It's a notion that seems preposterous to cynical Philadelphians - apologies for the redundancy - but the city is actually being recognized as a desirable place to live and work.

The Phillies' newest star, pitcher Roy Halladay, said it as he was introduced at Citizens Bank Park: "This is where I wanted to be."

He was speaking primarily about the team, which has gone to consecutive World Series. But Halladay was also speaking about the ballpark, the fans, and the region. Halladay could have gone anywhere, even to the hated New York Yankees, who probably would have paid more than $20 million per year. But he chose to come to Philadelphia.

For a city accustomed to hearing its athletes long openly for a one-way ticket out of town, Halladay's attitude is no small thing. It's a reflection of the Phillies' organization, and of how winning can change perceptions. A buzz about the team can create a buzz about the city.

Halladay and 76ers star Allen Iverson aren't the only people choosing to come to Philadelphia. The Census Bureau recently gave the city a revised estimate showing that Philadelphia's population actually grew slightly last year, the first increase in nearly 60 years.

The revised number came only after the city challenged an earlier census estimate of population loss, but let's not quibble about the process. After more than a half-century of declining population, we'll take it.

Let the thought sink in - Philadelphia is a desirable destination. Halladay has yet to throw off the mound here, but his delivery is pitch perfect.