Philadelphia Phillies: The Case for the Philadelphia Boobird

Mike HenryContributor IApril 12, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Fans cheer for the Phillies as they take on the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Hey Santa, are you afraid?

You should be.

Those scary Philadelphia fans are on the prowl. The same fans whose guttural noises can cripple a millionaire's psyche. Just ask Cole Hamels, who was so distraught by the boos during his opening start that he was moved to say this:

"If you get that response, it's the understanding that people expect you to do well, and when you don't, they're disappointed"

Wait, what? He should be in a daze. 

How on earth could he have overcome the sheer outpouring of vitriol aimed his way? It's because this isn't his first rodeo.

In a world where barely a week goes by without a clever journalist making a reference connecting booing and the city of Philadelphia, Hamels gets it. Phillies fans expect the world of him. John, the electrician from Fishtown, paid a lot of money to take his kids to the game and he wants to see a couple of scoreless frames. 

Nothing compares to the expectations that the majority of star athletes put on themselves.

Sure, there are exceptions. Manny, I'm looking at you. However, the majority of jocks want to perform their best every time they put on the uniform. So why shouldn't the fans expect their best?

The Boo. It's the over-hyped, over-analyzed, ESPN-headlining sound that out-of-town journalists sitting in the Philadelphia press boxes wait for.

Here they go again. Those disgraceful Philadelphia fans are booing another star player. 

Meanwhile, Dodgers fans beat and stab opposing fans who have the gall to wear their teams' colors into Dodger Stadium.

Most Philadelphia fans have been told since they were young that they boo more than any other fanbase in the country. So naturally, they feel the need to over-compensate when a player goes out and produces a dud performance. Whether we like it or not, booing has become a part of the Philadelphia fan culture.

Sometimes the outsiders just don't get it.

Donovan McNabb, Bobby Abreu, Eric Lindros—we booed because we didn't think they cared. Allen Iverson left it all out on the floor. He never left you wondering if he had given his all that night. The aforementioned group did. Whether perception is reality is a wholly separate argument. 

The Boo is feared by the overly sensitive star but ignored by the grizzled veteran. It's a singular expression of disgust. It comes in bunches, but is seldom heard in Citizen Bank Park, at least by Philadelphia standards. It's the only way for fans to let their favorite player know they don't appreciate their efforts.

Don't expect A-Rod to come out by the players' entrance and listen to each fan's gripes about his playoff performance. The time when athletes were easily accessible is over. Now all we can do when Jimmy Rollins doesn't leg out an infield grounder is let him hear it on the way back in.

Besides, he can take it. Even if Donovan couldn't.