04.11.05

McCafferty On Philly Fan Anger, Apathy

Posted in Baseball at 10:05 am by

Low turnouts and audible grumbling marked opening week at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, and the Delaware County Times’ Jack McCafferty thinks he knows why.

The Phillies sold 23 percent fewer season tickets than they did last year. That should not be. That cannot be. No, the Phillies must treat this evident fan-disconnect as a crisis, or be made to explain exactly why it was that they required that new stadium, inches awayfrom the old one.

For now, there is only one reasonable theory: That the time between Years 1 and 2 in the new ballpark was so outrageously misspent by the Phillies™ front office that people decided to rebel at the box office.

Explore, then, this waterfall of intolerable offenses now being reflected in apathy and catcalls, even at a time when there are no Stanley Cup playoffs, the Sixers are about a .500 basketball club … and the Phillies actually don™t have a bad baseball team:

- Despite unfortunate injuries, the 2004 Phillies were within striking range of contention. But they needed a leadoff hitter and a center fielder, and Carlos Beltran was available. Beltran wound up in Houston, which wound up winning a playoff round. The Phillies, shrugging, saying they did not have the prospects at the particular positions demanded by Kansas City, shuffled along to the trade deadline and settled for a couple of veteran relievers and Cory Lidle — too late to make a difference in the N.L. East race.

Meanwhile, they held on to Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd as if they were the nucleus of the 1966 National League All-Star team.

The fans were disturbed.

- Once it was certain that the Phillies would not reach the postseason, G.M. Ed Wade™s response was to fire one of the most popular figures in the sorry history of the organization. And while a reasonable argument could have been crafted for replacing manager Larry Bowa, whose clubhouse had turned into a depression-treatment center, remember the theme: Fan rebellion.

The customers liked Bowa, even if the players thought him to be miserable. So the customers turned miserable instead.

- During the search for a new manager, Jim Leyland fired in an application. Hmmm, thought the fans. Bowa was fine, but Leyland is a proven champion ..and he wants to manage the Phillies? Do it.

Instead, Wade hired Charlie Manuel, who had been hanging around the joint like a vulture as Bowa struggled. Technically, Manuel did nothing wrong. Again, though, the theme: Why are the fans so ticked off?

Perception matters. And as long as Leyland is sitting there, unemployed, with his cell number on Wade™s speed-dial, there will be a discomfort with Manuel and anything he tries … and an unspoken demand for the G.M. to pick up that phone.

- Surely, after packing the CBP to the tune of 3.3 million, the fans could expect the best free agents — in particular, Beltran.

Instead, they watched two starting pitchers leave and Jon Lieber arrive, and wound up with the 39-year-old Kenny Lofton in center. Frankly, it was the kind of offseason they™d grown used to when the Phillies were using the Vet™s revenue constraints as their excuse for quiet winters.

5 Responses to “McCafferty On Philly Fan Anger, Apathy”

  1. Chuck Meehan says:

    This article is total garbage which I do not have the time to pick apart statement by statement.

  2. Chuck Meehan says:

    Bullpen meltdowns are amongst the ugliest of losses and after 3 in a row and a opening series attendance that was down due to A: Expected drop-off after an inaugural season, B: The third game of the home opening series was a day game (as was the opening game)and many folks cant take off work twice in one week, certain quarters of Whineydelphia media jumped in with the doom and gloom and yes, there is a large brigade of bitter morons who are upset about Larry Bowa being fired (believe it or not). 2 weeks ago, Barstool Bill Conlin of the Daily News wrote a long doomy article about how Pat Burrel was hiding his wrist injury and how he wasnt going to make it north without his hand falling off or some shit (no doubt his “source” came from a watering hole in Clearwater Florida) and Burrell is the presumed NL Player of The Week (him, or Josh Beckett). After the Phillies total beatdowns of the Cards on Saturday and Sunday, if they can take 2 of 3 in Florida, CBP will be humming for next weeks series against the Braves. If they get clocked in FLA, the sky will be falling again.

  3. Chuck Meehan says:

    One last note: The writer couldnt even get Loftons age right. Lofton turns 38 on 5/31

  4. Ramona Africa says:

    did you lose your job between 11:19 and 11:45? Either you’ve got time to pick the garbage apart or you don’t.

  5. Chuck Meehan says:

    Mona- I could ramble and rant on all day about some (err a lot) of these fools but it would be too Philly-specific to comment more than a quick and(sloppy) surface skimming on this board. You, if anybody, know how some of those devils in Philly can be like. Thanks for keeping in touch and next time I’m in town we’ll picnic again at Clark Park. You bring the garlic. I’ll bring the yams. ONNA MOVE!!!

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