One of the challenges of being a baseball writer is having to keep things fresh over a 162 game season, especially when it comes to forming some sort of narrative about the team on a day-to-day basis. At a certain point, the games tend to blend into one another and there is only so many ways to describe Doc’s great outing or Cole’s poor run support or Werth’s struggles with runners in scoring position.
It’s all we can do to keep things original, but it admittedly becomes difficult when it’s the same thing every day. The players are not immune to that either, as they usually get asked the same questions after every game and respond with the same answers.
Point is, sometimes it gets really difficult to find new ways to say the same thing over and over again, something that apparently doesn’t bother one writer for the San Jose Mercury News, who took it upon himself to cast Philadelphians in the same pall as every other writer before him.
In his column, Bruce Newman rehashes the tired old stories about Philadelphia, including Santa Claus, J.D. Drew, Michael Irvin, the taser kid, and the vomit kid – all the old standards. Not to be outdone, Newman finds some new ways to put down the city.
Even the ballparks stood in stark counterpoint: The Giants play in a park named after a company that quietly drops your phone calls; the Phillies play in a park sponsored by a bank that forecloses on people’s homes.
You see, the Phillies are the villains here because the company that sponsors their ballpark is responsible for the current financial crisis and the thousands of Americans who were forced into homelessness after blood stained bulldozers demolished their houses because they were a day late on their mortgage payment, which makes as much sense as me blaming the Giants for the earthquakes during the 1989 World Series.
He goes on:
The contrast between Giants fans and their Philadelphia counterparts has been evident throughout the series. Bay Area fans waved their orange Homer Hankies at AT&T Park when their team was in the field, while in Philadelphia, the fans swirled white towels that made it more difficult for opposing batters to see the baseball against that background.
So, Giants fans support their team with their fall themed orange and black (it is after Labor Day, so I suppose the white rally towels are passe’), but the Phillies are only intending to distract the opposing hitters, despite the fact that they aren’t in the hitter’s line of site because the backdrop in centerfield is there to prevent such a thing? I guess?
He went on about booing Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and cheesesteaks being unhealthy and low brow compared to San Fran’s sushi menu, but you get the idea. As Craig Calcaterra pointed out, this is pure provocation. And hell, I took the bait. Maybe we all did (just read the comments at the bottom of Newman’s column), but that doesn’t excuse the writer for shoveling this dreck into the mouths of his readers.
I’ve said it before and I’ll damn sure say it again, but what happened to writers actually writing about things with substance? Did Newman just need to fill 900 words on a Wednesday morning, or did he rub his hands spitefully as he thought of more ways to put down the Phillies as the hammered out a tired narrative? I’d accuse him of plagiarism, but I’d have to start with the other 1,000 folks who wrote the exact same piece before him.
Either way, it’s tired. Not only for Philadelphia, but for any fanbase of any team in any city. I could spend five minutes on Google and find a dozen stories related to fans behaving badly in San Francisco and use that as a diving board into degrading the Giants, but I don’t. Why? Because it’s unrelated to anything that occurs on the field and it only turns into a fruitless endeavor that is pissing contest to determine which city has worse fans (Hint: They all suck equally). Sure, sometimes stories need to be told – the Taser fan or the guy who tried wanted to attack A-Rod during Game Three of the ALCS, for instance – but to bring these things up almost arbitrarily because you have nothing else to write about is lazy.
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