Welcome to the Tri-Stater Player Haters Ball.
Hudson River Blue will have all of the scouting reports, storylines, and stat blasts you'll need to get set for New York City's two upcoming matches against the Union, sure shot. But this is not that column.
Rather, this is a scouting report on the City of Philadelphia. Let's get right to it, JUST AS SOON AS I FINISH A DELICIOUS SLICE OF FAMOUS ORIGINAL NEW YORK PIZZA NOM NOM.
Mmmmm, New York crumbs.
PART I: A word on Philly sports fans
That word, for the record, is "ugh."
My last trip to Philadelphia came in mid-January on the occasion of the MLS SuperDraft. While I have gone on to meet a number of Union fans that are terrific, hospitable people, here's what I wrote about my views on Philadelphia sporting culture at that time:
My beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers (a real team, believe me) and the hated Philadelphia Eagles always seemed to cross paths in theduring the first few years of the millennium. Love did not play a role in those contests. Add that to the more recent late-season collapses perpetrated by my Atlanta Braves for which the divisional rival Phillies were often the main beneficiary, and one can imagine my "finite love and respect" for the local sports fans overall.
The Union are not the Phillies -- praise Baseball Jesus -- nor are they the Eagles, but by golly, they all have the same first name: that Greekish-sounding letter-kebab, the one with one-two-many P's.
Again, ugh. Why didn't they just call the place "Ugh?" From where I sit, the verbal aesthetics of "Ugh" are comparable, or even an improvement.
Three things to tie this up with a neat bow blessed with traces of New York pizza grease:
Fifteen years ago, a prodigiously drunk Flyers fan climbed into the Maple Leafs' penalty box and tried to fight Tie Domi. TIE DOMI!
In 1999, Phillies fans at
Citizens Bank ParkVeterans Stadium threw batteries at the Cardinals' J.D. Drew. Red Sox fans never even did that to J.D., even when his career was out of juice.
Which other mystical holiday-oriented folk figures do Philadelphians hate? Would they throw eggs at the Easter Bunny? Do they rig explosive booby traps for the Tooth Fairy, or conspire to groin-kick Father Time?
PART II: The 1990s sitcom Brotherly Love
Remember Joey Lawrence?
Born and raised in Philadelphia, ol' Joey co-starred with younger brothers Matthew and Andrew in a mid-90's sitcom called Brotherly Love. The show took place around a family-owned auto repair shop.
Joey sang the theme song.
The production company plainly forgot the Frasier Axiom of Sitcom Intro/Outro Music: only Frasier is allowed to sing over his own credits, and he's a Sounders fan.
Somehow, Bryan Cranston appeared in the show's second episode and still managed to have a career afterwards.
Forty episodes ran over three years. It began its run on NBC, but the product was so schmaltzy that it was later dumped over to the WB network.
That's right: relegation!
If MLS had relegation, the Union would be the Lawrence Bros. of American soccer.
To be clear, this is not an Invincible-type thing; please check your Wahlbergs at the door. In this 1998 title, trash-dumpin' Danza gets signed to play kicker.
Kicker! The dry hump of football positions!
Reasons to hate this movie and the city it misguidedly aims to glorify, beyond the drippingly obvious:
- Danza's character is named Barney Gorman.
- Barney develops his field goal-booting prowess by kicking a hydraulic lever on his garbage truck over and over.
- The kicking stand-in for the football scenes is occasional drunk Canadian Mike Vanderjagt, to whom former teammate Peyton Manning once referred as an "idiot kicker."
- As Barney earns his teammates' approval, they nickname him "G-Man." That's supposed to be a slur in Philly.
- Most of the movie -- the longest 78-minute film in history -- was shot in Toronto.
If it's between Philadelphia and New York, ask yourself one question, and be honest:
WHO'S THE BOSS?
PART IV: Frank Reynolds
Speaking of garbage:
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has run for ten years and 114 episodes. That's a lot. Many of them are tremendously funny. But Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds is objectionable. Unseemly. His slimy personage reflects poorly on the show's namesake.
He's like the hybrid of a grubby, disheveled Tyrion Lannister and a caved-in beanbag chair. He looks like an extra in a porno parody of The Sopranos.
I come bearing GIFs:
Other Frank Reynolds highlights:
- Developing a "hands-free" method for eating sausages: keeping them in his front shirt pocket.
- Pimping out his son.
- Constantly firing his gun off at inopportune moments.
- Co-owning a sweatshop in Vietnam.
- Pooping the bed.
I like a good sausage as much as the next guy, but that's simply not what pockets are for. The gun thing I can understand, sure, but breakfast food is meant to be sacred. Do they really not "do brunch" in Philly? Nothing would surprise me, really.
Philadelphians: Enemies of Brunch.
Sounds like a declaration of war. Battery-throwers versus Battery Parkers.
The cheesesteaks have never been higher.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this article referred to Citizens Bank Park before that venue was built. We have fixed our story to include the correct venue, Veterans Stadium, but we do not regret the error due to the excellent tweets it generated.