When Republican Michael G. Fitzpatrick is sworn in as the new congressman from Pennsylvania's 8th District, the longtime Philadelphia sports fan will face some important decisions. Chief among them, of course . . .
Phillies or Expos?
Oh, Phillies. I've been rooting against the Expos as long as I can remember.
Think you'll at least go to any ballgames in D.C.?
I hope so, yeah. Where are they playing, RFK initially? I hope they build a stadium and they build one downtown.
Philadelphia would appear to be D.C.'s most natural rival in the NL East. Do you think there will be a rivalry there?
I would think that there would be. The Montreal rivalry was a good one. I've gone to a lot of Phillies games from the day I was a kid at the old Veterans Stadium and one of the old rivalries was with the New York Mets. You'd be at a Phillies game and there'd be as many Mets fans as Phillies fans because New York, it's just two hours away. That will really add to the rivalry with the new Washington baseball team, because we're neighboring cities almost. When the Phillies play the Orioles in interleague play, there are always a lot of guys traveling back and forth. I've made that trip.
What do you think about Camden Yards?
Beautiful stadium. Great place to see baseball. Interesting story -- the architectural firm that designed Camden Yards, HOK, also designed Citizens Bank Park. I'm a county commissioner, I've been a county commissioner for 10 years, and we hired HOK to design a new courthouse for Bucks County. So traveling around the county, I tell citizens if the new courthouse looks a little like Camden Yards or Citizens Bank Park, it's no coincidence.
Have you seen plans for the courthouse?
Very preliminary stuff. And the courthouse was not designed to look like a ballfield. I was a little disappointed -- it was designed to look like a courthouse.
Do Philadelphia sports fans get a bad rap?
Do they get a bad rap? I think they deserve it. They pride themselves in it. It's all part of the shtick.
So are you a boo bird?
No, no. I actually was a big fan of Mike Schmidt; I used to go to the Vet and sit on the third base line. He was phenomenal. It wasn't his play that he got booed for. He never really warmed up to the fans and the fans to him, more of a personality thing. I never took part in that. I'm not a really vocal fan -- I leave that to the guys from South Philly.
So what exactly do you do after winning a congressional seat? Do you all dump champagne over each others' heads and say you're going to Disney World?
What did we do? We threw a big party. There was some beer flowing, some hoagies being eaten. You know what a hoagie is? In Philadelphia we figure no one outside of Philadelphia knows what a hoagie is. The district I come from, [Republicans are] used to winning, unlike some of the Philadelphia franchises. We're used to putting together a series of pretty significant wins.
Last question: The Expos open with a three-game series in Philly. Any predictions?
The opening series, when is it, early April? Let me think about this, Canadians are used to cold weather. . . . The Phillies will sweep. The Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl and there will be a ton of pressure on them.
-- Dan Steinberg