Morning Bytes: Are Philly fans going soft?

Phillies fans heckle Jayson Werth as he walks to the Nationals dugout on Tuesday. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Phillies fans heckle Jayson Werth as he walks to the Nationals dugout on Tuesday. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 11, 2011

I have always believed Philly fans were among the toughest, most demanding in sports.

They rewarded and scolded the deserving with equal fervor. No player or team got a pass simply for wearing the home colors. They didn't worship. They respected.

But I'm beginning to have doubts.

There are knuckleheads afoot determined, with their childish devotion, to drag us down to the level of St. Louis or Memphis.

On Phillies telecasts, have you noticed the guy sitting behind home plate at Citizens Bank Park who occasionally holds up a sign that reads, "We Love You, Charlie M!"?

Has the Phillies' success really eroded our native skepticism to this level?

Once we took pride in our capacity to question any managerial decision, regardless of context. Now, like tittering schoolgirls, we compose the kind of brainless love notes you'd expect to find at military homecomings or Justin Bieber concerts.

What would Sign Man say?

Then there are Flyers fans and their monochromatic mindlessness.

This team has gone 36 years without a Stanley Cup - longer than the Phillies went between pennants (1915-1950) when they were the worst organization in sports history - yet Flyers ticket buyers apparently believe it's more productive to collectively wear orange T-shirts to home playoff games than to hold management's feet to the fire.

Is there a logical reason I'm missing?

Is there some fear that in normal clothing they might be mistaken for Rangers fans? Is there some equally irrational belief that by dressing alike they help influence the outcome? Do they fear their peers? Do they fear the jeers? Did they drink too much beer?

Somehow the Flyers managed to win two Stanley Cups when their fans were attired sanely.

I know, we're not the only place where entire crowds visit hell's haberdasher each postseason. But most of those other cities are places where the typical family tree includes a Guernsey or two.

I didn't see any gatherings of like-tinted lemmings in New York or Boston, two cities whose passionate fans are often compared with ours.

In fact, there was a kind of poetic justice to the Flyers' being eliminated in Boston, where Bruins fans appeared to be free-minded individuals.

There are times and places where it's acceptable to dress alike: wedding parties, Catholic schools, May Day parades in Red Square, T-ball photo days.

But next spring, when the Flyers embark on another frustrating postseason, try something different, sartorially speaking.

You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.

Three pressing questions

1. Since the Eagles offensive line has plenty of problems, why hire a coach whose name already is Mudd?

2. Is Scott Hartnell kidding with that haircut?

3. Do NFL teams really need to waste draft picks on kickers?

Three bad sports ideas

1. Sunday night baseball. Love Sunday afternoon games. By 8 on Sunday nights, I've hit my sports quota and would prefer even a Dancing With the Stars rerun to the sight of another ball.

2. Singing "God Bless America" at every baseball game. It cheapens the song on those occasions when, like after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it's appropriate. Besides, isn't the nightly national anthem enough patriotism?

3. Allowing athletes to tweet. I liked it better when we didn't know just how incredibly vacuous these people really are.

A pox on both

Like many basketball fans, I am confronted by an intractable dilemma: There's no one to root for in the Boston-Miami series.

As a Philadelphian who can still smell the acrid scent of Red Auerbach's victory cigars, I am biologically incapable of ever supporting the Celtics - a condition exacerbated by the sneering presence of Paul Pierce.

And I'd rather see a President Palin than LeBron James hoisting a championship trophy.

Venus descending

I was going to mention Venus Williams in this column, but at the last minute she withdrew with an injury.

Trump withdraws, too

Apparently Donald Trump decided not to drive the pace car at this year's Indianapolis 500 when officials demanded he produce a driver's license.

Trump continues to insist he learned to drive at barber's college.


Morning Bytes: NASCAR Note of the Week

Here's the first sentence in driver Brad Keselowski's weekly column on NASCAR.com, which was posted on May 5, four days after the Navy SEALs raid in Abbottabad.

"I'm sure by now you've all heard about the demise of Osama bin Laden."

No, but since I typically turn to NASCAR websites for my international news, would you mind filling me in?


Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.

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