On the morning of the Phillies' playoff opener, on the morning after the Flyers' thrilling overtime winner over the Ovechkins, in the days before the Eagles resume the cream-puff part of their schedule and welcome back quarterback Donovan McNabb, this news comes from The Sporting News:
We're No. 2.
(Pittsburgh is No. 1.)
To live here is to know and understand what it means to be seen as the second-best sports city in the United States. To have experienced the '90s and the early part of this decade, to have lived long enough to see the Phillies' parade in November, is to know automatically that something special is going on around here. It is to know that, in a long and sometimes tortured history of sports in town, that this really has become one of the real sweet spots in time.
It still doesn't match the late '70s-early '80s -- it isn't close yet, frankly -- but the signs are there. You can see what's going on. And as the Phillies begin another journey, well, you just know that it really is different around here.
With that, here is the release from The Sporting News:
Philadelphia, riding a world championship by the Phillies and deep playoff runs by the Eagles and Flyers, finished a close second in Sporting News’ annual Best Sports Cities rankings, falling just back of No. 1 Pittsburgh, which reclaimed its title of “City of Champions” with the Steelers and Penguins.
“The Phillies’ bringing home a World Series title was the story in Philly, but look at how close the Eagles came to making it an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. And the Flyers had a great season, too,” said Sporting News Chief of Correspondents Bob Hille, who has coordinated the rankings since their expansion 13 years ago. “This is as close as the point totals at the top of our rankings have been in quite a while.”
This year’s Best Sports Cities list features almost 400 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada, ranked by a system that assigns points to a variety of categories, including a city’s number of teams, their regular-season won-lost records, playoff berths, bowl appearances and tournament bids, championships, applicable power ratings, fan fervor, attendance and more.
Sporting News began its Best Sports City rankings in 1993. Past winners:
Note: There was no Best Sports City in 1996 as Sporting News expanded and refined the rating system.