Meet Phil from Mt. Airy, the rare enlightened sports-radio caller.
Valerie, director of Penn's African American Resource Center, is asked how she stands the madness.
"If you only knew how many people have asked me that," she sighs.
Phil is grooming his 7-year-old son Philip to follow in his footsteps. The kid's bedroom is a shrine to the Eagles. There's an Eagles bedspread, an Eagles locker, Eagles curtains, a replica of the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard and a floor model of the playing field.
"Everything Eagles," shouts Philip, who's wearing an Eagles hoodie.
If only Phil could rediscover his son's youthful exuberance.
But Phil's jaded about sports in his hometown, even though he and his family attend some 15 Phillies games every season and make cross-country Eagles road trips.
He's especially pissed at the Phillies.
"It's all actuarial to them," he says. "They'll be lucky to win 85 games this year. It's all accounting. It's the fucking RICO Act."
|Radioheads: Phil Allen enjoys a rare in-person confab with WIP midday guys Steve Martorano (left) and Anthony Gargano.|
"They're gangsters," he continues. "They held us hostage for 10 years and told us, 'Until we get a new stadium, we're not spending any money.' So they got their new stadium, and they're gonna fuck with Ryan Howard over a couple million dollars? When they use him in every marketing strategy, every commercial? Nobody's buying tickets to see David Montgomery. People are buying tickets to see Ryan Howard make that bigass bell ring."
As for the Eagles, Phil suspects there's too much self-congratulating going on. He notes that the franchise still hasn't won a Super Bowl. (Every other team in the Birds' division has taken at least three.)
"I don't think there's anybody down there that'll say to Andy Reid or Joe Banner without fear, 'Dude, this is wrong. You need a top-shelf receiver. You need people who can make plays, period.'"
Phil thinks the embattled Reid has taken the Eagles as far as he can and that they need a new coach if they're ever going to pop champagne corks in February.
"A lot of times [a coach like Reid] has to come along and right the ship, get it moving in the right direction," he says. "Then they lop his head and bring somebody else in to get it over the top. That's what the Eagles didn't do."
Here, live and in person, he could go on all night.
But on the air he has but a couple minutes, a constraint that doesn't keep him from dishing esoteric sports fare along with his standard Phillies and Eagles rants.
He recently called a WIP host around 3 in the morning to complain about a $20 service charge attached to online ticket purchases for a Wachovia Center wrestling show.
"He's always giving you something like that," says host Big Daddy Graham. "He's far and away better than most callers. I'm glad when he calls, or I wouldn't put him on the air."