PHILADELPHIA - Randy Wolf said he has a lot of memories here (in Philadelphia) and a lot of good memories.
One of the things he'll never forget is the backing he got from the fans, especially the group known as the "Wolf Pack" who dressed up and sat in the same spot in the ballpark every time he took the mound.
"I always enjoyed pitching here," he said prior to Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Citizen's Bank Park. "The fans were always really great to me. But I think it's a lot of fun just being in a playoff game, an NLCS game against my former team. The fact that it's a rematch from last year makes it exciting."
Now, with his Dodgers team trailing the Phillies 2-1 in a best-of-seven series after Sunday night's 11-0 triumph by the NL East champs, it'll be up to Wolf to make sure his team doesn't face elimination with another loss when he faces Joe Blanton in Game 4 tonight.
"I've got to pitch my game and all that stuff that's a memory, you've got to block that out." he said.
And it will be one of his biggest challenges since he thinks about 1999 when the Phillies brought him up and the "Wolf Pack" was born.
"It was pretty incredible," he said. "I remember 1999 was my first start, against the Pirates I believe. It was my second home start, and there they were. I think there was like three or four guys. Didn't know them at the time, and I pitched a pretty good game, won the game, and from that point on, they were just there.
"The better I got, the more people were in the Wolf Pack. I always knew if I was having a bad game and I was in the fourth inning and there was only four guys there, I wasn't pitching very well. It seemed like if I was pitching well in the sixth inning, there was a whole bunch of people there.
"They are a great family. You know, they took me in and made me feel really welcome in what could be kind of a tough city. But they were great to me, and I appreciated all the support they've given me, even to this day. I still keep in contact with them, and they're a great group of guys. It's pretty awesome.
"I know they'll be here, but I don't think they'll be in costume. They're born and raised Philadelphians and they're Phillies fans first and foremost. I think for the sake of their own lives they'll keep that under wraps."
Wolf has pitched in Citizen's Bank Park three times. He didn't do that well the first time, but did better in his next two appearances.
"I think it's similar to pitching in Colorado, more so when Colorado didn't have the humidor," he said when asked about pitching here. "The best piece of advice I got was in 2000, and Terry Francona told me, the one thing you want to do in Colorado is be aggressive and limit you