You always hear it from Philadelphia sports fans.
“We boo because we care.”
You strike out again and are on an 0-30 slump at the plate? You’ll hear boos walking back to the dugout. You pass the ball instead of going for a wide-open dunk in the paint? Boos will rain down at the Wells Fargo Center. You head back to the locker room during halftime down 28-0? The boo birds will get you once more.
This Philly fan tradition has lasted decades and has been directed to many different struggling teams and players. But this weekend, it was different.
Fans stood and cheered Trea Turner as he walked up to the plate for the first time against the Royals on Friday, just days removed from a game-losing error and a season-long slump. They gave a long-standing ovation to the struggling star shortstop, who signed an 11-year, $300 million contract to join the Phillies before the season.
It wasn’t just that first at-bat. There were cheers the whole series for Turner as the whole city rallied around him.
It was very off-brand for a fanbase that owns a harsh nationwide reputation. But it wasn’t the first time. Just last season, Alec Bohm was caught on the live ESPN broadcast saying he hates playing at Citizens Bank Park after another error at third base. It spread around the internet. Postgame, Bohm owned what he said and apologized for it.
The very next day, Bohm was met with loud cheers and a standing ovation before his first plate appearance. It got people thinking, “Huh. Maybe these Philly fans aren’t so bad.” After that incident, Bohm shined defensively.
Fast forward to 2023, when it happens again. Instead of once again booing another player performing poorly, Philly fans change their tune and try the uplifting, positive approach. And it worked.
That Friday, Trea had an RBI single to keep the Phils in the game.
After the game, Trea said:
“The fans have my back, and they’re showing up for me. It’s pretty cool to see—wish we could’ve come up with that win, but I thought it was awesome.”
The next day, with the same round of applause from the fans, Trea hit a game-changing 3-run home run to give the Phillies an 8-6 lead and eventual win against the Royals. CBP exploded with emotion as Turner answered the fans’ call with a shot to left field. The stadium was so loud and excited that Trea went up the dugout steps for a curtain call.
In his next at-bat, Turner rocketed a double to the left-center gap to bring home another run to earn his first 4-RBI game with the Phillies.
Errors, strikeouts, and other offensive struggles have gotten the best of Turner in what is probably his toughest year yet with a new team in his 9th MLB season. Getting upset and frustrated while also being hit with constant boos doesn’t help with getting a player out of a funk.
But finally, compassion won over in Philadelphia as fans showed their support for the shortstop that will be playing at the keystone position for their favorite baseball team over the span of 11 seasons.
Trea surely felt the love as he put up billboards across Philadelphia thanking fans for their tremendous support over the weekend.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 6, 2023
I mean, hey, it is the City of Brotherly Love, after all.
And now, with Trea feeling the love, the sky’s the limit for the star shortstop.
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images