Monday, August 25, 2008

Gregg Doyel added to my hate list

Gregg Doyel you are now on the list. Doyel, a national columnist from CBS SportsLine, decided to stick his nose in other peoples business last Thursday when he decided to write about Jimmy Rollins' remarks on Philadelphia fans being "front-runners". Here is the introduction of the slander known as "journalism" by Doyel:

Tough? My ass. Philly fans aren't tough. Philly fans are exactly what Jimmy Rollins said they are. They're front-runners.

Which means they're soft.

All front-runners are, by definition, soft. A front-runner is gutless. A front-runner gets behind a winner, sure, but only gets on a loser. A front-runner takes the easy road. That's what a front-runner does.

And so this is what Philly fans did Tuesday night when the Phillies returned to town for the first time since Rollins made his front-runner remark a week earlier. They showed their soft side.

They booed him.

You babies.

Look, Philly fans, you can't have it both ways. If you're going to dish it, you have to be able to take it. Flick a player in the nose all you want, but when one of them flicks you back, you have to smirk and let him know it didn't hurt. Otherwise, you're nothing but a schoolyard bully -- strong because you have all that size, but weak as soon as someone fights back.

Rollins fought back, and Philly, the tough town that it is, cried its eyes out.

You babies? Doyel, WTF?!?! Why is Doyel so bitter? And why the hell is he bashing a town like this that he has never lived in? Gregg Doyel has lived in Hawai'i, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. Where does he get off ripping a city that he collectively knows nothing about? The entire article is swill. Go ahead an read it yourself.

Let's tackle a few points here.
  1. Gregg Doyel uses rash generalizations throughout this column - He collectively calls all Philadelphia fans and city-dwellers "front-runners", "babies", "soft", and "idiots". How does he keep his job?
  2. He blames the fans for teams ineptness in baseball, basketball, football and hockey...with no support of that notion
    Right, Philly fans? You idiots. There are lots of reasons your town hasn't won a championship in football, baseball or basketball since 1983 (ArenaBowl doesn't count), and why the Phillies specifically have won a single World Series (1980) in 124 years in the big leagues -- and you, the Philly fan, are one of them.
  3. The whole "front-runner" thing should be addressed, for both Rollins and Doyel.

Season 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
NL East 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd
Attendance 4th 13th 11th 8th 4th

Season 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Atlantic 1st N/A 2nd 5th 4th
Attendance 4th N/A 4th 7th 4th

Season 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
NFC East 1st 1st 4th 1st 4th
Attendance 17th 17th 16th 13th 18th

Season 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Atlantic 5th 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd
Attendance 4th 10th 21st 29th 23rd

A few things. What I am looking for is consistency, not the ranking. The Eagles are a great example. They rank in the bottom half in means of overall home attendance but this can be attributed to the stadium size. There are 15 stadiums larger than Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc holds ~68,500. They have been over 100% capacity since 2003, the year the stadium opened. In contrast, the Redskins stadium, FedEx Field, holds a capacity of ~80,000. That means Washington is capable of adding an additional 11,500 bodies for every home game. That's over 100,000 more people if every game is a sell out. So it is indeed unfair to look at the attendance rank. Look at the number being consistent.

The only team that is extremely up and down - and arguably the team that garners the least amount of attention from Philly fans - is the 76ers. Of all Philly sports teams they seem to house the most "front-runner" fans. Attendance peaked at 4th in 2003 but was second-to-last in 2006. You won't see that from any other Philly team, specifically the Flyers and Eagles. You may think that each of those teams is consistently good and these numbers are irrelevant. To the contrary. The Flyers have experienced their worst season in history recently and the Eagles finished last in the division 2 out of the last 3 years. What did the fans have to say about that? WE SUPPORT YOU. The Eagles posted their 2nd best attendance record in the last 5 seasons in 2005, despite finishing in last place in the NFC East. The Flyers are the model of consistency. Through the last 5 seasons, the Flyers have been had the 4th best attendance record three times. During the worst season in franchise history the Flyers still finished 7th. 7th! Again, we are looking at consistency, not the rank.

It is hard to quantify what would be a "front-runner" jump in attendance. For baseball I'd like to think that a +/- of 3 ranks is acceptable. A +/- of 4 to 7 is a little shady. And a +/- of 8 or 9 is bandwagon territory. +/- of 10 or more definitely classifies the group as "front-runnging". Unfortunately the Phillies fans in 2005, dropping 9 spots. However it is a tad unusual and it may be because 2005 was an anomaly (however not entirely sure because I didn't look past 2004). Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 and the people were excited for the new team and the new stadium. The opening of CBP may have brought an abnormal amount of fans. I think the Phillies, on average at CBP, should finish between 7th and 11th in attendance rank. Putting 2004 into context the change in attendance from 2004 to 2005 is a bit more reasonable albeit a bit shady.

"Front-runners" and "bandwagoners" are unavoidable. They dwell in every city. However, Gregg Doyel's speaks as if this only happens in Philadelphia, which is bull. Philadelphia actually looks like a city of consistency when it comes to 75% of sport teams (sorry 76ers). Perhaps the city is just a team steeped with tradition (baseball) and the craving of grittier play (football, hockey), than finesse and conditioning (basketball).

The slander that Doyel provides is absolutely uncalled for and unnecessary. People love to hate on Philadelphia, for whatever reason. Perhaps its because the fans are blue-collared, die-hards that call it as it is. They don't hide their emotions nor do they sugar coat anything, for better or worse. Sure there are some that are out of line but just as "front-runners" exist in every city, so does the inappropriate fan. I have encountered it in Pittsburgh. I encountered it at the Orange Bowl. I even got the finger from an elderly lady in Hartford. Philadelphia fans are no different than any other city. Doyel, you're out of line.

P.S. - This post doesn't even address the question of whether it is right or wrong to boo a professional athlete. Short and sweet: it is right to do so in the right context and for the right reasons, i.e. a millionaire not performing to his abilities.

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