After two years of speculation that owner Joshua Harris was going to move the Sixers to New Jersey, there was a report last week that he is negotiating to do exactly that. If the talks reach agreement, our basketball team will still play its games in Philadelphia, but the rest of the operation will be headquartered in Camden.
Now, it is hardly a revelation that the Sixers lack the amenities of a first-class sports organization -- namely, a practice facility and posh offices like those at the NovaCare complex -- but it would be dead wrong for the city of Philadelphia to allow them to follow the same route over the bridge that the Flyers have taken.
This isn’t a question of money; it’s civic pride. The Flyers have always had their base of support in South Jersey (where most of the players reside), but there is no similar demographic advantage for the Sixers there. If Philadelphia comes fairly close to the sweet deal Camden is offering, Harris will have no choice but to stay in the city -- unless he wants to further reinforce his carpetbagger image.
Mayor Michael Nutter said last week he will fight to keep the Sixers in Philadelphia, as did Mayor Ed Rendell 21 years ago, when owner Harold Katz was so determined to leave Philadelphia, he planned to play regular-season games in a tent while a permanent building was under construction.
Ultimately, Katz decided to sell the team instead -- the right move for everyone. This time, the right move is to pay the price and keep the Sixers offices in Philadelphia, where they belong.
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- Marti Wolver, the Phillies scouting director, still won’t admit he was wrong when he reported first-round draft pick Ben Wetzler for violating NCAA rules after the star pitcher rejected the team’s final contract offer last summer. The fact that Wolver is still scouting director after that fiasco should be the most alarming part of this story.
- There was a report over the weekend that the Phillies have made John Mayberry Jr. available for trade. Really? What gave it away? Could it be the fact that they used 18 players in the 14-inning loss to the Mets Saturday, and none of them was named John Mayberry Jr.?