The Phillies Fan: Rough, Tough and Loyal

The national media portrays Phillies fans - and fans of all Philadelphia teams - as out of control, barbarian types. At times, the portrayals go far overboard. At other times, the spotlight has unfortunately, been deserved. Through all though, fans in Philadelphia have an urge to win and a loyalty that is second to none.

As anyone knows, the passion of the Philadelphia Phillies fan is a force to be reckoned with.

The issue of their behavior has long been a topic of discussion and could even be described as infamous. Some will say they are cruel and obnoxious, abusive and often vulgar. Through the years they have been known to be at times, just plain mean, booing any player they felt had it coming. They have also been known to be downright crazy, as in the time someone made a threat on poor Mitch William's life after he blew a save in Game Four of the 1993 World Series. Not to mention egging his home with his wife and child inside. These are certainly examples of the Phillies fan at their worst.

But what you can also say about them, when it comes down to it, is that their loyalty and devotion cannot be questioned. They have held on year after disappointing year with just one World Series win and two other World Series appearances in almost 25 years. Still, they come back hoping for another glorious resurrection. While it must be easy and breezy to be a fan of a team like, oh say, the Atlanta Braves when that team is consistently in the playoffs no matter who plays for them! You have to really love a team to watch them go down in flames many times and still look to the new season and say "This is our year". They may go too far at times in the depths of their frustration and exasperation but Phillies fans are just as fervent in their dedication. If the opposing team hits a home run in "our house" it gets thrown back and anyone who catches that ball knows better than to keep it. And at the new home of the Phillies, Citizens Bank Park, the opposing team's bullpen is already taking a verbal beating so much so that complaints have quietly been made.

Why are Philadelphia Phillies fans so aggressive, brazen and just plain loud? The answer has a lot to do with the upbringing and lifestyle of many of those fans. They are often blue collar, working class, people who make very little and expect those who are being paid so much to work just as hard, even harder, for the kind of money their sports "heroes" are making. It is a rough town because it can be a rough life here.

Larry Bowa was asked just a couple of weeks ago when the Phillies were in an early season losing streak, how he felt about the fans booing the team. With his usual straight shooter way of talking he replied "The fans can boo…they want to see a winner. Don't come down on them". The Philadelphia Phillies fan. Emotional? Yes. Irrational? At times. Abrasive? Certainly. But their abrasiveness is matched by their undying love and hope for the Phillies to fight and fight hard, and (finally!) reach the pot of World Series gold.

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