Philadelphia sports fans can be ruthless. After all, Santa Claus was once hit by snowballs at an Eagles game.

But they tried something different this summer with a struggling Phillies player. Perhaps Philadelphia shortstop Trea Turner was feeling pressure after signing an 11-year, $300 million contract in the offseason. He was having the worst season of his career, batting .217, being dropped from second to eventually eighth in the batting order with his defense suffering too.

A spontaneous social media and sports talk radio campaign on August 4 recommended the boos greeting Turner being replaced by standing ovations and chants for him. That night, he hit an RBI single. The next day, he homered. Since then, Turner has hit .346 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs in 40 games.

“What transpired here is something I’ve never seen,” Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long told Newsday. “I truly believe that it had a positive impact on where Trea was at the time. It helped him relax. You want the people who are coming to watch you the most to have your back. In your toughest moments, if they have your back, just think what they’re going to do when you start performing well.”

“We’re all human. We feel things,” Turner explained. “It allowed me to take a deep breath. It reminds you that you’re a good player and they know you’re a good player.”

And since positive reinforcement helped a professional baseball player to dramatically break out of his slump, imagine what it could do for a youth soccer player. Think what would happen if there was much more positive reinforcement than negative yelling by coaches and other adults at youth soccer games. The youth soccer landscape would change dramatically:

• Players would no longer approach referees and ask them, “Could you please ask my father (or mother) to stop yelling at me?”

• With truthful and specific praise plus constructive criticism by coaches, performance would improve as well as the probability that kids will play sports longer.

• With the number of players quitting youth soccer decreasing, no longer would leagues have approximately half the number of Under-19 teams as they do Under-12 teams.

• We lose more than half our referees in their first two years of officiating with verbal abuse by adults being the number one reason for quitting. Even with the anticipated increased number of teams in the older age groups, our referee shortage would subside if everybody was more positive and having a good time at youth soccer games.