THE MOOD outside Citizens Bank Park yesterday afternoon reflected the gray skies. The energy, especially compared to the insanity of Sunday, was slow to arrive.
There was no Eagles game letting out and the Phillies were in a 3-1 series hole. Plus, it was a Monday. Anticipation was replaced by nervous agitation and the obnoxious-meter from our guests from the north also was soaring.
"Who's got my one ticket? Who's got my miracle ticket?" asked Bill Robinson, of Manhattan. "This team is not to be denied."
Robinson was like a lot of Yankees fans who made the trip to Philadelphia for a chance to see their team close out their 27th World Series Championship. Tickets would be easier to get last night, they reasoned, than if the series continued in New York tomorrow.
Greg Packer, from Huntington, N.Y., paid $200 for a $125 seat in Section 302.
"That's a bargain," he said, "because if it goes to Game 6, tickets are going to be impossible."
Well, we're going back to New York thanks to last night's hair-raising Phillies' win.
Scalpers were still asking for about twice the rate of face value for tickets a half-hour before the first pitch. Many Yankees fans took advantage of extra tickets provided by disheartened Phillies fans, but it wasn't a total open market. The Phils still had their most popular pitcher on the mound last night and still breath in their World Series lungs.
"I think what [was keeping] Phillies fans hopes alive is they love Cliff Lee so much," said Mark Savidge, of Chicago-based FindTickets.com.
"Even if they're going to lose the series, they want to come out and see Cliff Lee pitch one last game for them."
A.J. Burnett's start on 3 days' rest followed CC Sabathia's and marked the first time teammates had started consecutive World Series games since Atlanta's Tom Glavine and John Smoltz in 1992. The Braves went 2-2 in those games and lost the Series to the Twins in six games.
The Yankees are 2-2 after Sabathia and Burnett. Andy Pettitte is tentatively scheduled to start tomorrow. He will be the third Yankees pitcher to throw on 3 days.
* Celtics guard Rajon Rondo and his well-deserved $55 million contract extension tucked in his back pocket, made his first visit to Citizens Bank Park last night. Rondo played baseball as a kid and said his game most resembled Jimmy Rollins, a fellow endorser of the drink Red Bull.
"I'm a good fielder," said Rondo, whose Celtics play at the Wachovia Center tonight, "but I don't know if I could hit in this league. I'd play either shortstop or centerfield."
* Rapper Jay-Z was among those whooping it up with fans outside the box in Section 234. Z, as he's known to probably no one, joined in a "Let's Go Yank-ees chant" much to the chagrin of the Phils supporters. Sitting in front of them was Flyers' forward Scott Hartnell, rooting on the Phillies.
The Flyers classily played a number of good luck messages from their players during yesterday's 6-2 win over Tampa Bay at the Wachovia Center. Captain Mike Richards implored the Phillies to "bring home another world championship."
The band playing at 11th and Pattison prior to the game did its best to spark the crowd. The lead singer sported a Cliff Lee shirt and bounced around like a firecracker.
But it was hard not to wince when they covered Coldplay's Viva La Vida, a song about a recently-dethroned king lamenting about "when I used to rule the world." Not exactly what you'd want to hear when the defending champ was one loss away from elimination.
Starting with the Sixers' opener on Friday to last night's Game 5, an estimated 300,000 fans visited the sports complex. If the average fan consumed a six pack, which is probably way too low of an estimate, that'd be 21,600,000 ounces of beer.
After Shane Victorino concluded venting about Larry Bowa's sign-stealing accusations (Page W-20), he got up from the podium, took a deep breath and asked a stenographer seated in the first row: "Did you get all that? Sorry. I know I talk fast."
Daily News sports writers Phil Jasner and Frank Seravalli contributed to this report.