The clocks have pushed forward, an extra hour of daylight for all of us to enjoy each day. Spring has arrived with warmer temperatures to thaw out our frozen ears, fingers and toes. The Luck of the Irish has been spread rampant with parades and St. Patrick’s celebrations.
Most importantly, the sports world is coming down the home stretch, approaching the culmination of a wonderland sure to satisfy the most savvy of sports fans. The cracks of bats, the smell of freshly cut grass as MLB Spring Training winds down and makes way for Opening Day.
The NBA and NHL teams shuffle for last minute playoff seeding. The Madness of March is all over the place, with mid-major hoops programs trying play Cinderella vs. the big conference beasts. The world’s best 3 year-old horses are prepping in big stakes races, primed to take a shot at history and the elusive Triple Crown. And Augusta is right around the corner. It really is a magnificent time!
So what dominates the Philly sports scene these days? Surely the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies and their quest for a repeat! Well, a little bit. Villanova’s run for a National Championship? Somewhat. How about the Flyers making their annual spring run to the playoffs with hopes of improving on last spring’s trip to the conference finals? Ahhhh well not really! Then maybe the 76ers fighting for that 5th seed? Try again!
Only in Philadelphia is the football team a 365 day a year story. Plain and simple the Eagles still rule this town. Eagles free agency and the NFL Draft own the radio airways and the paper headlines.
I have lived in this great sports city for about 26 of my 33+ years. And for as long as I can remember this place has always been this way. A 60,000 + season ticket waiting list says it all! I have heard stories from my father, my uncles and sportswriters about how Philly was a major baseball town in the 70s and early 80s. And maybe that was true. But not so much in my day. Yes the Flyers and 76ers had some exciting runs. And ’93 with the Phils was phenomenal.
After what I witnessed this past fall from the Phillies, I would have guessed that the Fightin’s would move up in the standings in the city. To be perfectly honest, they have. But shouldn’t a World Series Championship move them into first place? Shouldn’t this be a “Baseball town” now?
I’m an Irish-American, an Irish-Catholic, an Irish-Asshole, whatever. Anyway, I oftentimes find myself on the pulse of Philly sports- in the Irish Pubs drinking an Irish beverage! And after all this time, I thought all the green during March in Philly was for the Irish.
I stand corrected. I now know that any green at any time of the year is for the Eagles. I spent the majority of the month, still a bit bitter with the taste of an NFC Championship loss on my tongue, sipping pints of Harp and getting in heated arguments about Shawn Andrews’s health and Brian Dawkins’s intangible value to the team.
Sure there have been the Phillies conversations, but inevitably, after a few “car bombs” the topic turned to the Eagles draft prospects. NCAA hoops abound soon drowned out by which WR the Eagles should target. And no matter how much Flyers and Sixers I talked, a shot of Jameson and the conversation inevitably turned to Leonard Weaver’s pass catching ability.
It really cracks me up. I am not complaining. Let me just call it surprising. And for the record I am NOT an alcoholic!
My conclusion- even a World Championship cannot cause the Eagles to fumble. The Phillies definitely carry the “good will plaque” right now in the city. But good will does not get you into first place in the standings. Even as many Eagles fans grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of a title, the coaching staff and front office, and the player personnel moves (or lack thereof), and their cached good will turns a bit sour, the Eagles still dominate here. Good or bad. Positively or negatively. It’s all Eagles all the time. And it probably will be for a while.