When I realized that Susan Finkelstein, the woman who tried to get World Series tickets for sex, was going to be my generations’ contribution to the god-awfulness of Philadelphia fandom, I was disappointed. Severely.
The woman was charged with “attempted prostitution.” That’s like getting the “participation” badge on fitness day. “Thanks for trying,” said the authorities, “but you’ll have to be a lot more whorish than that if you want to get charged with prostitution in this town.” Then they folded their arms and winked knowingly at each other.
Like I said. Disappointing.
So when Matthew Clemmens provided us with some self-induced vomiting on the child of a police captain at a Phillies game, it was a hot shower of beer-soaked relief across my face.
Now, if you read anything about this story, and who wouldn’t, it’s pretty disgusting. Actually, it might be the most abominable thing that’s happened in Citizens Bank Park.
“Typical Phillies fan! First they throw batteries at J.D. Drew and now this Phillies fan intentionally vomits on an 11 year old girl. What is next?” comments somebody calling themselves “Pukahontas.”
Let me just start by saying that the implication of the “J.D. Drew-battery” incident being the first thing that’s gone horribly, horribly wrong in a baseball game in Philadelphia is both insulting and ignorant. Secondly, even though I will be maintaining objectivity throughout this despite my Phillies fandom, I will take a break for a second to say that J.D. Drew is a total asshole.
But whether its vomit, batteries, or anymore of the colorful, urine-doused plethora of nightmares capable of spewing out of the stands in CBP, you can’t say things like this just happen in Philadelphia. Even within the confines of our stadium, behavior like that doesn’t happen on a daily basis… and it’s far from “typical.” I don’t know about other stadiums, but the Phillies brass has been working to try and garner the “family friendly” image that was so heartily destroyed in the upper levels of the Vet.
Stuff like intentional pukes wars may happen more here, but it’s definitely not “typical.”
Exhibit A. Remember this jackass? He lives in Chicago. Chicago, if you’ll recall, is a different city than Philadelphia. Now, in my lifetime, I have never seen a truly dominant Cubs team. I just happened to live in era where no squad of Cubbies has been able to bulldoze into the postseason with any real sense of hope. That, in turn, reflects the nature of fans, so again, in my lifetime, I have seen Cubs fans as sympathetic fans who can’t catch a break (and living in Philly, for a while, that was something I could relate to).
Yet, that image didn’t stop people from labeling the incident “Typical of Chicago fans…truly.”
That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There were tens of thousands of other Cubs fans at that game with beers still in their hands.
And hello there, Mr. Wants-a-home-run-ball-so-badly-he-forgoes-all-staircase-etiquette. I mean, there’s not a lot of rules for a flight of stairs. “Not pushing others down it,” is probably #1, and it’s fairly simple to follow. But this Dodgers fan, in a rare moment of impassioned glee involving the actual game in which he is in attendance (What’s he doing there, anyway? It’s only the first inning), abandons this rule, and not only carelessly knocks a guy out of the way, the victim is carrying pipin’ hot nachos. Mmmm. Classy.
And let’s not forget about those “typical” minor league Northwest Arkansas Natural fans, and how we can judge all of them based on the actions of one over-spirited fellow who burst onto the field to defecate and attempt an escape.
Oh wait! Did I tell you about the fans at Series A soccer matches, who routinely hurl piss-filled balloons at each other? Ha, ha! Typical Phillies fans.
When there are 45,000+ people in one place, chances are a few of them are going to be total douche bags. Throw beer and sports into the mix, and hey now, you get infrequent disasters. Once in a while, it will culminate into something full of buzzwords like “puke” and “11-year-old” and “police captain,” phrases that make a news editor piss himself with glee. It could be Matthew Clemmens, exemplifying his obnoxious, friendless existence, or it could be some gutless jerk in a Cubs hat throwing beer onto the field.
A few months from now, Clemmens will be nothing but a “Remember that time…” guy, with a future heavily invested in what will most likely be heart disease, prison rape, or lies to his family about getting his act together. The truth is, he will be alone, in a suburban basement, quietly warbling Madonna songs to himself as he thinks about those three days when his hideous face and well-earned black eye made him a star.
“Yeah,” he’ll whisper, pulling the scrapbook with newspaper clipping from his infamous puke-assault off the book shelf on another Christmas morning without any friends or family. “… those were the days.”
And that just doesn’t have anything to do with baseball.