The Cost of Booing

From a reader who goes by grunzen:

I heard you talk about booing in your podcast and you mentioned Santa Claus getting booed by Philadelphia’s notorious “boo birds.”  I think I can do you one better.  In ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary on the Baltimore Colts marching band [The Band That Wouldn’t Die, directed by Barry Levinson], they mention how they were going to take the field before a Philadelphia Eagles game and that they were scared.  This was because just prior to that, they had booed a little kid that had missed four passes in a contest.  Now I can kind of understand booing some scraggly, disheveled Santa Claus (they mention this in the documentary).  But a little kid in a contest?  That’s the most extreme booing story I’ve heard.

Mike B

In Philadelphia we expect a basic level of competence from everyone. People forget that this is the way the world worked up until the Baby Boomers became parents and trying mattered more than results. If everybody is special than nobody is and Philly is one of the few places that won't hold back the truth.


It's true that Philadelphians demand competence in everything -- especially battery throwing.

Douglas Hughes

During the 2010 NHL winter Classic in Boston, the USA Olympic Ass. announced the line up for USA men's hockey team in the Vancouver Olympics. The players were represented by local minor hockey players wearing a USA jerseys with the NHL players name. When Phil Kessel was announced the fans were booing a 9 year old boy in a USA colors.

Caleb B

I'll repeat my comments from that podcast. If you have a strong desire to get your ass kicked, just wear a Cowboys jersey to an Eagles game. You might get a few bad looks in Dallas wearing a Philly jersey, but you won't get shot. Enough said.


Because so many cowboys fans have been murdered at Philly games, I buy what you're saying.


Well they did throw a Dallas fan off the upper deck at the Vet, but I don't believe anyone has actually died. It was an effigy of Sonny Jurgensen that got hanged, and the Redskins mascot was only hospitalized. I've heard Philly fans boo the national anthem, the Easter bunny, a choir of 9 year-olds, a guy with a hand transplant who threw out the first pitch, and of course injured players. Throwing snowballs at opposition players is a given, but there have been plenty of incidents with more dangerous objects. Phillies outfielder Dick Allen had to wear a batting helmet when fielding because so much stuff was thrown at him. Urination on fans in the decks below, the foul language for 3hrs non-stop, yes Philly is a wonderful place for sports.


I wanted to take a second to assure your readers that the fans weren't actually booing Father Christmas himself. They were booing the skinny little Santa that was pulled from the stands when the actual Santa didn't post. They were booing a 2-12 season, those two wins coming in weeks 12 & 13, depriving them of the first pick of the draft. (the Bills selected OJ Simpson.) They were booing the sled that got stuck in the end zone and had to be ditched. They were booing a lousy organization. And it should be noted that 54,000 people showed up that day in a snow storm. Not bad for awful fans.


The Dialectizer web site does this sort of thing. I tried it for the study, and it's just as funny, but not the same.

It will translate sites in to Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Swedish Chef, Moron, Pig Latin, or Hacker.

Here's the first paragraph with that translation:

On average, brother students typically sco'e one standard deviashun below honky students on standardized tests–roughly de difference in puh'fo'mance between de average 4d grada' and da damn average 8d grader. Ah be baaad... Histo'ically, whut gots come t'be knode as de brother-honky test-sco'e gap gots emerged befo'e children enta' kindergarten and gots tended t'widen upside time.


so much for freedom of speech on here. I had a nice post listing lots of incidences of terrible fan behavior from one year (2008), showing that fans are the same everywhere. But why publish that when you can stereotype a city from an event in the 1960s, when you don't know the context?

oh yeah its lazy journalism.