Fact Is Front Runner Fever Has Run Rampid in Philly
It’s a statement that I’ve said at every one of the 32 Phillies games I’ve attended this season. It’s also a statement that brings with it many peculiar looks. Usually the only ones that respond to my battle cry are those that are with me, and remember its origin. If you are one of the many that became a fan from 2007 on then your probably one of those many people who don’t understand why I yell it to the Heavens.
2004 was a year to forget if you were a Phillies fan. The team had moved into their new home in Citizens Bank Park and had stars such as Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, and young ace Brett Myers. This was a team that was supposed to win the division and they underachieved. I don’t remember much from that season truth be told but what I do remember is each game, someone, would sit right under the media booths and yell “Everybody Hits…WAHOOOO!” for every Phillies batter.
I have since learned that the man who started this cult slogan down at the park has passed away. It’s one of the reasons that you no longer hear it. I haven’t found out what his name was but he, without knowing it then, created one of the best ways to spot front runners in the stadium.
Fast forward from 2004 to the 2008 season when Phillies short stop Jimmy Rollins went on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and said that Phillies fans were “front runners”. This was a statement that didn’t sit too well with 98% of the Phillies fan base. Many took exception to the statement by flooding sports radio stations in the city, and emailing the local newspapers. I took the other side however and sided with Rollins and I continue to do so two years later.
Many Phillies fans took Rollins comments to hear, treating the statement as if it were directed at them personally. I said from the start that you know if you’re a bandwagon hopper or not and if you’re a true fan then pay no attention to his comments. Many didn’t look at it like that and started trying to prove their fanhood. The fact is that the Phillies attendance in the past three seasons has gone up drastically. Ever since that magical 2007 season when the Phillies came from 7 games back to win the division in just 17 games people have seemed to realize that Philadelphia does indeed have a baseball team. The days of just walking up to the window to get tickets are far from over and it’s been replaced by Stub hub and their mass amounts of service charges that come along with the above face price for tickets.
I’m writing this a day after an amazing 7 run comeback by the Philadelphia Phillies against their old friend Jonathan Broxton and those Los Angeles Dodgers. The sad part however was the Phillies did so to a half empty crowd that was a packed house when first pitch was thrown. I was also at a game in the same Dodgers series where by the end of the game there were probably about 5,000 people left in attendance. It’s a growing trend that I’ve seen recently at Phillies games when they are behind on the scoreboard late in the game.
The Phillies came back against the Reds just last month by 7 runs down in the 9th inning. It was one of the best comebacks I have ever seen and I did so in upstate New York on my Iphone. So after this team has proved that they are never down until the last out is recorded why are people leaving the game early? Is it to beat traffic, or just that they really aren’t fans at all?
I may be young but growing up and watching this team play I learned one thing from my parents, you never leave a game early. You don’t pay to go see a movie that’s an hour and a half and after an hour go “I think they do finally catch the killer so I’m going to go beat the traffic”. So if you don’t do it for a movie then why do you do it for a sporting event? You know the Vet only had about 11,000 people in it for those late 90’s games but at the end of the game it had just about everyone of them still in attendance. Nowadays however it’s a different story with the Phillies boasting about their “Sold Out” streak. While attendance may be up, baseball IQ is way down at the Bank with Slutleys (Girl who knows nothing about the actual team but only goes because she finds one player hot) flocking to Citizens Banks with their fake ID’s in hand and their 2 inch pumps on their feet.
I was born and raised in Philadelphia and I am damn proud of it. When I go to other cities I wear my Phillies colors proudly and have been doing so for years. But Philadelphia likes to claim “We don’t have any bandwagon hoppers in this town! Were all die hards who were born and raised to love this team”. It’s a statement that is so far from the truth and this current Phillies season is proving it again. The fact is that EVERY city has bandwagon hoppers that only come out when the team wins and Philadelphia is no different. A huge example of this could be seen in the empty Wells Fargo Center during the Sixers season.
Very few say “Wahooo” when I yell “EVERYBODY HITS!” Even less seem to remember the days of Doug Glanvile and Travis Lee. The hard nosed, beer drinking, curse when they deserve it fan who was at the Vet has been replaced with the family of four at the bank. Pick your own section night at the Vet has been replaced with Irish heritage night at the bank. And the die hard fan at the vet has since been replaced by the front running fan at the bank. Winning breeds a lot of things and the Phillies are no exception to the rule. So next time you’re at the bank just yell “Everybody Hits” and see what happens. It was only six years ago, but then again most of the people that will be around you became a fan in 2008.