By Kyle Scott
The system worked.
Sarah Madson’s quotes about Philly fans started as part a throwaway blog post on a little known website, nakedphiladelphian.blogspot.com. In the two days since they were posted, Madson’s words have filled the collective psyche of Philly sports fans.
One of the reasons we got to witness Cliff Lee strike out 12 batters last night, was because his wife, Kristen, loves our city. It’s no secret that Kristen Lee was one of the driving forces behind her husband’s return to Philly. She has gone on record to talk about how great the city, the team, the restaurants (she sounds like a foodie, really), and the fans are. For that we adore her, even though she mentioned that it would be nice if her and Cliff could enjoy a few private dinners together so she could continue loving the city- a reasonable request, no doubt.
But with the same slightly irrational way we love Kristen, we were destined to hate Sarah Madson, for sharing a similar sentiment about overly zealous fans.
Her reported quotes about the Phillies fans were beyond harsh:
“I hate the fans. It is bad enough that they bother us during the season, but they will not leave us alone in December when we go out to eat. We stayed here during the off season last year, but we will be going to California this year. There must be something particularly bad about Phillies fans because all the players leave in the off season.”
If taken at face value and that doesn’t piss you off, then you’re probably not a true sports fans. With an understanding as to the backlash that would follow such vicious words, I thought it prudent to consider the source, Laura Goldman.
If you haven’t heard, you can find all about Goldman’s history here.
What followed those stories was a day of sideshow discussions about Madson, fans, media, and other topics which will have no impact on the outcome of the Phillies’ season.
By mid-day on Thursday, Madson’s quotes – and Goldman’s history – had been mentioned on a number of radio stations, and local and national websites. A classic she said… um…she said scenario.
While Goldman told local media outlets and Deadspin that she stood by her story, she also admitted that there was no recording of the quotes. She claimed she presented herself as a reporter to Madson and that the quote was accurate, saying on her blog, “Sarah was pretty clear on her hate for the fans.”
The Phillies had this to say in a statement released Thursday:
“Sarah did not consent to an interview, but rather was approached by Ms. Goldman, who did not identify herself as a reporter. She began to ask many personal questions about the life of a wife of a professional baseball player. The comments reported by Ms. Goldman were taken completely out of context, and as a result, Sarah is extremely upset and feels violated by the situation. Sarah says, “For every one fan that may upset us, there are 99 Phillies fans that we love. We have lived here for years, have many friends, neighbors and acquaintances — who also happen to be Phillies fans — for whom we have the utmost respect. The Madsons would like to dispel this misleading information which indicates that they have anything but admiration for the fans in Philadelphia.”
That jives with what I was told by someone who attended the event:
“Sarah was practically pinned in a corner by Goldman. To my recollection there was no mention that the conversation was an interview. And Goldman had nothing with which to take notes.”
Madson’s quote was awfully long, considering there was no notebook seen present.
So where’s the truth? Probably somewhere in the middle of a discussion about why it can be tough to be a “sports wife” in Philadelphia. When taken out of context, that reads like a screed directed towards the inhabitants of the city. And with that, we learned that fans, reporters, athletes and their families, and bloggers all have their own unique views and incentives.
In a way, you almost feel bad for Sarah Madson. If you put yourself in her shoes, you understand that it would be annoying to have fans coming up to you if you’re out to dinner or at the mall. Madson reportedly expressed that sentiment in what she believed was a private conversation, and the next thing you know her “hate” is all over the internet.
As fans, we rightfully take exception with that sort of discourse. We see someone who is wealthy because of her husband’s success on the baseball diamond. The city reveres him and his teammates. How dare someone criticize us for being, well, fans.
Bloggers (and some reporters), on the other hand, have different agendas. We aim to write about things that interest the public and or strike a cord. In my opinion, Goldman recognized – rightfully so – that the story from her discussion with Madson was her comments about the fans. What Goldman didn’t realize (or at least says she didn’t realize) was that it would cause a stir.
I asked Goldman if she would speak with me about the matter, but she declined.
In a way, this whole story was a case study on sports. The irrational emotions of fans, the angst of someone affected by sports success, and the media- all elements that were present. What we’re left with is a story – covered from all sides – about a person who said something about a group of people, and how their message was relayed to said group.
You’ve heard all sides of the story. And that’s a good thing. Did she or didn’t she? You decide.
This article reflects the opinion of Kyle Scott. Kyle Scott is the founder and editor of CrossingBroad.com, one of Philly’s top sports blogs, known for its sarcastic and irreverent take on the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and Eagles.