By Tony Fryckberg:
2010 was a banner year for Philadelphia sports. No championships, but if a city had a better year without winning one, I’d like to hear about it.
A year ago, we were all bitching because that idiot Ruben Amaro Jr. traded away our beloved Cliff Lee for Philippe Aumont and 2 autographed copies of Cigar Aficionado magazine.
A year ago, we were riding high as the Eagles had just won their 6th straight game in a row behind Donovan McNabb and were making a run at a 6th NFC Eastern Division crown under Andy Reid. All they had to do was beat Dallas.
A year ago, we were all bitching because the Flyers, despite their 4 game winning streak, were putzing along at 19-18-2, and couldn’t get out of their own way despite spending a ton to acquire Chris Pronger.
A year ago, yeah, the Sixers still played in Philadelphia. Nobody cared.
So what’s happened since?
The Phillies won their 4th NL Eastern Division Championship in a row and were beaten in the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants. They watched as Jayson Werth signed a contract that was about double what he was worth (pun intended) to play for the Washington Nationals. Good luck with that, kid. Oh, and then, they re-signed Cliff Lee.
Yes. They re-signed Cliff Lee. Amaro corrected his mistake. In a massive, decisive way. Suddenly, we go into 2011 with the same offense as last year, sans Werth, and with The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse on the pitchers mound. Visions of World Series titles–no, MULTIPLE World Series titles dance in our heads.
The Eagles lost that game in Dallas. And the next one. Badly. A few months later, on Easter Sunday, the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb.
Yes. They TRADED Donovan McNabb. To the Redskins. And gave Kevin Kolb a gigantic raise, and the keys to the family car. A week into the season, Kolb got hurt, and Michael Vick is named the starter for the rest of the season.
Again, yes. Michael Vick is the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Other than a few games he missed due to injury, he has been since week 2. He’s also the starting quarterback for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, and he’s a leading candidate to win the NFL’s MVP award.
It’s okay if you need to take a breather.
The Flyers squeaked into the playoffs on the last day of the season, beating the Rangers in a shootout. Then they advanced to the second round, where they fell behind the Bruins by the death knoll of 3 games to none. Then they won the series. After spotting the Bruins a 3-0 lead at home in game 7.
They eventually lost in the Cup Finals to the Blackhawks, but now sit 2 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the President’s Trophy as the top team in the NHL.
And yes, the Sixers still play in Philadelphia. And yes, still, nobody cares.
Someone once said, “May you live in interesting times.” If this isn’t an interesting time to be a Philadelphia sports fan, I don’t know what is. Pinch yourself, wake yourself up, drink some Four Loko if you can find it, but folks, this is really happening.
Enjoy this time–the new Golden Age of Philadelphia Sports. Enjoy our teams entertaining you, enjoy the ups and downs, and enjoy the fact that Philadelphia is relevant as a sports town once again.
Happy New Year, all.
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