I accept the fact that not all of you are 4-for-4 Philadelphia fans (read: Jordan Meredith Sams), because I myself don't follow hockey and, with respect for our brothers and sisters at Broad Street Hockey, pay no mind to the Flyers, wives, and only occasionally their fight for lives. But the Phillies have welcomed a few bandwagoners in recent years and for those hopping hopefuls in need of a winter hobby, I have ten reasons why that hobby should involve a bottle of Gilbey's and the boys of '76.
1. Willie Green is no longer on the team
If seven seasons with a usage rate higher than his field goal percentage (exaggeration) wasn't enough to turn you away from this team, consider yourself one of the few. Dealt to New Orleans with the Todd Pinkston of basketball, Jason Smith, the Sixers got rid of two worthless pieces for Darius Songaila (translation: Dongaila) and Craig Brackins, who has a twitter, and therefore must be good. Willie's reign of terror on the tri-state area should be over until he drops 28 on us shooting 13-15 from the field in a second half comeback by the Hornets.
More gemstones after the Machop!
2. Referees are much easier to heckle than umpires
The 2010 NLCS between the Phillies and Giants had some pretty terrible umpiring. This futility led to some quality umpiring insults (at least on my end) for every Philadelphia fan capable of profanity-laden rants proud. But when you add running up and down the court into the equation, the ranter can go to an entirely different level of mockery, one with impressions of old men shuffling their way up and down the court. Plus, if you're lucky enough to be in the arena for some miserable, sure-to-have-a-cataract blown calls, no matter where you're sitting, the ref runs by or towards you every other possession. It's really much more enjoyable that way.
3. Doug Collins is more well-spoken than Charlie Manuel
I know, I know. Charlie's charm is in his West Virginian slang'n'mumble (/coin'd) but hear me out on this one. We're a bad team and there's nothing more pleasing to a fan of a bad team than the manager coming down on one (or all) of the players to the media. When Doug inevitably answers a post-game question angrily after a game in which we let the Raptors hit 19 three-pointers, you can be sure you're going to want to understand who's getting tossed under that bus. With Dictionary Doug at the helm, we'll be able to get that list nice and easy.
4. While baseball players use whipped cream, Andre Iguodala uses baby powder
If you ask me, Tomas Perez can bob on it.
5. Poor play is met with enthusiasm and secret missions
I know everybody's all optimistic that Doug Collins and Evan Turner combined with the loss of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Braces will push us over the top (of what?) to greener pastures but the God honest truth is we're going to start off slow, and after a 25 game depression, the prospect of Perry Jones will warm the heart like hot apple cider in December on Cottman and the Boulevard. Losses will be celebrated, trades will be made, Kapono's will disappear, and youth will seize the day. We're about development 'round these parts, and development doesn't fail to cash in with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. (Ben Francisco'd) (Actually, 2010 Phillies'd)
6. The NBA has yet to send us a "cease and desist" letter
Unlike other Philadelphia blogs who sell unaffiliated merch like The Fightins and Zoo With Roy, we here at Liberty Ballers have yet to gotten the written cock slap of the Association for any of our shirts (all of which are available for purchase HERE!). As the season goes on and ludicrous happenings assuredly happen, you can bet your femur that the Art Department at LB will be hard at work on a shiny new profitable t-shirt.
7. Mike Sweeney is signing on to be the elusive fifteenth man
Similar to the role Donyell Marshall played two seasons ago, the fifteen year veteran will Michael Jordan/Bo Jackson his way onto the basketball court to knock down three's and high-five friend and foe alike. Steve Nash, you and your butt taps are officially on notice. Sweeney will also be used to the losing atmosphere after years of failure in Kansas City.
8. Mark Zumoff > Tom McCarthy
"YES! OHHHH YES!" is a thousand times better than the Chucky-esque T-Mac phrase "HE'S BAAAAAACK". And sure, Scott Frantzke + Chris Wheeler + Larry Anderson + Sarge Matthews is a full three Inception levels above (below?) Eric Snow. But not having to hear T-Mac aurally wet himself every time somebody hits a fly ball is reason enough to relish basketball season. I miss Harry.
9. Tanner Steidel, Derek Bodner, Jordan Sams, Michael Levin
BAM. It's the first full season we're all together. It feels so long ago, but I only signed on as a regular scribbler here in December, when Jordan went on that epic vacation to Boston. Tanner hitched a ride soon after, and we bribed Derek to add some (read: SOME) legitimacy to the operation in March. We got 82 games ahead with big plans, varied previews/recaps, and the possibility of a few cross-globe blogger Meet 'n' Greets on the horizon. Stay tuned and keep all LOST references to a minimum.
10. It's the hipster thing to do
We live in a society where uncool is cool. I've already referenced Birkenstocks, the people behind UGGs actually make money, Arrested Development got good once it got cancelled (I was too young to realize my mistake), and bands are lame unless nobody's heard of them. The Sixers had some of the lowest attendance in basketball last year. That's cool. College and high school basketball is embraced much more than professional basketball in the city of Philadelphia. That's cool. Allen Iverson is now playing in Turkey. That's cool. Evan Turner is a sweetheart. That's cool. So let's go party in Fishtown, break out your unfit-for-basketball Chuck Taylor's, listen to The Brakes (although wiki page = too mainstream), and watch Blue Velvet on our way to the Sixers game.
Season starts tonight, our boys break open the cartons of purple drank tomorrow. Let's kick it.