Sports Outside the Beltway

For the Phillies, Optimism Abounds

With the Eagles’ fate decided at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, the Flyers and 76ers bottom feeding in their respective leagues, and the Barbaro Watch brought to a resolution, the city of Philadelphia is beginning to look for a team to get behind.

Enter the 2007 edition of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Though no franchise in the four major professional sports has lost more games than the Phillies, the team’s players and fans are both strikingly optimistic.

During the team’s recent public relations-oriented Winter Caravan, Jimmy Rollins has said the Phillies are the team to beat in the NL East, providing bulletin board material for the other four teams while forgetting that the Phils finished 12 games behind the Mets in 2006. Other players such as NL MVP Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels have also expressed an eagerness to get the season started, liking the teams chances.

Also fueling willingness to look on the bright-side is the news of the team inking Chase Utley to a seven-year, $84 million dollar contract. Utley has said in recent interviews after the signing that he hopes to retire a Phillie.

For a city looking to have an athlete it can fully embrace while winning a championship, the news of Utley’s future plans couldn’t have rang louder if they were shouted from inside the Liberty Bell.

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