Friday, August 5, 2011

Philly Fan And Insufferability

So in the last whirlwind week, with the Eagles and Phillies crushing the world in terms of impact moves, there's been talk in Blogfrica over how the Eagles have turned into the Yankees. This, after a few months of crying about how the Phillies' rotation made them the new Yankees. Or something. And it's led to the idea that Philly Fan is becoming insufferable. A few points along this line...

1) Becoming insufferable?

Look, we may not be any worse than most cold-weather cities where people care too much about their teams, but we've been insufferable for a very long time. From the borderline racism of the fan backlash in the Donovan McNabb Era to the brawls with Mets fan, continued employment of Howard Eskin and existence of WIP sports radio, we are an all-weather, all-year insufferable lot. The baseball fans are well on their way to becoming expectant about playoffs and championships, and the football fans are the authors of the worst sports radio boneheadedness. Basketball fans kvetch for games at the Palestra, and hockey fans are all insufferable, giving the money involved and the fact that they are paying to watch soccer on ice. We've always been insufferable; the only question is whether the nature of that insufferability is changing. (And if it is? Good. We should all experience new problems in this world.)

2) We don't have the media support to become truly insufferable.

I don't know how many Giants "wrote" books after their SB win over the Patriots, but we're betting it's not a little. The same goes for the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics, of course. When the Eagles of the '90s left the game, they didn't get cushy jobs on Fox, the way the '90s Cowboys did. And so on, and so on.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are fan bases like Boston, New York and Los Angeles where championships just mean more, because there's a local media that ties into the national one, and there's money to be made for ratcheting up the self-love. When a championship happens in Philadelphia or New Orleans or Florida or Indianapolis, it passes under the waves in hours, and becomes only a local story. (And if a Texas team wins, that's just a whole 'nother world of insufferable, since Texans like to tell you how you are worse than them even when there teams are horrible. It's something in the water, I think.)

Now, does this mean that Philly Fan isn't about to be hated and hated hard? Of course; that's the nature of winning for everyone but the people who hand out Participant trophies and feel good about it. Every NFL fan that sees Nnamdi Asommugha do his thing in green this year is going to remember how every team had a shot at him, but he took less money to be here. And the same story goes for others, as well.

There's also this: both of our teams play in taxpayer-funded pleasure domes, which is another very good reason to hate on everyone involved. They also play in something like the 5th or 6th largest media market in the country. There's no reason to cut players and money, no fire sales at the trade deadline, no sense of wondering what the future will hold, or if the franchise will even still be in town. We are a plus market; we should be hated. It's a hell of a lot better than being pitied.

And finally... the nice thing about every fan base that *isn't* Boston is that we're OK with being hated. There's no sense of needing to tell you all how it is to be us; no need to retell moments like the Matt Stairs home run or the day of waiting to finish Game Five against the Rays, no wailing and gnashing of teeth about What Might Have Been in various NFC championship games or the Spygate Super Bowl. Like every fan base except Boston, we nurture these slights in private, and know that no one wants to hear about our troubles. It's called, well, being an adult, or even at it's most sexist, being a man. Massholes, you might want to look into it sometime. Please.

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