Phillies Players’ Personal Lives Aren’t Fair Game

What Sarah Madson says has no effect on October baseball

Last week, my analysis of the most annoying Phillies fans sparked more than a few passionate responses; some folks agreed, while others called me a sissy because I wouldn’t boo Cole Hamels after one lousy start. I can’t wait to hear what they think of the latest Phils flap. On Wednesday, the blog Naked Philadelphian posted comments made by pitcher Ryan Madson’s wife, Sarah, at their MANNA fundraiser last month. “I hate the fans,” Sarah said, according to blogger Laura Goldman. Sarah went on to say she understood why “all the players leave in the off season” and complained that baseball groupies pass phone numbers to her husband in front of her.

Judging by Goldman’s Twitter followers—four—no one was reading her blog until my friend AJ Daulerio posted Sarah’s dis on Now everyone from sports radio to Dan Gross of the Daily News to MSNBC is all over this story. The Phillies and the Madsons have issued statements saying Sarah’s comments were “taken out of context.” Goldman stands by her story, and so far, hasn’t commented on questions about her past.

Not since Jayson Werth grew a beard has there been so much ado about something that will have absolutely no impact on whether there’s a parade in October (though if there is, Sarah might want to ride down Broad Street inside the bus where she’ll be safe from foreign objects thrown her way). Maybe some folks are a little too hopped up on the Kristen Lee tale, the one in which she reportedly influenced her hubby to spurn those loogey-hocking Yankees fans and return to Philly. It was our ultimate Sally Field moment as fans—the Lees like us! They really like us!

Let’s assume the quotes are accurate and Sarah Madson was caught in an unguarded moment. She could walk through Citizens Bank Park and slap every one of us in the face if it made her feel better—and it won’t help her husband get three outs in the eighth. That’s really all any Phillies fan should care about. Maybe some fans are worried that if Madson’s wife feels this way, then he loathes us, too. If so, we probably won’t know until he leaves town and pulls a Billy Wagner.

This brings me back to the Cole Hamels booing flap. Reporters asked Hamels if those opening-week jeers bothered him. No, he said. Just part of the game. Of course, the knuckleheads who did the heckling used that response to justify their jeers. Was Hamels being honest about brushing off the boos? I hope so. That’s the attitude I want in a starting pitcher. He’s also too smart to admit his own fans rattled him. That’s sports suicide in this town. Hamels knows it, and I’m sure Madson does too. Don’t admit weakness. And let bloggers criticize the fan base. My cousin Bill, also a lifelong Philly sports fan, summed it up: “It’s so simple. Even if you hate the fans, lie to us. Say we’re the most passionate fans in the country. You’ll be a hero here forever.” Sarah Madson is learning that lesson the hard way.