Phillies fans fulfilling their reputation with Trent Thornton threats
Phillies fans are giving ammunition to those who call the fanbase toxic and unhinged with threats towards Blue Jays pitcher Trent Thornton.
Phillies fans were understandably concerned when Bryce Harper went down in pain after being hit by a 96 mph fastball from Blue Jays pitcher Trent Thornton. He was able to walk from the dugout to the clubhouse under his own power, and X-rays came back negative. Harper was diagnosed with a right ankle contusion and is day to day, but he does not expect to miss Opening Day.
What is not even close to understandable is fans of the team waging threats against Thornton. One fan asked Javy Guerrera (who obviously is not Thornton) why he hit Harper. More disturbing were the death threats levied at Thornton (explicit language warning).
If Thornton had intentionally hit Harper, anger would be an appropriate reaction, but certainly not threats. However, when pitchers actually are trying to intentionally hit someone (which is a whole separate issue) they usually aim for the head, not the ankle.
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Thornton said after the game that he wasn’t looking to hit Harper by any means, just trying to work inside on him. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo completely dismissed the idea that it was intentional: [quote via Jeff Blair of Sportsnet]
"“You don’t do that and hit somebody,” he said, dismissively. “It’s kind of sad that happens. We’re all hoping that one of the best stars in baseball isn’t hurt. But everybody knows it wasn’t on purpose. Of course not. We’re not gonna put a four-man outfield out there to hit a guy in the leg.”"
Reactions like this are what give Philadelphia sports fans such a bad reputation.
This just adds more fuel to the fire for those who look to attack fans from this area. One more thing for people to use against us in an argument.
The easy counter-point to make is that other fan bases do the same thing. Numerous people on Twitter were celebratory of Harper’s injury (we had a few in our mentions). There’s a key fatal flaw in this “what-about-ism” that has become all too prevalent in recent years: one bad action does not absolve another. Just because someone is happy that Harper is hurt doesn’t make it okay to go after the guy that unintentionally hurt him.
If Philadelphia fans want to shake the reputation of being one of the worst fanbases in sports, reactions and threats like this cannot occur. Otherwise, it will be all too easy to write the next attack piece on the city.
What was a pitch gone wrong has turned into a far bigger issue. The Blue Jays are preparing to bring these threats up to MLB security, but they should not have to in the first place.