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Monday, October 27, 2008

Nuttin' but Brotherly Love

The Philadelphia Phillies are currently one win away from a World Series championship, the first major-sport championship that the city of Philadelphia has seen in 25 years. I choose to make no speculations as to whether or not they will get that final win (Lord knows I've been disappointed before) but merely to set up the premise for this post: A Philadelphia team is deep in the postseason and there are widespread reports (not even new stuff mind you, just historical perspective) that the fans of Philadelphia are a bunch of assholes. Often led by stories of Santa Claus, snowballs, and D-cell batteries, the general gist is that the Philadelphia phanbase is a vile bunch of barely evolved neanderthals who will turn on the ugly against your team or even their own.

My question is this: To what aim? Is this hard-hitting journalism? Would you like a story that would astonish and inform more people? Try starting with: "Philadelphia is a city located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania..." It's pretty much that basic. Philly fans boo. Santa got it. Destiny's Child got it. Sarah Palin got it.

It seems there are only a handful of possible reasons that these stories could still be being written.
-To inform the greater populace: *buzz* see above and try again.
-To let fans traveling to Philly to see their team play know about the class of people they're up against: Perhaps, but I expect that you're enough of a fan to travel to see your team, you're familiar enough with the sporting landscape to already be well aware.
-To shame and ridicule the heathens that consider themselves Philly fans: If this is the purpose, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Some--I'd wager many--rather like it. We wear each article about unruly behavior like a badge of honor. And to be honest, why shouldn't we? OK, sure, if you bring into play those rules of common decency that apply in the real world it looks bad, but this is sports. Is it a bad thing to be known as a tough place to play? Is it a crime to expect excellence of your team? Is it taboo to be known for passionate, fanatical support of your team and the city and region they represent? If you answer no to any or all of these questions, then perhaps Philly ain't that bad after all.
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