Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One GoodThing About Philly

It's this guy: David Leonardi, the Sign Man.

(Photo copyright Getty Images.)

He's been doing this since 1972, when he got season ticket seats in the second row. The article and a link to a video interview are here on the Flyers website. (The video is worth checking out, it has his footage from the Flyers locker room when they won the cup in 1974 and shots of him and his wife showing up in their wedding clothes.)

He even came to Pittsburgh last year to mock the Pens in person during the Eastern Conference Finals (though he was presumably not involved in this legendary signage incident, one of my favorites). He taunted Fleury for "spin[ning] like a ballerina" during stoppages, among other things.

I love stuff like this. It takes effort. Unlike Philly's modern favorite, "Crosby sucks," you actually have to know the game and the players to come up with this kind of quality put-downs.

Vince Lascheid had it. The Civic Arena organist who died last month at 85 had a large repertoire of musical taunts, as well as pun-related theme songs for most of the Penguins stars. When the ref made a bad call, he threw out a few bars of the carol "Do You See What I See?" or, in extreme cases, "Three Blind Mice." (Back in those days of one ref and two linesmen this was an especially good choice.)

So it's great to see Leonardi going strong. This is old time taunting. The modern NHL could use a few more like him.

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