All in good time, the saying goes.
Prior to the World Series win, The Temple News got nostalgic and pulled out issues chronicling other Phillies victories in 1980 and 1993, which you can see on Page P6.
Now, as students in Philadelphia, we’ve become immersed in Phillies Phever and can add this special issue to TTN archives for the Phils’ next win.
From the consistent fan base to those jumping on the bandwagon, it’s no secret that Philadelphia is excited. And rightfully so.
“Sports have a unique emotional component that resonates with people,” said sports and recreation management professor Aubrey Kent. “Many times, the attachment to a local team goes beyond a mere rooting interest, to become something that is embedded in a persons’ identity.”
So it’s safe to say Phillies fans have emotionally suffered for 28 years without a win in the Fall Classic. Philly sports fans as a whole haven’t had a major championship title since the 76ers in 1983. For many Temple students, this is the first major Philadelphia sports title they’ve seen.
Attending school in Philadelphia grants a sense of entitlement to adopt the hometown sports team as your own.
“The biggest benefit, though, is the intangible effect that we call ‘psychic income,’” said Kent’s colleague, professor Jeremy Jordan. “This is the feeling of goodwill generated in the community by banding together to support a common cause, and the pride and joy that is felt when the team is successful.”
Just as they did in 1980, 1983 and 1993, fans displayed their unity in the streets of Philadelphia, from Citizens Bank Park to City Hall and Main Campus to the Northeast.
“Rooting for the Phillies is different, in a way, than being a Phillies fan, the latter of which implies membership in a group that has great meaning for someone,” Jordan said. “The team then becomes an extension of ourselves, a source of vicarious achievement and pride.”
Philadelphians aren’t scared to show pride, either. When the Phillies reached the milestone of becoming the first professional sports franchise to reach 10,000 losses, both the team and the city took it in stride.
“I try to concentrate on wins,” manager Charlie Manuel said at the time. “[Ten thousand losses is] something we haven’t really talked about. Our players don’t talk about it. … I don’t really care about that, really. I’m serious.”
For many Philadelphians, it was a celebration long overdue. For others, it was the first of its kind. And for a small few, it was an excuse to destroy public and private property.
Robinson’s Luggage at the corner of Broad and Walnut streets in Center City is an example of such behavior, as overly excited fans broke through doors and looted the store.
“Personally, I think that while any damage or injury is regrettable, the reaction last night was comparatively tame,” Kent said. “Unfortunately, media coverage highlights the exceptions rather than the majority of people who celebrated responsibly.
“The negative activity that does occur, however, is hurtful not only to those involved, but plays into a negative stereotype of the city that is unfortunate for all.”
On the other hand, Philadelphia can reap positive benefits from the win, as the city has garnered national attention. Once labeled as fat and ugly, Philadelphia has been given a helping hand from the Phillies organization.
“The sports team can become part of the city’s brand and, depending on the sport and the team’s level of success, can also provide great exposure and recognition for a city if it is televised widely by being involved in something like the World Series,” Jordan said.
An energy has been brought to the city that’s been absent for too long. As a city, Philadelphians were able to unite for the 2008 postseason.
“The Phillies seem like a likable bunch of personalities and, therefore, are easy to root for,” Jordan said, “as is the city of Philadelphia, which, from a sport perspective, has been so long suffering. For the rest of the country, much like recently with the Red Sox and White Sox, people seem to like seeing loyal and deserving fans rewarded.”
It’s a reward that many Philadelphia fans hope will not take another 28 years to come again.
All in good time, the saying goes.
Chris Stover can be reached at email@example.com.