Summer Sports Depression

Musings from Intern Joseph Fontanazza

Summer Sports Depression hit me in full effect over the last week. The 76ers won the Orlando NBA Summer League and advanced to the Second Round of the Vegas League, which gave a small alleviation to the blackness.

The summer leagues are over, and Philly Sports are submerged in nothingness. The baseball abominations that reside in Citizens Bank Park hold no happiness. Mediocrity engulfs the once powerful Flyers as they watch the West Coast edition of the team begin a dynasty. The Eagles still have a month before opening day, and the 76ers do not take the court until the end of October. Also, the coming year doesn’t hold much hope of a parade down Broad Street.

Optimism for the future Sixers runs high with the drafting of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and a gaggle of talented second-round picks. While very talented, the 76ers’ first round selections will not take the floor for the coming year, and the current roster will likely manifest itself into another year of hoping for ping-pong balls. Adding onto the distress, having to watch the prize of the 2014 NBA draft, Andrew Wiggins, go to the basketball wasteland, Cleveland Cavaliers, is enough to drive me into the insane asylum.

(Cavaliers rant coming) Cleveland! The place made so many horrible decisions while it had the best player of my generation that he decided to leave is now the best situation in the NBA. It sickens me that a front office comprised of David Griffin and the ever-annoying Dan Gilbert is seen as a collection of geniuses after lucking into three of the best talents of this era. Now rumors swirl around that Wiggins may be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, to quote Interstate-76 writer Anthony Capelli “Neither the Cavs nor the Wolves deserve Wiggins at this point; this is like seeing David Spade and Jeff Foxworthy fight over Ariana Grande.”

Before I break this computer screen, let me get off the subject of basketball. The Sixers’ situation infuriated me because they did everything right then got shafted (last basketball thing I swear), but the Phillies continue to do everything wrong. The most frustrating thing about them is they don’t know the direction of the franchise. While their record over the past couple years indicates they should be a seller, they continue patching up their roster with veterans. While Marlon Byrd has been the Phillies’ most consistent player besides Chase Utley, Byrd’s signing contradicted everything. If Philadelphia’s MLB team looked to get younger, farm system players should have received a look. If the Phillies looked to get back into the playoffs, why didn’t they make more of an effort in the free agent market? Again, everything the Phillies do is a contradiction. Besides the general managerial mistakes, the on-field product is exacerbating.

The Phillies are appalling on all levels to the simple eye testers and Sabermatric fanatics. The way Ben Revere and Dominic Brown constantly misjudge fly balls and the lineup’s 28th-ranked on-base-percentage sicken the hardcore observes of the sport. While the math- consumed fan remains troubled by the Phillies starting multiple players with negative wins-above-replacement numbers, with Dominic Brown posting a team low -1.6.

The one thing offering me solace for the Phillies is the MLB operates in cycles. I remember the days of the late 90s-early 2000s Philadelphia teams. The days of trotting out mediocre players and being dominated by the Atlanta Braves still live in the deepest vaults of my subconscious. That period did not seem like a championship team would rise from it, but that happens in Major League Baseball. Teams get bad, they stockpile young players and then some of those players become good major leaguers. Those young players grow old together, then the team becomes bad again… lather, rinse, and repeat. The only teams that don’t follow the ideology are the Yankees and Red Sox.

Eagles Camp starts July 26; please let these days go fast…or I need a life, maybe a girlfriend.


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