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GIORDANO: DEI, Title IX and MLB, Oh My!

This is a big week in Philly sports. The Eagles have the NFL Draft, the Sixers are in the playoffs, and the Phillies have come alive and are getting fans to dream of another World Series appearance. It is a great time for the fun and joy that we get from sports, and I’ve always cherished it.

However, progressive forces, which are often synonymous with destroying fun associated with holidays, language, and hundreds of other things, are on the march to change the world of sports. The brilliance of former Iowa star basketball player Caitlin Clark has stoked their claims of lack of pay equity for women athletes. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) forces are going after Major League Baseball because only six percent of the players are African-American. Finally, the Biden administration last week announced changes in Title IX that open the door for more biological men to compete in women’s sports.

The pay equity argument shows that the people making it don’t follow WNBA and NBA basketball. They argue Clark’s four-year contract will pay her just under $340,000 while the first pick in the NBA draft last year earned just over $ 10 million in his rookie year deal alone. However, the WNBA only takes in about $60 million in yearly revenue compared to the NBA’s $10 billion in yearly revenue. There are reports that Nike and others will pay Clark millions in endorsements because they recognize her value. And over time, she may significantly drive more attendance and revenue and then base salaries will go up.

The second progressive nonsensical attack on sports comes from MSNBC’s Joy Reid’s blog, which celebrated Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson’s Day by running a piece from Ja’han Jones stating that the scarcity of Black players in MLB should serve as a warning about attacks on DEI. He theorizes that MLB is guilty of something because the number of Black American players has dropped to just six percent of all players.

Jones scoffs at people like me who point out that maybe the NBA and NFL are more appealing to Black athletes. He makes no mention of the huge increase in MLB Latino players. Those players are not included in determining whether MLB values diversity and values any players who are going to continue to raise the level of play and competition in MLB.

It’s a good idea for MLB to try to invest in restoring playing fields in the inner city and trying to get young kids interested in baseball. How would DEI aid in this? This is just a progressive fixation from those who don’t really get sports.

Finally, on Friday, the Biden administration announced changes to Title IX that clearly have opened the door to more biological males participating in women’s sports. Riley Gaines, a former University of Florida swimmer who competed against Lia Thomas in the NCAA swim finals, tweeted that these changes mean “Sex equals gender identity.” She forecasts that men can take more athletic scholarships away from women, and biological men will have full access to female bathrooms and locker rooms.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, saw the regulation changes differently. Fox News Channel reported Weingarten said the changes would “Remove dangerous regulations put in place in 2020 and put us back on the path of honestly discussing the modern realities of equal access to education.”

So, artificial pay equity standards, DEI meddling in the competitive aspects of sports, and forcing women to accept biological men into their events will rob sports of fun and joy. Let’s root for Caitlin Clark, MLB players from around the world, and the strides that women’s sports are making for the next generation.

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DelVal Candidates Are Rooting For The Hometown Teams

Even in the closing days of a frenzied election campaign, the Phillies and the Eagles still have a hold on our attention — including the candidates who are focused on getting their voters to the polls next Tuesday. Nevertheless, the candidates are still taking time to follow the Phillies, who split the first two games of the World Series with the Houston Astros, as well as the undefeated Eagles.

The Phillies resumed action on Tuesday night (and crushed the Astros beneath a hail of homers 7-0) while the Eagles take the field on Thursday, ironically, in Houston.

Politicians of both parties have long understood the political upside to connecting with the region’s rabid sports fans. Beyond that, many of them are fans themselves.

Democratic Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan is seeking her third term in the Sixth District, which encompasses almost all of Chester County and a portion of Berks County including the city of Reading. She and her Republican challenger Guy Ciarrocchi may differ on the issues, but both are following the fortunes of our local sports franchises.

“Southeastern Pennsylvania has a different energy when our teams are rolling like this,” Houlahan said. “(Husband) Bart and I are all in for the Phillies, the Birds, and all of our city’s sports teams—we can’t wait to ring the bell at our home games on baseball’s biggest stage and watch the Eagles’ undefeated season continue.”

Ciarrocchi recalled his first experiences watching the Phillies growing up.

“I saw my first game with my dad at Connie Mack Stadium,” he said. “I saw the Phils win it all in 1980 and lose in 1983, both times with my dad.  I saw Game Four (in the 2008 World Series) with my oldest kids. I hope the “sports gods” don’t ask me if I would trade a congressional loss for a World Series win.”

Republican Christian Nascimento is challenging Democratic incumbent Madeleine Dean in the Fourth District in Montgomery County. Amidst the pressures and obligations of a campaign, he remains an avid sports fan.

“Like just about everyone in the region, I have been following and cheering on both the Phillies and the Eagles through this amazing run,” he said. “It’s nothing short of inspirational to see the Phillies get to the World Series at the same time that the Eagles are on an undefeated streak. It’s been a thrill to see both teams perform so well, and with so much class. These are the types of moments that make you so optimistic for the future.”

Democrat Ashley Ehasz is looking to unseat Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks/Montgomery).

“Following the Eagles and Phillies during the campaign trail has been exciting, to say the least,” she said. Both teams have shown their resilience and established that we cannot count them out, proving that hard work and dedication can enact real change.

“Just like here in Pennsylvania’s 1st District, the Eagles, the Phillies, and our campaign to unseat Brian Fitzpatrick has shown how underdogs have teeth, and the time for change is now.”


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Fly, Eagles Fly; But Are Ticket Prices Too High?

If you are planning to go to a Philadelphia Eagles game this season, whether all 10 home games or just a single game, be prepared to dig deep into your wallet. And you can be sure the future costs will only get higher.

Betway researched which NFL teams have increased their prices most recently. It created the Future Family Fandom Cost Index, which forecasts how much each fanbase will be paying in 2025. Eagles fans can expect to pay the 8th highest prices in the NFL in three years. The team with the expected highest prices was the Las Vegas Raiders and the least costly is expected to be the New York Jets.

It is bad enough in 2022.

Football is the highest-rated sports programming on TV. But being in the stands to cheer on the Birds at Lincoln Financial Field instead of watching on TV requires an investment of time and money.

Apart from the cost of game tickets, fans must pay for parking and food from the concession stands and perhaps a game program. It adds up.

Single-game tickets are scarce. As of this writing, a few are available directly from the Eagles’ ticket office via Ticketmaster. A check on availability for the first regular-season home game against Minnesota on Monday night, September 19, showed prices ranging from $98 for standing-room to $160 to $350 depending on seat location, excluding service charges.

Ticketmaster also offers tickets on a resale basis; resale prices for the opener range from $140 to more than $900 depending on the section.

For the October 16 Sunday night game against Dallas the resale price ranged from $138 to an astronomical $4,950. Those figures will likely change as the game draws closer.

The Delaware Valley Journal explored purchasing a ticket directly from the Eagles for the Minnesota game with a face value of $160. In addition, there would have been $31.85 in fees. And on top of that, fans driving to the game might pay $40 to park. If they spend time tailgating in the parking lot they should expect to spend $50 per person for various refreshments, not to mention the cost of food beverages, or souvenirs purchased inside the building (fans may not bring food inside with them).

Add it all up, and a fan attending an Eagles home game might expect to spend in the neighborhood of $300 for the experience which might include spending several hours outdoors in inclement weather surrounded by fans who may not always be on their best behavior, to say the least.

For some, the experience is no longer worth it.

Gordon Glantz of Blue Bell has Eagles blood running through his veins; his family has had season tickets since he was born. This season he spent $3,066 for two season tickets that include 10 games (this year nine regular season plus one preseason). But Glantz has not attended an Eagles game since 2018, the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Instead, he sells his tickets for a small profit and watches the games from home.

“I remember going to games with my father,” he said. “We’d leave his house in Abington around 11:15 a.m. (for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff). He’d pick up some guys who lived close by and we’d still be at the stadium and in our seats well before kickoff. Now it’s a full day. If you don’t leave by 10 a.m., it’s a problem because of parking and traffic. It’s no longer a game. It’s an event. You don’t get home until 6-6:30 p.m. Used to be 5-5:30 p.m.

“And forget about the night games. I stopped going to those well before the 1 p.m. games. There was once parking at the stadium for a reasonable rate. My dad soon started parking at a nearby church for a reasonable rate that had better access for the getaway after the game. So many spots are taken up by people tailgating.”

Stu Fishman also lives in Blue Bell. He started attending games with friends in 1971 when the Eagles moved into Veterans Stadium. Season tickets were $35 for seven home games. (That was $5 a game.) There were just 14 regular season games and season ticketholders did not have to pay for tickets to preseason games as they do now.

Today, Fishman pays $950 for his season ticket, including all 10 home games (one preseason, nine regular season).

“I have four seats,” he said. “I split them with a friend of mine.”

Fishman notes that because the home schedule features just 10 games, each is a unique event.

“I’m not buying 81 games like the Phillies,” he said. “Or 40 games like the Flyers. It’s like going to a concert.”


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