Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Red, Green, Whatever

The debate over whether the Phils or the Eagles are more popular is silly and pointless.

Red, Green, Whatever

   Your Eagletarian has some thoughts on the debate.

Barack Obama and John McCain

     No, not that debate. The one about whether Philadelphia is "red" or "green" right now, with the Phillies in the NLCS and the Eagles taxing everyone's patience at 2-3 after a promising start.

   My main thought: Let's just pretend it's Christmas and stop trying to parse the unparseable.

   Christmas is when red and green coexist, much like ebony and ivory on the keyboards of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, lo these many years ago.

    I'm not trying to rain on the Phillies' parade. Like everybody else who has lived here throughout the last quarter-century, I'm hoping there is a parade. But more popular than the Eagles? Well, to take that stance, you'd have to ignore Sunday's head-to-head TV ratings, which I believe showed the Eagles being watched in about 687,000 area households, and the Phillies in 383,000. (Who wasn't switching back and forth, if not using that picture-within-the-picture thingy? And how do the ratings account for that?)

   The Daily News ran one of those unscientific "polls" today, which measures only people fired up enough to cast an online vote. The Phillies "won" despite the TV data to the contrary. This is pretty easy to explain: Fans want to indicate support for the franchise that is winning in the playoffs and moving closer and closer to that elusive championship. They want to indicate disapproval of the franchise that has seemed stuck on a treadmill of disappointment since 2005.

     Phils more popular? A baseball town? Hmm. I'm not sure there is a real "baseball town" in the old-time sense, anymore, other than St. Louis. Maybe New York, which has a weird dynamic, with neither the Jets nor the Giants actually playing within the confiines of NYC.

     The Eagles push deeper emotional buttons, even if the button right now is stuck on "revulsion" This has nothing to do with any sort of inherent superiority of football over baseball. It has a lot to do with the evolution of Sunday afternoon rituals, extended families gathering together and bonding over the Birds, and even more to do with gambling. Who gambles on baseball?

                                                          Pete Rose

   OK, Good point. But everybody gambles on football, and on the Eagles. It's one of our heartwarming area traditions, along with throwing up at the  Mummers' Parade.

    The truth is, with the Phils one of the final four Major League baseball teams still playing, everybody is a Phillies fan right now, just as everyone is a Flyers fan when the orange and black are hovering close to the Stanley Cup. In the long run, the Eagles still dominate the sporting discussion here. For the long view to change, the Eagles would have to be really, really bad over a period of several years, with little hope of improvement. You can sort of see how that might happen, from where we are right now. But it hasn't happened yet.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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