Philadelphia gets a bad rap nationally as a sports town.  They are seen as loud, crass, and obnoxious.  Philadelphians are characterized as provincial, and not as worldly as New Yorkers.  Yes, it's easy to point at Eagles fans booing Santa Claus, the court underneath the Vet and now the Link, or most recently the drunk Philles fan who threw up on an 11 year old girl.

Underneath the tough exterior are deeply passionate and caring fans.  After spending a few days in Philly and the surrounding areas, I saw first hand the love affair the city has with this group of Phillies.  If fans weren't stoked enough about two World Series appearances and one LCS in the last three seasons, the Cliff Lee acquisition put them in a state of euphoria.  With four aces on the pitching staff, Phillies games have become appointment viewing.  The running joke is to schedule dates or family outings on the night Joe Blanton is pitching.

I don't know that I've ever seen a city captivated by one baseball team the way the 2011 Phillies have won over the city and surrounding areas.  Even at non sports bars people are paying attention to the Phillies games on in the background.  Any conversation will eventually lead back to the Phillies.  In an NFL crazed world, nobody in Philadelphia seemed too concerned about the Eagles, Michael Vick, or the lockout.

Some people speculated baseball could benefit from an NFL work stoppage.  If the 2011 NFL season doesn't start on time, fans will be outraged but will have to settle with college football and baseball.  Based on the vibe I got in Philadelphia, the Eagles will be the last thing on peoples minds until late October.  If we are still without a season come November, all Hell will break loose in the city of brotherly love.

p.s. If anyone is going to Philly anytime soon the proper protocol for ordering a Philly cheesesteak is to say, 'Steak, whiz (cheese whiz), wit (with onions)'