If 2011 is out to prove anything to Philadelphia sports phans I know one thing it will prove to be is entertaining. The Phillies and Flyers poised to make championship runs, the Sixers becoming a playoff team, and Villanova basketball top 20 in the nation. Let’s not forget the Eagles who begin camp in July to prepare for a Super Bowl run. I can’t remember a year when all 4 major sports teams were playoff bound. As new seasons begin and other teams prepare for the playoffs here’s a list of the Top 5 Do Not Miss games in Philly sports.
1. April 1st Opening Day for the Phillies vs. Houston 1:05
The buzz surrounding the beginning of the 2011 season is greater than any year in franchise history. With the return of Cliff Lee to add to an already potent rotation the Phillies are locked and loaded to dominate the league. The Phillies are preparing to win their 5th straight division title and anything short of a World Series Championship will be a disappointment. The Phillies open the season at home vs. the Houston Astros on April 1st at 1:05. Ace Roy “Doc” Halladay will take the mound to open the year. It is guaranteed to be the hottest ticket in town and a game that any true Philadelphian will surely not miss. It is slated to be a Brett Myers/Roy Halladay matchup, oh how far our rotation has come.
2. March 24th Flyers vs. Penguins 7:00
The last week in March will be a crucial stretch for the Flyers as they look to protect their Eastern Conference crown. In the second to last week of the regular season the Flyers will play the Pittsburgh Penguins, who only trail the Flyers in the Atlantic by 5 points, twice in one week. March 24th the Penguins will visit the Wells Fargo Center to take on the Flyguys and only 5 days later, on March 29th the Flyers will travel to Pittsburgh for a rematch. This could determine the division and most likely the top seed in the Eastern Conference. There is sure to be a flood of orange in Philly as the Flyers look to take home the cup.
3. April 2nd Cliff Lee's Debut vs. Houston 7:05
With Opening Day providing enough electricity to supply the city there is no doubt that Cliff Lee’s debut at CBP will be just as electrifying. The first night game of the year at the Bank is going to feel like a playoff game. Cliff Lee achieving legend status with his triumphant return will feel the Brotherly Love when he takes the mound at 7:05 on April 2nd. This may be the closest the Houston Astros get to a playoff atmosphere all year. We all know Harry and Whitey will be fully tuned in for this one so I suggest you do the same.
4. March 5th Villanova @ Pitt 4:00
Villanova currently is ranked #15 in the nation and Pitt is ranked #4. Those rankings are sure to fluctuate in the next few weeks but there is no doubt that these two schools are at the top of the Big East. March 5th will be their final meeting before the Big East Tournament and the beginning of March Madness. Villanova will be looking to avenge their February 12th loss to Pitt and enter the tourney on a hot streak.
5. April 5th Sixers @ Boston 7:30
After a forgettable 2009-2010 season the 76ers under new coach Doug Collins are playing exciting basketball. Entering the All-Star break the Sixers are 2 games under five hundred and currently sitting as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. In the final week of the regular season the Sixers will face some tough Eastern Conference matchups that will determine their playoff fate and prepare them for a post season run. April 5th the Sixers head to Boston to take on the reigning Eastern Conference Champs. This will be a tough matchup against a championship team but also a good test for a young Sixers team before their playoff run. Don’t miss the Sixers following game on April 6th as the Knicks come to town for a game that will have a lot of playoff implications.
2011 is already setting up to be a remarkable year for the city of Philadelphia. It has the potential be one of the greatest sports years the city has ever been witness too. Make sure to mark your calendar for these games and stay tuned into BLN for the latest and greatest in the City of Brotherly Love.