Never having been an Eagles fan, its never registered with me how big a deal it is to see the Phillies as the frontrunning Philadelphia sports franchise. My dad was a Baltimore Colts fan, and I realize now it must have been hard to try and pass on a passion for a football team when you don’t have one anymore. He only recently admitted to me that he infrequently will watch a Colts game if it’s on; all the while remembering that horrible image of the snowy bus in the night time evacuating Baltimore like they just saw the homicide count.
The TV would be on in the autumns of my increasingly greasy adolescence, and names like Rodney Peete, Randall Cunningham, Ricky Watters, Irving Fryar, and Ray Rhodes were come barfing out. But my dad’s indifference to their progress influenced me to take cold, apathetic stance toward their progress. It didn’t help that I was trying to be a football player and wouldn’t be self-aware enough until years later to know that I was “…not even fucking close.”
So this whole Phillies/Eagles thing has always felt like fighting a war Canada. Do we really care enough about anything they’re doing to have a real problem with it?
Apparently, yes. And I’ve been missing entire eras of freaking out about something the stupid Eagles have said or done or screwed up.
Except that they’re not screwing up right now. Nobody is. It’s weird. They just keep doing thing after thing after thing and it’s like, “Okay, that’s cool, but when does the devastating humiliation thing happen? Somebody’s going to have a party that ends in a sexting scandal or get rabies from a duck or get their ankle caught in an escalator, right? Or maybe they’ll just lose a ton of games they weren’t supposed to lose, Eagles-style.”
And a lot of people think it’s a direct result of the Phillies. Why? Because the Phillies have been doing the same thing: Addressing their needs, and making roster adjustments based on them. Ideally, that’s what any major sports team would be doing. But apparently it makes Philadelphia teams look like geniuses.
In a town where attention is grabbed by the latest sports thing, and held their until the next sports thing happens, anybody who wants attention is doing sports things. The Phillies signed Hunter Pence and were getting tons of press, when all of the sudden the Eagles signed all those dudes and then suddenly they were the top story. According to Philadelphia Magazine, those two things are directly related to each other.
“It’s entirely possible the Phillies’ continued attempts to win it all have changed the Eagles’ focus. Instead of making a couple of improvements and counting on the devoted faithful to keep flocking to the stadium, it appears as if the Eagles have discovered that being good isn’t good enough any longer. To make it in this town now, a franchise must take its best shot at the title.”
–Michael Bradley, Philadelphia Magazine
I gues I just never even considered that the teams in different sports pay that much attention to each other. Because honestly, who cares what the Eagles are doing? If any Phillies want to appeal to the local crowd, they can tweet something about one of the other teams, but to think that these front offices are glaring at each other across Pattison Avenue, signing whatever all-star free agents happen to wander by just to dick with each other, and scouring the headlines for decipherable code of their adversaries’ next move seems outlandish.
Unless the Eagles are being mentored by the Phillies. In which case, no problem.
“Last year, many -– including your Humble Narrator –- accused the Birds of grandstanding when they traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Redskins on the eve of baseball’s opener. We said the team was jealous of the Phillies’ popularity and wanted to deflect attention from the local nine. Despite protestations to the contrary by the Eagles, it was quite evident part of their motivation was to upstage the Phils with the timing of the swap.”
This illustration makes it seem like the “teams” are two giant, amorphous beings that exist solely to outdo each other. There are hundreds of staffers making up each. Do enough of them give enough of a shit about the other to truly feel “jealous”?
Oh well. I don’t hate the Eagles, but I also don’t care if they succeed. They’re like the middle child of sports franchises. If the Phillies raised the bar by winning it all and the Eagles now look back on years of coming close and blowing it, that’s nobody’s fault but their own. Good luck playing catch-up.
But keep in mind this is also an article in which the author writes, “Don’t be so hard on Kyle Kendrick.” Uh, 80% of Phillies baseball is making emotionally devastating comments about Kyle Kendrick, no matter what the outcome of the game is. Is this guy even from Philadelphia?