Campaign Cheer was my crowning achievement as a Phillies blogger. I had my 15 minutes of fame. ESPN radio out of Philadelphia interviewed me on-air via telephone about my idea, Comcast Sports and Fox 29 did television interviews with me, Deadspin featured the movement of Campaign Cheer, long time Phillies organization employee Larry Shenk emailed me his approval and mentioned it in his blog Phillies Insider, and Rich Hoffman basically wrote an article about Campaign Cheer. All the publicity for the blog has been great, but it's not about that; it's about showing the team you love support.
Campaign Cheer did start out as a half-baked idea formed out of sarcasm, but it evolved into so much more. As it began to pick up momentum around the Internet I decided to nix the negative connotation of cynical cheering, and focus solely on genuine throat-scratching belly-deep cheering. As I passed out fliers around Citizens Bank Park I emphasized that the idea was to drown out the boo-birds and create a positive ball park atmosphere. I was met with mixed reactions. Many people embraced the idea, others looked at me like I was passing out cult propaganda, and a few actually booed me. Inside the stadium I heard exactly what I expected- lots of cheers, but plenty of boos for Jimmy Rollins. Jimmy was met with 1/3 cheers, 1/3 boos, and 1/3 indifference in his first at bat. I gave him a standing ovation and I saw many others doing the same, but I did hear the jeers too. As the game went on, it felt like the crowd was cheering extra hard for every single Phillie with the exception of Jimmy Rollins, as he was the center of many boos to come as he had a very poor night at the plate including grounding into a double play. However, watching the game tonight (Wednesday) Jimmy is getting far more cheers than boos every time he comes to the plate and Harry Kalas even made note of it in J-Roll's second at bat.
So maybe Campaign Cheer wasn't a smashing success in its initial night, but hopefully it's catching on. I can only wish to hear more cheering than boos from now on because I'm sick and tired of all the negativity. I was a culprit of spreading pessimism, and it was draining. Booing, calling the players names, saying they suck, all that nonsense does nothing to help the club. It's time for a change, and I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I plan on focusing on the positives from now on. That doesn't mean I'll sugarcoat things or ignore problems, but I can do so in a much less harsh manner than I have in the past and still keep it lighthearted and amusing. To be completely honest, promoting Campaign Cheer and cheering my butt off in the stands for the entire game made it the most enjoyable experience I've ever had at a baseball game. Instead of getting pissed about Blanton pitching poorly, or the offense sputtering for the first part of the game, I remained upbeat and clapped and shouted reinforcement from the upper deck and it made me a much happier person for it. All in all, I'm extremely happy Campaign Cheer actually came to fruition, and now I dream of the concept growing and living on.
Special thanks goes out to my wife for customizing the Campaign Cheer t-shirt, making the sign, and helping to pass out the fliers (she is a converted Braves fan). Thank you to Hugging Harry Reynolds for printing out a buttload of fliers and distributing them outside the park too. Big shout out to the man and his son (holding the sign above) for giving me and my cohorts 4 dollar dogs for free. Oh, and as I'm typing, Brett Myers finished off the Nationals for a 4-0 complete game shutout. Phillies now 2-0 at home since Campaign Cheer began. Coincidence? I think not. Seen below is a picture of me catching my first small-mouth bass keepers (15+ inch) of the year the day after Campaign Cheer. Coincidence? Nope, lady luck is on both my and the Phils side!