For fans of both the Phillies and Flyers, hockey season officially begins tonight

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 08: Philadelphia Phillies fans react to Scott Rolen #27 of the Cincinnati Reds after he strikes out in game 2 of NLDS at Citizens Bank Park on October 8, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Reds 7-4. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

If this website is any evidence, hockey is my favorite sport. Has been that way since I was but a wee lad. But if there's one thing in this world that challenges my love for the Flyers, it would be an almost-equal love for the historically terrible baseball team that lives on the other side of Pattison Avenue.

It seems as though there's a lot of overlap between these two fanbases -- a lot more so than there are between the Flyers and Eagles or Flyers and Sixers, at least. It even carries over to the players. When the Phillies took a 2-0 lead over San Francisco on Saturday night, Mike Richards was getting ready for a faceoff in the offensive zone. He glanced up at the video board before the puck dropped and tapped his stick in approval of the Phils' lead as the score flashed.

If I had to bet on a reason why there's so little wiggle room between Phillies and Flyers fans, it'd probably have something to do with the fact that the two sports overlap each other perfectly.  Hockey starts in October and ends in June (hopefully), while baseball starts in April and ends in October (again, hopefully).

If you love both the Flyers and the Phillies, you know how hard it is to concentrate on one team while the other is still playing. I'll admit it: it was really tough to care about April and May baseball this year when the Flyers were in the midst of their miraculous playoff run.

At the same time, as the Phillies have gone on their incredible, these-are-definitely-not-the-same-Phillies-we-grew-up-with runs of the last few years, it's been tough to get psyched up for early season hockey with the same kind of tenacity it deserves. It's not a knock against either team -- it's just the way it is.

It just feels so insignificant compared to the unreal drama that plays out across the parking lot when meaningful October baseball comes to Philadelphia. As the Phils toiled offensively on Saturday night in Game 6 against the Giants, leaving 11 men on base en route to the loss, the Flyers shined, throwing up five goals on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Perhaps that was a fitting change of the guard, no matter how depressing it might have been for the Fightin's. In any event, baseball season is over a little bit too early this season. The wounds are still fresh, but luckily, we have hockey and the Flyers ready to take over from now until June, when the Flyers season will end for better or worse and the Phillies will be ready to take us on another run.

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