The Flyers are ramping up for a playoff push just as the Phillies enter Grapefruit League ball. The surprising 76ers are trying to find their second-half stride, and nobody knows what the Eagles will do at the draft. In a four-sport community and a 24-hour news cycle, there’s a lot for Collingswood sports fans to keep up with.
“God bless the Flyers,” said Elliott Doyle of Ridley Park, PA. “Without Pronger, this team’s not going to win.”
Although GM Paul Holmgren tried to remedy his team’s defensive lapses by trading for porch-clearing defensemen Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman, Doyle fears that the team isn’t likely to make the second round of the playoffs without better goaltending.
“Bryzgalov is a wash; we shouldn’t have signed him for so long,” he said.
Mixed-martial arts fan Dan Quillen is following the careers of New Jersey fighters Frankie Edgar, a UFC lightweight from Toms River, and Aaron Meisner of Voorhees.
“I want to see what’s up with the next Matrix Fights in Philly,” Quillen said.
Mike Bodilly has the Street League skateboard competition on the brain. The series, which tours arenas in major U.S. cities in the spring, features two of his favorite riders: Rob Dyrdek and Nyjah Huston.
His friend, Collingswood High School junior Brandon Moszkowicz, is only thinking about football. Moszkowicz, a two-way lineman, is rehabbing an arm injury that he hopes will be mended in time for the Panthers' 2012 fall season.
For Christian McCloskey, it starts and ends with the Phillies.
“They were tough and tight,” he said. “The last few years, that’s gone away.”
Nonetheless, he is excited at a starting lineup that includes “the three best pitchers in baseball.”
Bill Lorenz at Canvas Mixers said the best off-season moves by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro involved “picking up some decent bench players” like Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre, Laynce Nix, and Jim Thome. Still, he added, it will be a few months before the team is healthy enough to field its optimal lineup.
Patrick O’Donnell thinks the Phillies will be good enough to secure a playoff spot, and won’t even need an additional wild-card berth—new to Major League Baseball this season—to do it.
“They’re gonna win the division,” he said.
At Primo Hoagies, Phillies fan John Kasten talked about how much spring training “just makes me happy.” He and his co-worker, Dan Rousseau, discussed their expectations for new Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, formerly of the Boston Red Sox.
“If I were Philly, I’d be worried about him,” said Rousseau, a Red Sox fan. “It’ll be interesting to see what he does in Philly.”