Frank Fitzpatrick Would Like to Tell You How to Act

Swing and miss.

Here’s another reason (one of many) why nobody reads newspapers anymore. Pulitzer Prize finalist Frank Fitzpatrick is an accomplished writer, a veteran Inquirer columnist, and a published author. – golf claps – However, as you know, often times those who dwell with their heads just above the stratocumulus stratiformis are in no position to understand the mindless masses below, let alone to tell them how they should act.

That’s right, from the same guy who told you not to wear jerseys or tailgate comes this gem, “Are Philly Fans Going Soft?," in today’s Inky. And it's not a sex joke.

At first glance, FP raises an interesting issue: Are we too forgiving of the current crop of Phillies stars? He starts out by wondering if our skepticism has dwindled. He’s talking about the Type 2 fans – the ones who refuse to acknowledge the flaws of our 2008 heroes. He should have stopped there: []

Once we took pride in our capacity to question any managerial decision, regardless of context. Now, like tittering schoolgirls, we compose the kind of brainless love notes you'd expect to find at military homecomings or Justin Bieber concerts.

What would Sign Man say?


He would probably say “what’s the internet” or “Bill Barber for life!” In fact, he pretty much created the culture of supportive signs and taking grammatical jabs at opposing players.

Then there are Flyers fans and their monochromatic mindlessness.


Uh ohs.

This team has gone 36 years without a Stanley Cup – longer than the Phillies went between pennants (1915-1950) when they were the worst organization in sports history – yet Flyers ticket buyers apparently believe it's more productive to collectively wear orange T-shirts to home playoff games than to hold management's feet to the fire.


One doesn’t relate to the other. That’s like saying that because you hate your job, you shouldn’t wear a suit to a meeting.  The Flyers care much more about the gate revenues than they do about you wearing their orange shirts, which are actually one of the few unique-ish fan stunts in all of sports. They’re not thundersticks or hand-jobbing monkeys, rather, they’re simple tools that help to create a distinctive home ice advantage, Frank. Perhaps it wasn’t present against the Bruins (neither was the team’s defense), but ask the 2010 Montreal Canadiens or Ryan Miller how they liked playing in front of that mass of humanity. I’m the last person to mindlessly buy into marketing ploys (I see you, Philadelphia Tea Party), but there’s no reason to fight the establishment on something not worth fighting.

Is there some fear that in normal clothing they might be mistaken for Rangers fans? Is there some equally irrational belief that by dressing alike they help influence the outcome? Do they fear their peers? Do they fear the jeers? Did they drink too much beer?


No, they’re having fun. It’s pretty simple, really. Who brought this guy?

Somehow the Flyers managed to win two Stanley Cups when their fans were attired sanely.


If you call bell-bottoms and disco shirts “sanely attired,” well, you’re on your own.

I didn't see any gatherings of like-tinted lemmings in New York or Boston, two cities whose passionate fans are often compared with ours.

In fact, there was a kind of poetic justice to the Flyers' being eliminated in Boston, where Bruins fans appeared to be free-minded individuals.


Poetic justice? Yes, sage thinkers are lining up to point out the pitfalls of orange t-shirts.

But next spring, when the Flyers embark on another frustrating postseason, try something different, sartorially speaking.

You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.


Funny, the guy who accuses YOU of not being a free-minded individual is telling you how to dress, while he pulls the strings from his press-perch. Dance, puppets. Dance!

And you wonder why nobody reads newspapers anymore. It’s the sports reading equivalent of, well, the exact mindlessness Frank hates so much.


26 Responses

  1. I read the paper every morning, and I take this as a shot at the “new” culture of fan. I’m divided on this one though. I will admit, I miss the days when the Phillies sucked when I used to get free tickets to watch Desi Relaford hit .230 30 games a year…success is a double edged sword.

  2. i’m not sure it’s the “new culture” those flyers fans wearing orange aren’t bandwagon folks, most of them are die-hards. i get what he’s saying about the new fans, but don’t think that’s his argument here

  3. What a fucking tool. This guy must be a miserable prick if he’s whining about fans wearing shirts and showing team support.
    …and lol@the Desi Relaford comment, that’s good stuff right there.

  4. Yeah, I don’t understand why he thinks wearing orange and not holding management accountable are the same thing. The sea of orange gets the guys on the ice pumped up and can be intimidating to an opposing team. I’m certain that just about every person wearing on of those orange shirts was pretty angry at the management for all the crap that got screwed up over the course of the 2nd half of the season.

  5. This is what kills me. The generation of fans who saw all of the last Philly championships. Here’s why:
    I’m 25 (go ahead and write me off if you want, or continue reading to open a mature discussion), I was born in ’86 and grew up in Southwest Philly & South Jersey during the sports drought. All through my childhood I went to Phillies games with my season ticket-holding mom where we would be the only ones in a section of the 500 level at the Vet, and the attendance might hit 10,000… Those days were a blast! It was cheap, fun for me as a kid, and there was more one on one with the fans. As I got older, I was able to take my girlfriend on a date to a Flyers game for about $25-$30 including tickets & food and we’d again be the only ones in our section.
    However, as nice and nostalgic as that was, I would never take that up again for what we have now. We’re back! We’re winning! Philadelphia is a MAJOR player in all four major sports! Why would we want to trade that up? To go back to the old days? I grew up hearing about how incredible it was in the late 70s & early 80s, about how it was different city then and how miserable it is now (this was in the 90s & early 00s), etc… We’re here, people! I would rather have a lasting dynasty of greatness this time around, than 10 years of glory followed by 20 something more years of disappointment for my kids to sit through.
    Frank Fitzpartick, why attack the fans? If we actually are softer (which I don’t agree with), maybe it’s because we aren’t getting hurt so much anymore. Maybe it’s because I go to bed at night after a Phillies win WAY more than a Phillies loss. Maybe it’s because I actually believe in Cholly, Doug Collins, Peter Laviolette, and… well Andy is a touchy subject. I believe in R2C2, Sometimes Blanton, and Worley. I believe in Danny Briere & Lesean McCoy, and I #ShowYaLuv with everyone else! We’re not getting softer, we’re just happier because we’re winning!
    I’ll be the first to say that we can all appreciate the winning much more because we’ve all sat through the heart-breaking losses, but let us not dare say that we wished it was back to the old ways and the old days. Enjoy it now, because if it does go away, we’ll all be talking and reminiscing about THIS time to our kids or grandkids.

  6. I find it funny that Frank calls us, the fans; mindless, irrational and brainless. Yet he rhymed words, ripped off slogans (i guarantee he doesn’t get laid) and bashed the city he writes for all in one mindless, irrational and brainless article.

  7. Great comment Mike. You said it all. It’s bad enough when the rest of the country bad mouths Philly fans but when a man who earns an income from a Philadelphia paper bad mouths us, well, that’s pretty damn terrible. I think it’s pretty supportive and cool when you see a sea of orange at a Flyers playoff and I’m not really much of a hockey fan. Ack! Barb

  8. When he pays for my season tickets, including playoffs, maybe I’ll let him tell me what to wear.

  9. Mike,
    Very well put and I feel exactly the same way about the current teams.
    I’m 46 and was lucky enough to be a young sports fan during those glory years of the late 70s/early 1980s. I’ll never forget the enjoyment of having all four teams make the finals within a calendar year even if we did go 1-3.
    I don’t think the fans are any different now than they were then. If the players and teams are performing well then what the hell is wrong with encouraging and supporting them?
    Isn’t that what being a fan is about? If it is just about booing and heckling then I can go to my inlaws in North Jersey and do that.

  10. Well said, Mike. Although, I’m not too sure about your policework on this one: “As I got older, I was able to take my girlfriend on a date to a Flyers game for about $25-$30 including tickets & food and we’d again be the only ones in our section.”
    Am I missing something?

  11. Thanks, marrk.
    I was referring to, I think, somewhere around 2006-2008, when the Flyers were one of the worst teams in the NHL. There was a ticket promotion that included food deals sitting in the upper deck. There was hardly anyone up there.
    However, I didn’t count the $10 for parking in my original total 🙂

  12. While I don’t quite get his problem with the t-shirts, they’re free, who cares?
    But I do like his point about the fans going soft, it’s true and it’s never been more evident than in that booing Cole Hamels’ article. This is Philly, we judge our players by their hustle and production from play to play, it has always been that way. Fans that remember the days of Travis Lee, Omar Daal, Robert Person and Jose Mesa know this, it seems that this new stream of fans from 2007 and on seem to have a problem with the booing.
    Get over it, if you want to join the party so late, abide by the rules and guidelines.

  13. Upon re-reading, I have to recant part of my statement. I usually like Frank Fitzpatrick, but I’m not sure what he’s trying to really get across. Don’t get me wrong, I love the success we’re having. I just hate when people post about Chase Utley’s rehab assignment, it’s 85% women/girls saying “OMG i <3 <3 <3 Chase!" The only thing that pisses me off is people claiming to love the teams and not knowing one lick about them. But this doesn't apply to any of us, because we're reading a sports blog and obviously stay up on these things.
    I'll close with one statement. Kevin Sefcik.

  14. One thing i sort of agree with is that too many Flyers fans don’t call out Laviolette for how badly he fucked up in the playoffs this year. He was a big factor in why we got killed by the Bruins, along with lack of effort and goaltending, and injuries.

  15. Frank Fitzpatrick has been a prick, a douche and an asshole for years now. Ripping Philly fans and dissing NASCAR is his entire schtick, and that routine is older than dirt. I wouldn’t so much as line the bottom of my birdcage with his column, provided I had a bird.

  16. To the first Frank Fitzpatrick story about wearing too much fan gear: isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery? And to this story: We’re killed when we’re too hard on our teams, and we’re killed when we’re too soft. Philly fans: Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Screw you, Frank, for fanning the media fodder. Eat shit.

  17. Didn’t mean to attack you, Mike. just think you’re exaggerating a smidge. even during the dreadful 06-07 season the Flyers ranked #7 in attendance at 98.9% capacity for the year and an average of 19,282 per game. For comparison, this year they averaged 19,710 at 101.1%.
    not a big deal at all but I sure as heck don’t remember any sections ever being half empty.

  18. It’s all good, wasn’t trying to come off as defensive, didn’t feel attacked.
    I must have went on a few really bad nights.

  19. haha, i’m sure there were a couple that year. i’ve just always taken it as a point of pride amongst flyers fans that, even during the worst of seasons, attendance is always far above average.

  20. It’s just his opinion. If you can’t at least where he’s coming from, then you just don’t want to understand. The jersey thing, not so much. That’s just a matter of taste, but we DO have a problem with shamelessly gushing over athletes today, especially the Phillies.
    I blame the kids. You know who you are.
    And get off my lawn.

  21. Sign Man would say: “Who the f*ck is Frank Fitspatrick?”
    And I think you meant to say “Are we too forgiving of the current crop of Philly’s stars?” (all sports, not just baseball).

  22. Listen to fans on 610 and 97.5, and tell me our fans are soft.
    Even when our teams have the best record in their sport, we don’t stop criticizing, we just adjust our level of criticism and get nit-picky. Soft? Hardly.

Comments are closed.