Ethics Heroes: Philadelphia Phillies Fans

Now there’s something I thought I’d never write.

The baseball fans in Philadelphia have long had the reputation of being among the most brutal and unforgiving in all of baseball, which is quite an accomplishment. I am, as you know if you visit here often, a born-‘n’-bred Boston Red Sox fan. In the Fifties, fans literally ran a butter-fingered shortstop, Don Buddin, out of town by booing him so hard that he reportedly was moved to tears (and there’s no crying in baseball). After the 2004 World Champion Sox’s spiritual leader and centerfield star Johnny Damon defied his own professed love for the city and the team by signing with the Yankees. He was viciously jeered at Fenway Park for the rest of his career. Still, Philly fans are supposedly tougher.

Thus Philly third baseman Alec Bohm had every reason to dread his next home game after a personal and professional disaster two nights ago. He made three errors in the first three innings Monday in a 5-4 win over the Mets, and after the last, was caught on camera screaming, “I fucking hate this place!” to nobody in particular. Expressing similar sentiments in the Sixties caused the great Dick Allen to be so abused by Philly fans he once wrote “BOO!” in the dirt to jeer back at them. Allen had to be traded too.

After the game, Boem issued a sincere if not especially eloquent apology, not that such has worked very often to sooth bruised baseball fan base egos:

“I said it. Do I mean it? No. It’s a frustrating night for me, obviously. Made a few mistakes in the field. Look, these people, these fans, they just want to win. You heard it, we came back, they’re great. I’m just sorry [I said that] to them. I don’t mean that.”

Well, maybe Philly fans have become more ethical. When Bohm entered last night’s game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning fearing the worst, the fans gave him a loud standing ovation. If it were a movie, he would have hit a game-winning homer, but he grounded out.

“It was cool, it was really cool,” Bohm told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I appreciated it. At the end of the day, if you have siblings, you fight with your siblings one second, and then you’re best friends again. All they [the fans] want is transparency. We all want the same thing. We’re all in this together.”

Nice.

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