If you count sports success in wins, you’re a Yankees fan when they win and an excuse-maker when they don’t–i.e. an evil, corporate-loving, soul-less …. You rooted for Darth Vader before he showed his humanity and when he did you rooted for the Emperor. Your identity is as fleeting as the winds of fortune which frustratingly blow your way at a disproportionate rate.
If you count sports success in fan commitment in the face of crushing defeat, you are a Boston Red Sox fan. Your identity is lost. You won the World Series… a couple times. Luckily, your team is in turmoil and you can get your identity ¬†back. See you again in 80 years.
If you count sports success in making an irrational commitment to the¬†philosophical¬†”Other” and build around that commitment a web of insanity and rationalization that means muttering and blabbering and drooling on yourself before half-heartedly rooting for the Yankees in a puddle of your own sick, you are a Mets fan and I genuinely feel sorry for you.
If you are from the South–that part of geographic South that really wants to modernize and stop being referred to as hicks but you find yourself forcing an accent so people believe you when you tell them, “I’m a Southerner,”… you’re a Braves fan. You should’ve stood behind that racist John Rocker.
If you are from Texas, you shoot things. Who’s playing today?
If you don’t count sports success because your more focused on who’s famous and in attendance or [insert gay slam] than the game, you are in CA — the only place were good weather isn’t an ideal environment, it’s a reason to go to the park… oh, is there a game being played tooooo?
If you count sports success in how many generations it was since your family last payed attention to that “interesting group of fellas” that “captured the spirit” of your hoe-dunk, fuck all town, you are the 95% of MLB franchises. Sorry, move to a city you goober.
If you lost but it’s okay because at least the city is still there, you are Detroit.
If you don’t get a mention because you don’t make the 10-years in existence cut-off, you know who you are DC. ¬†Trying to ruin the game by benching Strasburg will likely keep you out of a WS ring for 100+ years and we’re sure you’ll leave DC before that happens you spine-less cowards.
In all those examples, either the team and its fan identity is impermanent or non-existent. And that’s all of baseball with one exception: the Phillies. The Phillies are assholes.
And the fans are even bigger assholes than the players. When a fan isn’t being an asshole, they are trained. And it’s true every year. During a season in which the Phillies won their division for the 3rd time in a row — handily — and only 1 year removed as World Series champions, having lost in the World Series the previous year, the following occurred:
- A fan got drunk and sprinted into the outfield. He was extremely drunk. He remained in the outfield to the point of needing to be tazed. Twice.
- A fan ran onto the field at the opposing base runner in a full-body green spandex suit and had to be tripped by our own 3rd baseman to be removed from the field.
- 6-year-old boy is sighted drinking 12 oz. of Miller Light from clear plastic Solo cup. He’s celebrated by the whole city and now drinks for free in all bars.
- In the playoffs of the MLB — the NLCS — an entire stadium, akin to the bench of a high school squad would do, repeatedly shouted “San-chez” in mockery of the opposing pitcher who apparently was having trouble getting outs.
This is the kind of behavior one might expect from a third-rate, drunken team and town that hadn’t had a decent season in 30 years. You know, like the Pirates. But no, this was the Phillies. Reigning kings of the NL East. An organization one snot hair away from being called a “class organization” that attracts premier talent like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
But that’s not the whole formula. Because, when a team has done well for a few years they can lose their edge and the Phillies never really do. And here’s why:
- Father brings son to game. Wants to show him about baseball. Isn’t committed to being an asshole.
- Real Phillies fans, sitting immediately behind father-son recognize lack of commitment. Drink heavily. Curse loudly.
- Father asks drunken assholes to calm down or talk lighter, repeatedly.
- Answer: Go fuck yourself.
- Father reports drunken assholes saying, “GO FUCK YOURSELF” repeatedly shouting into his and son’s ear.
- The more¬†belligerent¬†of the two drunken assholes is removed from the stadium. Other friend cleverly behaves himself momentarily… to ensure training opportunity.
- Remaining drunken asshole drinks more heavily than his body can possibly tolerate.
- Remaining drunken asshole vomits heavily on son and father.
- Man shouts, “THIS IS PHILLY – GO FUCK YOURSELF!” and kicks father in chest down aisle 446 to the box seats below.
Winning games is a surprise–one that is enjoyed but not trusted. Philly loses. Lots. The most, actually. **by volume, you can look it up**
So no, this kind of behavior isn’t BECAUSE of winning or losing. It is because it is who the Phillies are…
Undeniably recognizable, impervious to change, and committed to team… the best team every year. Fuck yeah.