Monday, June 26, 2006
By John McMullen
Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - I’m tired of the way fans in this city are viewed around the rest of this country.
Most places don‘t think evolution ever made its way to the City of Brotherly Love.
And the shots keep on coming. Just check out the latest issue of The Sporting News where former Phil Todd Jones just couldn’t help himself from singling out the Philly Faithful.
Here’s Jones’ column:
“If you think about it, baseball players get yelled at for a living. After all, we're in foreign territory half the time. Now, most people just go to the game to enjoy the game. They grab a hot dog, get a program and prop up their feet. But, let's face it, some fans come to heckle.
For them, it's a form of cheap entertainment. If they keep it tasteful, hecklers can be quite entertaining. The rudest fans in the country reside, of course, in Philadelphia. Not all Philly fans are rude, but there you get some real dum-dums.
Their sole purpose is to make your life unbearable, and the funny thing is they wear it like a badge of honor: "Hey, this is a tough town. We boo Santa Claus." Well, congratulations.
New York and Boston can be tough, but the fans there are knowledgeable. To hear them say it, they're on a first-name basis with my mother -- and every other player's mother.
You can see the troublemakers from a mile away. Usually, it's a few buddies going out for the night. One will get his beer muscles on, and then it starts.
You see them plotting. Finally, one of them leans over and lets you have it: "Hey, Jones! You stink!"
That's it? That's all you've got? All that beer at 8 bucks a cup and your buddies egging you on, and that's all you can come up with?
Come on. At least be creative. Do your homework. If I gave up a homer the night before, mention that. If I have an unusual middle name (like, say, Barton), heck, throw that out. At least show us you're prepared and have done some homework.
The most polite fans usually are in the Midwest. If a fan in St. Louis is being a jerk, we don't have to say a word. The fans there kill their own nuts.
In L.A., the fans don't usually rag on you unless you play for the Giants. They don't even talk to you unless you're one of the big guys.
In Canada, fans look at you kind of funny. They cheer loudest for the catcher because he's the closest thing to a goalie baseball has. I'm kidding, of course.
What the fans want most is interaction. If you wave or smile, they usually will be great to you the rest of the time. They want a ball. They want you to make their day at the game an experience. For the most part, the fans I've dealt with have been wonderful. I've met neat people all over the country. If players treat fans with respect, we'll get it in return most of the time. Unless we're in Philly.”
I can already feel the righteous indignation building but before you start making excuses, understand Todd Jones is right.... At least, partially right.
Like most stereotypes, there is some truth to the ugly Philadelphia fan.
Of course, the vast majority of fans in this town just want to go to a game and enjoy themselves but the vocal, uneducated minority makes them look wretched to the rest of my country.
Every city has these stupefying fans. The beer-swilling, face-painting MENSA members who think nothing of dropping 75 or so F-bombs while in the presence of a five-year old little girl. The ones that live and die with a team that know virtually nothing about.
We all know them and can recognize them in an instant. The problem here is the minority has taken over.
This is directed at that minority.
In my years covering sports, I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country and see how fans act in virtually every city. While I hate to say it, Philadelphia is the worst.
Now most of you will say, who cares what some clod in the media thinks? Who cares what opposition fans think? Who cares what Jones thinks?
And that’s your right but realize we are not alone.
I have an optimistic colleague that always thinks the Phillies are just a move or two away from becoming the 1927 Yankees. Unfortunately he keeps forgetting one thing -- a lot of players just don’t want to come here.
The ugly Philadelphia fan has turned off a whole generation of athletes who rather go in exile to Kansas City that go through the hell that they think awaits them in Philadelphia.
So when you think about the drought and you want to place blame. Along with the names of Ed Snider, Billy King, Bob Clarke, Dave Montgomery, Pat Gillick, Joe Banner and Andy Reid -- you can add one more to the list.
Just look in the mirror to find it.
-You can reach John McMullen at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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Copyright 2006 The phanatic