Tagged: fans

It’s EASY Being a Yankees Fan

No offense Jane, your Yankees are one of the top 5 greatest franchises in the history of sports. In fact, if you put the Yankees against Denmark in anything, I’d pick the Yankees.

But it’s easy being a Yankees fan.

It’s easy because it doesn’t take any work.
There’s no agony in being a Yankees fan, no frustration, no heartbreak.
And please… Not winning the world series every year doesn’t qualify as “heartbreak.”

They’re winners, and Yankees fans are passionate, I’ll give you that much.
But talk to a Cubs fan, talk to a Sox fan prior to ’04, most of all, talk to a Phillies fan.

Cubs fans have come to the point where they’re selling their loyalty on EBAY.
Red Sox nation had gotten to a place where they expected to lose, and the phrase “wait until next year” lost all meaning.
Phillies fans, though, had a different dynamic.

We can’t always be called as “supportive.” When our teams aren’t playing well, we let them know. But we’re always there, and we always believe. This year’s championship was a surprise to no one in the city of Philadelphia, we knew it would happen, we just didn’t know when.  We never gave up, never game in, never assumed the worst.

The Yanks have had problems the last few years. But who else can you blame but the Yankees themselves. For some inexplicable reason, their entire team dynamic has all but disappeared and their solution to the problem is the same every year. It’s like a doctor who keeps prescribing a medicine for a disease when it hasn’t worked the last eight times he prescribed it.

Why, I don’t know. But this year looks to be exactly the same thing. They’re probably going to sign CC Sabathia, maybe Mark Texieira and who knows, Manny as well. What the hey? Why not, right? But based on the last few seasons, I don’t think anything will change.

How does it feel Yankees fans? How does it feel to always be excited about what your new free agent will do this season?

From my perspective, being a Yankees fan is like being a rich teenager. You crash your convertible so daddy just buys you a new one.

Being a Phillies fan, or a Cubs fan or a Sox fan is like being the teenager who gets the hand-me-down Jetta. It’s nice. Not very flashy, not very fast but it’s reliable and we’ll drive it until it’s last dying sputter.

Keep your convertibles. If it doesn’t work again this year, maybe Hank will buy you a Hummer next year.

Fanhood

I take a lot of heat for being a Phillies fan. If its not the fact that we have 10,000 losses it’s the fact that we have a tiny ballpark or that we’re cholk-artists. I thought that winning the world series would change all that. I guess I was wrong.

Now I am relentlessly accused of being a “bandwagon jumper.”

I wear my 2008 post-season Phillies sweatshirt wherever I go along with the 2008 world series championship hat. I’ve been waiting for this since I was 8 years-old. Ever since Joe Carter hit the homerun off Mitch Williams. I want to show my pride and excitement for my beloved Phillies; a team my family has cheered on for 50 years, and I want to show it for more than just a week.

Aside from the Phillies, I am a fan of sports more than I am a fan of individual teams. My year runs on three seasons instead of four: Baseball, Football, Basketball. The year begins in January with NFL playoffs to the superbowl, then transitions to the second half of the NBA season followed by the playoffs (which seem to last three and a half years) mixed with opening day of baseball. I ride baseball all summer long and will hardly pay any attention to football until the Phillies are out of it. During each of these seasons, I get into “modes” where I don’t care about any other sports but the mode I am in.

Here it is November, a time when I am usually knee deep in NFL and college football, and I can’t get baseball off my mind. I still pick up a baseball bat and take practice swings in my living room and I keep bugging my friends to have a catch.

What bugs me though is how other people can call me a bandwagon jumper and ignore the entire Tampa Bay fan-base. Until this season, the Tampa Bay Rays’ fan-base consisted of Dick Vitale and the collection of team mothers (most of them, at least). Yet somehow, Tropicana Field was flooded with people sporting ray-hawks and cowbells. If that’s not a stadium full of bandwagon jumpers, I don’t know what is.

To find out, ask anyone with a ray-hawk to name the starting lineup from last year. Then you’ll know.

I watched a lot of people claim to be Red Sox fans in 2004, a lot of which were Marlins fans the year before. I really have no problem with it. If a great postseason like 2004 or 2008 converts you, admit it. Just don’t claim to be a lifelong fan and act like you were in agony for 100 years.

I haven’t quite waited a century to see my team win it all; and the curse of Billy Penn doesn’t quite measure up to the curse of the Bambino. But I finally have a reason to justify wearing a Phillies cap outside of eastern PA without getting laughed at, and I’ll do it with dignity.

I’ve earned it.
Philadelphia has earned it.

So please, don’t call me a bandwagon jumper just because my team won and your team lost. That’s not very good Fanhood.

~SL

Years Like This MAKE Baseball Fans

I am asked time and time again how I can be so passionate about baseball. My response is, “how can you not?”

I’ve heard baseball called “boring,” “sissy,” “slow” and even “pointless” and anyone who feels that way has obviously never really watched a game.

Introducing: Jordan, my girlfriend (pictured next to me).

Jordan is from Pittsburgh, and considering the state of the Pittsburgh Pirates I have no problem accepting why she is not a baseball fan. Since we moved in together I have frequently tired to watch a game and not even just Phillies games. Each time I changed the channel she routinely sighed, got up off the couch and left the room. In most cases I would simply check the score and change the channel back, but once the Phillies made it to the playoffs, I was not in such a compromising mood.

At first, her reaction was the same and she even went as far as saying “I hope the Phillies win in as few games as possible so I can watch TV again.” She is as die-hard a Pittsburgh Steelers fan as there can be and rivals my love of the Phillies, so instead of accepting her hatred for the game I love so much, I set out on a mission.

MISSION OBJECTIVE: CONVERT JORDAN INTO A BASEBALL FAN!

It was not an easy mission. Just getting her into the living room while a game was on required a license to kill. But slowly I enticed her to just give it a chance. Her first few games was like watching a newbord calf learn how to walk. She would make it through 5 innings solid before either throwing a hissy fit or falling asleep entirely.

I’ll never understand why. I was glued to the TV when my dad first turned on the game some 15 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Many people describe the game as being slow but I think that’s exactly what makes it so great. Every pitch is pure drama that no writer can reproduce. Will he hit it? Will he strike out? Will he hit a homerun? Will this be just another called strike or will it lead to the greatest play I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes?

By the time the Phillies made it to the World Series, Jordan had warmed up to the idea of watching baseball, at least the post season. Once I began explaining the finer points of the game she began to ask more questions. Like why pitchers throw to first base three tmes in a row or why Nomar Garciaparra oddly adjusts his gloves before every pitch. I knew I had her hooked.

The pinnacle moment of when I knew I had turned her into e Phillies fan was when a Subway commercial (Ode to the Philly Cheese Steak) featuring Ryan Howard came on between innings in game 3 against Tampa Bay. I sat quietly while she screamed at the TV “Yea, too bad you don’t deserve a cheese steak cuz you can’t hit a frigging homerun!”

I turned to her with the biggest smile on my face and laughed saying. “Sweetheart, at this moment you are officially a Phillies fan.”

In the bottom of that inning, Ryan Howard hit a homerun.

Moms Do It Great Too!

Someone commented on my last blog and made a valid point that I had every intention of writing about.

Moms do it great too!

My dad and I could erase everything by stepping into the ballpark but my mom and the Phillies were so very different. When they divorced my mom made sure that my sister and I got everything we would have gotten had they not split. She did here absolute best to play both the mom and the dad role when he wasn’t around.

She’s been a Phillies fan all her life, born and raised in the city of Philadelphia and she’ll never let me forget it. She went to the first and last games at the Vet as well as the one fateful game when they Phils wore their awful all-maroon unis. She lives and dies by the Phillies.

While I’ve been a Phillies fan ever since (and in spite of) the 1993 season. I did, however, become a big fan of Chipper Jones who plays for the rival Atlanta Braves. So while Philly fans will throw snowballs at Santa Claus, my mom would always take me down to watch them play the Braves and make sure we sat on the third baseline so we were closer to Chipper. And while I foolishly wore a braves cap to the one game, she was there to hide it for me so the Phanatic didn’t make fun of me, or to defend me from the drunken fans; one of which sported an eagles-logo tattoo covering his exposed and spent the game screaming at Ryan Klesko in left field.

I hate to tell a sad story again but I’m afraid that my life as it relates to the Phillies is not so different from a sappy Nicholas Sparks novel.

My mom was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer my freshman year of college and underwent chemo treatment. She lost all of her hair and was forced to wear a wig wherever she went. But when she came home and the wig became too itchy she took it off and covered her head with, you guessed it, a pink Phillies cap.

The cancer has been gone and come back again a few times, most recently in August of this year when she went back into surgery to remove a tumor where the cancer originated. I drove home to be with her and with more tubes in her than I care to describe, she asked me how the Phillies were doing.

Somehow, no matter how sick she becomes, she has the heart of a champion, the heart of a lion, the heat of a true Philadelphian.

Shortly after Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to close out the series, I got a call from my mom as expected. On the other line was not the woman who had been through 5 years of chemo and 2 surguries; it was the woman screaming at the top of her lungs in pure celebration. HER Phillies had won, at long last.