As Phillies Sell Hope, Their Fans Feel Pain

This NYTimes story touches a nerve don’t it?

hillies fans seem reluctant to use the word hope, and who can blame them? If Yeats was right when he wrote “Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart,” then it’s no wonder Philadelphia sports fans are so often accused of having hearts of stone.

Philly fans, in their collective heart of hearts, always expect to lose, for the simple reason that their teams have always lost. In their unshakeable pessimism, they create a kind of Jungian collective paralysis that seems to infect their heroes in key moments. Like Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd in the climactic scene of “Ghostbusters,” they bring to life the very image that they fear the most.

In this year’s N.F.C. championship game, the sight of the heavily favored Eagles looking like a deer caught in headlights against the Tampa Bay Bucs is only the latest manifestation of sports’ longest ongoing nightmare.