Lunchtime Phillies rally draws hundreds of fans

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Onetime Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski fires up a rally at 15th and Market streets Thursday afternoon to prepare fans for the beginning of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

Despite light rain, hundreds of fans gathered at 15th and Market Streets at noon to cheer the Phillies on to victory in their playoff series against the San Francisco Giants.

The Phantic worked the crowd, posing for pictures and greeting fans, as the club began dishing out a supply of 2,000 rally towels and 4,000 posters.

Ex-Phillies slugger Greg Lusinski, former pitcher Dickie Noles and broadcaster Tom McCarthy were on hand to sign autographs - causing a line to snake down the block.

Playing rally-master and leading the crowd in cheers - such as "Let's go, Phillies! Let's go!" - was Scott Palmer, the team's director of public affairs.

The Phanatic popped up waving a gigantic pair of scissors - to cut the long hair of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, Palmer explained.

Lincecum is scheduled to face Phils ace Roy Halladay in Game One of the series Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

McCarthy and Luzinski also worked the megaphone.

Kathleen Fusco, 49, of Center City, arrived with her daughter, Ashley, a college student, to snag a ball signed by Luzinksi and to wish the team well.

"My dad taught me baseball. I hope we win the series," said Kathleen, a Phillies fan since elementary school.

Both women were attired in Phillies t-shirts and red beads.

"I came for Cole Hamels," said Ashley.

Current players weren't part of the today's festivities, though. They were scheduled to work out at the ballpark.

Lisa and Paul Stainker drove over from South Jersey, on a day off from work. Paul, who has a 'P' tattooed on his arm, was sporting a Phillies hat, shirt and earring.

He hasn't missed a broadcast in four years, and their son went to Phillies camp this summer.

Carolyn Wile, 64, who lives and goes to church near the ballpark, stood in line for autographs holding her poster and towel.

"I knew Tug McGraw well," she said of the popular reliever who finished off the victorious 1980 World Series. "He was like my big brother."

She confessed, however, to mixed feelings - because of a former Phillies outfielder now with the Giants.

"I'm also a Pat Burrell fan, so I'm rooting for both teams," she said.

Maybe the Phanatic wants to cut his hair, too.

 


Contact Inquirer staff writer Liz Gormisky at 215-854-2917 or egormisky@phillynews.com.