Unspeakable, even for us screamed the Philadelphia Daily News headline after Eagles fans cheered as Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin lay motionless on the Veterans Stadium turf. However, in the birthplace of liberty, soft pretzels and the battery-in-a-snowball bleacher projectile, Philly Phanatics compound their incivility with fickle support. It was here that Mike Schmidt, the best third baseman ever, was booed in his final season, Eric Lindros was all but chased out of town and Allen Iverson was lambasted on talk radio, even during an MVP season. Sure, the city swathes itself in green for those eight "Iggles" home dates. Still, if you want to glimpse the true colors of its fans, check out the attendance figures for the Phillies.
Befitting a city that proclaims itself "the amateur sports capital of the world," high school basketball programs in and around Indianapolis can sometimes draw 8,000 fans. The Pacers play to packed crowds (even in down seasons) in the NBA's most soulful venue. Conseco Fieldhouse complements Indy's world-class velodrome, natatorium, outdoor track and tennis facility and, oh yeah, that brickyard-encrusted racetrack on the northwest side of town. Five blocks down from Conseco, Victory Field is the best minor league park in the nation. No wonder the Colts relocated here, where they sell out the RCA Dome. No wonder the NCAA moved here from Kansas City. No wonder Indy has hosted four Final Fours since 1980. Now, if it only had a decent sports bar.