Last September, you may recall, a fan in Philly caught a foul ball only to have his little girl grab it from him and toss it back on the field. Instead of scolding her, he did something very unlike a Phillies fan: he gave her a loving embrace, as if to say, “It’s okay sweetheart. There’s more to life than catching foul balls.”
Video of this touching father-daughter moment caught fire and the next thing you know the entire family is in New York for the Today Show, the guy and his little girl are instant celebrities, yada, yada, yada. The irony of this Hallmark moment was that it involved a Phillies fan.
Full disclosure: I really like Philly. I spent my college days there and try to visit at least once a year. I find it a great escape from the madness of New York and a wonderful place to satisfy my occasional cravings for cheese steaks, Italian hoagies, and water ices. It’s the Philly sports fans that I don’t have an appetite for. Ever since the late Tug McGraw (who was once my Tug McGraw) sent a million or so people into a frenzy by yelling, “New York can take this title and stick it!” at the Phillies first ever World Series parade in 1980, I’ve had this thing about Philly sports — this gnawing, nagging, rash-like thing.
Philly is a great sports town, mind you. Maybe the best in the country. Passionate, intense, loyal-as-can-be fans. But to me, they have the same effect as walnuts: they make me cringe.
So when in a matter of weeks, a fan at Citizen’s Bank Park was arrested for puking on a father who was attending the game with his young child, and another was tasered by a Philly cop for running on the field, I thought, “Okay, this is more like it. Things have returned to normal. No more warm and fuzzy YouTube moments.”
Just good old barfing and tasers. Ah, Philadelphia!