PHILADELPHIA, PA—Lately, the media scene in the city of Philadelphia has become as common as taxes.
Just as one team makes an acquisition for a new star, another team makes a bold move to steal the spotlight. As one team makes a run towards the post season, another makes a questionable contract extension.
In the city of Philadelphia, the sports media culture has been in a constant tug-of-war match for the attention of their two favorite franchises: The Phillies and the Eagles.
This is no disrespect to the cities other two franchises, the Flyers and 76ers.
With the recent struggles of the Sixers and their dismal 27-55 record in 2009-10, they have remained out of the spotlight accept for on small occasions. In the case of the Flyers they must be commended for their run towards the Stanley Cup, but because of the fact that hockey is still a relative niche sport in America, they remain with a strongly secular and specific fanbase.
For decades now, the Philadelphia Eagles have been the major ticket in town. Their constant runs towards the playoffs and their high-profile moves have made for some of the largest crowds and media controls in the city.
Just as the Eagles were making their run for a permanent spot in the mindset of Philadelphians, the Phillies have quietly, since 2006-07, made a run as one of the strongest and fastest rising teams in all of baseball.
As the Phillies got better, their fanbase got bigger, and at times, began to dwarf in popularity to the big dog Eagles. The Phillies back-to-back-to-back NL East titles and their improbable run to the 2008 World Series, along with the opening of the brand new Citizens Bank Park, began to shift the focus to the Phillies in the cities popular culture.
This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed, as beyond the moves of the teams, a seasonal debate has brewed on which team will make the next move to steal the attention.
This week has become another chapter in this long going struggle.
Yesterday, the Phillies made a move for one of the highest touted pitchers available in Roy Oswalt. A move that has been debated for weeks finally commenced, and conveniently enough, just as the Eagles began their training camp with new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Just four months ago, it was the Eagles chance to steal the spotlight. As the seasons do evidently change, so do the teams in their position of prominence in the media eye.
The Phillies began their 2010 season fresh off their second run at a World Series title in as many years. The day was April 5, and the Phillies were set to open their season in Washington to take on the Nationals, for them a huge time for media attention.
But for the Eagles, it was another chance to steal the spotlight.
The same day the Phillies began their third run at a title was coincidentally the same day the Eagles sent Donovan McNabb packing to division rival Washington. The deal to trade McNabb was not urgent and could have come at any time, but in the city of Philadelphia, where fans are constantly pulled for their attention between the two franchises, the Eagles felt it was time to steal the Phillies' thunder.
The timing was not all that surprising, as the Phillies made their own questionable trade just four months before.
Throughout the Eagles 2009-10 season, their was heavy debate on whether Andy Reid was going to be given a contract extension to remain with the team. Reid's extension was an issue that many thought would be addressed in the offseason, yet on December 10, the Eagles decided to announce Reid had signed a three-year contract extension to remain with the team through 2013.
At this same time, the Phillies were testing the offseason trade market in hopes to seal another piece of the puzzle for their upcoming season.
Not to be one-upped by the attention the Eagles were getting, the Phillies made their own blockbuster move to steal the spotlight, trading Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and acquiring Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Just more signs of the ongoing battle in the city of Philadelphia to retain and capture the attention of the Philadelphia faithful.
They call Philadelphia the "City of Brotherly Love," and just like any siblings that vie for the coveted attention of their mother, both will do anything and everything to quench that desperate need for attention.