These are giddy times for fans of the Philadelphia sports teams, which includes most of Delaware. There are some Orioles and Redskins fans around here and some people in Sussex County still root for the Baltimore Colts, but when it comes to sports we’re basically still the Lower Three Counties.
Those Philly teams and their fans haven’t won anything yet – one of the teams hasn’t even played any games yet – but the anticipation around here is higher than it’s been since, well, forever.
The Phillies have their Four Aces, not to mention the best record in baseball. The Eagles have, according to new back-up quarterback Vince Young, a “dream team,” not to mention more air time on ESPN than at any time in their history.
The Phillies would have had high expectations regardless, but when pitcher Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees and Rangers to re-join the Phils, the expectations-meter went off the chart.
The Eagles have been a consistent playoff team for the last decade under coach Andy Reid and there’s no question which sport already was the most popular in these parts, and it’s not curling. Then the Eagles went on a free agent recruiting and spending spree that left everyone dizzy, including themselves. And the biggest coup in an offseason filled with them came when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha spurned another New York team, the Jets, and another Texas team, the Cowboys.
OK, so the Cowboys aren’t just another Texas team, which made the Asomugha signing even sweeter.
And that may be the best part for local fans, because, whether we want to admit it or not, we suffer from an inferiority complex, especially when it comes to New York teams in general and one Dallas team in particular. And now the two biggest free agents in their respective sports could have gone to the Big Apple or to America’s Team and, instead, they chose us.
And we didn’t just get Cliff Lee, we also got Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence. We didn’t just get Asomugha, we also Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins and Ronnie Brown and, well, you get the idea.
The hits keep coming.
Of course, all those stars and all that hype don’t mean much unless those teams win World Series and Super Bowl trophies. And as we know all too well, both of these teams have disappointed us before, and in the case of the Eagles, they’ve done it every year since 1960, including last season, when they lose in the first round of the playoffs at home. And even though the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, they’ve taken a step back in each of the last two seasons, losing in the World Series and then in the National League Championship Series.
That can’t happen this time. They can’t build up everybody’s expectations like that and then lose in the second round of the playoffs. When you spend the money these teams have spent and generate the excitement they’ve generated, well, it had all better end with a couple of parades down Broad Street.
But that’s for another day. For now, enjoy the Phillies’ phenomenal run and the Eagles’ ambitious plan. Enjoy the ride and worry about the destination later. Understand that this is a special era in Philly sports and savor it.
You might as well, because the Colts aren’t coming back.