool," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Very complimentary to our group, but not too much. I've been astonished by the whole thing."

Maddon said he went to dinner Friday night in the city and to lunch yesterday afternoon before Game 3 and "it's been a great experience."

"I know once we get out [on the field] and the game starts it will change a bit," Maddon said. "But really respectful, nice people."

Tampa Bay's designated hitter, Cliff Floyd, hasn't had the same experience.

Floyd said when some Rays players boarded the bus at the team hotel to go to Citizens Bank Park for Friday's workout, Phillies fans let them hear it.

"Shoot, we got cursed out as much as you could get cursed out in one minute," Floyd said.

The veteran has played with six big league teams and in cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York. Philadelphia fans, Floyd says, are a different breed - especially for visitors.

"We've played in New York," Floyd said, "but I think these fans are a little more ruthless."

He said the Rays have a solution for raucous Philly fans.

"I know one way to shut them up: win."

A special feeling

Maddon acknowledges that he has a special place in his heart for Phillies Game 3 starter Jamie Moyer.

When Maddon's father was dying in 2002, Moyer, who like Maddon grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, phoned Maddon's dad to offer encouragement.

"I'll always be indebted to him for that," Maddon said. "And I've always looked at him differently because of that moment and what he does charity-wise, too."

Around the horn

If the Rays win the World Series, the Tampa, Fla., area will become the fifth market to win a Stanley Cup, a World Series and a Super Bowl. The others are Boston, New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh. ... Of the past four World Series that were tied 1-1, the road team won three.

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