Monday, April 6, 2009

A Gentle Question for Phillies Fans


Are you out of your MIND?!

I know the Phillies did not have the best game yesterday. But...

Just 17 minutes into the season opener the fans in Philadelphia started booing their team. Keep in mind the Phillies are the world champions! It was less than 20 minutes into the game!

Just wondering.

9 comments:

Bill Legge said...

Todd,

Two innings, three mistakes, three homeruns, 4 – 0 deficit. Should we have cheered that kind of performance? Personally, I don’t boo. My mouth is generally too busy hurling invective (sinning) for it to boo. Myers was having a shaky performance. In the past, that has meant pitching his way into a hole that makes it very difficult for our bats to hit out of. Generally we don’t hit out of it. He did this last year on opening day, and the year before, and the year before that. We lost all three. We actually did rally back last year until (please don’t sin, please don’t sin…okay, calmly…..) Tom (not sinning) Gordon came in and blew it in the eighth, but that is a different rant altogether.

We, here in Philly, tend to use “the boo” more liberally than other towns. It is not meant to be a personal attack, though there are some knuckleheads that use it as such, rather a monosyllabic utterance connoting, “Hey, we’ve noticed that you’re not doing very well, and we want you to do better………….please” See, it’s really meant as a quick, pointed encouragement.

Okay, that’s fairly weak, but it’s all I got. I know that we just won the Series last year, but, and if you listen to the Phils themselves, 2008 is over. It is recent history, but history none the less. What can I say? We’re a passionate yet flawed bunch.

Just be thankful you haven’t had any off sermons.

Todd Pruitt said...

Bill,

Thanks for weighing in.

I have to admit I love your explanation of the boo - "Hey, we've noticed that you're not doing very well, and we want you to do better...please" That is awesome!

case.jess said...

Bill,

"Two innings, three mistakes, three homeruns, 4 – 0 deficit. Should we have cheered that kind of performance?"

You would if you were in Kansas City Royal country!

:)

Bill Legge said...

case.jess,

Point taken. I got a chance to see the Royals last year, up at Yankee Stadium, and Bannister didn't even make it out of the second. I wasn’t sure he’d make it through the first.

For most of my life the Phillies have been awful, so I can empathize, and I somewhat agree with your veiled suggestion that we should realize how lucky we are. I really don't have the space on here to properly dissect and explain the psyche of a Philly fan, or the history of the franchises that have gotten us to this point, (and by "on here" I mean the internet) but I can offer you an analogy that may explain us, and why we seem ungrateful.

Charlie Brown. We view ourselves as a bit like the Charlie Brown character, and our sports teams are Lucy. We view the relationship as an intimate friendship. We’re forever trusting and engaged, and they’re forever untrustworthy and conniving. If Lucy let’s you actually kick the ball once out of every hundred tries, does that really do enough to erase the history?

So we boo at the first sign of movement on Lucy’s part. That is probably a contributing factor in Scott Rolen mistaking St. Louis for heaven.

hockeyclimber said...

Welcome to Philly fan country ;p

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

I’m not from the area either, Todd, and I had the same question as you when I moved here 8 years ago. I very quickly realized that Philadelphia fans are, as you so gently put it, OUT OF THEIR MINDS. Not all of them, but most. Monday, as you mention, they booed their World Champion Phillies in the first game of the season. Yesterday they booed Phillies pitcher Adam Eaton during the World Series!! ring ceremony. To give you an idea of some of the more morbid things that can happen at a Philadelphia sporting event, there was a jail cell and court at the old Veteran’s Stadium. Below is a list of some of the tamer things Philadelphia fans have done throughout the years in the name of being “passionate and loyal”:

Boo Santa Claus, The Hamburglar and Ronald McDonald
Boo Mike Schmidt in his prime
Boo little kids who didn't find eggs during an Easter Egg hunt
Boo the Phillies' catcher's son
Boo Deion Sanders after Michael Irvin's possible season ending spinal injury
Write death threats and letters that consist of "You stink" over and over again to Philadelphia baseball pitcher Turk Wendell
Shower D-cell batteries at opponent players
Fire a flare gun at opposing fans
Philadelphia District Attorney, Ed Rendell, was throwing snowballs with others from the 700 level (the highest level) and hit Dallas Cowboys head Jimmy Johnson on December 10, 1989. Two years later Ed Rendell was elected mayor of Philadelphia.

Quotes about Philly fans:

"Phillies fans would boo a wake"
-Joe Dugan

"If you're not wearing the right jersey, you're guaranteed to get beat up"
-Michael Zellman

"Some of these people would boo the crack in the Liberty Bell"
-Pete Rose

"Remember, you're coming here for these coaches. Don't come here for these fans. Because I hate these fans. I've been here all my life and I hate them all."
-John Chaney, Temple basketball coach speaking to a prospective player John Runyan for the Eagles

You know what they do when the game's rained out? They go to the airport and boo landings"
-Bob Uecker

"Ron Jaworski told me one time that he had completed like 14 passes in a row, and on the 15th one he had an incompletion and they booed him."
-Randall Cunningham, ex-Eagles quarterback

Todd Pruitt said...

Dan,

The Pete Rose quote is CLASSIC!

Bill Legge said...

This drives me crazy.

“I very quickly realized that Philadelphia fans are, as you so gently put it, OUT OF THEIR MINDS. Not all of them, but most.”

Dan, have you met most Philly fans in your eight years here?

I was born and raised here, lived thirty-seven of my forty years here, been a Flyers and Phillies season ticket holder, been to hundreds of (probably more) Philadelphia sporting events, have interacted on a personal level with thousands of us, and I am not willing to state that I know most of us. I know a lot of us, but I’m not certain I know most. I have grown up observing, through good and bad, most of us though.

Of the many Philly fans I know, a very small percentage of us are as bad as you are asserting. I am ridiculously tired of certain media, and out of towners, broadly indicting “most” of us based on the actions of a few. Should we really look to reduce every group of society to the lowest common denominator? One doesn’t have to look very hard to find examples that can paint many, if not all, fan bases as cretinous mobs.

Are all Chicago fans criminals because two of them assaulted a Royal’s coach?

Are all New York fans criminals because one of them threw a knife at Angel, Wally Joiner?

Are all Cleveland fans the worst because some threw beer bottles onto the field during a game? Judging by the number of bottles, it was a lot more than some.

Are all Los Angeles fans gang members because the police arrested several gang members for threatening Philly fans during the NLCS?

I could, without any trouble at all, fill page after page with incidents of appalling fan behavior, without even getting into international soccer. Some of those would undoubtedly occur here in Philly. Of course, those seem to be the only ones that get replayed over and over. We booed Santa Claus, so we’re the most boorish fan base on the planet? Let me set the record straight on this one. Not only did we boo Santa, we threw snowballs at him too. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to suggest that this would have happened elsewhere had the ownership not bothered to remove the foot of snow from the seats that they were asking their paying customers to sit in, to watch a 2-11 team lose yet another game. This incident, more than any other, has been exaggerated and misconstrued in seemingly every writer’s lead in when writing about Philly. I don’t feel the need to defend this one, because Frank Oliva, the Santa in question, has already defended us for it. We booed and threw snowballs, so what? I’ve been in countless snowball fights, and never once have I felt the need to vilify those who have had sufficient aim to pelt me, let alone the one’s who didn’t.

Dan, since you have decided to cherry pick, verbatim from everything2.com, a few incidents of bad fan behavior in order to support your assertion, please allow me, as a Philly fan, to correct a few of their “facts”:

“boo little kids who didn’t find eggs during an Easter egg hunt”. False, that is based on a quote from Bob Uecker, who said, “Philly fans would boo little kids at an Easter egg hunt”.

“Write death threats and letters that consist of "You stink" over and over again to Philadelphia baseball pitcher Turk Wendell”. Sort of true, Turk Wendell did stink. That he got a few letters saying so should surprise no one, but I am unaware of any death threats, nor could I find explicit references to this. A few, literally just a few, fans wrote death threats to Mitch Williams after game six of the 1993 World Series. Mitch is currently one of the city’s favorite baseball analysts for his work on Phillies post game live, which I think is probably more representative of most of us, than the indefensible few who wrote the letters.

“Shower D-cell batteries at opponent players”. Shower, false; throw two, true. Eight fans were arrested when two D-cell batteries were thrown at J.D. Drew on August 10, 1999. Two hardly constitutes a shower, and eight doesn’t come anywhere near “most”. Indefensible behavior yes, but hardly representative of most.

“Fire a flare gun at opposing fans”. Again, this is an exaggeration. One fan fired a flare gun into an empty section of the stands at Veterans Stadium, in 1997. The court was opened at the Vet as a direct result of this one moron’s behavior.

“boo Mike Schmidt in his prime”. Yep, that’s true. At the time, we booed him when he didn’t get the job done. I have also been one of, on at least ten different occasions, the 40,000 to 60,000 of us who give him the longest, and loudest, standing ovation when he returns to the city.

As for your claim that we booed Phillies pitcher, Adam Eaton, that is also incorrect. We booed Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Adam Eaton, who was released by the Phillies during spring training, because he was so horrendous the last two years that management decided it was better to eat the $9 million still owed him than put him back on the mound. We happen to agree.

Look, I could cite example, after example, of Philly fans behaving in a way that has made us proud to be Philadelphians, but this is long enough. I will cite the one example where I was as proud of being from Philly as I’ve ever been.

Mario Lemieux is one of our all-time least favorite opponents here in Philly. During his years with the Penguins, he was the focal point of many of our boos, and catcalls. In January of 1993, Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. On March 2, 1993 he had his final radiation treatment before boarding a plane to rejoin his team, for a game against the Flyers. When Mario hit the ice he received, as you might imagine, a standing ovation that lasted almost two minutes. What you probably can’t imagine is that that standing ovation was here, at the Spectrum, from 20,000, screaming, Philadelphia Flyers fans. These are the very same Flyer fans that one writer said, “are scary enough to work security at a Megadeath concert.”

We may react out of frustration at times, and there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but more often than not, and especially when it matters most, we get it right.

One last thought about the boos heard on Opening Night. I really believe that this had more to do with the fact that it was Brett Myers who was giving up runs, than it was the Phillies playing uninspired baseball. There is a faction of the fan base that has never forgiven Brett for his arrest in Boston a few years ago, when he allegedly punched his wife in the face, on a Boston street. I have heard more than a few fans state that they will always boo him because of that incident.

Oh yeah, one last thing. We booed the hamburglar? Are you kidding me? He’s a villainous, little, convict, (and judging by his outfit, a recently escaped, villainous, little, convict) who goes around stealing other people’s hamburgers. What could possibly be more boo-worthy?