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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Sincere Apology to Tampa Bay Fans

Dear Tampa Bay fans who went to games in Citizens Bank Park:

On behalf of the good fans of the City of Philadelphia (and not the profane, adult-adolescent group who seems to grab all the highlights and actually is small in number), I apologize to you on several accounts.

First, I apologize to you for verbal abuse and threatening behavior that you had to endure because of the particular people who were acting like morons. That behavior is unacceptable, embarrassing, and demeaning. The people who acted badly toward you should be ashamed of themselves, as we, the good fans, are ashamed of them. Believe it when I say that we don't like those bad actors any more than you do. Believe it when we say that we're disappointed in Phillies' management for not giving us the ability to text security (the way fans can do in many NFL stadiums) to alert them to physically menacing and consistently profane behavior, so they can send a team to diffuse a situation and usher the bad actors out. We all deserve better.

Second, I apologize to you for those instances where the good fans didn't take a stand and at least call out to the bad actors to stop. During the rain delay on Saturday night, I witnessed one episode where Tampa Bay fans had trouble getting past a bunch of about-to-be-drunk adult adolescents, some of whom said some very foul things (and, yes, my son and daughter were nearby and had to hear this filth). I shouted to them to stop, told them that kids were nearby. I gripped my umbrella, as did my wife, just in case. They were bullies and cowards, and, chastened, they slinked away. Needless to say, we moved away from them. The good fans who didn't take a stand should think twice about speaking up and out against the small few who can ruin a good time for the rest of us.

Third, I also apologize to you for the below-par job Phillies' management did, especially on Saturday night. They should have been better prepared. Yes, you can yell loudly, call Evan Longoria "Eva", try to boo Matt Garza off the mound, display funny signs and, yes, yell out to the general crowd. But you shouldn't be able to be consistently profane or menacing. Add in a bunch of beers consumed during a rain delay and fans frustrated because they're soggy, and management and Major League Baseball created a dangerous brew. Fortunately, no one got hurt. That said, I'm sorry that you couldn't enjoy yourselves. That's terrible.

So, please accept this heartfelt apology. I walked up to a few groups of Tampa Bay fans, apologize for the behavior that I saw displayed toward them and told them that not all of us go to ball games to drink to excess, act menacingly and shout profanely. Most of us see the same beauty in the game that you do. Most of us like to share our experiences with family members the same way you do. And, believe it or not, most of us admire the story of the Rays' season.

You deserved better at Citizens Bank Park -- from all Philadelphia fans, from Phillies' management, and from ballpark security.

Much better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to rain any more on the Philly parade, but my sense is that with the convergence of Halloween and the Election (hotly contested in PA) ... this World Series is being semiotically rained out... It is getting less national visibility than in other years. Probably would have helped if Red Sox Nation was involved. Then we could have dragged out our dog-eared copies of "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" and reveled in the updating of faded glory.

2:43 AM  
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11:02 AM  

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