So here’s the Monday question that needs no answer: Has any town ever had a better sports weekend without winning a single game, medal – anything – than we just had?
So overwhelming was the turnout, the buzz, the positive national response to the NFL draft festivities that some of us were completely unaware the Flyers made NHL draft history over the weekend. Or that the Phillies bullpen imploded so ingloriously while being swept by the Dodgers that their 65-year-old manager called Saturday’s ninth-inning meltdown ''one of the worst losses I’ve ever been associated with.’’
That’s a library of baseball encompassing 48 years, folks: minors, majors, Venezuela League, bench coach, you name it. I’m guessing around 6,000 games to choose from.
And still, barely a bump on our civic seismograph thanks to the endless party on the Parkway.
Even our boos were celebrated by viewing pundits. And well they should be. From the early rounds when it sounded as if Roger Goodell had changed his name to Bruce Springsteen to the deliciously devil-you-know inciting delivery of Drew Pearson as he loudly announced that he represented ''the five-time world-champion Dallas Cowboys, Hall of Fame owner Jerry Jones … and all the Cowboys players who played before me and played with me and played after me" — this was tremendous theater.
Meanwhile, as if to do it under a cloud of secrecy, the NHL held its draft lottery in Toronto, where – stunningly – the Flyers landed the second pick overall in June’s amateur draft despite having just a 2.4 percent chance to do so. Pandemonium, right? Yeah, if it happened the prior weekend, or the coming one. Or any of the other weekends in which the NHL playoffs are going on and the NFL draft is not.
Sometimes, I swear, Mel Brooks is running the NHL. I mean, is the goal not to generate the most publicity? True of any professional sport to varying degrees, the NHL suffers the most from the ''If my team ain’t in it, I ain’t watching’’ mentality. This might be a way to re-engage fans. Just a thought.
But, alas, no more negativity. Then again, even our notorious negativity was celebrated by out-of-town media covering the event, and even, somewhat uncomfortably, by the commissioner himself. Once he realized that it was not going to subside with the hours, the rounds, even the days that followed, he more or less embraced it.
According to Pearson, he even encouraged his now viral rant.
It’s kind of a perverse badge of honor, which Pearson, who grew up 70 miles from here in South River, N.J., already understood from his years of torturing us with that star on his helmet. And the Cowboys war room back in Texas did, too. I don’t know which was more fun to watch: Pearson inciting the crowd to first-day decibel levels with his introduction to second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie, or the delightful reaction of the braintrust back home. Both were great theater, and both were a perfect way of explaining us to an outside world that often misunderstands, and misinterprets our passions.
Nobody boos better than we do. That’s been well-established. But the inverse then must also be true, and the size and endless enthusiasm of the crowds all three days were testament to that.
''The bar’s been raised for the next city,’’ ESPN’s Mel Kiper said back in the ESPN studio Monday morning, raising his hand high, as Todd McShay nodded enthusiastically.
It was meant as a compliment — it really was. Still, he’s lucky he didn’t say it on stage. He would have been booed like a commissioner. Or a Cowboy.
Because clearly, it belongs right here. Right where it started.