Philadelphia is a Better Sports Town when the Baseball Team is Good and Fans are Engaged
Garrett Stubbs narrating the Phils’ Opening Day hype video:
This season, we're fightin' for more. pic.twitter.com/EOazjjExrs
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 30, 2023
Nicely done. It makes me want to slide hard into second base and break up a double play.
I’ve mentioned this before on Crossing Broadcast, but 2022 was the best traffic year this site has ever had, and October was the best singular month we’ve had going back to when the Maestro started CB back in 2009. The World Series run and Phillies’ resurgence was the catalyst for that, though it obviously helped that the Eagles were good, which boosted numbers as well.
But last year was a reminder that this is still a baseball town and always has been. I don’t think Phillies fans ever gave up on baseball, they just went into some kind of Austin Powers-esque cryostasis or hibernation because of those REALLY lean years from 2013 to 2021. There just wasn’t much to cheer for. The Bryce Harper signing certainly piqued interest, but people still kept the team at arm’s length and didn’t truly become believers until they got over the hump and into a Wild Card spot last fall.
No hesitation this year though. People really seem to be on board, and that helps fill the summer void that had previously been stuffed with insipid fucking banal Eagles talk. I wrote last year how 2022 was the best sports summer Philly had seen in 10 years, because the Phils and Union were both doing really well, but not everyone is a soccer fan and four-for-four fans still seemed wary of the baseball team because they weren’t sure if they were pretenders or not. That playoff run more or less answered the question.
One of the things I noticed during the 2007 to 2012 Phillies run is that baseball had trumped football in this town, and that’s not a hot take. I am not making shit up. When we were doing sports at Eyewitness News, or when you’d turn on WIP or 97.5 the Fanatic, the Phillies were bigger than the Eagles. Mind you, this was the tail-end of the Andy Reid era, and part of the Phils’ run overlapped with the Vince Young Dream Team and the ill-fated wide-nine, but after that NFC Championship appearance in 2009, the Eagles didn’t win another playoff game during the Andy era. The Phils were the top dog in town for those three seasons, until Ryan Howard went down injured in the St. Louis series and we sent helicopters to track Gus Bradley’s visit. What a moment to be alive.
So Philly is a baseball town yet again, and the local sports scene is better for it. We have plenty to talk about from now until NFL training camp begins. Fans are waffling on the Sixers and the Flyers are the Flyers, so Opening Day really gives us a much-needed sporting shot in the arm.