Outside the city, we're viewed as nothing less than ruthless bullies; booing players every chance we get and creating a horrific atmosphere for opposing players. Philly fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, fighting Tie Domi in the penalty box, and cheering when Michael Irvin lay motionless on the field are just a few of the moments that have defined our national outlook in the past.
|The Fog Bowl remains an eerie reminder|
that Philadelphia sports are cursed.
This series of sports tragedies and inappropriate behavior by fans is what we've come to expect of our city. But in 2008, things seemed to take a turn for the better. Phillies fans, in response to an overachieving 2007 team, sold out Citizens Bank Park for an entire season as they watched the Phillies make a magical run to the city's first championship in 25 years. NLCS magic by Matt Stairs and World Series dominance by Cole Hamels made the team look like it was cut from a different mold than that of a typical Philadelphia sports team.
The Eagles then signed Michael Vick, a quarterback who had just gotten out of jail for dog-fighting charges, in an attempt to give the man a second chance in life. It seemed as though the local and national outlook of Philadelphia sports had been changed for the better.
|Susan Finkelstein, who was actually|
given World Series tickets by a
local radio show, free of charge.
The Phillies returned to the World Series with high hopes of a championship repeat, but inappropriate fan behavior came up again in the local and national sports media. Phillies fan Susan Finkelstein posted a Craigslist ad that stated "DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX." She then allegedly arranged a meeting with a man who turned out to be an undercover cop, who she offered sexual favors in exchange for tickets to the 2009 World Series between the Phillies and Yankees.
The Phillies also added to their history of devastating losses in 2009. The Phillies entered Game 4 of the World Series down 2-1 in the series. After a Pedro Feliz home run tied the game in the 8th, Brad Lidge came in the ninth to keep the game tied to give the Phillies' offense a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning. The Yankees were down to their last strike of the inning before Johnny Damon lined a single to centerfield. Damon then stole second base, and when no one was covering third base, promptly scampered to third. With a runner on third, Lidge veered away from his slider and Alex Rodriguez's double gave the Yankees the lead and the game. The Yanks went on the win the series in Game 6.
2010 told much of the same story.
Phillies fans made the national media again this season, when in April, an intoxicated fan intentionally vomited on a police officer during a dispute at a game and when in May a fan ran onto the field during a game against the Cardinals and was tasered by Phillies security personnel. Everything the 2008 year had built was slowly being destroyed.
|Ryan Howard, who made the|
final out of the 2010 NLCS.
The Flyers made a magical run to the Stanley Cup finals, which included making the playoffs on the final game of the regular season against the Rangers and overcoming a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins in the postseason. But they suffered a demoralizing loss in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals when Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane's pass over the middle somehow snuck through the five hole of Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton.
The Phillies 2010 playoff run added to the shocking loss department. The Phillies were heavily favored in the National League, with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels composing a seemingly unbeatable starting rotation. But the Phillies lineup was missing throughout the playoffs, and after beating the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, the Phils lost a heartbreaking Game 6 of the NLCS to the San Francisco Giants, ending their postseason run and making Philadelphia sports fans across the region say, "Not again."
Make no mistake about it, we are currently living in the Golden Age of Philadelphia sports. The Eagles compete every year, the Flyers have an established young core, and the Phillies will continue to be favored in the National League for the next several years. But when you watch sports in Philadelphia, you know that things can never be THAT great. It is a Golden Age, yes, but in Philadelphia, that means something completely different.