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Obnoxious? Us?

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  June 28, 2011 08:02 AM

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Hey, Philly. What did we ever do to you?

You would think if there were ever two fan bases that could consider themselves equal in terms of passion, culture, and yes, pretzels, it would be Philadelphia and Boston, two of America's most storied cradles of freedom. But people from the City of Brotherly Love labeling Boston fans "obnoxious" is sort of akin to Don Knotts seeing Don Draper in his bedroom mirror.

Yet, that's the stance of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez, who previews this week's anticipated Red Sox-Phillies series with this: "They've gotten out of control, these Boston fans. They've mutated. There was a time when they took a perverse pride in their suffering, when they romanticized their lack of sports luck. Then the Pats won and the Sox won and the Celtics won and, more recently, the Bruins won. Whatever humility Bostonians had was long ago traded for some of those giant 'We're No. 1' foam fingers and a slew of omnipresent smug smiles."

Gonzalez is all wrong. It's an entirely different foam finger Bostonians employ these days.

We expect this sort of attitude from New York, or Podunk, America, but Philly? We thought we had something there. May we remind you that Boston gave Philadelphia the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series? You're Welcome. Consider it payback for the Patriots beating the Eagles while your quarterback threw up in the Super Bowl. And I'd consider the whole hockey thing even now, no?

Well, not entirely. Think about it. You could have had Tim Thomas in net for you this season had you been willing to surrender Jeff Carter. Instead, you got Jakub Voracek and the No. 8 pick which you used to select Sean Couturier. Maybe Dougie Hamilton will haunt you for years. Maybe not. But the thought of having Thomas in net in lieu of "Boosh" Boucher really has to be a kicker, eh?

"Let's see," Gonzalez writes, "there was the "No one can beat the Red Sox" declaration on SportsCenter last week, along with the requisite 'City of Champions' headline employed by the Boston Globe and Montreal Gazette following the Bruins title. WEEI.com - the online arm of the main sports-talk radio station in Boston - went with a navel-gazing piece, 'Why we win,' while every outlet from Boston magazine to ESPN.com to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle ran stories billing the city as 'Title Town.'"

Right on. Because basing an opinion on Boston fans by virtue of ESPN, WEEI (and John, you may want to check the ratings before you consider it the "main sports-talk radio station in Boston"), the Montreal Gazette, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is always a safe bet. Apparently, instead of "Raise the Cup," the Globe should have led the June 16 edition  with "We're sorry."Gonzalez seems honestly put out that Boston fans didn't riot after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. "We act like we've been there before," a Boston friend told him.

So, more rioting=less obnoxiousness. Got it. 

Before this month, Boston hadn't won a title in three years. In fact, Philly had the more recent championship celebration. But for Boston, three years? It was torture. Those poor duck boats had nothing to do but schlep tourists around the city.

But chin up, Philly. Maybe this is - have you heard? -a World Series preview. Maybe you'll get the better of the Red Sox come October. Maybe the Eagles will have a magical season and meet the Patriots again in the Super Bowl. Maybe there will be a football season. Maybe the moves the Flyers made will actually pan out.

Actually, forget that last one.

And the 76ers. Maybe...nah.

Boston has had seven titles in a decade. Philadelphia has had one. Don't hate us because we're beautiful.

Of course, there are bad apples in both fan bases, but on the whole each has their own quality attributes, the best of which is the overwhelming passion for their respective teams. They'll collide this week in what should be a fun week of baseball.

"Pass the Pepto," Gonzalez writes.

I say, "Pass the champagne." 


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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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