State of the City Address

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 ·

As the dog days of summer come to a close, hope begins anew. New seasons for the Eagles, Flyers & Sixers, coupled with another Phillies pennant race, Philly fans are ready to celebrate. As we all know, we haven't won a championship in 25 years. The city is on edge with championship envy. Below is the outlook for our four major teams and their respective seasons.

Phillies
Now, after losing to the lowly Nationals last night, the Phillies find themselves two games behind the hated Mets for the division lead. Yes, the Phillies overcame a seven game deficit last year, but both teams are different. The Mets have a stronger resolve to win this year (despite their bullpen), while the Phillies are very inconsistent. The pitching was inconsistent, then came the hitting slump. Lately, the bullpen has been showing wear and tear as they begin to be overworked.

Is there hope? Yes. Two games is not a lot, and with a three game series coming up, anything can happen. A Mets series win will effectively kill any chances the Phillies have. However, down a outfielder when Geoff Jenkins was injured, The Phillies looked to fill that spot. The Red Sox also were looking for an outfielder and gave up a AA prospect for the Braves' Mark Kotsay. The Phillies, were relegated to acquiring DH/1B/OF Matt Stairs. Yes, another slow footed, wanna-be power hitter.

Let's look ahead to this winter. Pat Gillick will be retired, and his replacement will be named. Ruben Amaro will probably be the front runner, but I think the owners needs to go get someone out of the organization. Pat Burrell will be a free agent, and who knows if he will be back. Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino & Cole Hamels will be arbitration eligible. Jamie Moyer will most likely re-sign here if he doesn't retire. Tom Gordon & So Taguchi are gone. Scott Eyre & Joe Blanton are wild cards. Chad Durbin's and Eric Bruntlett's contracts both expire.

Outlook for the rest of the season: 2nd Place, NL East

Eagles
There seems to be a lot of hope for this fall for our Birds. Donovan McNabb is back and fully healthy. The defense looks good, with some depth in the secondary. With Sunday's opener with the Rams looming, the city is on edge.

The Eagles' downfall may be their lack of a weapon at wide receiver. Brian Westbrook is great, but he is only one man. He will touch the ball less than half the time the Birds are on offense. So, who gets the ball the other half of the time? A mixture of Lorenzo Booker, Correll Buckhalter, Tony Hunt, Reggie Brown, DeSean Jackson, Hank Baskett & Greg Lewis. Not exactly a very scary supporting cast. Jackson could be a stud in a few years, but he is still young and hasn't played an NFL regular season game yet.

They also play in a division with three very tough teams. No matter the record, an NFC East game is usually a difficult one. If the Eagles can stay healthy, they can be a major player in the conference. If McNabb plays well, it will squelch the rumors that he will be released in the off-season, and conversely, if he plays poorly, the rumors will be intensified. That will be one situation to keep an eye on.

Outlook: 10-6, Wild Card berth

Flyers
On paper, the Flyers look great. Their run to the Eastern Finals last season, along with the return of Simon Gagne, makes this team a Cup contender. Their division is the toughest in the league, and coupled with their inability to defeat Marty Brodeur & the Devils will make an Atlantic Division title a great accomplishment. They haven't lost many key players from this past season and look to be adding some new young prospects. Expectations haven't been this high in the last five to ten years.

This team is loaded for the long haul and one of their chief rivals in the next few years will be the salary cap. The Flyers have always been willing to spend unlike some other Philly teams, and they are always in the mix for the Stanley Cup.

Outlook: Atlantic Division champion, Eastern Conference Finals

Sixers
The Sixers have been the doormat of the Philly sports scene for the last five years, judging not only by standings, but attendance as well. Their best move in the past six months was not one that was on the court, but in the front office. Bringing in Ed Stefanski was a brilliant move. He has learned under one of the league's best (Rod Thorn in NJ), and finally has his time to come back home and run the show.

This off-season has seen the Sixers add stud free agent Elton Brand and key role players in Kareem Rush, Theo Ratliff, Royal Ivey, and Donyelle Marshall. The team is very athletic and should be very exciting this season. Attendance may be low to start (Editor's Note: Season Ticket Sales are already higher because of Brand), but after New Year's if attendance isn't over 90%, I will be disappointed. The Sixers will definitely battle for the division (The Celtics are good, though) and should have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

My honest problem with the Sixers, through no fault of their own, is their lack of a bonafide #1 scorer. Andre Iguodala is a good player, yes, but he is no all-star. The good thing with the Sixers is that they have many versatile players and on any given night, someone different can be the star of the game.

Outlook: 2nd in Atlantic, Eastern Conference Semifinals

And finally, as a Penn State Alum, I'm obligated to mention the Nittany Lions. After waxing Division I-AA Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Penn State moved up 3 spots to 19th in the Polls. Next up is Oregon State, who lost at Stanford last week. Unfortunately, Penn State will have trouble with perennial powerhouse Ohio State, and rivals Michigan & Michigan State. Illinois and Wisconsin will be no easy task either. It would not be a stretch to see them go 10-1, but would be very difficult. They are most likely resigned to play a bowl game in Florida in the last week of December with an 8-3 record.

I'm glad to be joining the WHTL family and I hope everyone continues to read what I have to say.

1 Comments:

Bill P said...
September 5, 2008 at 6:29 AM  

Please don't refer to it as "the WHTL family". Please. That is all I can say now, they're on to me.

A small introduction...

We Hate to Lose began in October 2007. The initial purpose of the website was to provide news updates and commentary on all four major sports teams in Philadelphia. Because of time-constraints, in April of 2009, I decided to post only on my first-love, the Philadelphia Phillies.

My name is Justin Evans and I hope you enjoy the site.

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