June 07, 2016
When it comes to Philadelphia sports fans, the hits just keep on coming.
By now everybody has seen the photo of the fool who threw the aluminum beer bottle at Ryan Howard on Saturday at Citizen’s Bank Park, and the aftermath is a dragnet of locals and officials trying to put a name to the face and make him pay the price.
The price has already been paid by Philadelphia sports fans who continue to be victimized by the daft few who don’t understand civility at public events.
If not a name, we at least now have a face of the dopey fan. We have a face of the shame every local fan feels when the integrity of a region’s fans is sullied by a stupid act by a classless individual.
There is certainly a pile of evidence stacked against the local sports fan base. The stories go one and one, from generation to generation, but this one was particularly sordid.
This was a bottle tossed at the home team, at a local hero, by somebody wearing lots of Phillies gear. It’s as embarrassing as it gets.
Whether or not a name is put to the face, the Phillies and all Philadelphia sports teams should use the photo as the picture of a donkey.
The photo should be used on scoreboards with the message “Don’t Be a Donkey.” And if a name is discovered the fan needs to be banned from not only the Phillies but also the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers.
It’s a walk of shame that needs to be taken.
The death of Muhammad Ali has brought an outpouring of tributes from literally every corner of the globe, a true testament to the legacy of his life.
More than any other athlete of his generation – and following generations, Ali had an impact well beyond the boxing ring. Ali made people check their conscience and think about things well beyond sports.
Ali was a special athlete and human being with a charisma that could charm the gods, but there were more than a few moments he was not charming to many Americans, especially veterans during the Vietnam era.
It makes you wonder if the common theme among sports fans is correct that they don’t want athletes to spout their political views, or hear their thoughts on social issues.
In the age of social media, the landscape is ripe for an athlete or an ex-athlete to make a huge mistake to turn large portions of the public against them. Witness the mess Curt Schilling made of his career with his tweets, and there seems to be a daily apology for somebody in the world of sports for something on social media.
The issue goes well beyond sports as musicians and actors also have to walk the line between broadcasting personal opinion and trying to remain attractive to the most people to buy their product.
Recently we have seen Bruce Springsteen make his feelings public about North Carolina’s policies in regard to some LGBT issues when he canceled a concert in that state.
There is much risk involved – and there are many dopes with athletic talent – but given their platform, there is no doubt some voices should be heard on subjects well past the athletic fields or artistic stages.
Bad news for local hockey fans, not just because the Pittsburgh Penguins are on the cusp of winning the Stanley Cup, but because the Pens are doing their post-season damage without huge contributions from their stars.
The Penguins are getting big efforts from young and new players such as Conor Sheary, Nick Bonino and especially, goalie Matt Murray. Flyers fans should be very concerned that the Penguins have upgraded in goal from Marc-Andre Fleury to Murray.
It’s bad enough that the Penguins still have years to visit Philadelphia with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang, but now the franchise has a notable coach in Mike Sullivan and a next generation of impact players. On the bright side, the Flyers have a cupboard full of young defensemen, a bright coach and it should lead to more years of intense cross-state rivalry with the Penguins.
It will just make it that much sweeter when the Flyers beat them – and more painful when they lose.
By the way, despite trailing in the series the San Jose Sharks organization has absolutely owned the post-season award for game presentation. The Sharks featured two members of Metallica for the National Anthem prior to Game 4 and although it wasn’t technically clean they pumped up the house with volume and energy.
The Sharks also used those electronic bracelets (yes, the same ones that ended up on the ice in Philly) to create a dramatic opening game scene with the shadows of sharks on the ice at the Shark Tank.
Nice, but it won’t score them any goals.