The Rage of Philadelphia Sports Fans Is Now a Marketing Vehicle

Kevin McLaughlinContributor IAugust 14, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles fans are more than just passionate. When football season is under way, the local populace pays attention to little else.
Philadelphia Eagles fans are more than just passionate. When football season is under way, the local populace pays attention to little else.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

In a daily promotion for Duracell AAA rechargeable batteries that ran earlier this week, Web retailer Woot suggests that with the Phillies' season still in full swing and Eagles season just around the corner, now is a good time for Philadelphia fans to stock up on things to throw at opposing players.

According to Woot's logic, throwing rechargeable batteries makes an even stronger statement than tossing regular ones. “Throwing any lame batteries shows them that you're angry. Throwing rechargeable batteries shows that you've taken your rage to a whole new level!” Woot says in its description of the promotion.

Stop for a minute to contemplate this: The rage of the Philadelphia fan, once valued by anthropologists  for the terrifying glimpse into the Northeastern sports psyche it provided, has now become a marketing vehicle. And it’s easy to see why, as Philadelphia sports fans have, over the years, been guilty of behavior that frankly scares the hell out of most of the rest of the country.

Woot is referencing the alarming case of J.D. Drew, who had a few D-cells tossed in his direction during his first visit to the city in 1999 as a outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals. But Drew, the Phillies first round pick in 1997, incurred fans’ wrath by refusing to sign with the team. If fans could have sneaked car batteries into Veterans Stadium, they would have thrown those, too.

Make any blind generalization about Philadelphia sports fans, and you’ll probably hit on a surprising amount of truth. Everyone has heard about the idiot who threw up on a little kid at a Phillies' game in 2010; the genius who fired off a marine flare during an Eagles-Niners' Monday night game in 1997; and the courtroom in the basement of Veterans Stadium. It’s all true, and there’s more you haven't heard about.

Just ask the media in other cities, which have been repeating this meme for decades. Never mind that this stuff happens in any city with a sports team. If it happens in Philadelphia, it gets permanently etched in the annals of city sports lore, free to be included in a Web e-tailer’s tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign. Free to be batted around like a crusty old beach ball of hackneyed, parroted belief.

What Woot’s marketers don’t realize is that we love being characterized this way. Most of us wouldn’t even argue with it—especially those who ever sat in the 700 level of the Vet for any Eagles' game.

Throw rechargeable batteries? Sure we will, and you’ll be lucky to escape the cascade of environmentally-responsible energy projectiles yourself—better wear a helmet, Woot!