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Are Phillies fans — gasp! — going soft?

May 12, 2011, 2:54 AM EDT

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Philadelphia sports fans probably get more attention and take more heat for their behavior than any group of their kind in U.S. sports.

Whether it’s selling sex for World Series tickets, booing Santa Claus (and robots!) or various other acts of tomfoolery, Philly fans have built a reputation as being, well, a little bit tough.

I’m hesitant to paint such a wide group of people with such a narrow brush, and will even defend Phillies fans in some cases – that robot was pretty dumb – but the body of evidence seems to suggest that the reputation is not completely without merit.

There are some, however, who disagree. Take Frank Fitzpatrick, of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Fitzpatrick writes that while Philly fans used to be among the toughest in sports, they have lost their edge.

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.

Fitzpatrick cites affectionate signs being held in the stands (“We Love You, Charlie M!”), as a signal of the unconditional fan love that will “drag us down to the level of St. Louis or Memphis.” He asserts that Philly fans aren’t questioning their heroes anymore, just worshipping them.

The columnist then continued on writing about the Flyers and their fans, and how they are suffering a similar fate. Luckily, since the Flyers are irrelevant to this blog, I will spare you any details. Besides, that was about the time my eyes started to glaze over.

So what say you, Phillies fans? Have you gone soft? Has all the success of recent seasons gone to your heads and turned you into mindless drones who root for your team without question or criticism?

I’ll be curious to read what you have to say in the comments section below (no batteries, please!). But feel free to finish your Chase Utley love letters first, of course.

You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.

  1. shaggingflies - May 12, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    It’s not that Philadelphia has gone soft, the media has set the bar so ridiculously high for Philly behavior. Other cities deal with the same things but it gets magnified for Philly fans

  2. judywalk - May 12, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    It’s true! Following Cole Hamels’ first disastrous start, there was actually debate on sports talk radio about whether or not he deserved to have been booed! Some actually argued that Hamels shouldn’t have been booed! Imagine that!

  3. Paul - May 12, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    Stupid post just trying to generate false controversy, page views, and posts (nice work!).

    If one person does something ridiculous (that the rest of the city/region decries) we are all still animals. Yet if there are no shenanigans for a couple of weeks we are “getting soft.”

    You can tell this is written by someone that has no real exposure to Philly fans. No, there hasn’t been much booing at Phillies games lately, hard to boo when your team has more wins and a higher win percentage than anyone else. That said, listen for one second into the berating of the Flyers (mis)management of goaltenders and you will see the anger is still there, its just directed at those that need it. Right now, the Phils don’t.

    • ahealthyscratch - May 12, 2011 at 7:58 AM

      Sure, it’s a stupid original post. But this is about a different article written by Frank Fitzpatrick. Who writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer. So he does have exposure.

      If I misunderstand your point, I apologize. But Fitzpatrick is the bum. He alternates between ripping Phillies fans for being soft and then complaining they are too rowdy.

      • Paul - May 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        You are not missing it and have a perfectly valid point as well. I think Inquirer readers know that Fitzpatrick is essentially a troll, and perhaps I should give Bob a break for not knowing that.

      • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM

        But Bob should have a pretty good idea that Chandler is just a hack, too, so why link to him in the post?

      • xmatt0926x - May 12, 2011 at 3:21 PM

        Can’t say it any better than ahealthyscratch just did. It’s a damn shame that any article by Frank Fitzpatrick has given anyone yet another opportunity to talk about us “horrible” philly fans. This clown is the biggest joke going. He lives to spew his hatred of his hometown fans. He just despises people and it comes through in his writing and now all of a sudden we’ve “gone too soft”?? Next week we will all be drooling idiots again according to Fitzpatrick because as we know all the hundreds of thousands of fans in the Philly metro area threw a battery at JD Drew, we all yelled boo at Santa 50 years ago, we all booed McNabb at the draft, yadda yadda yadda. Reading Fitzpatrick and not knowing what he is all about would be similar to reading TJ Simers in LA and not realizing that he’s an absolute jackass and assuming he’s a professional journalist.

    • Bob Harkins - May 12, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      Actually this post was mainly just an excuse to post that video, which is almost as entertaining as this conversation itself.

  4. CJ - May 12, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    bingo. I’ll have to bring an extra pack of D cells next time JD Drew comes to town (/eyeroll).

    The Inquirer writer is way off base though. Flyers fans are fuming. Perhaps this is more related to the NFL lockout since fans stopped caring and aren’t screaming to fire Reid or trade Kolb or anything, mostly since we’ve stopped caring until they give us back our football.

    I’d bet that has more to do with it than anything else. We’re entitled to go softer on the Phillies becuase they’ve done something the others haven’t done in this town in my lifetime: bring home a championship. Unless you of course count the Soul, Phantoms, and Wings. But we can’t go TOO soft on them, we have a reputation to uphold. Now about those D cells…

  5. schmedley69 - May 12, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Frank Fitzpatrick is a tabloid journalist with an agenda. Just about every column the guy writes is about the Philly fans. It seems his main objective is to push buttons and incite the fans. Hard to believe that he gets paid to write the garbage that he does. Nothing that he says should be taken seriously or be picked up by a national blog like this.

  6. sauey2000 - May 12, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    screw you Bob you have no idea what your talking about. I was at Cole Hamels first game this year.Where the whole stadium booed him off the mound when he pitched the worst game of his career. We are not like dodgers fans where we beat people to death but will still get down on our guys if they don’t perform.

    • chadjones27 - May 12, 2011 at 7:04 PM

      So, Phillies fans hate when they get lumped into stereotypes because of a small group of people doing stupid things. Then you go and lump together all Dodgers fans for that brutal crime earlier this season. Pot meet kettle.

  7. kcq101 - May 12, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I agree, Paul. A shallow post, without much insight or substance. Nonetheless, here I am leaving a comment.

    With that being said….
    1. Collectively, the Philadelphia sports teams are more succesful than they have been in the past. The city even has a young and promising Sixers team, led by a coach that we can cheer for. All the teams seem to be willing to spend money for talent, even to a fault, which was not the case of yester-year.

    2. The sports fan-base still questions everything with the same critical, expectation for success. Take Cole Hamels first start, the anemic Phillies offense, Halladay walking Josh Johnson the other night, the Flyers merry-go-round of goalies, Mike Richard’s competency as a captain, and so on.

    3. However, I think most importantly, if you’re evaluating the ‘toughness’ or ‘softness’ of the current fan-base by their actions in the city’s stadiums, you have to consider the fact that the composition of fans going to the games these days aren’t quite as blue collar as they used to be. Away with the Vet and the Spectrum, and in with the Citizen’s Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and (now) Wells Fargo Center. The relatively new facilities, along with the successes of the teams changed the landscape of season ticket holders. And to compound it, the success of the teams created more demand and thus, ticket prices. I remember as a kid when you could get free Phillies nose-bleed tickets at the Vet with simply purchasing a pack of Phillies Frank hot dogs.

    All considered, we are still Philly. We were never as bad as the media likes to rant about, to begin with. But the fans going to games these days are certainly not the same as they were in the past, for better or worse.

  8. mattjg - May 12, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    I stopped reading when it became apparent you were going to leave open the possibility that there was any legitimacy to an article written by Frank Fitzpatrick.

  9. joshuavkidd - May 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    It doesn’t really make a difference how Phillies fans actually act… as far as the nation media is concerned they’ll always be about events that happens 40+ years ago.

  10. rebarratige - May 12, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    I am so done with caring about baseball fanbases and their behavior. Topics like this are a drain on our collective IQ, and the articles are rarely ever accurate reflections of reality. (How can they be? You’re trying to sum up the behavior of hundreds of thousands of people over decades of time with a few sentences.)

  11. cur68 - May 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    I frankly don’t see what the big deal is. The team is doing well, people support them. The pitching staff is as deadly as any ever put together and all of those guys have things about them that make them cool, so of course the home town fans like them. The manager is a lovable old grandfatherly guy with a down south accent; what’s not to like? If the point of this article is that Phillie Phans like a winning club, then; duh, Winning! Who doesn’t like that?

    The really weird thing is obsessing over Chase Utley. Especially his hair. That is just weird. Like mega. Now Roberto Luongo’s hair; that is the cake of hair.

    • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Hair cake? Ewwww!!!!! And ick, too.

      • bleedgreen - May 14, 2011 at 7:52 PM

        Hair pie > Hair cake.

  12. Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    Phillies fans are like delinquent family members for the most part. They love you until you suck. Then they let you know you’ve been sucking lately, in a vocal way. One guy gets a pass, and I don’t know why. Raul Ibanez. Maybe it’s because the “RAUUUUUUUUUUL” chant sounds so much like a boo everyone figures, “what’s the difference?” I don’t know, but I just wanted to post and say from the bottom of my heart, Eff you Frank F, and Eff you too Bob H. Come to a stinking game first and listen for yourself you *^%*^%’S!

    PS I also have a total man crush on Chase Utley. And also dream of having a catch with him one glorious day.

    • cur68 - May 12, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      Weirdo

    • rebarratige - May 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      It too me a couple of hours at my first Phillies game before I realized that that the fans weren’t booing whenever Chooch came to the plate.

    • Phillies Homer - May 12, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      I’m not so sure a male Phillies fan exists that doesn’t have a man crush on Utley.

      The dude just plays baseball the right way… the way most of us would think we’d play if we had the talents. Not too mention his rugged good looks!

      Though… this “man crush” might portray Phillies fans as soft! Frankie should write about that.

      • bleedgreen - May 14, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        Man crush on Utley here too. *blushes*

    • Bob Harkins - May 12, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      Takes a bow for Jonny 5.

      • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        No offense Bob, I just had to…… “REPRESENT”! Go PHILLY! I can’t allow you to think we’re getting soft can I? That’s how we keep other fan bases away from our tickets for home games. Fear tactics have worked well so far.

      • Bob Harkins - May 12, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        None taken. My noggin is tough enough to withstand a few verbal batteries lobbed my way. Unlike that wimpy robot.

    • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Dream on, metal boy.

  13. hank10 - May 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Do yourself a favor and just ignore anything written by that hack Fitzpatrick. As others have posted, he has an agenda and takes pride in bashing the fans of all Philly sports. It’s amazing how that guy has a job at a major newspaper and not writing for the Metro.

    • CJ - May 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      heck, I bet the Metro wouldn’t even take him.

  14. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Phillies fans aren’t soft, they’re flaccid.

    • CJ - May 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      if flaccid means that I don’t understand fancy words and am at present too lazy to look them up, then you got me.

    • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      Cheif Wahoo, tomahawk chop, empty seats. That is all.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM

        Santa Claus, pukers, tasers and cake-lovers aplenty.

      • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        LOL!! All Hail Pie!!!

      • cur68 - May 12, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        The Cake Supremacy Faction (CSF) has taken your names. Stay where you are; someone will be along to collect you shortly.

      • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        They won’t take me alive!!!

        http://geekadelphia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/johnny5-phillies.jpg

  15. jlinatl - May 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    It sounds more like an article trying to incite bad behavior so that he can write future articles about, uh, bad fan behavior.

    • Bob Harkins - May 12, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      Not sure my help is really needed.

  16. judywalk - May 12, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Yep. The fans are so obnoxious that Cliff Lee passed up millions to come play for us!

  17. halladaysbiceps - May 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    I love Roy Halladay so much that if he asked me to wash his feet I would do so without hesitation.

    • Bob Harkins - May 12, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      That’s the kind of worship that Derek “Toe Blister” Lowe could use.

    • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      LOL!!! I probably would too. But I’d demand an autograph! I have standards, see….

      • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 1:35 PM

        So the difference between you and halladaysbiceps is…prostitution?

      • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        Yes, I’m a whore and he’s just a plain dirty ho who gives it up for free.

      • Utley's Hair - May 12, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        Hey, Jonny, CSN has the Threshers game tonight—Chase, Chooch and the Roylet are playing.

      • Jonny 5 - May 12, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        I know, I heard. So we don’t have to live without phillies baseball tonight, which pretty much rocks. And I get to see Chase batting in 2011 for the first time. WOOT!

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