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Outta’ Right Field: Will 2013 be another year of misery?

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Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov throws his stick in frustration during the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday, Feb. 21. (MCT)

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov throws his stick in frustration during the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday, Feb. 21. (MCT)

Every January, a new year begins and the city of Philadelphia prepares for what could be “the year.”

“This is going to be the year the Eagles finally win a Super Bowl.”

“This is going to be the year the Stanley Cup returns to Philly.”

“This is going to be the year the Phillies climb back to the top of the baseball world.”

“This is going to be the year where everything finally clicks for the Sixers.”

Chances are if you are a Philadelphia sports fan, you are guilty of saying one, if not more of those phrases.

It is the passion of the Philadelphia sports fan that leads them down this weary path year after year. Simply put, Philly fans can’t help it. They want to win. They want to be crowned as champions.

But 2012 was hardly an enjoyable year for Philly sports fans. The Flyers lost in the second round in five games. The Sixers pulled off a miracle upset of the Bulls thanks to an injury to their star Derrick Rose, but fell to the Celtics in seven games. The Phillies never really found winning ways and dropped out of the playoffs. And the Eagles turned in a miserable 2012 season, the worst in the tenure of Andy Reid, which also came to an end.

The 2013 season in Philly sports hasn’t started the way fans would have liked either.

Excitement ensued as hockey returned only for the Flyers to start slow with a 9-11-1 record.

The Eagles are slowly but surely making changes starting at the helm with Chip Kelly taking over as head coach.

The Sixers continue to spiral toward an early summer as Andrew Bynum, acquired in an offseason trade, sits on the bench with a knee injury.

The Phillies still have a clean slate as the spring begins. But questions of health and ability surround the team as the championship window is barely open.

It isn’t negativity or pessimism. It is simply reality.

Times in Philadelphia have changed from in the last five years. The Eagles decline has truly brought them to rock bottom. The Phillies peaked in 2008 with a World Series title before falling out of the playoffs earlier in every season after. The Flyers reached the cusp of glory in 2010 but have had early playoff exits ever since while never really finding their true identity. And the Sixers are still trying to really grab the city’s attention for good.

The last thing Philadelphia fans want to do is talk about 2013 being a repeat of 2012. But that is what the immediate picture says. The Eagles and Phillies are simply preparing for the 2013 campaigns but optimism is not great. The Flyers and Sixers are not producing positive results in their current seasons.

There is time for that to change. The Sixers may be too far gone to correct their season and make the playoffs but the Flyers still have time and are among the numerous bubble teams in the Eastern Conference as the season approaches the midway point.

Meanwhile, the Phillies may be the only team left that could truly save 2013. With no record to speak of just yet, anything can happen and they have as great a chance of winning a championship as 29 other teams. That’s Opening Day for you though.

It is not that Philly sports teams aren’t winning championships, they are hardly making things interesting. For all the years of suffering Philly fans have endured, at least there were several lovable teams that took you for a ride. Recently, there has been little excitement which has visions of another 2012 polluting the minds of Philly sports fans in 2013.

Phillies’ infielders Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are preparing to rebound from an 81-81 record in 2012. (MCT)

Phillies’ infielders Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are preparing to rebound from an 81-81 record in 2012. (MCT)

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