COULD THE SIZZLING 2008 Phillies finally end the 25-year professional-championship drought that so many woe-are-we Philadelphia sports fans cry about?

It looks promising.

One sure sign that the Phils are hot: There is little talk about the Eagles -and frankly no Eagles talk is meaningful at least until training camp opens.

Last year's National League East pennant win wasn't an aberration. But the Phils are winning a little different now. Other players, not just the big guns, have stepped to the plate. Players like Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs.

Chase Utley is playing out of his mind. Ryan Howard's not blasting home runs like we're used to seeing, but he's slowly raising his batting average with run-scoring hits. The starting pitching and the bullpen, question marks at the beginning of the season, have become among the best in the National League.

The Phils have 39 wins, 26 losses, and lead their division. The team is fun to watch. They're never out of a game, and you never know who'll be the next game-winning hero.

Unlike this hot and steamy weather, we hope the Phils never cool off. *