Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Enjoy It Now, Phils

Today's Calls: Phillies vs. Expectations, Scott Kazmir vs. James Shields, Tony Romo vs. Brad Johnson, BYU vs. TCU, Eric Gordon vs. Mike Taylor and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The Phillies have steamrolled their way to the N.L. pennant, and it's a great thing for the rest of us. ↵

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↵Philadelphia sports fans are less "hard-luck" (see Cubs) than hard-boiled — they have grown to wallow in sports misery. Even to thrive in it. They are the unchecked hostile id of every fan in America, if you let yourself go to the scary places all the time. ↵

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↵It is the Philly sports fan's default state: Hostility is the badge of honor. Losing — eventually, always eventually — is the expectation. ↵

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↵The irony is their teams aren't that bad: The Phillies won a World Series in 1980 and reached it in 1993. The Sixers won an NBA title in 1983 and went to the Finals in 2001. The Eagles were one McNabb reversal of fortune from winning the Super Bowl a few years ago. ↵

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↵And yet Philly fans are the drama queens of sports. That's why the success of their teams is so much fun — for the rest of us. ↵

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↵Because of this sense of perpetual dissatisfaction, Philly fans celebrate as well or better than any in the country, with the rest of us cheering them on, knowing that the inevitable let-down will send them into the kind of shame spiral that is even more entertaining. ↵

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↵So: Go Phillies! With every success, the stakes get higher. The potential crash looms larger. ↵

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↵Things can only get better (and so, so, so much worse) from here. ↵

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↵ALCS Game 5: Love the switcheroo by the Rays on the Game 5 and 6 starting pitchers. New Game 6 SP James Shields sucks at Fenway, but is dominant at home. And new Game 5 SP Scott Kazmir is precisely the veteran ace to give Tampa the best chance possible to shut the door on the road. ↵

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↵CFB: Is BYU a legit BCS team? Tonight's game at the defensively, stifling TCU will be a huge indicator (at least until BYU plays Utah in the season finale). This represents the second-toughest game on BYU's schedule. For any BCS wannabe, that makes it a must-follow. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: Hall and Hayes' weekly IM debate. ↵

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↵Tony Romo wants to play Sunday: Is it in the Cowboys' best interests to put their franchise QB on the field if there's a chance he could exacerbate his existing injury? And that's why Brad Johnson is starting Sunday, no matter what Romo may want. ↵

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↵NFL Owners Meeting: A day after nixing a 17th regular-season game, the owners discussed spring exhibitions. They would be massively successful; detoxing fans, who otherwise dismiss those lame August exhibitions, would go nuts for spring games (see college). ↵

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↵Is Condoleezza Rice the next head of the NFL Players' union? If you can't be NFL Commish (Condi's dream job), being the head of the union may be the next best thing. ↵

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↵Ocho Cinco says Carson Palmer should sit out longer, for the entire season, if need be. You can nick 85 for a lot of things, but I would listen to him when it comes to career management. ↵

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↵Vince Young talks to the media: He insists Kerry Collins is his "guy," even if VY is the benched backup. (I have a suggestion: Convert VY into a "Wildcat" specialist inside the 15-yard-line.) ↵

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↵Speaking of the Wildcat, watch Darren McFadden this weekend. I mean: What do the Raiders have to lose, at this point? (Um, except that they just invested a TON of money in QB JaMarcus Russell.) ↵

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↵Bob Knight Watch: After telling it to SN's Mike DeCourcy a few weeks ago, Knight re-affirms he would be interested in getting back into coaching if the opportunity was right. (I still say: Northwestern!) ↵

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↵SN's CFB Countdown: No. 26 Syracuse. I think Eric Devendorf (and how he returns from injury) is the biggest X-factor in the Big East. ↵

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↵NBA Preseason: Um, who needs Baron Davis? How about the Clippers' rookie backcourt of Eric Gordon and Mike Taylor? Gordon had a put-the-league-on-notice 33 and Taylor had 21 pts, 9 ast and 4 reb in a Clips’ win against the Kings. ↵

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↵Injury Watch: Keep an eye on Steve Nash's ankle, tweaked in the Suns’ win at Atlanta. ↵

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↵NBA Must-Read: Free Darko's preview of every single game of the upcoming NBA season continues with the games of December. Amazing. ↵

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↵SN NBA Countdown: Knicks, the most intriguing team of the season. Thriving in Mike D'Antoni's system, David Lee will be THE breakout player of the year in the NBA. He has been quietly effective his entire career. Next up: Stardom. ↵

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↵NASCAR Must-Read: SN's Reid Spencer has a Q&A with rookie sensation Joey Logano. ↵

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↵The Last Word: On Monday, my mother-in-law took my 2-year-old to Family Day at the Sports Museum of America in NYC. They had a blast. ↵

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↵The highlight: Visiting the Heisman exhibit, where my kid name-checked the displayed Tim Tebow jersey, impressing a nearby guard. I'm so proud. ↵

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↵The museum is a great mix of info and interactivity that is also the rare combo that will entertain both kids AND their sports-fan parents. ↵

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↵If you are in NYC, I encourage you to check it out. (Oh: Don't forget your camera! My kid interpreting the Heisman pose in front of the actual trophy instantly became my favorite photo ever.) ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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