Guest Column by Jennifer McShane
Over the past few years, the teams of Philly have battled for eminence in the hearts of their fans. The hockey coach sounded off on a local sports radio station, berating the announcers for not giving the hockey team enough air time. The football team let go of their 10 year quarterback on the eve that one of the hottest pitchers of baseball premiered for the Phillies. Later, the baseball team signed a huge pitcher deal smack in the middle of the football team’s season.
And so the question prevails, and argued over by fans across the city, which team holds prominence among the others in this hard loving town? A great friend of mine argues that the Eagles dominate the city. He claims that more fans would trade in the 2008 World Series pennant for a Super Bowl championship in a heartbeat. And to that statement, I must give a Charlie Manuel face of disbelief. A celebratory parade in honor of the World Series Championship shut down the Broad St subway line and caused chaos on mass transportation as fans fought to line the parade route. Is this the behavior of a city that would prefer a Super Bowl Championship? I think not.
I am not denying the love that this town has for the green birds that soar at the Linc, I just disagree that they are beloved over the Phillies. Yes, the Eagles get a lot of preseason and media attention, but could that be because the season is much shorter as opposed to baseball? It makes sense to me that the media would focus a lot of attention to the Eagles in preseason simply because those 16 games have more at stake in a short period of time. It can be argued in response to this that the Phils have sold out an incredible number of games and tickets must be purchased far in advance, proving that the fans love the Phils more while the media nags on about the birds.
I think what one must really look at, over which team gets more attention or what the numbers are, is the culture that surrounds both teams. When fans discuss the Phillies, adjectives like “tradition” and “history” are used. Fans are fond of reminiscing of the first time they walked into Connie Mack, or waited in the long lines at the Vet or saw the real grass of the new Bank. These “remember when” statements show the long time love affair that the city has for the boys of summer. To other fans, the Phils opening day reminds them of the idyllic days of summer, the heat and the crack of the bat. This culture and these emotional responses that come along with the Phillies are what marries this team to its fans.
Personally, I think both teams are beloved in their own ways by the Philadelphia fans. There is no doubting the passion of the “E-A-G-L-E-S” screaming fans that tailgate at 8am in the middle of January. Let’s just not overlook the Phils and the uplifting spirit and history that they bring to the town. Not to mention, they are the ONLY team in recent history to bring a parade to Broad St, how about some respect for that?