Scott Lauber had some interesting words from Jimmy Rollins – following front-runner-gate – about free agents and Philadelphia. In this report Wednesday, Lauber wrote Rollins tries to recruit free agents for the Phillies, but some are turned off too much by the fans. According to Rollins, players don’t want to put their families in danger.
It’s pretty easy to get heated from this stuff. Not to Rollins, but to how Philadelphia fans are perceived. I’d like to just throw it down and say “enough!” but my voice isn’t large enough. Not when major media outlets are spewing old stories as if they define us today. But the stories are recycled for every national telecast, every major story, every draft pick, etc., etc.:
- Fact: We booed Santa Claus.
- Fact: We threw batteries at JD Drew.
- Fact: We cheered after Michael Irvin’s career-ending injury.
- Fact: We don’t always support our team.
Get over it: It was over 30 years ago. The guy was drunk. He was a bad Santa, and the Eagles were a bad team.
Get over it: I won’t defend drunken idiot catholic high school kids. Drew (and Scott Boras) screwed us.
Get over it: A minority of idiots cheered. Most cheered way after, when Irvin was being carted off, as if to show respect.
Get over it: Yeah, when they aren’t playing well. Most cities are like this.
And that’s what bugs me most. Most cities are hostile toward opposing players, opposing teams and yes, their own teams. Go to a Sox game sometime and listen to “Yankees suck” chants … when they’re playing the Orioles! Or read their shirts (we have the decency to asterisk our vulgarity). Go to Yankee Stadium and hear them spit fury at A-Rod, the best player of our time! Go to Chicago (not all Cubbie fans are cuddly, cute apologists) and Detroit and see the same thing. The Phillies are in a big market east of the Mississippi, with big-market fans. We fans are no worse than those in Boston, New York, Chicago or Detroit.
Let’s see. Boston has Fenway Park and a couple recent world championships. New York has Yankee Stadium, a flood of tradition and a couple recent world championships for both teams. Chicago has Wrigley Field and some ridiculous “lovable loser” quality (Why are the Phillies immune to this?). Detroit has recent world championships and loads of tradition. And God help me if someone compares us to Saint Louis again – they have world titles, tradition, and an entirely different view of good and bad.
Oh, and Philadelphia had Veterans Stadium for years, plus one championship and a whole bunch of bad teams.
For some reason Philadelphia – and mainly the Phillies – has been stomped on by the mainstream media. We ain’t New York or Boston, meccas of the northeast and the two major cities on either side of ESPN headquarters. We ain’t Chicago, a market the mainstream media needs to show everyone else they’re not simply hugging Boston and New York all the time. We’re Philadelphia, caught in the middle, pushed to the bottom of the barrel. And because of that analysts, “experts” and talking heads don’t do their research, don’t talk about us. Instead of real-time talk and intelligent information, we’re given the “these are the guys who booed Santa Claus” crap.
And because every baseball player this side of Jamie Moyer grew up with the mainstream media feeding them “information,” every player believes very honestly that Philadelphia is the rung right above Hell. What they don’t believe, and don’t know, is that we’re passionate, intelligent, real fans. We appreciate hard play. We’ll cheer you if you run out a play, if you dive for the ball, and yeah, if you get a hit once in a while. Yeah, sometimes we’re goombas, but every city has their goombas. The problem is everybody else is too ignorant to look at anything else.
I just wish we could change the perception.