Philadelphia 76ers' Tyrese Maxey throws a first pitch during a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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As the host of a long-running Phillies podcast 664 episodes into its existence, I won’t try to hide that my sports loyalties always have — and always will — reside first with the Phillies.

For those of us who grew up as sports maniacs in this city, most of us are fans of some combination of the Phils, Eagles, 76ers, Flyers and Union. And while most of us have a favorite, we take delight in giving one of the five more of our hearts when they get particularly close to winning something big.

Over the last 9 months, we’ve been able to transition from an obsession with the Phillies’ 2022 postseason run, the Union’s heartbreaking run to the finals, and the Eagles coming thisclose to winning the Super Bowl. And though most of you come to Hittin’ Season because you are also Phillies fans first, I’m experienced enough as a Philly sports fan to understand that the baseball team may not have most of your attention right now.

So consider this a blatant attempt to ride along the 76ers’ coattails.

Yes, after that stirring Game 5 victory in Boston, Philadelphia is on fire for their basketball team. On the latest edition of the podcast, I talked with WHYY’s own Avi Wolfman-Arent, a noted diehard Sixers nut. And while we did talk about baseball and the Phils, hoops was foremost on our minds. 

The Sixers haven’t won a championship in 40 years. Ronald Reagan was in his first term in office. John Denny won the NL Cy Young Award for the Phils that summer. Gas cost, oh I dunno, 25 cents or something. And the Flyers were still relevant.

It was THAT LONG ago.

And now here they are, one win away from moving to a place Joel Embiid has never been before — the Eastern Conference Championships. 

Is it really possible a fourth Philadelphia sports team could reach its sport’s final round in the same year? And is it possible that the Sixers will succeed where the Phils, Union and Birds failed before them and actually host a parade down Broad Street?

There’s still a long way to go until we get there, but even the most diehard Phillies fan could be talked into trading a third World Series or second Super Bowl for a long-awaited Sixers title. After all, the 2008 Phils are still relatively fresh in our minds and Super Bowl 52 could fill our souls for decades. 

The Sixers need to join the party, and it’s a bargain I’d best most Philly sports fans would be willing to make.

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John Stolnis, Hittin' Season

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...