Pat DiPalma is not an athlete. He does not call Joe Blanton's pitches, determine whether Jimmy Rollins tries to steal second, or give Ryan Howard the green light to swing away.

But DiPalma is pretty sure he has some say in whether the Phillies win or lose. It's his lucky dog. If Max, a 14-pound Havanese, is sitting in DiPalma's lap, all is well.

"Once he gets off my lap, it's not going great," said DiPalma, of Egg Harbor Township.

Last night, though, DiPalma risked it - donning his Phillies pajama pants and warm Phillies jacket and heading to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies take on the Dodgers in game four.

DiPalma, 54, is one of a legion of superstitious baseball fans who, for one reason or another, feel their rituals contribute to the Phillies' victory or defeat.

It's a common condition among the Phillies' faithful. And before the game even started, they were already well on their way to conjuring up their magic.

Patti Hogue has a daunting number of things to remember to create the best conditions for a Phils win.

Before attending a game, the Wyndmoor woman has to lay out her clothes the night before. She has to drive the same route, park in the same spot, enter at the same gate.

And if she's watching at home, "I can't watch any pregame stuff. When I was sitting down and getting ready before the game, with the TV on, they weren't winning," said Hogue, 57.

OK. So no TV-watching until the first inning begins. Anything else?

"I have to bring three different Phillies hats if I come to the game," Hogue said, pointing to the pink hat that was her particular good-luck charm last night. "And a Pat Burrell jersey. I keep that in my bag."

No one can wear the hats but her, Hogue said, but anyone who joins her has to wear the Burrell jersey. It gets very complicated, she admitted.

Hogue, a longtime fan, doesn't consider herself a superstitious person by nature. But in baseball, it seems different, she said.

Nigel Cryer of Manchester, England, was sure that his very presence brought the Fightin's good karma.

Cryer, who travels to Philadelphia for work - he's in pharmaceutical manufacturing - has noted that every time he's watched the Phillies play, they've won. That's exactly two times: a playoff game last year and Sunday night's game, both on TV.

"I'm good luck," said Cryer, who managed to score a ticket by getting himself to the ballpark and asking dozens of people if they had a ticket to sell. Cryer even got into the game like a proper Philadelphian, waving his rally towel wildly.

"I know all the rules," Cryer said. "I spent half a day on Google, learning them."

Tthen there's Karen Miller of Quarryville, Lancaster County.

Once the Phillies lit up the scoreboard in Sunday night's first inning, she didn't feel as though she could move much. She kept her Phillies blanket in the same spot, with the Jayson Werth blanket on one side and the Chase Utley blanket on the other.

"Don't mess up the mojo," said Miller, 44. "You can't be the one to mess up the game for the Phillies."

And last night, she stood in the right field bleachers, her glove outstretched. Every item of clothing she wore was the same as the night before.


"Oh, no, you wouldn't wash," said Miller. "You would wash away the luck."

Frank Dickerman works in security for the Phillies, but he's a fan first and foremost. His own personal superstition is to never, ever talk about the previous day's game.

So that means he was mute last night about Sunday night's 11-0 gem over the Dodgers.

"Game last night? What game?" Dickerman said. "We can't talk about it. It doesn't matter today."

Finally, we have Deo Rodil, 37, of Sicklerville, Camden County.

When he watches the Phillies at home, the volume has to be at number 32.

"As in 3-2, three squared. Nine. Nine is a lucky number," Rodil said.

Maybe there's something to that. It took a Jimmy Rollins two-run double with two outs in the ninth to put this game away, 5-4. Which equals 9 - a very lucky number indeed.