It’s tough being a performer of any kind in Philadelphia. If you succeed, adoration ensues. When you fail, the fans never forget. This is especially true in Philly sports where the recipe for fandom combines a special cocktail of drunkeness, fanaticism and sadism. But of all Philly performers, is anyone more at risk than the Philly Phanatic?
This man not only serves as a face of the franchise, he also puts himself in harms way on a daily basis. How many times has he been punched, had someone throw up on him or just generally been groped and manhandled? Willingly wading into the sea of Philly fans for 81 regular season home games demonstrates a level of risk-acceptance the general population could never hope to appreciate.
Maybe that’s why it’s ironic that the Phanatic suffered his most recent injury off the end of a minor league bat rather than at the hands of one of the team’s notoriously drunken rabble-rousers.
To all the mascots out there, we salute your willingness to put yourself in the line of fire day in and day out. But Mr. Phanatic, your dedication sets you apart. Be careful out there.
Isn’t Roy Oswalt just a poor man’s Cliff Lee? Like a really, really poor man?
Sure thing, Jake. One incredibly poor man. This trade might have made sense a few years ago when Oswalt was a dominant pitcher. But now it just makes me wonder what the Phillies are doing. I was more than a little surprised when they let Cliff Lee go but using Oswalt to fill that gap doesn’t make any more sense.
The other side of this question is what must it feel like to be Roy Oswalt and have these kind of expectations and questions put on you before you even finish cleaning out your locker? It’s great for a pitcher like him to go from the affectionately named LOLstros to the pennant holding Phillies but I’m just not sure that his addition makes their hopes of a third straight World Series appearance any more likely.
What do you do if you’re Roy Oswalt and the hopes of a city rest
on your shoulders? And not just any city but a place whose nickname,
“The City of Brotherly Love,” definitely does not extend to its sports
fans. Maybe they’ll give him a mulligan for the first game but that
kind of free pass gets used up pretty quickly.
If I’m Oswalt, I’m probably figuring out how I can bust my elbow in a
bar fight or whatever it takes to keep me away from those
crazy fans. However, in all of this chaos there is some good news for Roy. At least he shouldn’t have to worry about getting puked on.
So, yeah. Oswalt is a poor man’s Lee. He’s like Tom Joad fleeing the dustbowl. You might even use the word indigent. And starting your new team off with an 8 – 1 loss against the Nationals is probably not going to make those comparisons disappear any time soon.
There’s a popular saying that France would be a wonderful country if it wasn’t for the French. Ok, it’s probably not actually all that popular but I enjoy saying it. And there is a reason why the saying exists. Although not as true as it used to be, the French have a reputation for not being a pleasant people.
However, they are not alone in this world. There are plenty of other people who, when you find yourself in their lands, react in somewhat malevolent and unpredictable ways.
One such land is a place called Philadelphia.
Now, we’ve all heard stories about a fan of an opposing team who got roughed up, had a beer spilled on them or whose daughter was puked on by a Phillies fan. And those stories seem to be the rule as opposed to the exception. But it seems like Philly might finally have a plan for reigning in their unruly supporters.
Ah yes, the smell of singed hair and the cries of “Don’t tase me, bro!” Perhaps we could try this on the French as well. It might cover up the smell of cheese and the cries of “Nous nous rendirons!”*
* “We surrender” for those who skipped 12th grade French in favor of something useful. Like shop.
The symbols of relevance, the things that transform a simple it into that proverbial “it” are generally born all in the timing, and since the Birds on the Bat are stuck in a Philadelphia this week, so too am I.
And I don’t like it.
No, this has nothing to do with Philadelphia being a backwards place (it is). It doesn’t have anything to do with the type of fans who cheer when the other teams’ star gets hurt (they do). And of course, this does not have anything to do with that ^sswipe Jim Bunning (he really is an ^sswipe, folks).
Indeed, my suddenly emphatic aggravation with Philadelphia is rooted in one fella and one fella only. His name is Ruben. Ruben Effing Amaro (that middle name is still surreptitiously unofficial).
Why? Why such distaste for one man?
Because he gave a mighty slugger who is notoriously awful against left-handed pitching the contract extension of all contract extensions — a mesmerizing $25 million a year… for 2012 to 2016 — causing massive migraine headaches for we Cardinals fans already obsessively worrying about Albert Pujols’ future with the team.
Yeah. Ryan Howard is good. But $25 million a year? He ain’t that good.
And anyone who has ever seen the game of baseball can tell you that Albert Pujols is LIGHT YEARS better than Ryan Howard, in all aspects of the game. All… of… them.
So if Howard is worth $25 million a year, then Albert is worth $30-$32 million a year, which means that if I want A.P. to remain a Cardinal for life, I and the rest of Cardinals Nation better be ready to pay $100 for a bleacher ticket, or imagine a world where Albert isn’t our savior.
(That would kill me by the way)
So thanks a lot, Ruben. Just a week ago, deep down inside, I would have admitted to having a strange yet pleasurable affinity for the Phillies. Dick Allen. Mike Schmidt. Steve Carlton. Pete Rose. Lenny Dykstra. Darren Daulton. Just the thought of those guys grindin’ it out with the “P” on their caps kinda got me excited… and I have no idea why.
They’re dead to me.
And so are you.*
Hate me ‘cuz I give it to ya straight, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*You’re not really dead. This is what fancy writers like Al and I call “figure of speech”. It can be AWEsome. Like it is here.