Meet Phil from Mt. Airy, the rare enlightened sports-radio caller.
Or you could instead tune your radio to 610 AM and just wait until you hear him. It shouldn't take long.
Soon you'll hear Phil labeling Phils front-office boss Dave Montgomery a racketeer, or Eagles head coach Andy Reid a bonehead. Or maybe you'll catch Phil lamenting the fact that no major Philly-based professional sports franchise has won a championship since the '83 76ers.
That was 25 years ago.
"Ridiculous," says Phil.
So he holds forth, and not back--passionately, comically and yes, intelligently, over the 24/7 sports-talk station's airwaves. Lots of people hear him. So many, in fact, that Phil's voice has made him a celebrity of sorts.
"I get it all the time--in the mall or the supermarket--as soon as I open my mouth," Phil says. "I was in a fender-bender the other day, and when I asked the lady for her information, she said, 'Yo, you that dude that calls 'IP, right?'"
Though Phil calls only a handful of WIP hosts--Gargano and Martorano, Macnow, Big Daddy Graham and part-timer Mark Eckel--he calls enough to raise eyebrows at the station, which likes its callers to observe a once-a-week, once-on-the-weekend limit.
"He calls more frequently than he ought to," says Macnow, "but he has pretty compelling views on what's happening in Philadelphia sports most of the time."
"He does it slick," chuckles Graham, a standup comic when he isn't doing sports radio. "I get a call from Phil maybe once a week or once every two weeks, but I hear him more often than that."
Martorano thinks a weekly call from Phil approaches overkill because he's so strong: "He calls us and he calls two other shows. That's a lot of Phil."
Martorano pauses. He reflects. He shrugs. "If this were a radio station that played music, callers would be records, and you'd want to play hits. Phil's calls are hits. They're good calls."
Phil pleads an inability to restrain himself.
"I'll be sitting here on the computer with my radio on, minding my own business, right?" he explains. "And then somebody'll say something really fucking ridiculous, and I just can't take it. I have to call."
Phil from Mt. Airy is Philip Hammond Allen, a youngish-looking 46-year-old with a wiry frame, a light beard and a diamond in his left ear.
Phil, who's married to a lovely woman named Valerie, has four daughters, a son, three grandchildren and a cat. He makes his living buying and reselling books. He owns an attractive single home in, of course, Mt. Airy.
Though Phil's joys and family responsibilities transcend the tortuous world of Philly sports, it's easy to see he's obsessed with the latter.
Take, for instance, a recent Saturday night in his living room. Phil's wearing an Eagles T.O. jersey. He and Valerie are entertaining his brother and his brother's girlfriend. While they socialize, Phil references baseball almanacs, checks the Sixers score on his computer and ups the volume on his radio (which is of course tuned to WIP). When the conversation wanes, he reminisces about playing street hockey after the Flyers electrified the city by winning Stanley cups in '74 and '75.
Sipping a Long Island iced tea, Phil asks his wife and guests to testify to his lifetime sports addiction. They all roll their eyes. His 12-year-old daughter Kendall walks through the room. She rolls hers too.
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