Do be careful there. That bad blood on the floor is slippery, and the custodial staff has the week off.
From the probable perspective of Washington Nationals fans, it started when Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels plunked their teen phenom, Bryce Harper, in the small of the back Sunday night, then surprisingly (as per the AP), admitted after the game that he had done so on purpose.
From the perspective of Phillies fans, it started with the Nationals’ “Take Back the Park” campaign, announced weeks ago. In a not entirely brain-dead PR move, the DC club resolved to sell tickets for the recent series between the two clubs only to credit card holders with addresses in Washington, Virginia, and Maryland. This would surely whip up enthusiasm for the up-and-coming Nats.
All three notions (the pitch, the admission, and the campaign) were flawed. First, Hamels paid almost immediately for the HBP when Harper stole home on a pick-off play to first. Second, for the admission, Hamels is now serving a five-game suspension (as per ESPN). Third, I’m pretty sure some Nats fans were smirking over their club’s lame attempt to prevent them from taking a tidy profit from Philly fans via StubHub and other such entities.
Oh, there seemed to be a majority of Nats fans in the stands in Washington for Friday’s series opener, but Phillies fans certainly weren’t invisible to the TV cameras that night or for the rest of the weekend. Despite fairly woeful teams recently, this is most disturbing to some Washingtonians. Apparently, Philadelphia cash spent in DC baseball venues is somehow worth less than the nothing spent by the locals who wouldn’t support a losing team. Indeed, Thomas Boswell, the capital’s highest-profile baseball scribe, wrote well ahead of Hamels’ non-errant pitch, “It’s a good thing (for me) that I’m not 18 again and going to ballgames with three of my old D.C. street-ball buddies.”
Hey, at least he threw in that “for me.” However, that touch of humor seems to have left the arena of this “discussion” entirely. In observations made for the Washington Post, and widely reported in Philly this morning, former Phillie Jayson Werth, who beat the Fightin’s with a homer Saturday night, then broke his wrist Sunday, complained about Phillies fans in his park who yelled, “You deserve it,” and “That’s what you get” on Sunday. The right fielder has vowed to come back to haunt the Phillies, “and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again.”
Never, Jayson? Jeez.
Would it help if I said that a fair number of Philadelphians (well, at least my family and a friend) weren’t particularly happy to see you injured. Some of us remember 2008.
However, this all is what apparently must happen when the old king is dying, but not quite willing to have the crown taken off the bedside table.