After Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp parked his go-ahead fifth-inning homer past the reach of Shane Victorino into the shrubs short of Ashburn Alley, Patrick Wood didn't hide his disappointment
"That was painful," said Wood, looking glum as he stood in the back of Section 126 at Citizens Bank Park.
He's a Phillies fan. His brothers are Phillies fans. The whole West Philadelphia brood created the famous Wolf Pack, honoring pitcher Randy Wolf during Wolf's time here. They honored Wolf the Phillie, and he didn't ask any of them to change their allegiance or wear their old Wolf masks for his start last night, even though the Dodgers pitcher got them primo tickets for last night's game and Wolf even got a ride to the ballpark Monday from Wood's brother, John.
"I know, I know," Wolf said when John mentioned how he'd be cheering.
Although the Wolf Pack did a slew of pregame interviews always declaring their undying support for the Phils - even letting the guy from Fox29 slam a Wolf mask to the pavement yesterday morning - "not until the game started did we realize there would some mixed emotions," Patrick Wood said.
At least some of the eight brothers always made Wolf's games. Wolf had attended the funeral for a brother who died in 2002. The connection, started for laughs, had turned into something more.
"I was 28 - I was single," Patrick Wood said of his first game in a Wolf mask in 1999. "Now, I'm married with five kids."
He lives near Oxford, Chester County, and sells medical equipment, and got a ton of text messages when interviewed live on TBS last night. His brothers Kevin and Joe originally came up with the idea, but appointed him "the spokes-wolf" after about three games, he said.
"It's our 14th minutes and 58th second of fame," Wood added although he made it clear that the brothers were always at the ballpark even before Wolf showed up.
"We were at the 4 o'clock in the morning game in '93," he said. "We're Phillies fans forever."
The Wolf Pack spawned many outfield imitators. Among them, "Padilla's Flotilla," for another ex-Phillies pitcher now with the Dodgers, Vicente Padilla. There were "Person's People," although another off-shoot in honor of journeyman pitcher Robert Person also was present: A lone guy would sit in the outfield, proclaiming himself "Robert's Person."
"I always liked 'The Generic Fan Club,' " Patrick Wood said.
Wolf's first pitch, an 88-m.p.h. fastball to Jimmy Rollins, went to left field for the Phillies' first hit. With two outs, Ryan Howard did what he does, blasting an inside belt-high pitch deep into the right-field stands.
But the 32-year-old lefthander, who went 11-7 this season with a 3.22 ERA, pitching 214 innings, did what he does. After Howard's homer, Wolf didn't give up another hit until the sixth when Victorino hit a one-out triple. After Chase Utley singled and Howard walked, Wolf was out. He'd given up four hits and two walks.
"I knew Wolf was going to be tough to get to after the first - always was," Wood text-messaged later after Wolf came out.
"Wolfie has been very, very consistent," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre before the game, explaining that he didn't have much previous knowledge of Wolf since they were never in the same league before last season. "He takes the ball and goes out there, and makes fun of himself, which is a good sign, because then you know there's not a self-esteem problem here."
Wolf has a little better fastball than he'd anticipated, Torre said, "and he certainly knows how to pitch."
That's the way the Wolf Pack saw it.
"He lasted eight years in this town," Patrick Wood said.
After the game, Wood put it like this: "Just as we planned. Wolf leaves with a lead and Phils win in the ninth. Awesome."