J.D. Drew learned a little something tonight during his first appearance at Veterans Stadium: In the city where booing is an art form, decoys don't work.
Drew, the player who refused to sign with the Phillies after they made him the No. 2 pick in the 1997 amateur draft, received loud boos during batting practice before the St. Louis Cardinals played Philadelphia.
But that was the only chance to boo him. Drew's Philadelphia debut was nixed by a hand bruise that kept him out of the starting lineup.
Still, even though bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy wore Drew's jersey during batting practice, fans booed the right Drew. "I don't go back to the past," Drew said. "I never had a problem with the people of Philadelphia. Hopefully, that clears it up."
Not quite. The Vet, perhaps the only stadium where Mark McGwire isn't the main attraction in batting practice, resonated with boos when the real Drew came up to bat.
Wearing a bandage on his bruised right hand, Drew laughed throughout his session. He homered once, a line drive to right that was thrown back onto the field.
After hitting, Drew ran to the outfield and got his only cheers when he booted three straight grounders. When batting practice was over -- and fans finished gaping at McGwire's nearly half-dozen shots to the upper deck -- Drew walked to the dugout with Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa.
"He had a point to make," La Russa said. "I don't think it was anything about Philadelphia."
Before the game, Drew had a news conference in which he lamented the delay in his Vet debut. "It'll be good to get it out of the way," said Drew, listed as day-to-day. "I don't really know what to expect. It's just a matter of going out there and living it, I guess."
Murphy's disguise was reminiscent of the time Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt played a half-inning with a wig after criticizing the organization.
There was a beefed-up security and police presence at the stadium, and those on the field included Cardinals security director Joe Walsh.
The stands were filled with signs, such as: "J-Greed Drew," "J.D. Who?" "Greed Will Be Your Demise," and "Greed is a Cardinal Sin." Oddly, one sign read, "Free Pete Rose." There were many profane banners, too.
Moments before the game, the Phillie Phanatic placed several money bags, painted with dollar signs, in front of the Cardinals' dugout. He then hid behind his all-terrain vehicle with a mock dynamite blaster.
Cardinals coach Rene Lachemann ran out of the dugout and confiscated the bags; it did not appear to be part of the act.
The festivities were reminiscent of the night Albert Belle played his first game against the Indians in Cleveland after signing with the Chicago White Sox. Though Drew didn't play, at least he smiled.