As Pennant Races Heat Up, Playoff Hopes Fading for Phillies

July 9: Phillies All-Star JT Realmuto. Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos

The dog days of summer are here, at least if you’re a sports fan.

For the most part, one season blends into another seamlessly over the course of a year, and there are even times when a baseball game, football game, basketball game and hockey match are all played on the same day.

But not now.

There had been an extraordinary amount of excitement recently in the world of sports – the women’s World Cup, Wimbledon, the NBA free-agent frenzy and baseball’s All-Star game. Now, not so much. We have the British Open golf tournament starting up, but, let’s face it, even though the British Open is one of four Major events, most people don’t really care about it unless they’re die-hard golf fans or Tiger Woods is near the top of the leaderboard and in contention going into the final two rounds.

Also, the second half of the baseball season is gearing up, but the Phillies have been trending down, and there doesn’t seem to be much buzz around this team in the middle of July, when pennant races start to heat up. That lack of interest and faith is a marked change from the first month of the season when everybody was still fired up about the signings and trades that brought in Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura.


The Phils got off to a great start and led NL East for the first quarter of the season and Citizens Bank Park was packed once again as it appeared the Phillies were finally back on the winning track.

Well, the last time we checked, they were 8 ½ games out of first place. And nothing you see about this team makes you believe they’ll make a run for the division title. They still have a legitimate shot at a wild card playoff berth, which would be a big step up for a team that lost 96 games just two years ago.

But with all the hype that surrounded this team at the start of the season, along with the hot start to the season, the Phillies have been a major league disappointment so far.

The National League Pennant race as of 7-19-19

The Eagles are starting training camp soon, but take it from somebody who covered 30 or so training camps over the decades: it’s basically boring, especially since the fans don’t get much of a chance to see their heroes in action, or, as is the case nowadays, inaction. It used to be different, when the Eagles held training camp at West Chester University and Lehigh University. Thousands of fans would flock to camp on a daily basis, and back then NFL teams used to actually block and tackle each other in camp.

In fact, when Dick Vermeil was the coach in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Eagles sometimes had three practices a day and they put on pads and hit at every practice. Of course, that was before we knew about the damage to the brain that all of that hitting caused, and because of that – and because of all the money these guys make now – teams don’t really hit at all during camp. That’s good for the players, naturally, but not much fun for the fans.

But even that doesn’t matter now, because the Eagles have camp at their practice facility in South Philadelphia and will open only one training camp practice to the general public. And that is a disgrace. Big-money supporters and sponsors can watch just about all of the practices, but the regular guy who used to take his family to camp is now shut out.


Remember that the next time the Eagles tell you how much they care about their fans. Of course, they’ll gladly sell you a Carson Wentz jersey for $180.

The University of Delaware will also open its summer football camp soon, and there is a lot of excitement surrounding this team. For one thing, they’ll be playing in a refurbished Delaware Stadium as the program finally gets in step with the 21stCentury. Plus, the Blue Hens should be pretty good this season, their third under coach Danny Rocco.

But that’s about it for most sports fans. And as hot as its been lately, it makes more sense to stay inside with air conditioning and a frosty beverage and watch a good movie – or even a bad one.

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.