Jeremy Affeldt Pans Philly Fans in Farewell Article

San Francisco Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt announced on SI.com that he is retiring at the conclusion of the 2015 season. The 36-year-old is a veteran of 14 seasons, the last seven of which have come with the Giants, so he’s earned three World Series rings in the process.

Affeldt wrote about the five things he won’t miss about baseball, and the first item on his list, counting backwards to one, was “the city of ‘Brotherly Love'”.

Affeldt said, “Nowhere else in this country […]┬áis the opposition treated in such a repeatedly vile and borderline threatening manner.” He added that Philly fans’ uncouth behavior deters some players from signing with the Phillies.

I’ve been no stranger to criticizing Philly fans for the way they behave at times, but…

Name me a baseball city and I can pull up an example of its fan base being terrible. Here are a few:

  • A Los Angeles Dodgers fan critically injures┬áGiants fan Brian Stow in 2011 [Wikipedia]
  • Milwaukee fans set off a cherry bomb at County Stadium in 1987 [Yahoo Sports]
  • Cleveland fans riot at Cleveland Stadium in 1974 on Ten Cent Beer Night [Wikipedia]
  • An Oakland fan throws a cell phone at outfielder Carl Everett in 2003 [Associated Press]
  • A fan at Chicago’s Wrigley Field throws beer on Shane Victorino┬áin 2009 [ESPN]

Philly fans don’t get together and have a meeting before every game to strategize about how best to terrify visiting players. Philly fans aren’t the only ones who heckle and curse at visiting players. It’s quite possible that Philly fans did, in particular, treat Affeldt rudely and that’s deplorable on the part of Philly fans. But it just as easily could have happened if he were wearing a Dodgers uniform in San Francisco or a Yankees uniform in Boston. Jingoism and attendance shaming are two behaviors among sports fans and athletes alike which need to go away.

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki did a nice job rebutting Affeldt’s article in a different way, citing Jim Thome and Cliff Lee (among others) as examples of players who went out of their way to come to Philadelphia.

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