I had just flown back from a weekend working in Denver. The Rockies were home both nights I was there, however client meetings made it so I couldn’t make any of the games. But oddly enough I had a wild baseball experience on the ride home from Philly airport.
Denver to Philly: 1734 miles: 3 hours, 22 minutes
Philly airport to my house: 14 miles: 2 hours, 48 minutes
An accident about a mile ahead of us brought traffic to a full-on standstill. Cars off, people wandering around. But as luck would have it, the Phils were playing. The driver put on the game and we spent 90 minutes listening together.
The Phillies were losing 10 to 0 when we turned on the game.
Announcer: It’s a beautiful day today, but not for the Phils.
Driver: Halladay started today. He gave up a ton of runs again.
Announcer: For the Phils upcoming road trip, they’ve got San Fransisco, Diamondbacks, Dodgers…not good news for the Phils.
Driver: Halladay, that guy’s career went up in smoke. His average velocity is down below 90 and I don’t think it’s goin’ up.
And it occurred to me, I genuinely don’t get Philadelphia fans. Listen to callers on sports radio, talk to them at a game…more than any fans they have knowledge of the in-depth mechanics of baseball, and it allows them to unearth complex flaws with their team. Every fan can deliver a well-supported, evidence-based graduate-level thesis on why other teams are positioned to succeed yet the Phillies are doomed to failure as of May 7.
Phils fans are like that guy at your office who has been there for years. He spends his day articulating all the details of what is wrong with your organization, but for some reason the idea of seeking a new job never even blinks across his consciousness.
And yet…when I say I don’t get Philly fans, I genuinely mean I miss something. There’s a dimension of joy in the doom and gloom that I don’t understand.
I watched the final game of the 2009 World series with a Philly fan. Right after the Yankees beat the Phillies, I told him I was sorry his team had lost.
“You kidding?” he said. “This has been the best year of my life.”