Here we go again.
A rowdy weekend at Citizens Bank Park - punctuated by the killing of a fan in a brawl - marred the Phillies' two wins over the Cards this weekend and dealt another blow to the reputation of Philadelphia sports fans.
David Sale Jr., 22, of Lansdale, was beaten to death in a parking lot near the stadium following a dispute in McFadden's restaurant in the Citizens Bank Park complex.
In addition to that tragedy, there was a simmering controversy over spectators who targeted five Cardinals' players with laser pointers late in Saturday's game.
According to MLB.com, during the seventh inning an unidentified individual targeted Julio Lugo and Albert Pujols with a green laser that resulted in a game delay as stadium officials searched for the errant laser-flashing fan. An inning later, another laser pointer - this one red - was used to target three other Cardinals.
Cards fans weren't happy.
"This was very unfair to the Cardinals," one commenter wrote on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Web site. "It is pretty bad when fans from the host city treat their visitors this way."
"I saw the dots on the chest," another fan wrote. "It never stops surprising me how ignorant [Philly] fans are. They have definitely earned the rep they have. In the world we live in now, for them to do that, is just absolutely stupid.".
It was a new chapter in Philadelphia sports fans' bad behavior over the years - overhyped, in the eyes of many locals - highlighted by the batteries thrown at J.D. Drew in 1999 and the infamous booing of Santa Claus in 1968.
The weekend incidents irritated Jim Vance and his wife, Janice, of Camden County, New Jersey.
"They took laser pointers away from kids in school, they should take them away here," Vance said. "As far as McFadden's [and the killing], that's Philly. It's going to happen sooner or later."
"I wouldn't expect to see that in a Phillies game - maybe in an Eagles or Flyers game," said Bill Barker, 31, of South Philly.
Carlos Sanchez, 21, of North Philadelphia, is an avid Phillies fan, but he was appalled by the use of laser pointers yesterday.
"How can you point a laser at 'The Machine,' Albert Pujols?" he asked. "It's so disrespectful - he's one of the best players in the game!"
Meanwhile, Dwayne Knight, 26, and Christy Skillman, both of Norristown, expressed disbelief over Sale's death.
"I don't know if people get too drunk and don't know any better, or it's just pure ignorance," Knight said.
"It makes us [Phillies fans] look like a bunch of drunken idiots . . . it gives us a bad name," Skillman, 26, said.
Other fans worried about the consequences of the incidents.
"It's a shame - it makes people not want to come down here," said Brian Danks, 39, of Northeast Philadelphia.
"Would you want to come down here if someone got beat up there the night before," he asked. "Especially if you were from outside of the city?"
But the laser pointers, at least, weren't unique to Philadelphia. Gary Cederstrom, crew chief of the umpires, told MLB.com that this season umpires had encountered laser pointers in St. Petersburg and Los Angeles, and in San Diego last year. *