Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is Philadelphia A Baseball First Town?

Yesterday, the two top teams in the market made personnel moves. The Eagles landed the most coveted free agent on the market in CB Nmandi Asomugha, a Pro Bowl DL in Jason Babin, a more than competent TE in Donald Lee, and the probable QB2 Vince Young. The Phillies traded for OF Hunter Pence from Houston, giving up two prospects and two pieces of farm chattel to be named later.

And in the roundup email that I get from two different Philly area blogs... the Pence trade led both sites.

Now, I get that the Pence move happened last, and that baseball is being played right now, and that maybe all of the bodies that the Eagles brought in dimmed the Asomugha star a bit. But on the national sites, Asomuga led for a good long time, and Pence was more or less an afterthought.

Besides, this is America, where the NFL is the top ten sports, and baseball comes in sometime after that. What gives?

The difference is that the sports media marketplace has just changed in town. It's the Phillies that have gone to the playoffs every year. It's the Phillies who have won a championship in our lifetimes; for many of us, multiple championships. It's also the Phillies who are, well, white, and aren't led by an infamous felon.

When I was a kid and the Phillies were terrible, this was a football town, pure and simple. By mid July every year, you'd hear "Let's Go Eagles" chants in the stands at Phillies games, and you never heard the Phillies chanted for at Eagles games. Minor signings for Green trumped major ones for Red, and disdain for the summer game was common, while pro football hate was nearly verboten.

Now, not so much; it's much more of an even fight. Perhaps that's just Andy Reid Fatigue, or a sense that the best era in Phillies history should be savored. Perhaps the lack of a dominating defense, or the change in the game away from crushing hits and more towards managed expectations, has weakened the area's taste for the gridiron. Or maybe I'm the one who's off, since my Eagles / A's fandom puts me on notice for such things.

In any event. if you think that Pence trumps Asomugha... you're wrong, if only because one of these guys will go down in history as one of the best to ever play the position, and the other guy is no better than than a complimentary part. But still, what a time to be a fan of the local laundry.

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