Crash Course

Quick Note: Without addressing the world of sports for some time, the blog will get an overhaul today. Enjoy the dueling guest columns below, and later on I will be posting pictures from tonight’s Magic-Bobcats preseason game. This would be otherwise uneventful, but the Magic are playing their inaugural season in the state-of-the-art Amway Center.

I took a class this time last year called English 409: Opinion Writing. This was a journalism elective course that met every Wednesday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. I remember these specific time details because one evening, our professor dismissed class early so that none of us would miss the World Series game being played. It was the Yankees and Phillies after all, and the University of Delaware is about the largest cross section of fans of those teams. The stipulation to our get-out-of-class-early card — we had to write an opinion piece on the World Series.

I wrote my assignment from the perspective of a Mets fan. “It’s not easy being orange, blue, and black” it started. (I’ve searched frantically for the actual text, which I remember seeing in the recent past, but have concluded that I most likely threw it out.) See, as a Mets fan, a Yankees-Phillies Worlds Series is a nightmare come true. A “lose-lose situation” I recall writing. Either our cross town foes widen the historical gap or our division rivals grow all the more arrogant and obnoxious. The only positive outcomes were for a meteor to strike the stadium during the 7th inning, or the British reigniting the revolutionary war and starting their attack on the two teams that embody patriotism the most. Unfortunately, though, it appears those two teams are on a collision course to meet again in this years World Series. Sigh.

However, rather than writing the same column for the minority that is the Mets fan base to read, I’ve hatched another plan. A point/counter point. The very first showdown within the Out The Gates ring. In one corner, a passionate die-hard Yankee fan. In the other, a similarly riled-up Phillies fan. If this is truly a great rivalry between the leagues two best teams, then let’s see whose fans are funnier/crazier/more fanatic. I’ve asked two of my close friends to write columns explaining why their team will win it all this year, and why beating the other will make their victory all the more satisfying. Bryan Berkowitz in the Blue Trunks. Dan Urda in the Red.

Yanks Fan:

If New York has the smartest fans, then Philadelphia is its drunken cousin.  I’ve been writing, preaching and shouting from the rooftops that it will be the Yankees taking on the Phillies in the World Series this year since the last one ended.  The two teams are the cream of the crop when it comes to the MLB, so why wouldn’t they meet again?  Well for one, both teams still have another round to go to get there, but if both teams do meet again, then NEW YORK WILL WIN IT IN SIX.

I am so sick and tired of seeing people such as my opponent live-tweet games that go like this….

*Halladay strikes out the side.

@PhillyPhanTwitter- Roy Halladay is the best pitcher ever! Phils all the way this year!

*Hallady gives up a run putting Philly down 0-1 in the third inning.

@PhillyPhanTwitter- Halladay (exploitive deleted) SUCKS! The Phils SUCK.  EVERYTHING SUCKS!

It seems one World Series win in the automobile era should make me respect this franchise, but how can I when Phillies fans already are spoiled with winning? They won one time. Talk to me when they hit double digit titles.  Speaking of double digit championship wins, the Yankees are the only team to get there with 27 world championships while the next highest are the Oakland A’s with nine.

As for the match up, the Phillies finally improved their staff with Roy Oswalt.  They now have a solid three starters which I can’t say the Yankees have.  I still think they would do just as well with Cliff Lee on the team as Halladay can’t possibly win more games than Lee because Lee won all of his last year. So where’s the improvement? Roy Oswalt, who gave up two long balls in his last start and couldn’t even make it to the sixth inning?  If anything, their improvement came from Cole Hamels who had a resurgence this year, so the trade still proves to be unnecessary.

What about the Bronx Bombers?  Well, if having ARod, Jeter, Swisher, Teixiera and this guy Robinson Cano (who hit a .319 average and 29 homers this season), is any reason not to add any new talent I don’t know what is but, this is the Yanks we’re talking about. Additions like Curtis Granderson and Lance Berkman are at the end of the lineup when they’d be batting in the heart on any other team.  Be afraid any opposing team, be very afraid.  See, the problem for every other team is, while the Yanks pitching staff may not be what the Phillies have, they still have CC Sabathia- Cy Young candidate, Andy Pettitte- won the most games in post season history, not to mention Phil Hughes- pitched a gem last week.

Saying that Philly is going to win another title over New York is like saying Glee is a quality, multi-demographic show. You just sound delusional. It’s not going to happen.  If the Yanks somehow fall to the Rangers, however, well enjoy Philly because that is the only chance they have at winning.  Philly “phans” (vomit) can cry about it all they want and argue over any stupid statistic that they can think of such as “Cole is 5-0 when pitching in under 60 degree weather,” but it won’t matter.  Just let the Yanks win their 28th title and go back to watching the Eagles underachieve like every season.  Some things never change, and the man upstairs is going to stay a Yankee fan. And New York will plan another parade. — Bryan Berkowitz, @berkowitzb

Phillies Fan:

By now, you have been told that I am writing the Philly fan portion of this column.  Therefore, by now, you have formed an opinion of me.  Philly fans are the worst.  They booed Santa!  Classless.  Obnoxious.  Blue-collar.  They booed Santa!  Their old stadium had to have a jail inside it!  They threw batteries at JD Drew.  They call the knaves jacks!  They booed Santa!

Truth is, the country looks at Philly fans like they are the mucus family in the Mucinex commercials.  The Yankees, on the other hand, are the rich kid who always finished at the top of his class because his daddy paid the teachers.  New York fans know their sports, and I respect that aspect of their passion, but the sense of entitlement and superiority is sickening.  Philly fans are frowned upon because in the past, we have booed underachievers.  In New York, any underachievers were sent packing and were replaced with whatever superstar free-agent the Royals or Pirates couldn’t afford to hold on to. You never booed because you never had to.

Now, seemingly out of nowhere, the Phillies and the Yankees are rivals.  How did this happen?  They never played a truly meaningful game against each other until last seasons’ World Series.  Yet now, if you say the word “Yankees” to a Phillies fan, his blood starts to boil, and vice versa.  The reason for this is simple, each team represents exactly what the fan base of the other detests the most. Yankees and their fans represent an heir of supremacy that is the exact opposite of the working-class mentality Philadelphia stands for.  The Yankees have always been the rich kid who was forced to go to public school with the kids whose parents worked 12 hour days cleaning pools, and regarded those kids as nuisances.  The Phillies have always been the kid who wanted so badly to have a social life in high school, but had to work every day after classes to contribute to his family.

Then, in the early 2000’s, something unprecedented in Philadelphia happened.  Call it luck or good scouting, but the Phillies were able to scoop up an infielder from UCLA in the first round named Chase Utley.  The next year, the Phillies drafted a guy with a long swing and warning track power in the 5th — Ryan Howard.  In 2002, the Phillies risked a first round pick on a high school pitcher, who are generally hit or miss, and ended up with Cole Hamels.  Over the next three years, the team would add two guys of the scrap heap who nobody else wanted, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.

Suddenly, the Phillies had a mix of superstars, spark plugs, pitchers, and a closer.  All were young and signed to long term deals.  The team started winning, fans started coming to every game and buying merchandise, and the team was making enough money to afford the contracts of guys like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.  Flash forward to 2010.  The nucleus mentioned above has led the Phillies to four straight division titles, two straight World Series appearances, and in 2008, a World Series victory.

I mentioned the Phillies hatred for the Yankees and their fans, and the reasons for it.  But why do the Yankee fans hate the Phillies?  The simple answer to this question is, they are scared.  They are terrified of being outplayed and outclassed by a team put together the old-fashioned way.  A team whose fans start fights and BOOED SANTA!

I am unwilling to concede this early that this year’s World Series will be a Philly/NY rematch.  San Francisco has three tremendous pitchers capable of dominating any game.  And I don’t need to tell New York what Cliff Lee can do; they have seen that first hand.  But if both teams survive the LCS, the Phillies will win this year.  It’s not even a question in my mind.  The Phillies are the better team. I’m not going to waste space in this article dissecting the rosters and statistics.  The Phillies are just flat out better.  Philly has a major pitching advantage, home field, and a lineup that is at the very least equal to if not better than the Yankees.

Of course, this offseason will come, and the Yankees will sign Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee, and in 2011, they will be in the World Series again.  If their pitching stays healthy, J-Roll returns to form, and Dom Brown lives up to the hype, we could see a rubber match next season.  The Phils-Yanks could very well be the Ali-Frazier/Celtics-Lakers of this sports generation.  Even if the Phillies win this year and next year, the Yankees fans will still make the most arrogant commonly used point in sports: “yea, well we still have 28, how many do you have.”

Whatever happens, this potential Phillies dynasty will be cherished infinitely more by Phillies fans than this Yankees dynasty will be by theirs.  There will always be Steinbrenner money, YES money and city money to make sure New York never goes through an extended dry spell.  On the other hand, Phillies fans know that within a few years, we could be back to showing up at a half-empty park, the core group of players from the mid to late 2000s either moved on or retired, watching a group of Desi Relafords and David Bells hope to win 70 games per season.  Maybe that happens or maybe the Phillies become the Yankees of the National League for decades to come.  Either way, one thing is for sure.  Fans will be booing players who don’t hustle.  Fans will be making opposing team’s supporters feel unwelcome in our home park, and if your team plays within 2 hours of Philly and doesn’t sell out games, well invade your park as well.  You will call us insufferable assholes, block us on social networking websites, and genuinely start to like us less as people.  And we will love every second of it.  Hey, what can I say, we booed Santa. — Dan Urda, @DanUrda

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2 Responses to Crash Course

  1. Deez Nutz says:

    Oh you poor, poor Phillies fans. Literally poor, as you seem to put it, Dan. Jealous ’cause you’re not from New York? Sorry we can’t all be so lucky. Thanks for displaying a picture-perfect example of your average Philadelphia “phan.” You don’t like Yankee fans for their sense of supremacy and entitlement? At least there’s a reason behind it, the Phils have won just two World Series in the history of the club, nearly 20 years apart. Humble-up, you morons.
    You claim the Phils are better than the Yanks but you don’t want to go into it here… That’s ’cause it’s bullshit. And most definitely don’t have a better batting line-up. To tell you the truth, the entire National League is a joke, but that’s a whole other topic.
    A die-hard Phillies fan I know told me, “I’d rather see the Phillies go to the World Series and lose to the Yanks than win against a different team.” This is how you should be thinking because a World Series win for the Phillies against any team besides the Yanks means dog shit, period.
    Also, I’d just like to make the point that this debate is a bit premature as the LCS has yet to be decided, though I it does turn out to be the case and I do look forward to the rising tension between Phillies and Yankee fans at Delaware. I am excited for the shit-talking, the fights, the rivalry, but mostly, for Philly fans to shut their fat mouths at the end of it just like last year.

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