BY MATTHEW NADU, Contributor
Whoever said change is good wasn’t a professional sports franchise owner.
And as a mater of fact, they lied.
At least that seems to be the case in Philadelphia of late.
Headlines surrounding the city’s sports teams’ free agent signings have been overwhelming even overtaking the likes of Mr. Woods’ tiger like attacks.
With the return of Placido Polanco to the Phillies and Allen Iverson to the lowly 76ers the city has apparently realized that they have been searching for answers in all the wrong places.
Think about it.
The resigning of Polanco, the Phils former second baseman, who has agreed in A-Rod type fashion, to switch positions and man the hot corner where he hasn’t played regularly since 2002, fills a gap that hasn’t been solidified by a player since the days of Scott Rolen, who was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in July 2002 for non-other than Polanco.
The emergence of God’s gift to Philadelphia in the form of second baseman Chase Utley, left Polanco the odd man out and trade bait when the Phils shipped him off to Detroit for Ugieth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez.
The only problem for the Phils was Martinez wasn’t any good and while Urbina was rotting away in a Venezuelan prison for beating farm workers like American League hitters on his fastball, Polanco was busy winning two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and making All-Star and World Series appearances.
Yet another Philadelphia second baseman that got away.
Since the departure of Rolen at third, the Phils went through three brutally horrific and nearly non-existent offensive third basemen in David Bell, Wes Helms and most recently Pedro Feliz.
This should all change with the readdition of Polanco who is a career .303 hitter with 90 homers, 579 RBIs and 71 stolen bases in 12 big league seasons.
And chew on this, as a No. 2 hitter he should create some exciting controversy for Chuck Manuel in an already potent Phillies lineup.
Across Pattison Ave the Sixers- that’s for all you fans who can’t remember where they play because you haven’t been to a game since 2005- have finally found their answer to filling more than five percent of the arena and guaranteeing a double digit wins this season in The Answer.
After shunning away the former MVP Iverson in hopes to build, rebuild and re-rebuild, a mediocre and lifeless franchise, general manager Ed Stefanski has finally come to some senses in resigning the supposedly retired point guard.
Go figure, for the first time this year and since who knows when, the Wachovia Center will be sold out for Monday night’s second debut of Allen Iverson and you better believe it won’t be Sammy Dalembert jerseys filling the seats.
The city is finally talking professional basketball again and once again Iverson is the one to thank.
Whether you believe the move is to boost attendance or help the team, which he’ll do both, the fact remains Iverson is still one of the best point guards in the NBA and he’s going to prove it.
So perhaps change isn’t what this city needs, maybe it’s second chances.
Just ask Mike Vick who helped the Eagles by scoring his first two touchdowns since he changed his favorite animal on his Facebook bio from pit bull to wildcat, as the Beages routed the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta, to claim a three way tie for the division lead.
Or an aging Jeremiah Trotter who was cut by the Eagles for losing a step only to gain two more, getting resigned by the club and continuing where he left off, stuffing opponents running games with more beef than Donovan McNabb’s chunky soup.
So once again sports has taught us some key values to live by, especially during this holiday season. Always be grateful for what you have and people deserve second chances- but only if it helps you win.
High Hopes newest contributor, Matthew Nadu:
Matthew’s writing and broadcasting career spans about six years. He got started writing and broadcasting while attending Temple University. He served as a reporter for the campus-wide Temple Update and as an on-air talent, writer and producer for Owlsports Update. While working on the Update, he also took a role as a writer for OwlScoop.com in association with Rivals.com. In 2008, Matthew began blogging for Baseball-Reference.com, a widely respected source for player statistics and informative columns and stories.. In 2008, also he interned with Comcast SportsNet, studying the trade and contributing reports to their various programs. From SportsNet, he went to NBC10 WCAU in Philadelphia as a contributor to their website Nbcphiladelphia.com and Promotions Assistant. He has made on-air contributions to their newscast, reporting from the spot of the night’s big game.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.