You're just so fucking loyal. Last week, GQ decided to name Phillies fans the worst in sports. They cited, among other things, the litany of usual offenses, like snowballs, puking, and booing. After spending the last four days in Clearwater, one thing has become clear: They could not have been more wrong.
I'm not saying that as a homer. Philly has its share of bad apples, but, as we've mentioned before, so does every city. Examples right… here. Phillies fans, however, are maybe the most passionate (if not slightly bandwagon- more on that soon) in all of sports. Bright House Field in Florida has set six consecutive attendance records this week. A stadium official, with a wink and a nudge, told the person seated in front of me that the latest record – 10,912 – is most likely much higher, as the Phillies are probably cramming in more people, but can't release that info thanks to the fire marshall. Take that with a grain of salt, but the point is that thousands of fans, more so than ever before, are traveling to Florida to see the Phils play exhibition games.
The Diamond Outfitters store consistently has a line to get in. To fit more people and merchandise, the cashier's counters have been moved outside the store, under a tent. The line to pay begins by the entrance. That is where the Phillies print the money.
You can't see the grassy berm in the outfield. Why? Because it's filled with people and towels. Parking takes-over local shopping center lots. And Clearwater Beach spring break looks more like South Street in the summer. Restaurants, like Lenny's (famous breakfast), are completely Phillies themed.
All those facts make it no surprise that Brand Keys, a company which "gives an apples-to-apples comparison of the intensity with which fans support the home team vs. the corresponding values for the fans of the other teams in the market," rated Phillies fans as the most loyal in baseball. The Yankees and Red Sox finished second and third, respectively.
Flyers fans finished second in hockey.
This isn't one of those attention-getting studies released to generate clicks. It is an engagement index used by professional teams to increase their broadcast, ticket, and merchandise revenues.
So, GQ, you can take your survey and shove it.
H/T to Kurt and Jason