Are Philadelphia Sports Fans Truly Front-Runners?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Monday, May 24, 2010

You sure are... unless the other teams are doing better.



Back on August 13th, 2008, Jimmy Rollins became a pariah in Philadelphia for a few months because of something he said on FOX's Best Damned Sports Show, Period in response to a question about whether or not it's tough playing in Philadelphia.

"There are times," Rollins told the other guys on set. "I might catch some flak for saying this, but, you know, they're front-runners. When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad, they're completely against you."

That was the absolute worst thing Rollins could have ever said but, perhaps enforcing his point, all was forgotten and forgiven once the Phillies won the World Series that year. The quote hasn't really been brought up since then, but with the success the Flyers are having of late, it's time to talk about it again.

If you're from the Philadelphia area, take a look around every once in a while.

Before the Phillies' improbable playoff run in 2007, did you ever see anything more than the slightest hint of Phillies red around the city? During the 90's did you ever see a wave of Eagles green engulfing the sidewalks? Now that the Sixers are slumping, do you ever see more than a few loyal fans donning their Sixers gear?

And now that the Flyers are making a run, how much more orange and black is there all over the city? People who only a few years ago would have told you they thought the only Michael Richards was the guy who played Kramer on Seinfeld are suddenly Flyers fanatics who still think Boucher is the one shutting down the Canadiens because they haven't watched a single game.

Every team has their loyal fanbase that sticks with them through thick and thin. If their team is down by 21 points, 10 runs, or 5 goals they're still in the stands or in front of the TV watching until the very bitter end because the hope for a miracle is still there.

But now, more and more, we're seeing the "casual fans" who go out and buy a jersey-shirt or two and toss it on when they go out to the bars with their buddies. They learn a few names and regurgitate something they heard on ESPN until they're welcomed aboard as a fan.

Every city has their group of people like that, but Philadelphia truly might be on of the worst cities when it comes to that sort of thing.

After a win, the city is littered with that respective team's merchandise. But after a loss, it's like they're once again the red-headed stepchild.

The worst, however, are girls wearing Phillies shirts who probably couldn't tell you the significance behind the phrase "Struck him out!" (in my best Harry Kalas) past it's what happens when the guy holding the wooden stick gets three -- maybe four -- strikes.

I would never lump all Philly fans together and say they're all front-runners, but there is a large group of Philadelphians who truly are nothing but fair-weather fans.

It's fine to support your city's team when they're in the playoffs, just don't pretend like you've been watching since day one and go blow an entire paycheck on some new gear if you can't formulate your own opinion on the team because you're far too ignorant on the subject and are simply parroting someone else.

By the way, I think Cole Hamels needs to be traded for Cliff Lee, Kevin Kolb is the savior, Michael Leighton is the greatest Philadelphia hero since Dr. J, and Andre Iguodala needs to be traded immediately.

(If you believe all of that, I'm probably talking about you.)


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