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Where did all the Phillies fans go?

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We know the Phillies have lost a lot of their fans, at least at the ballpark. So where did everybody go?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On August 6, 2012, the Phillies streak of 257 straight sell-out crowds at Citizens Bank Park came to and end. Look at all those Phillies fans up there, oblivious to the horrors that await them in the future. As John Stolnis pointed out yesterday, they're all gone. The fans, not the horrors.

But all of those people didn't just de-materialize until the next World Series. I mean, some of them might have. We're talking about only slightly less people than the population of folks who don't believe in the Detroit Pistons anymore, so, you know. It's a lot. Some of them probably fell into an open sewer; others were swallowed up by the crowds during the pope's visit and never seen again. This stuff happens.

Many of them, it is more likely, found a better use of their time than watching Jeff Francoeur track down that pesky ball in the corner (recent reports say he was still out there trying to corner it in mid-January). With as vastly as the Phillies bandwagon traveled and as high a capacity as it held, chances are good that some former Phillies fans who aren't going to games are involved with whatever else is popular around here.

So what's everybody up to?

They're flying drones

People are so into drones, the city had to beg them not to fill the sky with flying robots when the pope came to town.

"If you plan to attend any of the Papal visit events, please leave your drone at home," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a September 2015 statement. "Anyone flying a drone within the designated restricted areas may be subject to civil and criminal charges."

But it's not just Phillies fans with their wide-open schedules at the controls, it's official authorities in the area. Drones aren't just for hobbyists anymore, as the governing bodies of the region want to embrace them to enforce whatever the hell they want. New mayor Jim Kenney was all about drone use becoming overseen and organized by authorities when he was a simple city councilman, so usage doesn't necessarily have to stop, as long as people are okay with the always-efficient involvement of city government.

So, like the guy who crashed his drone outside of Citizens Bank Park this past June, or the guy who, in September while the Phillies were putting a cap on the sixth-worst attendance numbers in all of MLB, provided us with his drone's glowering red-eye view of the Sports Complex...

... the popularity of drones, prior to their inevitable achievement of sentience and extinction of the human race, isn't subsiding in our city. In fact, there's a good chance that whole problem starts here.

They're night skiing

"Nothing quite like moving at unwieldy speeds in the dark," we say in Philadelphia. "Down a hill the terrain of which is mostly unknown to us," we continue, "with long pieces of plastic attached to our feet that, without training, serve as horrendous obstacles to human movement."

Philadelphians love to head up to Elk Mountain this time of year for some near-death experiences.

"Over half of the mountain and the most popular terrain is lighted for night skiing. The summit provides access to clearly marked runs for novice, intermediate and expert skiers and riders. The black-diamond 'Tunkhannock' headwall provides one of the most steeply challenging mogul fields in Pennsylvania."

--CBS Philly

This isn't new.

It's not even too much of an adjustment for some people, who used to make time for both the call of the mountains and Phillies baseball, finding a solution by simply alienating everyone else on the ski trip. And, as I repeatedly keep bringing up, the Phillies shrinking the number of Dollar Dog Nights on the schedule in recent years is quite the turn-off, and have caused fans to seek alternatives.

They're complaining about Cam Newton

Who isn't finding their entire day taken up by logging criticisms about the Super Bowl-bound Panthers quarterback who dances when he's happy? This time of year is simply exhausting as we try to burrow out from under a pile of paper work that stacked up over the holidays - not to mention the bills! - but when we have to take a few days off of work in order to fill the internet with questions about what sort of hat Newton is wearing or what facial expression he is making at what time, it really exacerbates the problem.

Cam Newton is single-handedly grinding the industrial gears of this nation to a halt and he must be stopped. This can only be accomplished by Philadelphia-area football fans taking to the comment sections of articles about an out of market team. With that on our plates, there's just not a lot of time to think about baseball.

They're eating pretzels for breakfast

People outside Philadelphia, chiefly national sporting outlets, chiefly ESPN, believe that all anyone from Philadelphia needs is the image of a cheese steak to turn into a slobbering, dead-eyed stooge. Little do they know, most citizens of this city wake up that way.

"Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee!" say office workers across the country to each other, always with a knowing smile, probably not knowing that uttering such cliche, white collar schlock legally binds them to a suicide pact with whomever they're speaking.

But in Philadelphia, instead of exchanging banal adages to each other for no reason, most mornings we roll out of bed, grunt nothing close to an actual word, and grab a handful of what most other cities consider an afternoon snack.

"Pretzels are popular all over the U.S., of course, but here in Philly, they're breakfast."

--Roads & Kingdoms

It only makes sense that people are shoveling handfuls of pretzels into their mouths, attempting to eat all of their feelings before the Phillies lose again. But they never make it. They never make it in time.

They're smoking weed and going to the gym

I guess.

They're riding on/incapacitated by hoverboards

We've all seen cool teens on South Street buzzing through intersections on these things, so it's only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt and ruins everyone's fun. What's that? A Prospect Park man was almost killed riding one of them on Christmas morning?

"With hoverboard injuries mounting, new legislation will be introduced at Philadelphia City Council on Thursday, requiring children to wear protective gear. Hoverboards were popular Christmas gifts and doctors say there was a spike in injuries right after the holiday."

It may be hard to feel safe while watching Phillies baseball, without Jimmy Rollins' soothing grin to reassure you, even temporarily, that everything, everywhere, is going to be okay. But it has to feel safer than people feel riding unregulated sets of poorly manufactured wheels that explode sometimes.

The new laws the city looks to put in place would fine an adult $300 if their child, ages 12 and under, isn't wearing a helmet while they hover. But that's beside the point. Why not jam that thing in the garbage disposal and take your shrieking, furious children down to the ballpark before your spouse comes home and demands to know why the kids' $300 Christmas present is half-submerged in the sink drain? I mean, how did you even do that?

They're suffering from lip balm poison

We all know what soft, perfect lips Phillies fans are known for having - it's likely our most stereotypical trait. So when we see celebrities flaunting that sexy new lip balm in the shape of an egg, you can't blame us for rushing toward it faster than you can scream "You don't understand, officers, I must have that lip balm."

But what happens when the balm in question turns out to be evil?

"Rashes, bleeding, and blistering" are the symptoms listed by the California woman who first discovered this malfeasance. What are we supposed to do now? I guess the only thing we can do: stop being distracted by the treacherous upkeep of our hygiene and take our sore, cyst-covered lips down to a Phillies game, where we can use them to shout messages  like "go team!' and "boo other team!" until we pass out from the horrible pain.