City of Brotherly Love strikes out on this one

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The 2022 World Series is long over now, having been replaced in America’s collective mind by college football, the NFL and other interests.

And to many folks and in many ways, especially to the general public outside of Philadelphia and Houston, it’s no great loss that it’s done and over with and few tears are being shed. Various outlets tell us that it was among the least-watched editions of the Fall Classic.

To be sure, there was some interest in how many homers the Phillies sluggers sent out of the park. And the no-hitter by committee that Houston threw was a bit of history. But it will always pale in comparison to Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in the 1956 Series, when he faced the minimum 27 batters and threw a no-hitter by himself.

All this is to say that baseball remains an interesting yet strange game, a game in which an inferior team can get hot and whack the big boys. And its fans can be just as strange and interesting.

Case in point: the Phillies fans of this year. In the interest of full disclosure, let me assure you I have no dog in this hunt but am merely making an observation about human nature. And I’m not attempting to paint everyone with same brush. But some behavior by some fans and businesses in what my U.S. history classes said was the “City of Brotherly Love” has caused me to wonder.

You may have heard or read of the story. Seems that while Game 3 was in Philadelphia, the Houston bunch wanted food from a couple of famous Philly restaurants that specialized in steak and cheese sandwiches and pizza. But no, said the establishments; we’re not going to serve them. They’re the bad guys.

Social media, that thing that shapes so much of our nation in so many ways, exploded, mostly with great joy. “Wonderful! Great! Atta boy! Stick it to ‘em.” Later, the restaurants said they couldn’t provide the meals because they were requested to be delivered after the game, which they said, again on social media, was after the businesses closed for the evening and not because they weren’t being nice.

Maybe so, but here’s another thought about us humans. Wouldn’t it have been kind for the firms to go an extra mile and 1) stay open a bit longer, or 2) pay some employees some overtime to provide the meals. That response would have gone a long way toward fulfilling the Golden Rule (which is not, as some think, “He who has the gold makes the rule”) and turned some Houston players and fans into friends.

It is a dangerous thing to paint everyone with the same brush, but that incident reminded me of a trip my crowd made to Philadelphia a few years back. We did the usual tourist visit stops — Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the U.S. Mint, even nearby Valley Forge. All were great. And we even shelled out a small fortune to buy tickets to take in a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park.

About halfway through the game, my better half left her seat with our two (at that time) grands for a visit to the concession and souvenir stands. Again, we floated a small loan for soft drinks, hot dogs and popcorn and then on to the souvenir place. The conversation between Better Half and the attendant went something like this:

Better Half: How much for this toy bat?

Attendant: WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Better Half: North Carolina. We’re on vacation.

Attendant: I THOUGHT YOU MUST BE FROM SOMEWHERE WITH THAT AWFUL ACCENT.

Better Half (by this time more than annoyed at rudeness): Yay-uh. Ure rat. We awl tawk lack this in the sti-ix.

Two thoughts here. One is if that gal came to Chatham County, I don’t think we’d say, “Geeze! You guyz tock weerd.” And secondly, I’m wondering if the attendant is married to the owner of the restaurants.

For crying out loud, why can’t the world do as my mama said to my brothers and me when she sent us out to play: “Now play pretty!” It would be an improvement.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.

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