• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

asterix

There are times when I’ve been a little ashamed to be from Philly. The time fans booed Michael Irvin when he was lying motionless on the turf. That was ugly.

But the above photo makes me proud to be a Philadelphian. Remember that scene from City Slickers, when Jack Palance holds up his index finger and tells Billy Crystal that that’s the secret of life? That one thing — Billy’s just got to figure out what his “one thing” is and embrace it?

Well, in Philadelphia, we know the one thing that we do better than anybody else. We boo. No city’s fans offer criticism as relentlessly, genuinely, and effectively as we do. The above photo of the fans in the right field bleachers as Citizens Bank Park as exhit 1A.

6 Responses to “Screw You, Barry.”

  1. dan eberle says:

    I’m not sure what the design on those sheets of paper are supposed to signify, but I’m assuming it’s something to do with steriods/BALCO. You’re right, Coley, it was a joy to watch/hear the Philly fans this past weekend. I love ripping Philly–who doesn’t?–but they did there American duty this weekend. Bravo.

  2. dan eberle says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit I am a teacher and have mistakenly spelled “their” as “there” in my last post…..

    I hope Philly fans are booing me…..

  3. Dan, the asterixes are supposed to represent the asterix that would go next to Barry Bonds’s name in the record book. Many people have suggested that, if he passes Aaron, his record should have an asterix next to it, with an accompanying note explaining that he cheated and will burn in hell.

  4. Ah, the asterisk argument. The magical fix-all of baseball journalists and fans whenever an injustice has been done. Put an asterisk next to it. It’s been almost forty-five years since the people’s disapproval at the thought of Roger Maris one-upping the beloved Babe resulted in then-Commissioner Ford Frick slapping the symbol next to 61, and we’re still here. It was a bad idea then and nothing has changed. It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    I am not a Barry Bonds apologist. I have no doubts that the man has used illegal performance enhancing drugs. I believe that his career would have ended several years ago if not for this chemical edge. Seventy-three homeruns would still be considered impossible and we most certainly would not be arguing about slapping the man with an asterisk. And I lament this because the argument makes no sense.

    What an asterisk actually means is that this particular “record” in question is disputable for one reason or other. Maris got hit with one because the Babe only had 154 games to reach his 60 HR total, whereas Maris had 162 games due to the expansion of the season schedule over the years. In retrospect, was this actually necessary? Did it accomplish anything? When McGuire and Sosa’s season-long homerun derby was nearing its end, the number everyone was talking about was 61. The Babe’s 60 and the asterisk were merely side notes. The number was 61 – with or without the asterisk. That’s the number upon which we fixated. That asterisk put upon Maris’s record in 1961 was nothing more than a publicity stunt and a PR move. With the fans of baseball still worshipping at the altar of Ruth, and the backlash that followed Maris’s feat, Ford Frick either caved in under the pressure to act, or actually felt that it would be the right thing to do, which ought to bring into question Frick’s relationship with Ruth (Frick was once a journalist who was the ghostwriter for Ruth’s book “Babe Ruth’s Own Book of Baseball”, written a year after the Babe hit his 60th). The asterisk did nothing to diminish the record set by Roger Maris. All it accomplished ultimately was to make every record both past and future open to scrutiny and argument.

    So why shouldn’t Barry Bonds get one, aside from my argument that it would be ultimately meaningless? For one, it lets Major League Baseball off the hook. Both the league and the owners (including Bud Selig) profited greatly from Barry Bonds. The fans came to the stadiums with cameras in hand to see the freak hit one out. Attendance was up, revenue was up, and the Giants ended up with a brand new stadium. Having Bud Selig allow an asterisk to be put next to Barry Bonds’ career totals would equate to Selig and the rest of the MLB hierarchy vilifying Bonds – even though they let it happen while profiting financially. Moreover, even though we are discussing individual “accomplishments” here when we discuss Bonds and his records, baseball is not as individualistic as that. Should we put an asterisk next to Rich Aurilia’s career totals because he benefited from hitting in front of Bonds? How many runs would he have scored in 2001 if Bonds wasn’t on enhancers? How many hittable pitches did he see because no one wanted to walk him before facing Bonds? Who knows? And what about the other way around? Should we inflate Terry Mulholland’s career statistics because he had to face Bonds 56 times over his career? Of course not. If Major League Baseball hits him with an asterisk, then they’re not taking responsibility for what they allowed to happen – not just with Bonds, but with Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire, Rafael Palmeiro, Matt Lawton, Felix Heredia, the Giambi brothers, and who knows how many others. Oh, and by the way, from what I understand, Major League Baseball never had (and still doesn’t) have the ability to put an asterisk on anyone within the record books – because Major League Baseball actually doesn’t keep records in a book.

    P.S.: Coley, Philly fans are terrible people. Not because they boo everything, but because they’re proud that they boo everything. What kind of accomplishment is this? (And no, New York fans are not immune to this criticism)

  5. And yes, I’m realizing that I spelled McGwire wrong. Dan, it’s ok.

  6. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, at least the Philly fans didn’t throw batteries this time. Apparently, they only save that special honor for J.D. Drew.

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