Ron Costello

Thursday, May 19, 2016

You've got to admit, it's interesting to be a Philadelphia sports fan again.

Wasn't long ago they all stunk, like the refineries nestled against the river and the George C. Platt Bridge. Down in the tall grass and mud where Angelo had the witnesses buried.

Buoyed by the death of their Chairman, the Dean of Philadelphia hockey, Ed Snider, the Flyers find life after death and make the playoffs by their skinny-skin-skin. They promise, as the lyrics in Philadelphia's sing-song apply, "things will be different next year."

The Sixers, a joke in every sports bar from Chickie & Petes to Maloney's Pub on Lancaster Avenue, losers since The Answer left to star in HBO documentaries — unfortunately, his own — have blundered more top draft choices than thought possible. Only this time they promise — loaded with the number one pick — it will be different. Uh, huh. I think if I were LSU freshman Ben Simmons or Duke's Brandon Ingram, I'd take another couple more years of accounting, either that or hire JD Drew as my agent.

Speaking of Lancaster Avenue, isn't that where the kid whose name nobody could pronounce played? It was more apparent in South Philly, where after all, the highest level of education is the Rosewood on Shunk. You can't expect micracles on Broad Street. And Jay Wright, a coach who doesn't use the f word, smoke, have a disgusting gut, isn't bald — no offense, Phil — is handsome, and is clean as a ref's whistle, i.e., never gets caught with a transgender in a Devon motel room. I mean, what's up with that? It just goes to show you in Philly, nice guys can finish first.

Then the Eagles trade up for the number two pick and grab the quarterback from North Dakota State, up where people say, "Okiedokie." I'm sure things will work out fine but QB 7 didn't help his fan mail any by taking a little vacation. He comes back to kiss and make up and decides to honor his contract; like he had another choice? Bradford says he will help the kid, but I'll say this: If I'm QB 11 I'm not taking any sips from QB 7's soda pop when he offers it. That's the same soda pop that Mayor Kenney wants to tax to eliminate diabetes in our lifetime.

And who among us expected the Phillies to be a half game out on May 19? Granted, it's not Sepember 19 and the Big Piece is hitting a buck sixty-eight. But we'll take it. A couple of things are going on with the Phillies. The old adage that says "it doesn't matter who manages the team," is bull. Pete Mackanin is doing a hell of a job and keeping a mediocre team — let's be honest, less than mediocre team — in the hunt.

Plus, the kids buying time at Reading and Lehigh Valley have the current 25-man looking over their collective shoulders. It's giving Phillies baseball a future.

Indeed, things are looking up in Philly!

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