It’s appropriate that in the summer of Oppenheimer, an arms race, one that could destroy everything we know, is raging right here in Philadelphia. May God have mercy on all our souls if left unchecked.

We’re caught in the crossfire of a hot take arms race between Eliot Shorr-Parks and Joe Giglio that has been ramping up in intensity since last year. The mighty struggle between two of Philadelphia’s most embarrassing hot-take artists for media hot take superiority has ravaged all who have suggested de-escalation.

No take is too hot, no opinion too embarrassing, no trade too ridiculous to be thrown out to the general public in the name of “journalism” and for social media interaction.

It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s not a Cold War, but a Whiz War, with a huge emphasis on the Whiz.

How Did We Get to Such a Dangerous Moment in Our City’s History?

Over the last year, the two titans of the hot takes have been grappling for supremacy, ramping up their most head-scratching and infuriating opinions after many months of subdued peace. Leading Philadelphia sports media experts have explained the late 2022 increase in hot take intensity as the two warring powers sensed a pivotal moment in the hot-take landscape.

The pivot they both hoped to take advantage of? The retirement of hot take Czar/despot Angelo Cataldi from the Philadelphia sports scene.

Without the hot take superpower sitting atop the media landscape, both Giglio and Shorr-Parks immediately took up arms and unleashed destructive, mind-numbingly awful opinions on the peaceful Philadelphia public. There were unhealthy levels of “can you believe this horseshit” texts sent among friends during this time period and a disproportionate amount of fans staring at their smart phones in abject disgust, wondering what type of a God would allow such atrocities to exist.

The Opening Salvo of the Whiz War

Giglio was the first to test the city’s defenses last July with a terrifying assault, declaring the Philadelphia Phillies should trade Bryce Harper – fresh off an MVP year in 2021 – “straight up” for the Nationals’ Juan Soto.

Just weeks later the Nationals would trade Soto to the Padres… and summarily be dispatched by the Harper-led Phillies in the NLCS amidst one of the greatest Philadelphia athlete postseason performances in the history of this town.

Harper went on to hit .349 with an OPS of 1.160 in the 2022 postseason, tacking on six homeruns, 13 RBIs, and 22 hits.

Soto hit .239 with an OPS of .727, in the 2022 postseason, with just two homeruns, seven RBIs, and 11 hits.

Yeah that would have been a wonderful trade.

The Return

It was a devastating opening blow, one that ESP would ruminate on for months before fire was returned. It was February 8th, 2023, just four days before the Eagles were to take on the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. It would be a day that would live in Philadelphia infamy forever:

OH YOU WOULD?! It’s just a fact?! OH my goodness, that’s some great hot take action right there. Devastatingly beautiful in its simplicity, but haunting in its sheer homerism.

A hypothetical question that nobody asked? Check. An argument that can’t be backed by hard facts? Check. One that will likely piss off just about everyone who reads it, whether they’re an Eagles or Chiefs fan? Check.

Perfectly done. But like any ruthless tyrant, Shorr-Parks knew a prolonged period without destruction could be perceived as weakness, so he threw this dirty bomb down at the feet of so many depressed Eagles fans just days after the Super Bowl loss:

NOT THE TIME, ELIOT. Could there possibly be an argument that keeping Jonathan Gannon on as defensive coordinator would be a boon for the Eagles? Sure! But not two days after his defense turned in one of the most inept performances in Super Bowl history.

It was a this moment that Giglio knew the keys to the slop kingdom wouldn’t be handed to him without a fight. A return volley was necessary, but it needed to be cold. It needed to be calculated. It needed to draw attention.

A Return to Form

We were lulled into a false sense of security from both hot take superpowers, as both enjoyed an uneasy truce for several months. But the peace was not to last, as Giglio went nuclear just nine weeks into the Phillies season:

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”

Nine weeks into the Phillies’ season and the world changed as we know it. Giglio detonated a bomb that was so hilariously shit on by the entirety of Philadelphia that its shockwaves would ruminate through the region for weeks. Pull the plug on an MVP-caliber free agent nine weeks into his 10-year contract after a slow start for a new team? It was something the world had never seen.

The air raid sirens blared as the take entered the Philadelphia stratosphere, forcing fans to scramble to their hot-take shelters to mock the insanity from a safe distance. Tweet rates were at an unhealthy level for days and wouldn’t return to safe levels for weeks.

It was a catastrophic blow to ESP. Would he have enough in his armament to not only respond in kind, but show the world that he wouldn’t simply roll over to the invading hot take forces?

Sixers Save ESP from Total Annihilation

The winds of a hot take war can suddenly turn at any time, and the 76ers’ playoff flameout proved to be the opening ESP needed to level the playing field. Opting to return the salvo with several rapid takes instead of one huge blow, ESP peppered the region with numerous smaller, but well-targeted, hot takes to the city’s basketball defenses:

The carpet bombing of takes nearly pounded the region’s basketball fans into submission. Joel Embiid better than Nikola Jokic, who just led the Nuggets to an NBA championship? Defending a team that hasn’t shown an ability to get out of the second round of the playoffs in the last 22 years? Declaring said team a “better run” organization than the Phillies, who just came off a World Series appearance and have won a championship in the last 40 years?

Classic ESP. Why try to compete with a take so blisteringly massive and huge as Giglio’s “get me out of Turner’s contract” when you could double-down with several smaller, off-puttingly positive opinions about a team the city absolutely hated at the time? A classic contradictory maneuver, masterfully handled by one of the greats.

I believe it was Tsung Tsu who said in the Art of War that “all hot take warfare is based on deception.” Why respond in kind when a smaller, more effective campaign could be launched instead? It was the last thing Giglio ever expected. (Kinkead: does this qualify as death by a thousand cuts? a war of attrition perhaps?)

Historians will surely speak of this maneuver for years to come when revisiting the Whiz War.

The Whiz War Rages On

There is no end to this story. I wish I could tell you that peace returned to our lands. But this isn’t Hollywood, this is our reality, and we still find ourselves in the midst of a battle between two hot-take generals who seemingly have no regard for common sense or the sanity of those who view their opinions.

Giglio countered ESP’s carpet bombing with another nuclear option, this time declaring that Turner should be traded for Soto, not caring (or realizing) that the Padres have several shortstops on the roster already and would never consider this trade in the first place.

The trade takes continued, however, not giving Philadelphians even a moment to breathe deeply and regain their bearings. This time he set his sights on Shohei Ohtani, the best player in baseball, and declared the Phillies should offer a trade to the Angels of absolutely nothing of value to bring him into the fold:

Yes, because the Angels would certainly trade a perennial MVP candidate and an international superstar for a pitching prospect with a bad elbow.

The Whiz War is not ending anytime soon. We’ve yet to hear from ESP as Giglio continues to rock the tri-state region with a new take just about every week… so why is this so troubling? Has ESP run out of material? Is he waving the white flag?

Of course not. Eagles training camp is right around the corner. It’s what ESP lives for. It’s what he thrives for. You can be well assured that he’s devising something the city, nee, the WORLD has never seen.

May God have mercy on us all.