Act Like We’ve Been Here Before

To the right you’ll find the cover of today’s Philadelphia Daily News (click to enlarge). The headline is quite celebratory in nature: “Philadelphia, city with a superiority complex.”

Hey, it’s been a good week in Philly, after all: the Phillies got Cliff Lee, the Eagles pulled off one of the all-time greatest comebacks against the Giants on Sunday, and the Flyers are the cream of the NHL crop. It is a great time to be a Philadelphian.

Conversely, it’s not as great a time in New York. The Yankees have missed out on all of the top free agents and trade candidates, the Mets will be lucky to sniff .500 in 2011, the Giants were on the losing end of Sunday’s memorable game, the Rangers are eight points behind the Flyers, and so forth.

Given the rivalry between the two regions, some back-and-forth nose-thumbing is to be expected. Philly has certainly been on the receiving end of some New York bravado. However, the rash of “Philly > New York” sentiment over the past couple days seems excessive and, in some cases, unprofessional. Inferiority complex, much?

Take Stan Hochman’s article for the Daily News as an example. He brainstorms possible nicknames for the Phillies’ four aces, but he couldn’t resist taking a potshot at New York:

I had a patriotic theme, “Armed Fources” plus “Deadly Fource” and “Brute Fource” but baseball is not a violent game, unless you’re sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium wearing the other team’s gear.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It sounds like every generic insult about Philly fans.

The always-interesting Marcus Hayes has his own smug take on the rise of Philly sports in his latest article, titled “Philly teams are putting a fork in New York”.

Something is in the air in Philadelphia.

Carried by a light wind, it makes its way south, down the turnpike. It is distinctly New York in aroma. Is it those honey-roasted nuts they sell out of street carts? Is it the hot dogs?

The swamplands of New Jersey?

Ah. Wait.

It is the smell of New York misery.

It is a rancid thing for Giants and Mets and Rangers fans, and only a little better for the Yankees faithful.

For Philadelphians, it is ambrosia.

Never has it smelled more delicious than this week.

Hayes does mention, at the end of the article, that Philly still does not have any advantage in terms of championships — the ultimate goal for all teams involved. On Twitter, David Murphy pointed out that New York won those championships more recently in three of the four major sports.

Great week for Philly, no question about it. Some bragging is acceptable, nay earned. But wouldn’t we look better to outsiders, who still view Philly fans as boorish animals, if we simply shrugged our shoulders at all of this? Ho-hum. Act like we’ve been here before.

Instead, radio switchboards are alight with controversy brewing. Arguments will be had, people will get upset for no meaningful reason, and maybe that’s the ultimate goal for the media people responsible for fueling this fire: move more papers, attract more listeners, sell more advertisements. If that is the case, New Yorkers should know that the Philly media does not represent all — or even most — Philadelphians.

Rivalries are fun. Trash-talking is fun. It can, unfortunately, be taken too seriously, ruining the fun for the rest of us. This Philly sports fan, for one, repudiates the latest salvos and hopes New Yorkers and the rest of the national scene doesn’t think any less of us for it.

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  1. Sanjay

    December 21, 2010 09:57 AM

    It is what it is until I read Hayes’ comments, at which time I realized that its decidedly an inferiority complex and not a superior one.

  2. Jeff

    December 21, 2010 10:59 AM

    Been reading this blog for about a year. Agree with a lot of what is written here, but disagree with this post. I don’t get the feeling at all like its been excessive or unprofessional. The thing that makes Philly sports fans great is the passion and this expresses itself in this case with a little gloating over our good week compared to New York. Its a week! Lets enjoy it while we can. Who cares if other fans think we’re boorish? They are going to think that no matter what anyway. If we stopped doing some of the things you’re suggesting in this post, it would be outside our identity. We should be passionate and enjoy weeks like this and maybe even rub it in a little bit. The majority of fans do this with good intent. There will always be the few who take this passion too far, but anyone who takes those people as the prime example of what Philly fans are like isn’t very bright to begin with and would probably dislike Philly fans no matter what.

  3. Bill Baer

    December 21, 2010 11:05 AM

    Yeah, Jeff, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have any fun but there are a few people out there who aren’t doing the rest of us any favors. I trash talk some Mets fans on Twitter (especially @JamesKann) but I always try to keep it in good natured fun, which is more than can be said about the above.

  4. Dave

    December 21, 2010 11:07 AM

    I went to college in New York—home of many Giants, Yankees, Mets, and Jets fans.

    One of my numb nuts college friends sent me this text message recently:

    “Go puke on Santa.”

    I should have gone to a different college.

  5. Scott G

    December 21, 2010 01:58 PM

    I understand that the Championships are the “bottom line”, but how often does the best team win? The Phillies weren’t the best team in ’08. The Giants weren’t the best team in ’10. So yes, they won the championship, but they weren’t the best teams. It’s probably even worse in football where it’s a one game contest.

    I personally think the 3-0 deficit overcome by the Flyers vs. the Bruins last year was probably more satisfying and definitely more rare than an occasional Stanley Cup (would have been great to do both in one year). I bet it’s also pretty rare to not only make a complete comeback from 21 pts down, but to score 28 pts in about 8 minutes to beat a division rival, and all but eliminate them from the playoffs.

    Just curious of others’ opinions on this.

  6. KH

    December 21, 2010 03:30 PM

    The last thing we should do imo is worry about how we are thought about around the country. If we can’t take a little time to be smug and rub New York’s face in our recent triumphs over them the way things have been going recently I guess we are never allowed to do it. Thats what Sport’s rivalries all about.

  7. Evan

    December 21, 2010 04:45 PM

    Stupid sports rivalries aren’t new and they go hand in hand with stupid tabloid sports sections. I don’t see that changing, nor do I see Philly’s reputation changing.

    Philly’s bad sports reputation has nothing to do with reality, no worse than most other cities, it is just a popular story that’s told enough to believed true. Though an isolated parking lot murder or puking incident here and there don’t exactly help. Ok maybe Philly does deserve the reputation a little…

  8. FanSince09

    December 21, 2010 06:42 PM

    Article is right on point. I become a Sox fan in 2004 until 2009 and really, that fanbase went from being loveable underdogs to overbearing. Shouldn’t happen to Philly fans!

  9. css228

    December 21, 2010 09:46 PM

    Philly fans were never lovable. We don’t need the approval of other fan bases. Even if we don’t rub this in we’ll be seen as arrogant and smug bastards. Sweetest thing about signing Cliff Lee was the fact that my roommate (a yankees fan) left the room for hours upon hearing the news and didn’t speak to me again for a day and a half. So I plan on enjoying this all next season. Hopefully we win a championship and justify this. But I don’t think we ought to concern ourselves with poor old New York’s self esteem.

  10. Zelda

    December 22, 2010 08:33 PM

    Grew up in NY, married Philly. Sorry NY, suck it up and take it like a man. Philly has you by the pretzel and for the sake of my three teenage Philly fans and the one I’m married to, Go Get ‘Em guys!!! Oh – and tell it like it is…

  11. Drew

    December 23, 2010 11:14 AM

    I agree with FanSince09 — I don’t want us to become overbearing like the Sox did. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take pride, and as Bill said, a little tweaking is perfectly acceptable. But remember, losers can’t stop bragging when they win because they know it may not happen again for a long time. Winners don’t, because they expect to keep winning. Let’s be winners.

    The other thing is, we’re finally shedding the image of a city where athletes don’t want to play. You know what’s the quickest way to burn the goodwill generated by Doc and Cliff taking less money/fewer years to play here? Being jerks about it.

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