Thursday, October 23, 2008

Everton vs. Stoke City

The Phillies and Rays through the eyes of the British media:

The Phillies have neither the history nor the wealth of the Yankees or the Red Sox but compared with their World Series opponents they are a cross between the framers of the constitution and the founders of Fort Knox. For one thing they have been around since the 1880s. The Rays did not exist until 1998. The Phillies play in the modern Citizens Bank Park. The Rays play in a dump called Tropicana Field, except when they decamp to Disney World to play a few home games in front of holidaymakers and off-duty Mouseketeers. The Phillies had a payroll this year of $98m (£60.2m), the Rays $43m (£26.4m) - a fifth of that spent assembling the Yankees squad.

In footballing terms the Phillies against the Rays in the World Series is like Everton against Stoke City in the Champions League final. Logically it should never have happened. Commercially it is a worst-case scenario for Fox, which was praying for more "glamorous" teams and higher ratings.
I don't know my EPL that well, but while that's not too dramatic a statement, it somehow sounds more accurate than the "they're both lovable losers" meme I've seen in some American media outlets.

Yes, the Phillies have lost 10,000+ games, but they really are an institution, if not always a winning one. Despite all of the attention placed on big market vs. small market over the years, people often neglect to mention that the Phillies are in a huge media market that, unlike New York, Los Angels, and Chicago, is not shared with another team.

No, they're not the Yankees or even the Mets, but they are big and established, and the rough equivalencies being drawn between the Rays and Phils ring pretty hollow to me.

5 comments:

bigcatasroma said...

Actually, that's why the comparison worked - because Everton is an established, traditional team, that hasn't won all that much. But Stoke is the 2d oldest British football team, so that doesn't make any sense. And Everton shares Liverpool with Liverpool - his comparison would be more like the ChiSox v. Pirates or something.

A better comparison would have been either Blackburn vs. Milton Keynes Dons or go abroad, and something like Napoli vs. AlbinoLeffe in Italian Soccer.

I know I just showed by rediculous soccer fandom there. Someone, please back me up a little . . .

David said...

I too have always wondered why when talking about big market teams people don't mention the Phillies. According to Wikipedia, Philly is the 5th biggest metropolitan area in the US behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. Wikipedia also has Philly down as the 4th biggest TV market in the nation behind NY, LA and Chicago. Arbitron.com lists Philly as the 8th biggest radio market.

All in all Philadelphia is a huge market and like you say they don't share with anyone. You can put the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Angels and Dodgers ahead of them I suppose but who else?

Ken Dynamo said...

this just kind of helps put the parity in baseball argument into perspective. comparing it to the socialist paradise that is the NFL, yes, baseball looks rigged. but compare it to the 'glamorous' EPL and other euro leagues and the MLB is radically progressive.

Drew said...

David: Dont' forget the White Sox also play in Chicago. I mean, I know it's easy to do, but they'd appreciate being remembered.

Mr. Thursday said...

I think the fact that Everton plays their games a couple blocks away from the far more famous (not to mention far better, historically and presently) Liverpool FC blows the Philly comparison out of the water. The Phillies have been toiling all on their own over here for the past 53 years ago.

The Blackburn comparison is pretty good, as is, I think Portsmouth, which has been round for 110 years now, and only has the two titles to show for it, both occuring just after WWII. Otherwise, they've been somewhere between mediocre (like the past few years) and downright terrible (finding themselves 25,000 pounds in debt in 1976 and almost declaring bankruptcy). Yeah, that sounds like my Phillies, alright.