Thursday, May 10, 2007

We Remember (Unfortunately)

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

There are certain truths which are inevitable. For example, if you’re a starting goalie, weakside linebacker or middle reliever in this town, chances are you won’t last long.

Another truth: If you’re a player and tend to side with the management – especially over views contrary to that of the fans and teammates – chances are you won’t be liked long.

By breaking the perception this week that he typically fell into the latter role, Donovan McNabb earned himself some brownie points with the general public. Ironically, it happens after eight years in town and perhaps at a time when his days might be numbered.

By siding with the citizen, combined with questioning the authority figures whom have perpetually earned our scorn for a quarter century for not doing enough, you earn respect that will not soon be forgotten.

We are like elephants in this town (in physique as well as memory). Many of us may have forgiven Mitch Williams by now, but if he stands outside his new WIP or Comcast SportsNet dwellings long enough on any given day, he’s certain to still hear the words “Joe Carter” disdainfully uttered in his direction. Similarly, the words “Gene Mauch” and “Black Friday” instantly trigger the thoughts of the 1964 and 1977 Phillies’ collapses, respectively – and always will.

Fifty years from now, Ronde Barber can find himself wandering around South Street to the sight of scowls on many a face he passes. And in a commensurate amount of time, J.D. Drew can still expect to dodge a ‘D’ battery tossed from a betrayed geezer in his path. Decades from now, Scott Stevens will certainly – and gladly – be taking scenic routes on road trips to avoid the city limits.
Hindsight is a painful word in this town. More painful than an Eric Lindros concussion in a conference final. More than a Ryne Sandberg trade. Hell, more than a trade for Lindros!

In turn – and probably unfairly – we expect our local athletes to feel the same kind of pain. And then frustration. And then anger. And then ultimately direct it toward those who steer the ships – and keep running them into icebergs.

This week - whether intentionally or not - McNabb took a major step in shedding his “company man” image. Maybe he was tired of the criticism that he’s afraid to speak his mind. Maybe he was honestly fine with how things were until the recent wake-up call of the draft.

Regardless, we finally got some of the straight talk we’ve been yearning for. He took a chance and made something happen.

If he translates that same philosophy onto the field this fall, we won’t soon forget.

Let’s just hope it’s not too late.

Don’t forget to read Jeff Glauser’s columns each Sunday as well – hopefully less painful than your Philly sports memories. Email him at

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