What happens if you get 7,121 obscenity-laced e-mails from people who have been sentenced to life in Philadelphia?
You do two things:
1. You ask relatives to remind you the next time you start to pick on the grocery store bagger to stop because it could be worse: The future son-in-law could be earning minimum wage and living in Philadelphia.
2. You press the delete button and three seconds later, 7,121 e-mails disappear without being read.
PHILADELPHIA MUST be in a lockdown now because the number of e-mails has dwindled significantly. For all I know, everyone is lined up on the Walt Whitman Bridge waiting to jump now that their overachieving basketball team has lost. If no one stops them, it will be the first time in city history that Philadelphia has more Mummers than morons.
It's like Charles Barkley said in 1994 at the NBA All-Star game: "People are stupid," and with his experience playing in Philadelphia for so many years, I believe he qualifies as an expert.
To be honest, I glanced at a few hundred of the e-mails, and while most were unintelligible, it's downright depressing that it appears there are this many angry and vile people living in one place. Thank heavens only a few have moved west.
"You should die a long slow horrible death," someone wrote in his e-mail. "Stoning, crucifixion maybe. Or we can take out your large intestine [while it's still attached to your stomach]. Not only did you think we were going to lose, but in the article you busted on our team.
"P.S. There's a price on your head for $5,000 for whoever can take you to Philly and to a local TV/radio station--to let the fans loose on your defenseless soul."
He signed it, "sincerely, Jon."
I'm sure his parents will be so proud of his good manners.
I WILL never understand, however, how anyone can get this riled up about something that has happened in sports. What if the Clippers played their basketball in Philadelphia?
If a Philadelphia columnist wrote about our smog, traffic, O.J. Simpson, plastic surgery or rolling blackouts, I don't know of anybody in L.A. who would pay much attention to it because those guys aren't very good writers.
I certainly couldn't picture anyone in L.A. putting down their latte, firing off an e-mail and using such poor grammar.
No one here takes it personally when everyone yells, "Beat L.A." In fact, it's understood in most L.A. sports circles that that is exactly what happens. I'd like to see the Ducks or Angels get better so just once we could hear someone yell, "Beat Anaheim."
I guess if you have nothing going for you in life other than a good cheese steak, and you reside in a city with an identity crises, victory is essential to reminding everyone you can have a good day in Philadelphia.
When the Lakers lost Wednesday night I was so down I was already walking down the beach before I realized I had forgotten to bring my boogie board.
Then I watched the sun set, found a nice little cafe in Santa Monica, had some dinner on the company and told myself things could be worse: My wife could have taken the daughters on a Beverly Hills shopping spree.
THE 76ERS were ahead by one game in the series and the people of Philadelphia couldn't have been any more upset. "You write like an ignorant idiot," wrote Bill Conlin in an e-mail, as if that's a news flash for the people in L.A.
The venom really flowed. Imagine Dodger Boy sitting at a computer and just letting me have it--in 7,000 different ways.
I blame much of that on the Philadelphia Daily News. As you know, The Times no longer runs my picture because it was so unsettling to our readers while they were eating breakfast, but the Philadelphia shopper not only ran my picture, but blew it up and placed it in the middle of a dart board. I'm hoping this doesn't give the Dodgers any ideas.
Of course, I was mad they ran my picture because I was going to tell everyone in Philadelphia that I was going to be there for Sunday's game, describing myself either as Bill Plaschke or as a "5-11 African-American with an earring in my left ear who answers to the nickname Lonnie."
I had permission from Times staffer Lonnie White, a former football player for USC and the toughest guy on our staff, to use him. But I was still leaning toward making everyone think Plaschke was me.
ON SUNDAY, the editors here plan on running excerpts from a 1978 column by Pulitzer Prize-winning Jim Murray about the city of Philadelphia.
The inmates are not going to be pleased.
I have no doubt they will try to e-mail him.
WHEN A reporter asked Allen Iverson after the game if he was disappointed having to go back to Philadelphia with the series tied 1-1, he said, "Yup," although I don't think it had anything to do with the series being tied.
THESE GUYS from Philly crack me up.
"Our fans are waiting for us to get back," the 76ers' Todd MacCulloch said. "Then we've got three opportunities to finish [the Lakers] off."
TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Joseph:
"On your best day, you couldn't be a Mummer if you tried your hardest."
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BY THE NUMBERS
Shaquille O'Neal's rebounding totals for each of the games in the NBA Finals.
More blocked shots that O'Neal had in Game 2 than in Game 1, when he had none.
More points that Kobe Bryant had in Game 2 than in Game 1, when he had 15.
Less points that Allen Iverson had in Game 2 than in Game 1, when he scored 48.
Free throws made and attempted by 76ers in Game 2 after making 23 of 25 in Game 1.
Points that Bryant and O'Neal have combined to score in each of the games in the Finals.
More points that Derek Fisher had in Game 2 than Game 1, when he had none.
Points for Rick Fox in Game 2. He had 19 in Game 1--a personal best for the 2001 playoffs.
Players who have scored 40 or more points in at least three consecutive games in the playoffs:
6--Jerry West, Lakers,
April 3-13, 1965 vs. Baltimore,
Western Division finals
4--Bernard King, New York,
April 19-27, 1984 vs. Detroit,
Eastern Conference first round)
4--Michael Jordan, Chicago,
June 11-18, 1993 vs. Phoenix,
3--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lakers,
April 26-May 1, 1977
vs. Golden State,
Western Conference semifinals
3--Michael Jordan, Chicago,
May 3-7, 1989 vs. Cleveland,
Eastern Conference first round
3--Michael Jordan, Chicago,
May 9-13, 1990 vs. Philadelphia,
Eastern Conference semifinals
3--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
June 1-6, 2001 vs. Milwaukee,
Eastern Conference finals, two games;
vs. Lakers, NBA Finals, one game.
Players who have scored the most points in a game in the 2001 playoffs:
54--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
May 9, vs. Toronto
52--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
May 16, vs. Toronto
50--Vince Carter, Toronto,
May 11, vs. Philadelphia
48--Kobe Bryant, Lakers
May 13, at Sacramento
48--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
June 6, at Lakers
46--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
June 1, at Milwaukee
45--Kobe Bryant, Lakers,
May 19, at San Antonio
45--Allen Iverson, Philadelphia,
April 24, vs. Indiana
44--Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers,
May 6, vs. Sacramento
44--Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers,
June 6, vs. Philadelphia