ATLANTIC CITY - The ocean waves crashed 100 yards away from where a flock of Philadelphia Phillies fans sat Thursday afternoon.

As the day wore on, the sun appeared, making it an ideal beach day.

Despite the relaxing setting, Phillies fans did not lose their passion.

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Carlos Figueroa of New York City walked onto the beach wearing a Mets jersey. The Phillies fans good-naturedly booed him.

Baseball fans gathered on the Arkansas Avenue beach to watch the Phillies play the New York Mets at New York's Citi Field. The game was shown on a 17-by-27-foot screen. Comcast SportsNet, the Phillies and the Atlantic City Alliance sponsored the free event dubbed "The Phillies at the Beach."

The alliance is a casino-funded marketing organization.

"I'm a Met fan, and I'm always in Atlantic City, " Figueroa, 36, said. "I figured why not come. The Phillies are playing the Mets. We figured some Mets fans would show up. This is better than being at (Citi Field)."

The showing drew Atlantic County residents and tourists. The crowd settled into their beach chairs, brought along coolers filled with food and drinks and cheered like they were the ballpark. Comcast SportsNet anchor Amy Fadool hosted the event.

Brad Schafer of Egg Harbor Township said he saw plenty of Phillies red in the city and on the Atlantic City Boardwalk as he drove in from his home with 11-year-old son Brad to attend the event.

"I'd watch the Phillies almost anywhere," Schafer, 45, said. "I'm a local and the combination of the beach and the Phillies - how much better can it get?"

Fans lined up for giveaways. They received T-shirts and wiffle ball and bats with the Phillies logo.

Brothers David, 15, and Jon Wilson, 14 of Northfield took advantage of the wiffle ball and bats to hone their baseball skills before the Phillies game started.

"This is awesome," David said. "We're glad to support the Phillies."

The Phillie Phanatic made an appearance. Children mobbed the mascot. The Phanatic grabbed an oversize remote control and pretended to turn the giant screen. Comcast SportsNet showed the scene at the beach during their telecast of the game.

Phillies analyst Chris Wheeler said one of the keys to the game was for the people at the beach to listen to the lifeguards.

Thursday's showing led into Labor Day Weekend. Many came to the beach as a final summer fling.

Kathy Herley came down from Philadelphia with her three sons - Dan, 14, Jonathan, 12, and Brendan, 10 - to visit Ventnor relatives and take in the game.

"It's beautiful," she said. "We're hanging out on the beach before school goes back."

As for Figueroa, he was probably one of the few people to leave the beach happy.

The Mets beat the Phillies 11-3.

Contact Michael McGarry:



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