Thursday, November 03, 2005

Welcome, Professor

I know y'all tuned in expecting to see more of the amazingly prescient & precious Wikkid's Feckless Forecast, but this week I was visited by the Corresponding Secretary of Local #505 of the Amalgamated Legion of Fantasy Internet Sports Hacks, who informed me that sportsblog management personnel are not allowed to both predict & recap sports results. Fortunately, during one of my frequent flashbacks, I met the distinguished Professor Ellis D. Trails, who agreed to become our new FFB prognosticator. Let's meet the Professor:

Professor Ellis D. Trails was born in a Quaker commune outside Haycock Township, Pennsylvania to a barn demolition specialist & a mushroom. When his family was made aware that they were minor heirs to the Trailways bus fortune, they decided to send young Ellis abroad to be educated. In 2000 he was awarded a double-doctorate from Potsdam Polytechnische in amphibian psychology & broadcasting. He is now an associate froglicker at the Reptile Endocrinology Analysis Labs in southern California, where he raises rally monkeys as a hobby.

And now, in his own words, an intro to his sporting tastes:

Being Philly born and bred, I am a Philadelphia sports fan without end, no matter which coast I happen to inhabit. There are few sports enthusiasts that truly know the agony of heartbreak in the sports world as Philadelphia Compatriots do. In the past few years, I have heard so much about curses and jinxes that have kept certain cities' teams out of the championship circle, but these cities pale in comparison to the complete despair offered by my home town’s often hyped, but rarely fruitful sports teams. As a mainly football and baseball guy, I do follow my home teams regardless of sport. It has been a crying shame at times to live through what I (and many others) have witnessed, experienced, and participated in as Philadelphia fans. ( I need a tissue)

This is definitive, If you add up all of the sport seasons for all of the major Philadelphia sports teams, they amount to 355 seasons - 122 for the Phillies, 72 for the Eagles, 38 for the Flyers, 56 for the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers, 13 for the Warriors and 54 for the Athletics.

Total Championships: 17, and that includes 9 by teams no longer in this town (1 by the Nationals, 2 for the Warriors and 6 for the Athletics). This is a whopping 4.8% total and only 2.9% for teams that still call Philly home (8 out of 270).

I can recall New Englanders clamoring for the Red Sox “cursed” team to win, meanwhile the Patriots were doing fine and I think that they have a basketball team that has won a few championships.

I also remember Cubs fans talking about a curse, but the Bears in ’85 and a guy named Michael Jordan would help to ease that pain a little.

There is no other city, short of maybe Cleveland that has brought losing to a higher level, yet our fans continue to be teased by the excitement of victory only to be doused with absolute crushing defeat.

I am conditioned to expect the worst from any Philadelphia team. The scars are deep and longstanding. Any Philadelphia fan knows the names of their tormenters by heart - as if they were names contained in the Lord's Prayer - Joe Carter, Manny Mota, Jim Plunkett, Rod Martin, Rhonde Barber, Ricky Manning, Jr., the "Fog Bowl", Magic Johnson, Kareem, Larry Bird, Scott Stevens, Bob Nystrom, Martin St. Louis, Keith Jackson, Mitch Williams, Black Friday, the infamous offsides against the Islanders, and the list goes on and on.

There are so many cities out there that claim to have curses, but I simply don’t buy it. I haven’t done the stats, but I would venture to guess that the 4.8% is easily the lowest of any major city by far. The Phillies have the most losses of any MLB franchise and were easily the first to reach 1000 losses for a team; the 76ers have the record for the most losses in a season. The Eagles last championship was the only loss suffered in a championship game by Vince Lombardi and thus have not received a trophy in his name.

The Flyers 3-1 lead against the Devils only to bring Lindros back from injury to then lose the next 3 and have our collective hearts once again ripped from our chest’s with many proclaiming they will not go through this again. Although, the next season, we are right there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for another crushing blow to our ever resilient psyches. Why are we continually tortured, and, furthermore, why do we continue to go back? The answer is simple, Philadelphians are some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated fans in sports. There is no one in sports that is more starved and more deserving than those people who live and breathe the sports in Philadelphia. I now live in Orange County, California and the difference in sports fans is enormous. It seems as though if you are not talking about the Angels or USC then nobody cares. I consider myself a sports observer, looking at all sides before making a calculated opinion or at least I try to.

My feelings and opinions on sports in general & Philadelphia teams in particlar are infinite, but you can be sure as you get to know me that the cynicism that has been carved by a lifelong journey of agony will be one common factor in future articles. Until then, have a great TRIP!!!!!!

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