Yesterday evening, while I was supposed to be doing work, I, like so many others who have made attempts to accomplish work on a computer, found myself drawn to the infinitely scrolling electronic pages of Facebook. There, hidden among raging debates about gun control between people I haven't been forced to talk to for nearly a decade, was a quiz.
This quiz, "Which MLB Team Should You Really be Rooting For?" spoke to me. Why should my rooting interests be a product of geographic determinism? Shouldn't my team match my values? Maybe I had been doing it all wrong for the last 20 some odd years. In fact, isn't it more likely that being a Phillies fan was wrong? Sure, 2008 felt good and the couple years after that weren't too bad either. But, aside from that stretch, Phillies fandom sure has felt pretty wrong. Here was my hope.
But, this post isn't about my fandom-induced existential crisis. It is, rather, about Phillies fandom, and, specifically, who, if anyone, should be a Phillies fan. This quiz potentially offers answers to that as well. So, let's play around with it and see if we can construct a FoxSports-approved Phillies fan.
Attempt the First
Looking at the recent attendance numbers for Citizen's Bank Park, it is clear that fans are not making their way to the park. To capture the spirit of the current Phillies fan, then, we will pick "Very few. I'll go to more when the team starts winning again."
This is a tricky one for our efforts to capture the Phillies fan stereotype. We just discussed that no one goes to Phillies games, so "Wondering why you're the only person in your section" seems like a fair play. Yet, Philadelphia fans are notorious for their penchant for heckling opposing teams and their players. We'll pick the heckling option on this round while noting this question as a potential wrong turn on our journey.
Aside from the Cliff Lee mystery team saga and Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies of late have not often gone after high-priced free agents. Do they make trades for high-priced players? Sure. Do they unnecessarily make their own players extremely high-priced? You bet! But, signing expensive free agents hasn't been their modus operandi. The choice here seems clear.
I just have no idea. These jobs all look pretty bad to me. Farmers and fishermen have to wake up really early and be outside and stuff. Bartenders have to stay up late. Being an investment banker might be cool if not for the fact that you'd have to spend half your waking hours in the company of other investment bankers. Being a movie producer sounds too stressful what with managing all the egos of Hollywood celebrities. Data analyst sounds the most appealing of these, but certainly doesn't fit the national perception of the Phillies. Actually, how does any of this have anything to do with the Phillies or what team you should cheer for?
We're going to answer bartender on this one because Philadelphia has a blue-collar reputation and bartender seem to be the most blue-collar option here. Mark this as another potential wrong turn for posterity.
We can quickly eliminate three of these from Phillies fan contention. Electric pitching, with a rotation of Aaron Nola and a bunch of crap, simply isn't in the cards. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but the atmosphere at the ballpark is lacking due to the lack of any fans in attendance. While Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera have produced their fair share of highlights, the recent iterations of the Phillies have not exactly been known for their defensive prowess.
So, we're down to the art of manufacturing runs and the long ball. Although Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard figure to hit their share of dingers, the art of manufacturing runs more suits the current Phillies. Last year, there was an odd emphasis on bunting. With Herrera, Sweeney, Altherr, and Bourjos, the Phillies should have enough speed to steal some bases. So, the art of manufacturing runs it is!
As discussed earlier, we're going to eliminate the free agent option. While blockbuster trades were a feature of the Phillies of years past, there don't appear to be any blockbuster trades on the horizon. Ken Giles and Cole Hamels have both been traded in the last four months, and, barring a trade involving some of their top prospects, there aren't any pieces for a blockbuster trade under the team's employ. With the pending arrivals of J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, and others, the prospect option seems the clear choice.
Just two years ago, unfamiliarity with the very concept of analytics would have been the easy play here, but with the arrival of Andy MacPhail, John Middleton, and Matt Klentak, that is no longer the answer. With Pete Mackanin's emphasis on learning Spanish to improve clubhouse communication, it is clear that chemistry is not an overlooked factor in the Phillies organization, so we're going to go with the middle option despite some temptation to jump all in on the analytics train.
This is easy. As a city that takes excessive pride in blue-collarness to the extent that a statue of Rocky is featured prominently on the property of the city's Art Museum, underdogs are certainly preferable to the powerhouse. Let me ask you this: How many World Series titles did the Phillies win with Hunter Pence, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt?
Attempt the Second
In the previous round, I marked two questions--what fans do during games and our ideal profession--as potential wrong turns. Let's change the answer to the first to "wondering why you're the only person in your section" and see where that takes us. I'm still sort of confident in the bartender as the ideal profession of a Phillies fan. The result:
We're closer here. As I detailed last week, the Phillies and Braves have put themselves on similar paths for 2016 and beyond. We'll try a couple more times, by altering our responses to the career question, to land the Phillies.
Attempt the Third
Philadelphia has a fair number of ports for ships and ships, like fish, need water to work properly. Maybe fisherman will be a close enough proxy to that.
That didn't do it.
Attempt the Fourth
In honor of Philadelphia's growing start-up scene, we'll identify Data Analyst as our profession of choice.
Damn. Maybe this quiz is trying to tell us that our profession doesn't influence our ideal rooting preferences. This seems fair, but they included the question, so we'll keep experimenting on this one before throwing in the towel.
Attempt the Fifth
We will be farmers this time.
Attempt the Sixth
I don't know why we'd be investment bankers, but it's worth a shot, I guess.
Attempt the Seventh and Last
Are there any movie producers in Philadelphia? I don't know, but we'll try to just to be exhaustive.
Well, drat. It looks like FoxSports is not high enough on the Phillies to recommend fandom to any of their online quiz-takers.
This raises the question, of course, of whether you, dear reader of TheGoodPhight.com should continue as a Phillies fan? Given that the Phillies' future prospects are just as good, if not better than, the two teams--Braves and A's--that we keep getting, I think the answer is yes. But, like many things in life, that is a decision only you can make for yourself.
If you do happen to get a "Phillies" response from this quiz, please share your path to that in the comments. There, I will also share my result.