When was the last time you had this much fun watching Philadelphia sports? We already have two championships under our belt this year. I’m not a college basketball fan, but I know most people are, and the Villanova win was exciting.
Of course, the biggest Philadelphia sports news of the year (decade?) was the Eagles Super Bowl win and the parade down Broad Street. A couple hundred words can’t do justice to that, but I think what’s most important is that the team didn’t just win, but it won in a thoroughly entertaining way. The NFC Championship Game was one 3 hour-long party, and the Super Bowl featured so many great, entertaining plays that it’s hard to anoint one as the best (but, ok, it’s the Philly Special). Top it off with the parade speech to end all parade speeches, and that moment was pure joy.
With football and college basketball over, we’re just getting to hockey and basketball playoff season and just starting the baseball season. I’ll leave the hockey thoughts to you in the comments, as I don’t follow the Flyers other than knowing their first round starts tonight against the Penguins, but watching the Sixers and Phillies right now is, to put it plainly, just fun.
Let’s put aside the Sixers narrow win against LeBron and the Cavs Friday night and the Phils’ 20-1 blowout of the Marlins Saturday and just focus on last night. From the Phillies, we got two of the team’s exciting rookies, who we hope to be cornerstones of the franchise for years to come, showing what they can do.
First, J.P. Crawford. Everyone knows he’s struggled mightily to start the season, but he came through in a big way last night. With the score tied 1-1 last night, he put the Phils ahead for good in the seventh.
Then came the Phillies’ other heralded rookie, the guy who made the team out of spring training when no one thought he could and then signed an almost unprecedented long-term contract before he played a single game in the bigs. Scott Kingery put the nail in the Reds’ coffin in the 8th with this treasure and made us drool about what he will do for the next decade.
Not to mention the way Aaron Nola pitched, Cesar Hernandez got on base, and everyone else did their part. This team had a rough start, but watching them for the past week has been fun, and it’s only going to get funner.
Meanwhile, flipping the channels, I was also watching the Sixers take on the Hawks. It wasn’t the team’s best game, but damn they are entertaining. Ben Simmons had a tough night, almost fouling out and getting a technical too, but he was also magical as usual. This play stood out in particular. The man is gifted and fun to watch.
But it wasn’t just the stars, as after all, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric were both out. It was also the role players, like this incredible play from Amir Johnson following a JJ Redick miss.
We also had the team with its usual three point flair, especially Marco Belinelli and Redick. It was an all around performance for the team’s 15th straight win.
Obviously we have no idea how the Flyers, Sixers, and Phillies seasons are going to end. Counting on them to copy Villanova and the Eagles is too much. But, as last night indicated, what we’re experiencing right now is something that’s been rare in our city’s sports history - across the board fun.