Phillies prepare to take backseat to Eagles once again

Now pitching for the Phillies... (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Now pitching for the Phillies... (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles are about to become the talk of the town with their season soon getting underway, which is a huge disappointment for the Philadelphia Phillies.

You can feel it in the air.

Here we are, on the eve of the Philadelphia Eagles preseason opener, as sports fans in the Delaware Valley prepare to shift entirely into football mode for the next several months.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way, not this year. Not after the Philadelphia Phillies paid through the nose for Bryce Harper last offseason. And not after they made several trades that signified they were clearly in “win-now” mode, at the expense of their young talent.

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If the Phillies were having the kind of season they were supposed to, they would have captured hearts and minds enough to at least stave off some of the Eagle mania that grips this region.

Play well, make the playoffs, go on a run. The town would be theirs until the baseball season was over, with the Eagles waiting in the wings until that time.

But the Phillies, as they have for the better part of a decade, failed.

And that’s crazy, because at this moment, the Phillies still sit in the National League’s second Wild Card slot, thanks to everyone else in the race having their own major flaws as well.

Yet, it’s about managing expectations, and the Phils have shown numerous times this year that they don’t have what it takes to compete with the true contenders.

Some of that is injuries, a good deal is under-performance and very questionable managing, and it all adds up to a frustrating season that isn’t making anybody happy.

Enter the Eagles.

Although I personally am not a fan of training camp and the NFL preseason, I can understand the appeal. Football is king, here and across most of the American sports map. People have been waiting six months since last year’s deplorable Super Bowl to see some real action.

The Birds look primed to make noise this year with a talented roster, and probably the only thing that could screw it up would be a rash of injuries, which is of course a distinct possibility in professional football. The excitement surrounding them is largely justified.

The Phillies will still garner the usual support from their big fans, as long as they hang around the edge of the playoff race late into the season. And the Eagles will always attract massive interest, even if the Phillies were at the top of the standings right now.

Contrary to popular belief, there is room for both of them to be “on top” at the same time.

But when a season has gone as sideways as 2019 has for the Phillies, the peanut gallery starts the E-A-G-L-E-S chants as early as possible, and hope gives way to anger and eventually apathy when it comes to baseball.

The Phillies only have themselves to blame for this.

I find it amusing that, as the Eagles take the field to open the preseason on Thursday night, the Phillies are about as far away as possible in San Francisco, with a late start that guarantees nobody will stay up for the whole game.

Not only that, but they are playing one of the “YouTube games” that MLB is doing this year. So even if you wanted to flip between both on Thursday night, you can’t. These stream-only games are terrible for sports, especially baseball.

It seems oddly appropriate that the Phillies are so inaccessible on the very night that the Eagles’ season begins. Almost like it was meant to be this way.

It’s amazing that the Phillies are still in the thick of the playoff hunt. But it remains to be seen if they can do enough to avoid falling completely by the wayside in the wake of football season since expectations are higher than ever for the Eagles.