Let's not put too fine a point on all of this: the Phutiles are a lousy team.
They cannot hit with any degree of consistency. Their veteran players still come to the plate with little or no feel for game situations. The pitching remains erratic. The manager's flaws have been exposed now that he has a mediocre club. The GM went for broke last year and is left with a broken product.
But here's the real testimony to their mediocrity: fans leave the ballpark with two innings or more remaining when the team is trailing by two runs or less. Notice, too, when the camera scans the seats, many are empty. Now, it's probable those seats were sold, maintaining the string of sell-outs, but it's equally likely many of those ticket holders are becoming no-shows. Who wants to spend three to four hours overpaying for mediocre food, struggling to exit parking lots (attendants help you check in but disappear when you prepare to check out), and
watch a boring team stumble and bumble about.
I've said it before.... What once were the hardest tickets to come by in the Spring and Summer should be easy to find come September.
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I don't know why I bother writing anything about the Sixers. I know very little about basketball and, worse, I hate the game anyway. That said, I find their playoff run fascinating. Indeed, this entire year has been fascinating. The Sixers are not a very good team when you look around the league, yet here they are in the second round of the playoffs still hanging around.
The began the season like a bat out of hell. Then they settled into profound mediocrity. Then they rallied at the end to just make it into the playoffs. The beat a depleted Chicago team that was missing its best player for all but the first game of the series and another key player for the remainder. Lots of pundits said the victory was a good one, but it was tainted. No doubt about it.
Then they take on ancient rival Boston and play the Jekyll and Hyde role to perfection, not only from game to game but half to half.
They are hard to figure out because they are essentially unknowable. The mystery should end this week, however, when they are finally bounced from the playoffs and can begin again, for the umpteenth time in the last decade, for figure out who they are...and aren't!