* Word out of Philadelphia is that Phillies fans are still Phillies fans. Bryce Harper, who signed an obscene, 9-figure contract in the off-season is hearing his share of boos for not playing better. But it comes with the territory. Ask Mike Schmidt. He’s a 12-time All-Star and Hall of Fame third baseman with more than 500 home runs, plus three National League MVPs and 10 Golden Gloves. He also bore the brunt of lots of hometown boos. I was there for some of them. The fans–as well as the media–always wanted more.
Of the love/hate paradox, Schmidt famously once said: “Philadelphia is the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.” It is what it is, Bryce.
But they don’t just boo their own. Ask Joe Maddon. When the Rays were in Philly for the 2008 World Series, his family had to watch the last two games from a hotel because the fans were so vulgar and threatening at the park. It is what it is.
* It’s hard to see some of those Lightning flags still flying around neighborhoods. It comes from a good, loyal-fan place, but it’s a graphic, depressing reminder of all that should not have happened.
* The Rays just made the cover of Sports Illustrated. “The Amazing Rays” was the article headline. No, it won’t affect attendance, but it’s a nice, national shout-out about what the low-budget Rays are accomplishing by being smart and creative.