Thursday, December 21, 2006

A city of brotherly love? Not quite

The following is in response to a blog about fans in Philadelphia.

I didn't catch ATH today, but as far as Plaschke calling Philly an "ugly city," if he's talking about your sports fans, then he's right on.

I've been to Philadelphia. It is a city rich in history and tradition. When it comes to cheering on the local pro sports teams, however, the Philly Phaithful are quick to turn on their teams.

(Let me also add, by the way, that I'm not going to try to refute what you said about LA fans, because I whole-heartedly agree. And on a side note, don't attack Dallas fans because other than the Cowboys' following, it can get pretty weak.)

If you remember back a few weeks ago, Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia (who has been doing his best Tony Romo impression - kicking ass against all odds - since getting under center) was booed by The Linc when he got injured and didn't come out. They were letting him have it. Garcia is keeping the Eagles afloat in the race for the postseason, and fans were calling for AJ Feeley. AJ FEELEY! C'mon!

This is a town that seemed to remain silent as your only great basketball superstar since Charles Barkley was traded away. Did anyone care? Apparently not. Iverson put the 76ers on his back all the way to the NBA finals just a few years ago.

This season, the 76ers are second to last in the NBA in average attendance (only to Memphis). That's roughly 72 percent capacity for their home games (which is the lowest percentage). Ouch!

It's not much different in other sports. The Philadelphia Phillies (what is a Phillie, by the way) do rank 11th in the MLB for average attendance, but their 34,200 home average is only 78 percent of capacity.

The Flyers and Eagles can at least fill their respective arenas, but the fans in those arenas are very much - as Plaschke put it - "ugly." There's quite a long list of booing that would ostensibly be "friendly fire." Eh, not quite. The list includes Santa Clause and Donovan McNabb on draft day (any regrets about not talking Ricky Williams now?).

Philly fans also have a history of cheering when opposing players get injured. They don't cheer for an injured player getting up. They cheer for him staying down. That's wrong and you know it.

So while other fans across the nation may be fairweather-ers, bandwaggon-ers or simply uninterested, I'd rather see that than the ugly displays of "fandom" that take place in your beloved city.

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