Thanks to Andy Reid, for all he's done here

Posted: November 21, 2012

I AM THANKFUL for Andy Reid.

No, really, nothing backhanded about it. For more than a decade, he has made football in this town relevant. He created hope, won more games and big games than he lost, pushed us to the precipice of a fourth NFL championship, losing by three measly points.

As vitriolic as the current public debate about the man and his future has become, we should not forget any of that. Maybe the next guy who comes in finishes the job, the way Jon Gruden did for Tony Dungy in Tampa. Or maybe the next guy in makes us really appreciate Reid's efforts, the way people in Buffalo now revere Marv Levy.

Anyway, it got me to thinking - always a dangerous thing. Because our passion sometimes impedes our reason, there have been others like Reid, people whose efforts look better and better as the distance from their days here become greater.

Guys like . . .

Ed Wade. Perhaps not since Wade's final days as Phillies general manager has one man been such a conduit of frustration the way Reid has been this season. Wade's bad trades and also-ran finishes eventually led to his departure, before he could see some of the players drafted during his tenure reach stardom in the majors. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson and Cole Hamels were key contributors to that 2008 championship team - as were acquisitions Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett.

Again, nothing backhanded about this. Less than 2 months into his tenure as Astros GM, Wade obtained Michael Bourn in the trade that brought Lidge and Bruntlett to the Phillies. Should Bourn be signed as a free agent this offseason and become the Phillies' Opening Day centerfielder, there is a decent chance the Phillies will begin the 2013 season with fives starters drafted or signed when Wade was general manager (Hamels, Utley, Howard, Bourn and Carlos Ruiz) and another (Jimmy Rollins) who was drafted when he was assistant general manager.

So, yeah, thank you, Ed. Much belatedly.

And thank you . . .

Paul Uyehara and the Stadium Out of Chinatown Coalition. It's easy to forget how many of us (OK, me) were in favor of building a ballpark in Chinatown. Former mayor John Street made it his personal cause, and it might have even happened if not for the resistance of Uyehara, an attorney, and others in the Asian-American community.

It would have been a traffic and pedestrian disaster. Moreover, the development of South Philly as a sports-centric destination would not have occurred. Young men and women who have turned tailgating into an art form and have made Xfinity Live! an electric success owe some thanks to the coalition that turned construction southward more than a decade ago.

Oh, and thank you . . .

Terrell Owens. OK, so he was odder than a Buddhist monk at a Wing Bowl, but try to remember why he was needed and how he performed when he first got here. The Eagles pounded people for most of that 2004 season, and the Lincoln Financial Field stands were as festive as a Springsteen concert because of it. Was it worth the turmoil that followed? Bet your skin tights, it was!

And, along those lines, thank you . . .

Scott Boras and J.D. Drew. Now, now, now, hold on. One way or another, Drew was going to be a villain in this town. Had he signed for anything near the $10 million they were seeking after the Phillies picked him second overall in 1997, the immediate expectations would have crushed him and he likely would have been booed out of town anyway. As it was, he was hurt in each of his first five major league seasons, and Tony La Russa once complained that Drew was content to settle for 75 percent of what he was capable of.

Instead of lustily booing him each time he came to town, we would have lustily booed him daily. So a belated thanks, fellas.

One last thank you . . . to W.C. Fields. I receive mostly blank looks from younger men when I mention the famous Darby-born comedian's name. But to me, our proud and infamous reputation as a city that only a mother could love precedes throwing snowballs at Santa, or batteries at Drew, or even allegedly booing a parade or two.

It gained legs through Fields' vaudeville acts and many films. He used his birthplace as a punch line, right into his death. But contrary to myth, his grave marker bears only his name and life expanse. It does not say, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

There was this, though, in his famous film with Mae West, "My Little Chickadee." About to be hung mistakenly, Fields is asked, "Do you have any last wishes?"

"I'd like to see Paris before I die," he says.

When the annoyed vigilantes tighten the noose further, he quickly reconsiders: "Philadelphia will do."

Sure will. I, for one, am very thankful to be in Philadelphia.


" @samdonnellon



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