I want to personally thank Matthew Clemens, known now as “Pukemon” on the Internet, for making my new job in New York a living hell.
In case you have been stuck at the Oslo Airport for the last 10 days because of the other famous eruption, Clemens is the 21-year-old from Cherry Hill who was arrested for intentionally vomiting on an 11-year-old-girl and an off-duty cop at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Come to think of it, you probably heard about the story in Oslo, too. Even as phenomenal as Roy Halladay is pitching, he is still not the Phillies best known new hurler. I typed the words “Phillies and Vomit” into a Google search and it came back with 362,000 results.
New York Yankees and Mets fans, our natural arch-enemies, are taking particular glee in talking about the story. To them, and many around the country, what Clemens is said to have done is not a depraved aberration; he is now the prototypical Philadelphia Phillies fan.
The incident gives New Yorkers an excuse to recite over and over again every past example of Philadelphia Sports Fan bad behavior, as if they are singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Only “a partridge in a pear tree” has been replaced with “the puker in Philly.” Hitting Santa with snow balls, booing the Easter bunny, infamous fights and Eagles court are just a few in the litany of charges.
And we were doing so well. Most of the reputation seemed to fade with the implosion of the Vet. But when Matthew Clemens reportedly stuck his fingers down his throat, it all came back up.
I cannot fathom the outrage and disgust that Easton police captain Michael Vangelo felt when he and his daughter were retched on. I know how precious those father-daughter moments are, and to have it ruined in such a vile way elicits an outpouring of empathy for both. But know that when Clemens vomited, we all got hit with some splatter.
I edit in New York with a guy who wears a Yankees hat to work every day. Let me just tell you a few of the things I heard during an 8 hour edit session.
“Is Citizens’ Bank Park going to have a no puking section now?”
“Hey, who threw up the first ball at the Phillies game today?”
“I was thinking about going down to a Phillies game. Should I bring a vomit poncho, or do they give them out like they do at a Gallagher concert?”
“They should change the name of the team to The Pukers. They won’t even need to change the uniforms. It already has the P on it.”
“Hey, I’m feeling sick. I guess I’ll go to a Phillies game”
“Maybe they should change the name of Citizens Bank Park to The Vomitorium.”
It was endless. And I am just telling you this now so that you are ready for it when the Phillies play the Mets or Yankees. I know New Yorkers are ready to pull a Pukemon on all of with a spew of ridicule.
The whole thing just makes me want to throw up. Oh wait, now I can’t even do that. Thanks a lot, Matthew.
LARRY MENDTE writes for The Philly Post on Mondays and Thursdays. See his video commentaries at WPIX.com.