Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spectrum Could Go the Way Of the Vet

The stadium where the last Philadelphia sports franchise to win a championship played their home games could be demolished to make room for an entertainment complex dubbed "Philly Live!" The Sixers and Flyers both played in the Spectrum for about 30 years until moving into their current home, the Wachovia Center in 1996. The Spectrum currently hosts Philadelphia Phantoms minor league hockey.

Philly Live! seems a lot like the harbor area in Baltimore, with shops and restaurants and it will probably feature some kind of ESPN Zone or Philly Fan Zone of some kind. It could revitatalize an area of South Philly that is really just industry and sports stadiums. It seems like a decent idea that could draw some people and money into the city, but is it worth the loss of the Spectrum?

Having seen my first professional basketball game in the Spectrum in the mid-80's, I have a few great memories of the old place. How could I possibly forget the hobbling Mike Gminski dropping 25 on the Altanta Hawks? I don't think it holds the same prestige and nostalgic qualities that Veterans Stadium had, but it is always sad to see a piece of the city's history get taken down. After all, there were more Championships won in that building than in the Vet.

For the immediate future, the Flyers may need to find a new place for their minor league affiliate to play. It was always very convenient for the Flyers to have the Phantoms close by so they could call up and send down guys any time they wanted without placing too much of a burden on the player in terms of travelling. The Flyers literally could ask Phantoms players to come across the parking lot to come and play for the big club. The Flyers will have to search the surrounding area for a new place for the Phantoms to play.

In Philadelphia, all of the major sports teams are lucky that they play in fairly new, state-of-the-art stadiums. Citizens Bank and the Linc are two of the finest stadiums MLB and the NFL have to offer. The Wachovia Center is older, but seems to be aging well. We just shouldn't forget where these teams came from and all of the history that was had in these old buildings as they are turned into dust before our very eyes.

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