Tag Archives: Shane Victorino

Diary of a Sports Lunatic

Stardate 042609. Feeling quite pleased with the Phillies three-game sweep of the Marlins. Truly filleted their bullpen. Opportunistic bats storm to the forefront. Jamie Moyer doesn’t drink cocktails, he sips from the fountain of youth. Cameron Maybin looks like a lost puppy at the plate. Raul Ibanez is the only man on the planet who has my full-fledged support to sport the soul patch. Need – desperately – to get tickets for next weekend’s series against the Mets.

And so our journey begins. Surely, there was no way to get tickets directly through the Phillies. Other mediums had to be explored, and thus, my roommate Lucy and I were forced into the most despicable of predicaments – dealing with online scalpers.

What a depraved, dishonest and dispassionate man the online scalper is. Hording away tickets that otherwise well-intentioned fans might purchase in order to make himself a buck. It’s bad enough that the Phillies have begun to attract teeny-boppers and frat boys who experiment with steroids, all attending in the name of “making the scene”; now, an honest fan can’t even buy a damn ticket at face value. Where were you during the Gregg Jeffries’ years, you bandwagon barbarians? Playing twister with all of the pink-jersey’d Eagles groupies, I’d imagine.

Ridiculous.

Though I will suffer them so long as they yell loudly when the real fans yell, and don’t make a complete mockery of the True Philadelphia Fan by stooping to the level of mindless marauder, feeding into the Exploitative National Media’s stock definition of our people.

That I cannot tolerate.

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In a strange twist, David Wright knocks in Jimmy Rollins to win game; plus, a quick Tourney note

Hey, I’m not going to act like I watched the U.S. play Puerto Rico – I was too busy yelling at the the TV while the Red Wings came back to beat the Flyers, or standing on my couch and pumping my fist after Iggy knocked down the game-winning three against the Lakers.

But this was a hell of a finish in its own right, and featured a few of our Phillies in prominent roles. Video after the jump. Continue reading

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Ryan Howard wants 18 million smackers? The Pundit ain’t so sure ’bout that

$18 million? That figure is higher than Snoop Dogg on 4/20. (Editor’s note: Does anybody actually know the significance of that date? Is this really it?) I mean, that seems just a smidge high, considering the Phillies’ offer of $14 million would be a $4 million dollar raise. (Editor’s note: Insert Sarcasm Here).

That sure is some thick cigarette smoke...

That sure is some thick cigarette smoke...

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The Pundit hands out some hardware for Philly’s best this year – It’s the first annual Punny Awards!

(Editor’s note: Ah, New Year’s. A time of year for all of the various articles handing out “best-of-the-year” awards to come pouring out. Not to be outdone, The Pundit has joined in the holiday tradition with his first annual “Punny Awards.” One quick note: These awards will not include the current Flyers, Sixers, or any of the college basketball teams. Everything will be from teams that played the majority of their season in 2008. On to the awards!)

Award shows are really where it’s at. I mean, they’re so ridiculous. Famous audience members pretending to not posture for the camera. Cheesy video montages. And, my favorite, the poorly scripted and unenthusiastically delivered introductions to each award by disinterested celebrities who are probably half-tanked. I think that’s how we’ll run the Punnies.

And so, with that in mind, please put your hands together for Samuel L. Jackson, who will be presenting the Punny for Quote of the Year. Continue reading

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The Pundit List presents: Things to be thankful for

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pundit List, so it seemed like time. I decided to list the things I was thankful for both in the spirit of the holiday and because I’ve been so negative about the Eagles lately. My thanks will be primarily directed toward the sporting world, but I will undoubtably stray from time to time.  Obvious things, such as my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. will be left off of the list because they aren’t as much fun to write about. But they would be at the top. Probably. Anyway, on to the list.

8. The Flyers and Sixers – Eventually, I’ll actually start watching their games. I’m thankful I have something to look forward to once football is done for the year.

7. Emmananuelle Chriqui – You probably know her better as Sloan from Entourage. She might be the sexiest woman on this planet, at least in this humble Pundit’s opinion. If you aren’t familiar with the show, take a look– you won’t want to look away.

6. Beer – I don’t really need to go into depth here, do I? Though I will say, I am extremely thankful for my two favorite watering holes, The Pope (Pub on Passyunk East) and the South Philly Tap Room.

5. The BCS – The system blows, and I would like a playoff, but at least it gives me something to constantly bitch about on the site. The BCS, if for nothing else, is great for material. Think about how much has been written aruging that one team should be ranked higher than another, or about how there should be a playoff, and how it would be formatted. It’s a story-generator, and for that, and that alone, I offer my thanks.

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, Generation Kill, John Adams, Weeds – After The Wire ended last year, I needed something to fill the gigantic void that was left in my soul from its wake. (Editor’s note: Oh brother). Any show and/or mini-series listed above either helped, or is currently helping, to fill that void. Rest in peace, The Wire – you were the greatest show ever crafted for television. Hell, I’m thankful I ever tuned in.

3. The Eagles – They are driving me absolutely crazy this year – how could I possibly be thankful for them? Well, much like the BCS, they constantly give me something to talk about. I mean, they tied the Bengals. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, and is starting him this week. They blew chances to win close games against the Bears, Redskins, Cowboys and Giants. Honestly, a few clutch plays, and this team could potentially be undeafeted right now. And honestly, that is what makes them so damn frustrating – wasted potential. But success wouldn’t stir conversation, now would it? The Eagles are like the girl in the neighborhood who sleeps around – everyone knows her business, has their own idea of how she should be living, and are constantly gossiping about her. (Editor’s note: So wait…are the Eagles like the town’s bike?) I suppose I’m just thankful for football in general, but as a writer, the Eagles specifically are wonderful for controversy. (Editor’s note: Kind of sad, really).

2. Change – More than everything except for one thing on this list, I am thankful for the possibility, and the hope, of change. It was what made the number one item on this list so very special. I am thankful that “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did.” I am thankful for the possibility that the Eagles will move in a new direction after this season. I am thankful for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, college football will someday have a playoff. I am thankful that the Sixers brought in Elton Brand, the legitamate big man they haven’t had since Charles Barkley. (Editor’s note: What, no love for Dikembe “Cookie Monster” Mutombo?) I am thankful that, after 25 years of failure, we finally had ourselves a winner. Which brings me to number one:

1. The 2008, World Phucking Champion, Philadelphia Phillies – I mean, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? They brought us the parade we had been waiting for so long. They were a team full of players that were easy to embrace. Talented. Team-oriented. Focused. Unflappable. They were led by a manager with the waddle to the mound. The guy who had divine hunches. I offer my thanks to Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, J.C Romero, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, and So Taguchi. On second thought, not So Taguchi. Sorry, pal. I give my thanks to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies – it was one hell of a ride, and I sure hope to take it with you guys again.

I hope everybody a damn good Thanksgiving. Stuff your faces, take a nap while watching a football game, and enjoy seeing your family. But don’t use it as an excuse to be thankful for the things in your life – we should all be doing that everyday. (Editor’s note: I’m thankful for self-righteous advice!). Oh, and Rant: I’m thankful for you too, man. Rant has been the man. Many thanks go out to him. Now…bring on the feasting!

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To win, you gotta have chin

On Saturday night, I met up with Jacobs and Hoffman, two contributors to the site, at Fox and Hound to catch the Penn State game. I was fairly surprised by what I saw when I arrived – Penn State was trailing Michigan 17-7 at the 12 minute mark of the second quarter.

“What the hell is going on here?” I asked.

Jacobs didn’t hesitate to answer my question. “Fucking Michigan is running up and down on us. Let’s get the hell out of here, go to a different bar. I can’t stand all of these damn Michigan fans. Look at all of them over there! Where do they come from?”

Sure enough, an entire section of the bar was entirely decked in blue and maize. Disgusting. Apparently, they had been hooting and hollering for the entire game; in fact, one delightfully obnoxious bar patron had even brought his cowbell, and was whacking that thing unmercifully every time Michigan did anything positive. (Editor’s note: Yeah, I’m just gonna stay away from that one). It was too much for Jacobs, a diehard State fan and a rather passionate dude. But I wasn’t about to be phased by some stupid cowbell.

“Dude, trust me – when Penn State comes back and wins this game, it will be awesome to watch all of these Michigan fans leave the bar dejected and distraught,” I said. “You’ll see – when Appalachian State beat Michigan last year, I was at this bar. Watching all of the Michigan fans sadly stream out of here, dreams broken, while all the fans of other teams heckled them, was truly priceless. As annoying as it now, it will be sooooo worth it later.”

Now, I know how harsh, and unbelievably cruel, that sounds. But there was a deeper point I was trying to make – a real winner always has to take the best punch his/her opponent can throw, get back up, and punch back harder. To win, you gotta have chin.

Chin has been all over the MLB playoffs. In game one, the Dodgers jumped on Cole Hamels early, scoring two runs and quieting the uproarious Philadelphia crowd. But the Phillies calmed down, shook out the cobwebs from the Dodger haymaker, and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell each hit home runs to seal the Philly win. Game 4 was another example – for most of the game, no matter what the Phils did, the Dodgers had an answer. They led 5-3, and you could sense that series momentum was shifting in their favor. But the Phillies weren’t done fighting yet, and when Shane Victorino tied the game with his rope to right, the Dodgers started to sway. And then Matt Stairs hit them with a left that they never saw coming, and they dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. No matter how much, or how hard the Dodgers swung, they couldn’t knock the Phils down, and they certainly couldn’t handle the counter punch. It was of little surprise that the Phillies sealed the deal in game 5 – the Dodgers were sporting a glass jaw.

To win, you gotta have chin.

The ALCS was a dissertation on chin. The Rays had the Red Sox down for the count, leading them 7-0 in the seventh inning in game 5, with a 3-1 series lead, after pasting them in the two games before. Honestly, the Red Sox looked unconcious before they hit the mat. And yet, somehow, someway, the came back to win that game. Uh-oh. And when they won game 6, you couldn’t help but wonder if the Red Sox had absorbed the very best punch that the Rays had (and, truthfully, it was one hell of a punch), and were going to win this series. And yet, the Rays had one last trick up their sleeve (Matt Garza), and were able to take a few crushing blows of their own, pulling out the game 7 win. That the Rays were able to regroup after seemingly losing all of the momentum in the series that they had signed, sealed and delivered, they showed me something. Resiliance. Fight. Chin.

To win, you gotta have chin.

It’s the reason that Rocky is Philly’s favorite sports hero: the man never gave up. He never stayed down. He not only took your best shot, he wanted it. He wanted you to give him all you had, and then he wanted to give you just a bit more. He wasn’t the most talented or hyped fighter, but he could take anything you had in your arsenal, and fight on. Rocky wasn’t real, but the spirit and essence of his character most certainly is, and its what the Phillies are going to have to rely on against a dangerous Rays team.

To win, you gotta have chin.

Oh, I almost forgot: Penn State ended up beating Michigan, 46-17. Since my arrival at the bar, Penn State scored 39 unanswered points. Apparently, your Pundit is good luck. (Editor’s note: Doesn’t change the fact that he never gets lucky – ZING!). After every touchdown, following the traditional “WE ARE – PENN STATE!” chant, a chorus of us would ask one other question.

“CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME MORE COWBELL?”

Nobody on the Michigan side ever answered our pleas. They knew they were defeated. They knew that to win, you gotta have chin.

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A Game Four For the Ages

There isn’t much I can say to really do last night justice: it was tormenting, it was exhilarating, it was exhausting, and it most certainly was awesome. Here are some of my notes from the game that certainly will always be remembered by Phillies’ fans:

– Manny Ramirez is absolutely unbelievable. Seriously, the best postseason hitter I have ever seen. Big Papi’s curse-crushing performance was superb, but Manny is better. You can’t pitch to him. It’s ridiculous.

– While neither bullpen was very good, the boys in the pen for the Phils did just enough to close this one out. I have to be honest, I didn’t agree with using Lidge for the four-out save, though it worked. I was worried that he was going to give up a hit against Manny (which he did), and possibly either get shaken or throw a lot of pitches in the eighth and have a less effective arm in the ninth. Plus, I think there is something about coming out for the ninth inning that is lost when you go into the dugout after the eighth – you come running out, adrenaline pumping, knowing you’ve got three to go and the game is over. Sitting in the dugout, you’re hanging around, you’ve already thrown a bit, the adrenaline decreases. But what do I know? Lidge did his job, and we all leave happy. Charlie Manuel, the visionary.

– How perfect was it that Shane Victorino tied the game? “Sugar Shane,” “The Flying Hawaiian,” “Hit Me In The Ribs Victorino” had to be the one guy that LA fans absolutely didn’t want to see do something positive; his rope into the bullpen must have broken their hearts.

– Matt Stairs, that home run was one of the most majestic, beautiful, wonderful, surreal home runs I have ever witnessed. Take away the context of the shot, and it was still the perfect swing. As soon as his bat struck the ball, I swear a bolt of electricity shot through the city of Philadelphia, because I was on my feet well before the camera showed the ball landing squarely in the shattered hopes and dreams of Dodgers fan everywhere. We were going absolutely nuts at the Pundit Palace. Matt Stairs has hit a fair share of home runs in the fair share of years he has played this game, but I promise you, he has never hit a home run like that. A spectacular moment.

– This team is just special. You simply can’t quit on them – every time I’ve been a bit down on them this year, or I felt momentum slipping from their grasp, they do something that leaves me speechless. They just know that they’re going to somehow pull it off. In Philly, I’ve been saying that there’s something in the air. Well, in LA, the only thing up in the air is the smog and probably the acting careers of half of the waiters and waitresses in the city, so the Phillies had to bring their own magic. And when Chase Utley made his diving double play, and when Shane roped a homer into right, and when Carlos Ruiz hit what seemed to be an innocent little single, and when Matt Stairs enthralled a city 3000 miles away with a swing that I’ve watched about 25 times today and will never forget, that magic made itself known.

– This is the game we have been waiting to see Cole Hamels pitch. He’s been filthy in his first two postseason starts – game five is his opportunity to not only firmly entrench himself as our stopper, but to establish himself as a big-game pitcher on the national scene. I’m confident he’ll deliver.

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Quick hits from the Eagles and Phillies

Eagles

– Juqua Parker, you are the man! Defensive player of the week, if you ask this Pundit. Obviously, the late interception and return for a touchdown sealed the game, but Parker also had a big sack and made an excellent play on a reverse that set the Niners back and forced a third and 18. That long down led to an interception by Mr. Mikell. Good job Mr. Parker – this team needed a spark today, and you provided it.

– Gotta hand the 49ers this – they had a great game plan for attacking the Eagles defense, one that worked for 3 quarters. They ran the ball well, used their hot reads, and did enough shifting to keep the Eagles off-balance. Excellent utilization of the TE’s, which appears to be the one position which the Birds continually have difficulty defending against.

– The defense did a solid job of keeping the Niners out of the endzone. Early in the game, after a long Allen Rossum punt return, the D kept San Fran out of the endzone. Another TD came on the field goal block at the end of the half. So really, the Eagles defense, when the Niners had to use the whole field, gave up 16 points, and they played huge in the 4th quarter. A good, though certainly not great, effort by the defense.

– A couple of really nice catches by Hank Baskett in the first half, including his spectacular touchdown reception. He has the natural ability to make some plays, but he is either inconsistent or the Eagles don’t construct enough of the game plan with him in mind, because his contributions this year have been sparse at best.

– Why, oh why, is any field goal attempt longer than 40 yards such an ordeal anymore? I was truly concerned that the block and touchdown return at the end of the first half was going to be the play that tilted the game in the Niners direction, and it almost was. I mean, Akers and this unit used to be automatic. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: bring back the beard, David. We need it!

– I don’t know if it was just me, but in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the Eagles just looked flat. Emotionless. No heart. In the 1st and 4th quarters, they were sharp, precise, and passionate. This inconsistency in both emotion and execution really frightens me. You can get away with playing two good quarters against the 49ers, but not in the NFC East games.

– Correll Buckhalter, you are quickly becoming my favorite Eagle. You leave it on the field, and you never give an inch.

– Donovan McNabb had a solid game, save for the interception down by the endzone, which really wasn’t his fault. L.J. Smith loafed that route, and should have ran in front of Patrick Willis. As my old football coach used to say when he was enraged at a player, “THAT WAS A PISS POOR EFFORT. PISS POOR!”

– It was nice to see the Eagles utilizing more screen passes. I’ve felt as though they’ve gotten away from the screens a bit in the past weeks, and it has traditionally been a very effective play for Andy Reid. Keeps the defense on their toes, and allows the backs or TE’s to make plays in space. Actually, the Niners used the screen extremely well against the Eagles D. Mike Martz can draw himself up some offense.

– Frank Gore is a really impressive back. He is so hard to get to the ground, and when he gets that momentum going, look out – he’s gonna knock you in the teeth. That being said, he’s pretty nimble too. When healthy, he’s a top 5 back in this league.

– Alright! The Cowboys just lost to the Cardinals on a blocked punt for a touchdown in overtime. And the Skins lost on a last second field goal against the Rams. Niiiiiiiiiice.

– Dude, DeSean Jackson got lit up on a punt return. I mean, the guy clotheslined him. It looked like one of the overly dramatic and completely infeasible hits you’ll see in the movies. DeSean Jackson – you got JACKED UP!

Phillies

– I suppose I have to address the beanball aspect of this game to start. Can’t blame Shane for being pissed about having a ball thrown at his head, though I can’t blame the Dodgers for throwing at him, especially after Manny Being Manny had one thrown behind him in game two, and Russell Martin had one whizzed above his head tonight. That’s baseball, and it certainly took this series to a new height in terms of intensity. Plus, Shane’s gyrations were friggin’ priceless.

– Not sure what’s going on with Jamie Moyer in the postseason, but his first two innings pretty much put this game out of reach. Hard to be down on a guy who was so vital to our success during the season, but he really killed us tonight.

– Good to see Ryan Howard getting his swing back on track. Look for him to absolutely crush one in the next game or so. Got to get Jimmy rolling, though – he sets the table.

– Bullpen did a pretty good job of not letting this game get too far out of hand. Hopefully, this won’t tax our arms for the next game or so. That could be the truly dangerous aspect of this loss.

– Boy, Russell Martin really took his lumps today, huh? Gets hit twice in the game, and has a fastball go above his head. Get out the ice packs.

– Highlight of the broadcast: the cameraman focusing on Ryan Seacrest as he was playing with his Blackberry, followed by Joe Buck deadpanning, “Somebody tell him the score.”

– The Dodgers absolutely had to win this game. They took care of business, simple as that. It will be interesting to see if the Phillies can up their intensity to match the Dodgers tomorrow

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The Pundit isn’t afraid anymore – talking about the Phillies’ chances

There are moments in life that perhaps on their surface seem innocent enough, but in actuality hold much deeper truths about the nature of things. Now, I don’t want to get into a philosophical conversation about what these things are, or even what they reveal, but I will mention one man who’s actions have started to make me believe in things far beyond the man himself.

That man is Brett Myers.

Brett Myers has been sublime in the strangest of all places – at the plate. He didn’t pitch particularly well yesterday, giving up 5 runs, but his impact went far beyond his arm. Mr. Myers went 3-3 with 3 RBI’s, one a timely two-out single to keep the inning alive. When your starting pitcher, one who had all of 4 hits in the regular season, is the spark that is igniting your offense, something strange is occurring. See, while I don’t want to take anything away from Brett’s achievements, I can’t help but think that he’s channeling something deeper here. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I can’t keep it in any longer. Here goes:

The Phillies are going to win the World Series.

God, that felt good to get out. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Pundit, sir, how could you jinx us? Why would you say something like that? Sure, we can sense something special going on, but good grief, man, don’t put it out there like that – you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Well, you know what? Fuck that. Most of my life as a Philly fan, I’ve lived with a fake optimism, acting as though I thought my teams would win but never really believing they could do it. I’ve done all of the stupid superstitions, worn the lucky shirts, never tried to jinx the team. Hell, if I was on a bad streak where when I watched the team lost, I would stop watching until they won again. I was committed, and desperate, and mostly I just didn’t think they could do it, so I figured I’d help out as much as possible.

Well, this year, I really believe. I believe that their starting pitching is good enough to keep us in the game, and that the bullpen will seal the deal, and yes, I believe that Brad Lidge will remain perfect. I believe that we’ll continue to play solid defense, and make the smart play. I believe that our big bats will hit, and somebody unexpected will continue to emerge as the hero we need. I believe because the Phillies fans have been absolutely unbelievable, and I don’t think we’ll lose a playoff game at home. This isn’t some hopeful rant of optimism to promote a positive atmosphere that will somehow propel our team to greater heights – I truly think we’re going to win the whole damn thing, and I think it would be sweet to beat the Red Sox to do it.

And I believe because of Brett Myers. Because, in baseball, it doesn’t matter who gets the hit, or makes the play to spur the team on. Myers got into CC Sabathia’s head, and was, along with Shane Victorino, our biggest bat in game two. When he steps up to the plate, it just feels like something is going to happen, which makes me feel as though this team feels as though something is going to happen. Sometimes, the key to success is just believing you will succeed, and focusing on that and that alone. Seems to me as though this team is doing just that.

So I won’t hide my feelings away. I won’t get lost in a bunch of worries about superstition or jinxes or any of that crap. The Phillies are going to win the World Series, and that’s just all there is to it.

(Editor’s note: The Pundit sends his condolences to Charlie Manuel, Shane Victorino and their families for their recent losses. There is much more to life than baseball, and the death of a family member is a painful reminder of this. All of Philadelphia’s thoughts and prayers are with you guys and your families.)

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The Pundit is just living the life…of Reilly

So, during my nightly stroll about the Interweb, I came upon what seemed to be an interesting article from Rick Reilly: Which franchise rules your city? I know the answer. I was both intrigued by the idea of the article, and mildly taken by the raw confidence displayed by Mr. Reilly (Editor’s note: Yeah, that second part kind of weirded me out). Should you not be a Reilly fan, I’ll save you the trouble of reading the entire article and post his section on Philadelphia below.

PHILADELPHIA Used to be Eagles, now it’s Phillies. This is partly because of the Phils’ young stars and partly because the Iggles owner has handed it to them. Jeffrey Lurie is a Boston guy who’s made $800 million so far on his Eagles purchase but not many friends. You always get the feeling that his jet bound for his beloved Beantown is double-parked.

Okay, where to begin? First of all, this is absurd. This is very much an Eagles town. Think for just a second about the game and the environment on Sunday: how many people do you know who didn’t watch the game? People who I know aren’t into sports at all watch the Eagles. I can have a conversation with just about any guy on the street about players on the Birds, but change that to the Phillies, and the conversation probably ends. That, and think about how many of those ridiculously tacky pink Eagles jerseys you see on a Sunday.  It’s a strange phenomenon, especially because the Phillies really deserve our attention right now – they’re in the midst of a playoff push! Yet, the attention has shifted in Philly to the Eagles. On Monday over at The Sports Complex, James Beale was pondering why exactly this was the case, and seems to be every year.

But let’s get back to E$PN O’Reilly. He makes two points here supporting his claim: The Phillies have a lot of young stars, and Jeffrey Lurie is a Boston guy who’s made a bunch of money off of the Eagles but doesn’t really love us. Hmmmm. Let’s take a look at these more closely.

Oh, how we love our young stars. Nevermind that Ryan Howard was getting booed earlier in the year. Or the Frontrunning Rollins debacle. Yes, this team has some great young starts, namely Chase Utley, Howard and Cole Hamels. Burrell isn’t young, Rollins had one starstruck year, and though I love Shane Victorino, he alone isn’t selling any tickets. Hell, the best player this year for the team has been Brad Lidge, who has salvaged his career here after almost going batty at the expense of Albert Pujols’ bat. There are no guarantees that Howard and Hamels will even remain with the team in the future. Don’t get me wrong – I love these guys. But if I was going to claim that the Phillies were the franchise that ruled Philadelphia, I’d go a different route.

How about the tragic nature of the Phillies that keeps fans coming back year after year? Their almost innate ability to get soooo close to the playoffs or World Series and somehow lose it in the end. The fact that, despite being the franchise in professional sports with the most losses ever, we still come back to them, from one painful season to the next. The Phillies, and the culture of being a Phillies fan, has seemed to be passed down from generation to generation in a different way than the other teams. And not in some hokey, “lovable losers” bullshit excuse for fandom. We don’t glean some strange and backward sense of pride from the fact that the Phillies always break our hearts. It pisses us off. Sure, we take pride in being loyal, but we wish the experience was a whole lot less excruciating. This is a baseball town, and we do love our Phillies. Just not quite as much as we love our Eagles.

Is Jeffrey Lurie really the devil? Um, no. Do I care that he’s a Boston guy at heart? Not really. If that’s where he came from, I should hope he would retain some friggin’ loyalty – I respect that. As for him not making many friends, um…Why do I care? (Editor’s note: Ohmigosh, did you hear that Rick Reilly is calling Jeffrey Lurie unpopular? Scaaaaandulous!) Fact is, the man has paid for a winner more seasons since he took over in 1994 than not. We’ve seen players like Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, Duce Staley, and Jon Runyan come into town during his years. He put Andy Reid in charge, who has been the most successful coach in Eagles history. He pushed for the Link. All things considered, he’s been a pretty good owner. He just needs to get the big one, and his place in Philadelphia lure will be secure. (Editor’s note: My god, did he just avoid the potential play on words between lure and Lurie? Ladies and gentlemen, maybe The Pundit is finally growing up.)

No, there is a different reason why Philly is an Eagles’ town. Part of it is that football has become America’s game, and none of the other sports can really come close to making that claim. Football as a game is very similar to Philadelphia fans: it is passionate, intense, emotional, rough, gritty and demanding. Football is almost meant to be watched while drinking and getting rowdy. Not that Phillies games haven’t become frat parties of their own, because they certainly have. But that only seems to happen when the Phillies are doing well; an Eagles game is always a guaranteed tailgating fest, and a place to be very afraid if you’re wearing the wrong jersey. People can get together and watch the games on Sundays, the Birds becoming a part of every fans weekly routine; the Phillies play almost every night, and the season is long and takes a different level of engagement. Plus, football is naturally a more exciting game – it will always have an advantage over baseball in the “casual fan” demographic. Finally (and this one is my sleeper but a heavy hitter), the Eagles have better rivalries, and Philly fans loooooove hating other teams. What one rivalry do the Phillies have that consistently mirrors the intensity and hatred that the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys all regularly evoke? Perhaps the Mets in the past couple of years, but not traditionally.

I appreciate what you are trying to do Mr. Reilly, and I can’t hate on you for it. It’s an interesting conversation piece, and in that regard, well played. That being said, it would be a better article if you were actually correct. I’m sure other cities will make their arguments as well. Stick to the whole “human side of sports” bit, it suits you better.

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