Saturday, March 1, 2008

What a Difference a Week Makes

Just one week ago, the Philly sports scene was grim. The Flyers lost ten straight games and their best player for the season, Mike Patterson of the Eagles got busted, the Phillies newly acquired closer got injured, and, while the Sixers were improving, they still were 7 games under .500.

Flash forward to today. The Flyers have turned the corner and won two straight games, the Eagles signed the best available player in free agency, the Phillies have won a few exhibition games with Ryan Howard hitting a bomb, and the Sixers, well, they are coming of a bad loss to the Warriors, but they are still holding on to a playoff spot.

The Flyers look alive again, and have fought their way back into the playoffs. They are coming off a victory over the Senators, one of the top teams in the league, and are currently sitting in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers made a good move in acquiring lightning fast Vinny Prospal, and they appear poised to make a run back towards the upper half of the conference. In a month or so, we may be looking back at Danny Briere's game winning shootout goal as the turning point of the season.

The Eagles have made the biggest news, solidifying their defense by signing Asante Samuel. Samuel may not be a superstar player in the Eagles system, but bringing him in signals that the Eagles are serious about getting back to an elite team. They can see that their window of opportunity is closing, and with the NFC being as weak as it is, a few solid moves could push them back to the top. The Eagles are likely to sign defensive end Chris Clemons, so they appear to be set on the defensive side of the ball. Fans are clamoring for an impact receiver, so we will have to wait and see what the Eagles do to address the offense in the coming weeks.

The Phillies have had a good start to their exhibition season. While wins and losses don't matter, they currently have a 2-1 record. More importantly, the offense has already shown its prowess, knocking the ball all over the field. There have been some offensive highlights already, including Shane Victorino's triple that could have been an inside-the-park home run, and Ryan Howard's mammoth home run that Phillies reporter Scott Lauber described as a "towering home run that cleared the right field berm and landed in traffic on Route 19". Of course, as I write this, Adam Eaton has given up three runs in the first inning against the Yankees, but hope springs eternal at this time of the year.

The Sixers, who had been red hot, came out ice cold against the Warriors yesterday. They couldn't make a shot in the first few minutes of the game. The Sixers missed their first 14 shots, with their first six points coming from the free throw line. They never recovered from the slow start, and were down by 15-20 throughout the game. Every time they made a small run, the Warriors would open the lead right back up again. The Sixers are still clinging to a playoff spot, but with a matchup with the Suns looming tonight, they may not be holding on for long.

Being a Philly sports fan definitely has its ups and downs, and as any longtime fan will tell you, there are plenty of downs. We should all enjoy this feeling of hope and possibility that we have right now, because just around the corner will be the next losing streak or crushing injury. We know that all the heart break will be worth it in the end when one of these teams breaks through and wins it all. It has to happen eventually, right?

No comments: