SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

On Philadelphia Fans

Yes, the police tasered a rambunctious 17 year-old.

Yes, some goofball twenty something intentionally puked on the daughters of a Northeastern Pennsylvania police captain.

Yes, they sell a lot of beer at Citizens Bank Park, and, like most parks, sell it through the seventh inning.

Yes, they've sold out 55 straight games.

Yes, the place is electric.

As an alternative, you can be a Pirates fan. They've had 17 straight losing season, play to an empty house, and don't generate much excitement because the team has very little chance of finishing over .500, let alone making the playoffs. They probably don't have the same incidents as they do in Philadelphia because they have many fewer fans and, as a result, many fewer chances of having incidents. That doesn't excuse what happened in Philadelphia, but let's be careful of painting anyone -- and I mean anyone -- with a broad brush. That means Met fans, Democrats or Republicans, Goldman Sachs employees or people who borrowed much more money than they could have repaid, members of any ethnic group, race or religion -- anyone. It's dangerous, and it's not right.

I've gone to Phillies games for a long time, and I've felt safe at all of them. Sure, there are knuckleheads there, but there are knuckleheads everywhere. Most fans want to have a good time with their friends, watch good baseball (okay, so they haven't always watched good baseball), and have a nice night out.

And most do.

Could the Phillies do a better job of policing the place?

Probably.

Should they turn off the taps after the fifth inning or instill a two-beer limit per fan?

They should explore it.

But should anyone take two data points and draw conclusions about the almost 4 million fans who cheer this team loudly and loyally?

Not a chance.

Philadelphia fans are passionate, knowledgeable, loyal (there's no more evidence of that than the rain we had to endure in the 2008 World Series) and as human as any other group of fans. Fans in other cities are entitled to their own opinons of Philadelphia fans -- but not their own facts. Those two fans misbehaved, for sure, but that doesn't make the rest of the fan base felons or incorrigibles.

Not a chance.

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