Lots to talk about

January 26, 2024

It's NFL conference championship week, with the San Francisco 49ers facing the Detroit Lions, and the Baltimore Ravens versus the Kansas City Chiefs. I will be rooting for the Ravens and Lions to make it to the Super Bowl. The Lions haven’t made the NFL championship game since 1957! If the Lions can somehow win the Super Bowl in two weeks, I can’t imagine how many people will be at their parade. It's going to be fun to follow the ending of another season of football.

The 76ers continue to play very well. Joel Embiid scored 70 points in the last game against the San Antonio Spurs and their rookie superstar, Victor Wembanyama. I think Joel was trying to show off against the rookie player, and he definitely did that. His points total is a 76ers team record, because when Wilt Chamberlain scored his 100 points, he was playing for the Philadelphia Warriors franchise, which eventually became the Golden State Warriors. Chamberlain also held the previous 76ers record, set when he scored 68 points in a 1967 game.

Even though Joel scored those 70 points, the team needed all of them, because they only won the game 133-123. I think the Spurs are going to be very good in two years when Victor gets used to playing in the NBA. He is a 7-foot-4-inch guard. Joel and Tyrese Maxey have been carrying way too much of the scoring load for the Sixers for the entire season. I’m nervous that if one of them is seriously hurt, all this momentum they have built up will be for nothing. We will see.

I don’t usually talk about golf until the major championships are about to happen, but last week at the American Express tournament, something happened that I have to mention. For the first time in 33 years, an amateur won a PGA tour event. Nick Dunlap is a sophomore at the University of Alabama. He decided this week to become a tour professional to take advantage of his notoriety. He won by one shot over Sam Burns at 29 under par. This tournament is played in Palm Springs, Calif., on three courses over four days. They are resort courses, and the weather in Palm Springs is usually perfect, which is the reason why the professionals can make so many birdies in this tournament. This was an impressive feat by Nick. The last person to do this was Phil Mickelson in the 1991 Tucson Open. Tiger Woods was never close to winning a PGA tournament as an amateur in his career.

The 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced this week. Top vote-getter Adrian Beltre played third base for the Texas Rangers and the LA Dodgers for most of his long career. Todd Helton, also nominated, played first base for the Colorado Rockies for most of his career. I think Helton is the first Colorado Rockies player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame who played the majority of his career with that team. He was a very good hitter and always crushed the Phillies. Back in college, he was actually the backup quarterback for Peyton Manning at Tennessee. I was surprised that the third inductee, Joe Mauer, got in on the first ballot as a catcher for the Minnesota Twins because of his injury-shortened career, but he was a great hitter, and for most of his career he was the best player on his team.

Phillies player Chase Utley appeared for the first time on the ballot. He received 28% of the vote and needs 75% to make it. His name will remain on the ballot for 10 years. I think he has a 50/50 chance to make the Hall of Fame eventually. I will be very happy if this happens, because he was my favorite player in Philly history. Jimmy Rollins was also on the ballot. He got 15% this year, and he’s been on the ballot for multiple years. I don’t think he’s going to get the necessary 75% to be elected in the future. If I were a voter, I would vote for both to make it. Just sayin'.

  • A 2002 Cape grad and 2007 UD grad, Lewes resident Sumner Spence is one of the Cape area's biggest sports fans. Although he’s used a wheelchair his entire life, he has lived vicariously through his sports-playing father, brother, and friends, who gave him his love of sports. He hopes to provide new and interesting perspectives on the sports stories and issues of the day. Email Sumner at

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