Philadelphia fans got an unexpected Christmas - er, holiday? - surprise yesterday. Superstar pitcher Cliff Lee is coming back. And before you can say, "Hard to believe, Harry," baseball analysts have the Phillies favored to win the World Series.

Lee is choosing the Phillies over an offer from the Yankees that was reportedly $30 million higher - a cogent comment, perhaps, on the worthiness of our respective cities as well as our competing sports gods. (Boorish behavior - by Yankees' fans, who heaped abuse on Lee's wife during the League Championship season - may also have been a factor.

Cliff Lee won our hearts in just four months of the 2009 season only to be traded away. Could it be that he loves us back?

Duck boat hearing

There has been lots of recent quacking about duck boats on the Schuylkill River, so tonight's 7 p.m. community forum of the Schuylkill River Park Alliance should be of great interest. City representatives and potential operators have been invited to join in the public conversation in the Auditorium of the Free Library of Philadelphia on Logan Square, 1901 Vine Street. *