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 […] is 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 Giants 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 in 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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16 comments

  1. Joe

    October 02, 2015 11:00 PM

    There’s definitely a difference in cities, fan bases and overall feel in different cities. I have taken my sons to cowboys games but only in Dallas. No way would I take him to one in Philly

    During a period when it was phils/braves game in Atlanta. My wife was worried we would get hassle, bo’ed or something in all our phils gear, but I we heard everywhere was :welcome to braves country”. I have witnessed and been part of getting on braves fans at Phillies games. Bullpen is a prime target and accessible at Citizens bank park

      • Joe

        October 03, 2015 12:18 AM

        Experiences though, disregard that. And things you witness. Travel much? You don’t notice differences im cities and the general population, especially in different regions. I can see if you’ve never left Philly having that viewpoint. But there’s definitely a significant difference in people in the NE, Midwest, south, west. Walk down a street saying hello to people. Ny and Philly you’ll get no response or flipped off more often than not. Try the same in SD or Arizona, most will say high back. Down south they may want your life story too.

      • Major Malfunction

        October 03, 2015 10:11 AM

        Obviously you never sat in the 700 level of Veterans Stadium for any sporting event, especially when the Eagles played. Do you not remember it was so bad the city of Philadelphia had to make its own JAIL at the stadium and a make shift court room with a judge?

        Or how about when the angelic Phillies fans were throwing batteries at JD Drew? I guess that didn’t count?

        Remember that the bullpens at CBP originally had the Phils the highest. But that was before the glory years, so the “fans” would relentlessly taunt the Phils relievers. It was so bad the team had to switch them out and put the visitor’s pen higher and closest to the fans. Now that’s some Philly love for you.

        Philadelphia fans are “passionate” as long as you are wearing the right uniform. If not, there are a multitude of colorful epitaphs coming your way and maybe some hard dense objects to help reinforce their feelings. Sadly, it’s not an unfounded stigma, its reality that our fans are uniquely unruly at times.

      • Db9

        October 04, 2015 02:19 AM

        Major Malfunction, about half the stadiums in the NFL have jail cells. BTW The Linc is not among those stadiums.

        Yes the bullpens were switched but you make it sound like the relievers were mercilessly advised by fans. The switch happened before the first official game.

        Throwing batteries isn’t unique to Philly. Mets fans threw batteries at John Rocker, I was even at a Yankees game once when a fan threw a battery at the umpire and hit Joe Torre. This is not to condone the behavior by any stretch, but just to point out this stuff happens elsewhere too.

    • Romus

      October 03, 2015 07:44 AM

      Joe,
      The Giants fan who was beaten and put into a coma by the two LA Dodger fans a few years ago (2012 or 2013), and has now suffered irreparable brain damage..
      For some reason, if that were in Philadelphia with a Mets fan getting brutalized by Phillies deranged fans, that would still be shown and talked about on ESPN.
      ESPN has lived off the Santa Claus incident for the last 4 decades at the expense of Philadelphia.
      The media has made the Philadelphia fan out as ogres.

    • Dan K.

      October 03, 2015 10:23 AM

      @Joe,

      I lived in Philly for 5 years. I literally never got cursed at or flipped off for saying hello. And my experiences at CBP may not hold the same weight because I’m a Phillies fan, but I’ve been to at least 15 Eagles games… as a Redskins fan. You know, the “worst of the worst” fans in the US? I’ve never so much as been hassled. I’ve been booed going to my seat (and my dad has been one of those booing), but it’s stopped there and I’ve always had respectful conversations before, during, and after games.

      In Philly, you get what you give. For athletes, that means you give your heart, you get ours. You give your worst, you get ours. For fans, that means if you’re obnoxious so are we. If you’re polite, so are we. Maybe we don’t always turn the other cheek when we should. But we’re also not the “nice to your face, mean behind your back” type of people that literally all of my family further south is intimately familiar with.

      And by the way, easily my worst sporting experience was when I went to Chattanooga for a college football championship game (University of Delaware way back when). I’ll ignore the things that happened in the stadium because it was neutral territory and they can’t be blamed for rowdy college fans. But the people just around town near the hotel and every place we went for food, including our server, were downright rude to us. Does that make Chattanooga and all of its inhabitants scum? Hardly. It was just a bad experience.

      • Major Malfunction

        October 03, 2015 05:37 PM

        The last 15 Eagles game doing count if they were at the Linc. Wearing a Cowboys or Redskins jersey at Veteran Stadium in the upper decks would result in being body surfed by several drunk Eagles fans while their kids threw their hot dogs at you.

        The Linc made football out of reach of the average Eagles fan. You know, the fun guys that call into WIP all day. Once they put seat licenses and ridiculous season ticket prices, the kind folks from the 700 Level could no longer afford seats at the Linc.

        Count your blessings being at the Linc in an away jersey. I still wouldn’t do it in a bet.

      • Dan K.

        October 03, 2015 10:35 PM

        @Major,

        So what you’re saying is personal experiences only count as evidence of an opinion if that opinion is yours? Good to know.

        I’ve been to the Vet. I practically grew up there. I have a lot of memories and some memorabilia from that era. And yet the worst of those memories is the piling on of losses by the Phillies. I’ve seen people be escorted out of games before, sure. But nothing that justifies the vitriolic criticism that is spewed every year.

        If Phillies fans scare away some players, so be it. Kruk said it best about those players, “You didn’t have the guts to succeed here.”

    • Greg

      October 03, 2015 11:21 PM

      Joe, I have been to many Phillies-Braves games in Atlanta while wearing Phils gear and can tell you horror stories aplenty regarding the behavior of the fans there. The idea that “midwestern fans act like this, southern fans act like this, Philly fans act like this” is 95% confirmation bias in my humble opinion.

  2. Norcalvol

    October 03, 2015 02:09 AM

    The vibe at a sporting event in the NE is different… Much more edgy. But Affeldt has to remember that his experience is playing for the Giants during a time when they became a hated entity in Phila because of the Cody Ross Experience. But the stadium makes a difference too. Affeldt’s isn’t old enough to know that Giants fans in Candelstick Park were downright hostile and nasty… The new park in SF has softened those rough edges. Same for Phila… just imagine what he would have said had he played at the Vet.

  3. Bubba0101

    October 03, 2015 08:28 AM

    Who’s Jeremy Affeldt?

  4. Carmine

    October 03, 2015 09:57 AM

    Of course, Thome and Lee played in Cleveland before coming to Philly. Oh no, I’m guilty of the same stereotyping!

  5. Boo-urns

    October 05, 2015 08:07 AM

    Philly fans (esp. Eagles fans) can be terrible sometimes. And no, it’s not because they are “knowledgeable and passionate” as local sports media like to spout to justify their loutish behaviors. (Nothing could be further from the truth.) Many — not all, but many — are simply low-brow loudmouth bullies.

    Sports fans — especially NFL fans — all over exhibit this behavior, no one is saying this doesn’t happen in other cities. But it seems particularly pervasive in the Philly area.

    And, for the record: screaming at the top of your lungs at the TV in the bar isn’t going to change what’s happening on the field. It just make you look like a pathetic loser. For the record.

  6. GB

    October 05, 2015 01:01 PM

    Wasn’t San Francisco where several fans have been attacked and injured at games over the last few years?

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