Sam Donnellon: Bad rep music

Seattle fans cheered when the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken wrist on a pitch in July.
Seattle fans cheered when the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken wrist on a pitch in July. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Philly as reference point for nasty fans is lame; all dolts are sickening

Posted: October 12, 2012

IN ATLANTA last Friday, Braves fans littered the field after a bad call, forcing a long delay while groundskeepers cleaned the field not once, but twice.

In Kansas City last Sunday, Chiefs fans - estimates range from 700 to 70,000 - cheered when their own quarterback, Matt Cassel, left the game with a concussion.

In June, two Dodgers fans were ordered to stand trial for brutally assaulting a Giants fan.

In July, Seattle fans cheered as Alex Rodriguez lay in the batter's box writhing in pain, his wrist broken by a pitch.

Geez, and they say we're nasty . . .

There's nothing funny about beating someone because of the shirt he wore to a game. Nothing funny about cheering an injury to a player, home or away. As for the fans in Atlanta, my Lord, who knew they even had that in them? If these people hadn't stolen the Florida State Seminoles' chant years ago, they long ago might have been mistaken for, well, Kansas City fans.

At least until Sunday.

But that's an overgeneralization, and an overgeneralization - to steal the line uttered Sunday by Chiefs tackle Eric Winston - is "100 percent sickening."

OK, not really. That's exaggerated outrage to make a point. Truth is, overgeneralizations make me laugh and should make you laugh, too, especially when they are sanctimonious attempts to defend what doesn't need defending: that an overwhelmingly large percentage of sports fans from these towns are decent, caring, supportive people.

And if Winston had added that into his rant about his own fans after Sunday's game against the Ravens - as he did the following day - he might have been spared some of the municipally self-aggrandizing drivel that followed.

"You cannot after a game in a highly emotional situation take your rant that way," Rich Baldinger, a former Chiefs player who now works for KCTV, said about Winston's criticism of Kansas City fans. "He came off wrong. You embarrassed a lot of great people in the city of Kansas City who have been so supportive of this team. You go to any other city and it's worse. These fans have been through thick or thin . . . Eric Winston, I think you owe these fans an apology. Because you cannot lump together everyone with a few you-know-whats out there, a few jerks who might have had one too many in the stands. So let's not put all these Kansas City fans together . . . Sometimes it's better to stop . . . "

Better to stop what? Ranting about ranting?

Baldinger, brother of our own Brian, should have stopped his own rant about Winston's rant after the third sentence, before the "any other city" line. Really? Charleston, S.C., is worse? San Antonio? St. Louis?

I might have added Atlanta and Seattle but, well, you know . . .

Instead he and co-host Michael Coleman ganged up on the easiest target available: little old us.

"In Philadelphia, those fans, they embrace being called knuckleheads," asserted Coleman.

"Exactly," said Baldinger.

I have been called a knucklehead many times. I have called others it as well.

Never was it embraced.

And how did we get dragged into this anyway?

"And that's what they're all about," continued the Baldy of the Midwest about his brother's current hometown. "But here people in Kansas City . . . they were hurt. It wasn't that they were upset, they were hurt. Because these people here consider you family. And remember what he said. He said there were 70,000 people. Buddy, you're 1-and-4 and there's 70,000 people in the stands. That shows me some support. Think about what you say before you say it."

Exactly.

I mean, categorizing an entire city one way because of the actions of a few is about as wrong as saying everyone at Arrowhead Stadium booed Matt Cassel on Sunday. Right, KC Baldy? I mean if you were trying to be funny, good on ya. But you sure seemed agitated.

They ran a poll on the KCTV website, by the way. Of more than 12,000 respondents, 63 percent said Winston got it right. Which, misguided municipal slights aside, is just so wrong.

Given a day to tone down his rhetoric, Winston did so.

(Baldy and his sidekick, not so much.)

"I didn't mean to paint the whole crowd with the same brush," Winston said. "But I do feel like if that's the way you think, and if you think that's OK, then I think we've got problems with society."

You think about Atlanta on Friday, KC on Sunday, the reactions of too many in Seattle when A-Rod was hurt and the beating in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. You know what they would say if any of that happened here, because, well, they do say it.

But it's happening everywhere. And humorous city slights aside, it is indeed, "100 percent sickening."


Contact Sam Donnellon at donnels@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @samdonnellon. For recent columns, go to philly.com/SamDonnellon.

 

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