Thursday, April 30, 2009

Colonel KLink

Um, what is Colonel Klink doing on Batman? Does anyone know? That could potentially be the weirdest YouTube clip I've ever seen. But I have to say, as a youngster, I watched Hogan's Heroes and the totally awesome Adam West Batman shows all the damn time. Makes me really miss being a child.

Seeing as I developed into an adult with an unhealthy obsession with sports, I don't take much time to watch old reruns of ridiculous shows anymore, which is shame. But I do try to watch as much sports as possible, however, I failed pretty miserably last night. With the Phillies losing and looking pretty pathetic doing so, and the Heat-Hawks game putting me to sleep, I didn't even make it to watch Denver dismantle New Orleans. Thanks to an entirely too late and drunk night on Tuesday, I was out cold by 11 last night. Since I really don't have much to say about anything sports-related, might as well let others do the work for me.

-As long as they aren't driving, old people rule.

Whatever is happening at Penn State, it works. And it was a waste to make Paterno's new contract for three years. It should have said this:

Till death do us part.

-Believe it or not, this guy actually is a Mets fan:

“my life blows, but I should expect this because I am a Met fan.”

-Yeah, that seems racist.

No wonder Jemaine and Bret don't like Australians.

-So that's why Tony DiLeo looks so damn familiar:


-I know one thing, Elton Brand cannot do this:

-The Redskins signed a 400-pounder.

-Freddie Mitchell, undercover brother.

I'd like to thank my fingers for being so great at typing letters.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Superman Suspended

Well, just when you think the Sixers might be dead, the NBA goes and suspends Dwight Howard for game 6 tomorrow night for blatantly elbowing Sammy Dalembert across the head.

More good news for the Sixers: Courtney Lee will miss the game thanks to Dwight Howard's elbow as well. Lee caught a Superman elbow to the nose and is hurting.

So with no Howard or Lewis, the Sixers have a golden opportunity at home to force a deciding game 7 in Orlando. Plus, with Howard out, maybe Marreese Speights will actually get some run, seeing as he was playing so well down the stretch before Tony DiLeo decided he couldn't match up with Dwight Howard and has simply kept him on the bench as a result.

Stay tuned. This series ain't over yet.

BallHype: hype it up!

Links to the Labrum

You know what really bugs me about the NHL? The fact that we never, ever know a player is playing through serious injury, unless it's obvious. I mean, I get it. You don't want to disclose that a player is hurt, therefore offering the opponent the chance to attack said player's injured body part(s).

In case you're wondering, yes, this is in regard to Mike Richards needing surgery to repair a torn right labrum. If I had known that Richards was playing with a torn labrum, perhaps I wouldn't have been so hard on him with my criticisms. Then again, I probably would have because hurt or not, it's your responsibility as a player to play up to your abilities. If you're too hurt to allow yourself to do that, maybe you shouldn't be playing. Not that Richards sucked or anything playing hurt. He just wasn't quite the same Mike Richards.

Either way, I respect his courage for playing through the pain, and as always, it's more proof that hockey players are tough as shit. Now, let's link …

-Speaking of Richards, he addressed his team's, and his own, shortcomings.

-Tony DiLeo and Stan Van Gundy get snippy.

I gotta tell you, Van Gundy cracks me up. Just watch him on the sidelines and try not to be entertained. He flails around like a maniac, and it's fantastic. Without question, Stan and Jeff Van Gundy are my favorite coaches ever in the NBA. They're hilarious, ridiculous-looking and no one would ever guess in a million years they'd be associated with the NBA if they didn't know it. Love the Van Gundys. Love them.

-Seriously, this is just pathetic:

-Speaking of Richards yet again, he's a finalists for the Selke along with Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Kessler:

Why Mike Richards deserves the Selke: If anyone can take this award away from Datsyuk, it might be Richards. The drum beat started earlier this year for his candidacy, and like Datsyuk he has a great balance between offensive and defensive glamour stats. Richards had 30 goals and 80 points; he also had seven shorties and nine shorthanded points to lead the NHL. (Datsyuk, by comparison, had just two.) Richards was a plus-22 with 90 blocked shots, according to the NHL.

-What a jerk:

Crappiest Player of the Week: I could have picked Jimmy Rollins. I could have picked Emilio Bonifacio. I could have picked Anderson Hernandez. But I went with the true shit of the shit. Oliver Perez. 2 starts. 9 innings. 11 Earned Runs. 8 Walks. 15 Hits. 2 HRs. 7Ks and a 0-1 record. Oliver is really earning that coin. Fucking Omar.

Team of the Week: Your Defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies! Ugh. They went 5-2 behind mediocre pitching and explosive offense. Fortunately for them, the Nationals blow because they rescued themselves from a loss last night with Grand Slams from Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez.

For the Mets (3-4 last week), more capitalizing on the Marlin fall from grace and then a weekend from hell in Philly.

For the Masochists, Oliver Perez vs Jamie Moyer in a Bandbox on a late Saturday afternoon. Hanging myself is an option.

-How about some power rankings:

5. Phillies| Previous Week: 14
The World Champs have some good news: they're apparently over their championship hangover. Well, in theory. Also, the Marlins met Earth this past week. Bad news might be on the horizon too, though: Cole Hamels is dealing with another injury. That, clearly, would change things.

-It's always nice to see the Devils collapse.

-Why, exactly, does the NBA even have a rule book?

-Yeah, why aren't any college analysts featured on NFL draft coverage?

It almost makes too much sense to have guys who know just about everything there is to know about college football talk about college football players.

-This one's for silver fox:

-A few clever Caps fans came prepared last night:

No word as to how many water bottles John Tortorella threw into the stands.

-Happy anniversary, Both Teams Played Hard.

-'Duk apologizes to Raul Ibanez.

-A lot of Basketbawful worsts last night.

As far as tonight goes, we got the Phils at 7:05 taking on Washington one last time before the Mets come to town Friday. The Sixers play the Magic, with or without Dwight Howard tomorrow at the Wachovia Center at 7:30.

BallHype: hype it up!

New York is Getting Pretty Good at This Choking Thing

Last night, I made the questionable decision to go the Phillies game and get my Charlie Manuel bobblehead.

Now, the decision wasn't questionable because it was a Phillies game. Of course I love going to Phillies games. But with the Sixers taking on the Magic for game 5 and my rooting interests of seeing the Rangers choke in game 7 consuming some of my thinking, I kind of wanted to just watch the Phils/Sixers/hockey games at my house. But, I decided instead to leave work early, get drunk with silver fox and Toonces before the Phils game and watch in attendance.

I'm glad I did, seeing as the Sixers were handled by the Magic 91-78 while the Fightins hit four home runs in the 7-1 win. The thing that sucks is Cole only lasted 4 and a third because he rolled his ankle on a play I thought he simply slipped on. Turns out, it was a pretty bad turn of the ankle. Just what we need.

Chad Durbin came in and did a bang-up job, and the offense did not disappoint. Chase got things going in the third with a two-run bomb, and in my inebriated state I called Pedro Feliz's home run. True story. Ask Toonces.

The game was a grand old time, as Chase hit another bomb and Raul continued to be totally awesome with a dinger of his own, not to mention Toonces deciding to knock the beer that was resting on my knee right off, thus drenching the poor kid in front of us. Then an inning later, the guy got me again, knocking another beer out of my hand. What a waste of wonderful alcohol.

I didn't really see much of the Sixers except a little of the fourth quarter, but at the end, Orlando pulled away. However, I did come across this:

Damn! Howard rocked Sammy there. Poor guy. Not only do the Sixers take it on the chin, but Sammy literally takes it on the chin. Down 3-2, I don't see the Sixers forcing a game 7. Then again, I didn't see them getting to a game 6 to be quite honest with you.

But now back to the main point: New York's penchant for choking. It's becoming a habit I'm beginning to thoroughly enjoy. After nearly a quarter-century of choke jobs and losing here in Philadelphia, I'm taking great joy in watching another city see its teams collapse before their eyes.

With last night's 2-1 loss in Washington, the Rangers blew a 3-1 series lead, making me very, very happy. (Plus, the Devils got knocked out too!) And when you think back to it, everything began to unravel with New York back in 2004. That's when the choking truly began.

In case you've forgotten, the Yankees won the first three games of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, then proceeded to lose four straight, becoming the first team ever in the history of the universe to blow a 3-0 series lead. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series, and the Yankees haven't even come close to getting back since. And this, year, well, they're not doing so hot either.

Then, there has been the whole debacle that is the New York Knicks. I don't think you can properly say they are chokers, but more accurately, jokers. It was a choke job hiring Isaiah Thomas to run your franchise in the first place, but really, the Knicks have become a laughingstock, although they are working their way out of that.

But that doesn't mean choking has been few and far between for New York. No, not at all. Just take a look at the New York Mets. They blew September division leads the past two seasons, trying to belittle the Phillies with their words in the process, while the Phils caught fire down the stretch both years to leave the Mets in their wake.

Oh, yeah, and then the Phils went out and became World Fucking Champions.

Yeah, the choking trend did take a turn when the Giants won the Super Bowl, but fuck the Giants. How'd that whole Brett Favre thing work out for the Jets? That's what I thought.

Anyway, with the Rangers completing their collapse last night, it's become abundantly clear that New York is becoming pretty good at this choking thing. At least they're good at something.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pitching? We Don't Need No Stinking Pitching

In my earlier post, uncle jellyfish commented that we should not gloss over the absolutely terrible pitching from the Phillies so far this season, so let's take a look at just how horrible the Phillies pitching staff has been so far this season, despite being 10-8 and just a half game out of first place in the NL East.

Currently, the Phillies have the worst ERA in the National League at 5.98, with only the New York Yankees (6.18) and Texas Rangers (5.99) having higher ERAs than the Phils in the entire majors. And that's without Adam Eaton on the roster this year. Go figure.

When you look even further, the numbers get worse. The Phillies, due to inclement weather, have only played 18 games this season, less than the majority of teams in baseball. Despite that, the Phils have given up more home runs than other team in baseball, surrendering an astounding 39 long balls in 18 games. For you math majors out there, that's over two home runs a game. If that number was to hold up, the Phils would end up surrendering 351 home runs. The major league record is 241 surrendered by the 1996 Detroit Tigers; the NL record is 230 allowed by the 2001 Colorado Rockies.

Yeah, so if the Phils keep it up, they'd obliterate the current record by more than 100 home runs. That's awful, and it lets you know just how horrific the pitching has been. On a bright note, a couple weeks ago when I was driving to my cousin's house, Larry Anderson explained on the radio how the Phils were on pace to surrender over 400 home runs, so they're improving, right?

In all seriousness, you'd have to think the pitching will start to straighten out at some point. These guys aren't as terrible as they've shown thus far, but man, they need to get their acts together here soon. The biggest problem has been the number of pitches that Joe Blanton, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho Park have been grooving right down the middle of the plate. I don't care who you are, you can't throw meatballs in the majors and expect the best hitters on the planet to miss them. They don't. And that's been their biggest problem.

Sure, there have been occasional spells where the pitchers can't find the strike zone, but for the most part, the problem has been finding too much of the strike zone. Stay away from the middle of the plate, and watch the home run numbers drop.

The Phils offense is really good. One of the better lineups in baseball. But to ask them to have to put up 6-plus runs every night to win is not exactly a good way to defend the World Series title. Luckily, the offense has been bailing the pitching out so far, but if the Phils truly have visions of a repeat, the pitchers need to get their heads out of their asses and start hitting their spots.

Otherwise, it's going to be a long, hot summer of our pitchers getting whiplash. How's about you start to turn this around for me tonight there, Cole?

BallHype: hype it up!

John Tortorella is a Raving Douche

This happened a few days ago during game 5, which, of course, the Rangers lost, and with game 7 set for tonight in D.C., Dan Steinberg interviewed the Caps fan who was involved in the incident.

By all accounts, John Tortorella is an awful human being. He was a complete asshole in Tampa Bay. If you don't believe me, just ask Vinny Prospal.

When the Rangers hired him, it was a match made in heaven, an asshole coach taking the bench in New York. Perfect. To make matters more entertaining, the Rangers signed the crazy Sean Avery back to the fold, the same Sean Avery Tortorella ripped as an analyst before getting back into coaching. He bashed Avery basically for being an asshole. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Anyway, with Tortorella's outburst during game 5, and subsequent suspension for game 6, Tortorella is showing his true colors. No matter what happened, an NHL coach should have the restraint to control himself from the taunts of fans. He's supposed to be a professional. But instead, he lost his composure, just as his team has done. The Rangers already squandered their 3-1 series lead, and it would only be fitting if Washington bounced New York tonight, overcoming a big deficit and sending Tortorella's ass home.

The guy may be one hell of a coach (he has the Stanley Cup to prove it), but an asshole like him deserves nothing short of embarrassing his organization and his city by losing three straight games after being up 3-1.

BallHype: hype it up!

When I Raul the World

I want to kick myself. I really do. Twice last night, when the Phillies fell behind, I switched over to take a glance at the NHL and NBA playoff games that were on. After the Phils fell behind 6-2, I began to watch the Heat-Hawks game, only to flip back and see Ryan Howard trotting around the bases and the score tied.

Then, when Scott Eyre blew up and put the Phils behind 11-7 in the 8th, I switched on over to catch some of the Blackhawks-Flames game. A little while later, Adam EatShit is yelling at me up the stairs, "You watching this!?!" I wasn't, let him know and he responded, "Ibanez just hit a grand slam!" Yeah, that's right, I missed both of these because I'm an idiot. Thanks a lot NBA and NHL. I blame you.

That was one hell of a 13-11 win. And it was yet another incredible game for Raul Ibanez, who went 3-for-5 with 2 runs, 4 RBIs, a double and that grand slam, not to mention yet another fine defensive play in left field.

Despite what some Mets fans might think, Raul Ibanez has been an incredible success so far this year. He's hitting .342 with 18 runs, 25 hits, 5 doubles, a triple, 6 home runs, 16 RBIs, 3 steals, a .402 OBP, .685 SLG and 1.087 OPS. And his defense, which was much maligned by critics, has been nothing short of stellar throughout the majority of the games, making some ridiculous diving catches, throwing out runners and tracking down balls Pat Burrell could only dream of getting to. Oh, and he also did this:

Basically, while people like RomanWarHelmet loved to point out how, "Raul Ibanez is a downgrade in Left Field," they couldn't be farther from reality. I watched Pat Burrell play his entire career in Philadelphia. I like Pat Burrell. I respect what he did here, but he is absolutely nowhere as good as Raul Ibanez in any facet of the game, with the exception of raw power. Ibanez is a better hitter, better fielder, better baserunner, faster, smarter and all around more complete baseball player. And unlike Pat, he's always up there to swing the bat, which is a good thing when protecting the likes of Ryan Howard.

Will he keep this pace up? Most assuredly no. But He'll put up better, more consistent numbers than Pat Burrell did, and considering he'll be seeing a lot more quality pitches with guys like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley ahead of him than he ever did in Seattle, a career year is not out of the question for Raul. He's certainly off to the right start.

It didn't take long for him to make left field his own.

Update: Thank the one, the only meech:

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Upshall Suspended for Hit

Former Philadelphia Flyers fan favorite and current Phoenix Coyote Scottie Upshall was suspended for a game in the IIHF World Championships for a hit to the head that would actually be considered a clean check in the NHL. Wyshynski breaks it down very eloquently as to why it wasn't necessarily dirty and why the NHL deems hits like this legal.

I wish Jeff Carter would take a cue from his former teammate and lay somebody out just once.

BallHype: hype it up!

Five Penn Staters Drafted, Three Notables Not

In the recent past, Penn Staters haven't exactly lit it up in the NFL, but players like Paul Posluszny have given NFL teams hope, so Penn Staters continue to get picked.

Coming as no shock to anyone, Aaron Maybin was the first Penn Stater off the board, going to Buffalo at No. 11, joining Posluszny on the Bills' defense. Maybin was the lone Penn Stater picked in the first round, and again, that was no shock to anyone. Maybin had a tremendous season last year, and he had to come out when he did. His stock was never going to be higher, and he joins a defense in Buffalo that does have some talent. Hopefully Maybin can continue to harass quarterbacks at the next level.

The next Nittany Lion to go was the man, Derrick Williams, who, ironically, will remain a Lion. Detroit took D-Will in the 3rd round at 82, and as weird as this is going to sound, this a good thing for Derrick Williams.

Think about it: The Lions just got their franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, already have the freak of nature that is Calvin Johnson, drafted Brandon Pettigrew as well, and now Derrick Williams can come in as a threat either out of the backfield or lining up next to or opposite Calvin Johnson. With Pettigrew and Johnson getting a ton of attention, D-Will should get plenty of opportunities in the not-so-distant future to use his play-making ability. And of course, you have to figure he'll be a factor in the return game.

After D-Will, Deon Butler also went in the third round, as Seattle plucked him up at 91 to essentially become the next Bobby Engram. If Deon can do that, he certainly will have a very successful career. Given the fact that he has great hands, the ability to stretch the field and is a pretty decent route-runner, I think Butler will become a very reliable receiver in Seattle.

The final two Penn Staters drafted were both from the offensive line: Rich Ohrnberger went 123 in the fourth round to New England, and A.Q. Shipley landed with the Steelers at 226 in the 7th. Both players had incredible years at Penn State last season, and I'm inclined to believe they'll both be in the league for a while, most likely as backups, but you never know.

Of course, the biggest disappointment for Penn Staters at the draft goes to Maurice Evans.

In 2007, Maurice Evans was without question the best defensive lineman at Penn State, and arguably the best d-lineman in the Big 10. He was incredible. But in the offseason, he got busted with marijuana in his apartment, was suspended to start the season, and never really got back into it. With Aaron Maybin taking off, Evans struggled and had a dismal year by all accounts. When he decided to enter the draft, it really made me wonder if he was still getting high routinely.

I mean, the decision to enter the draft when his stock was at all-time low, you have to be high to do that. He could have come back to school, recaptured his 2007 form and become a first or second round pick. Instead, he went undrafted this weekend. I think he'll probably make a team, but he cost himself millions upon millions of dollars. Maurice Evans is a moron, plain and simple.

Other notables that didn't get drafted are Gerald Cadogan and Jordan Norwood. Cadogan has the size to play at the NFL level, but he is slow and really has trouble with speed guys, so it's not shocking he was passed over. Norwood is a reliable receiver and an excellent route runner, but he is just too small for the NFL. That's not to say he can't latch on somewhere. After all, Greg Lewis is in the NFL. It would be foolish to draft the kid though. Hopefully he can find a team to give him a shot.

Oh, and if you go to's Penn State draft page, you'll notice Lydell Sargeant listed. He wasn't drafted because, well, he isn't very good. He was a serviceable college player, but there isn't a receiver in the NFL he can cover, and 5'9" 190 isn't doing him any favors.

Update: Undrafted Free Agent Signings, Penn Staters as follows:

-Jordan Norwood to the Browns.

-Maurice Evans to the Giants.

-Josh Gaines to the Eagles.

-Dan Lawlor to the Redskins.

-Mark Rubin to the Rams.

-Anthony Scirrotto and Gerald Cadogan to the Panthers.

Of those, I would guess that Norwood and Evans will definitely make some team somewhere. The rest, I'm not too sure about. Rubin and Scirrotto don't deserve to be anywhere near the NFL, Gaines was just an average player in college, and Cadogan may latch on as a backup somewhere, but maybe not.

BallHype: hype it up!

A Split, a Sweep, a Draft, and an Epic, Epic Collapse

Another wild weekend for Philadelphia. Things started out well enough on Friday, as I was in attendance at the Wachovia Center to watch the Sixers defeat the Magic thanks to the game-winner by Thaddeus Young, and the Phillies won thanks to a grand slam by Shane Vicotrino in the ninth that propelled the Phils from a 3-0 deficit in the final inning to a 7-3 victory.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't get to see a single second of the Phillies' comeback, but as I said, I was in the 12th row at the Sixers game, so I was doing all right. Although, I had no idea that would be the case when I headed down to the game with two of my roommates, silver fox and uncle jellyfish, especially on our way there. Honestly, if you headed down to the sports complex area in south Philly Friday, you know there was absolutely no traffic at all. None. We made it down there easily, and the parking lot even looked empty at the Wachovia Center.

I became disheartened and fearful that the building would be nearly empty. Turns out, I was wrong. The place filled up quickly, and the crowd was into from the start. And my section was fantastic. Now, I generally don't like people. Truly, honestly, I'm just not a fan of them, and I typically don't enjoy when strangers try talking to me, unless of course they are attractive females. So when I sat down in my seat and this older gentleman began to chat me up, I was annoyed. Being my standoffish self, I didn't really respond much, but the guy knew basketball and was really into the game, so I quickly began to enjoy his presence. But not as much as the guy in front of me.

This guy was pretty tuned up, and he was all sorts of into the game. He was griping like Sammy Dalembert after a foul call, and every time Dwight Howard touched the ball, he'd scream, "HE TRAVELED! THAT'S A TRAVEL!" Every time. I swear. He was great.

Of course, Thad was the hero at the end, but it was Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller who carried the load, as they have really all season for the Sixers.

The game was tremendous, but it was also infuriating to watch. It was the antithesis of games 1 and 2, where the Sixers fell behind by 18 both games and made a comeback, one that succeeded, the other that came up short. Well, on Friday, it was the Sixers who built a 17-point lead in the 3rd, only to see Orlando, led by Dwight Howard's beastly night (36 and 11), come storming back. Thanks to some horrific free throw shooting by the Sixers (18-26), especially by Louis Williams (2-5) and Andre Iguodala (9-13), it took a last-second bucket from Thad to win the game.

The thing that pissed me off was that it was the scorers who were missing free throws, a guard and a small forward who shot 79 and 72 percent from the foul line this year, respecitvely. Meanwhile, Howard, who was a dismal 59 percent free throw shooter this year, went 12-14. That's inexcusable for Philadelphia's guard/small forward to be that much worse than Dwight Howard. But hey, the Sixers won, we got a celebratory cheesesteak, and the Phils' victory made the night a complete success.

And then there was Saturday. At the crack of 3, the Flyers came out and looked determined to send the series back to Pittsburgh for a deciding game 7. After holding off an aggressive Pittsburgh start, the Flyers scored twice late in the first, first on a goal by Mike Knuble, then on a beautiful shot by Joffrey Lupul on a great pass from Claude Giroux.

The Flyers continued to roll, scoring a beautiful power play setup as Simon Gagne hit Danny Briere in stride, and Briere buried it to make it 3-0. I was thoroughly enjoying myself as Arkansas Fred, The Charles and myself ate a ton of candy, pizza and hoagie at our friend's house, watching the Flyers on the high def and the draft on the smaller TV.

And to make things even better, Daniel Carcillo took down Max Talbot seconds after Briere's goal, and the place was roaring:

Now, as you can hear, Eddie Olczyk thought Carcillo took the bait and made a huge mistake by fighting Talbot immediately after going up 3-0 in an elimination game, giving Pittsburgh a little jolt, even if he did win the fight. At the time, I thought Enzo was out of his mind, especially with the way Carcillo handled Talbot and the fans roaring.

Turns out, Olczyk was absolutely right. Fourteen seconds after Carcillo and Talbot went to the box, former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko scored, and the Penguins got the shot of life they were looking for. I guess that's why Enzo gets paid the big bucks and I just watch. Mark Eaton and Sidney Crosby each scored to tie the game, then Sergei Gonchar put Pittsburgh ahead in the third, and Crosby's empty-netter ended the Flyers' season. It sucked.

Coughing up a 3-0 lead at home in an elimination game, and doing it by surrendering five straight goals, is simply and utterly inexcusable. Heads should roll. A team that had six 25-goal scorers, a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, a team that had all the talent in the world, lost in the first round, two of the losses coming by coughing up leads. Clearly, the players aren't going anywhere, with the exception of perhaps the goaltender, and I have to say, Marty Biron didn't play all that bad in the series, but he was awful Saturday.

There's no excuse for him not to have covered the puck on Fedetenko's goal, and even though it was deflected, he should have caught the puck that he got his glove on before Crosby's first goal. And the goal by Gonchar, while definitely an impressive shot, should have been stopped. You can't give up goals from that far out when your team is grasping for its life. It was pretty pathetic that both Ryan Parent and Kimmo Timonen backed off Gonchar, but Biron had an unobstructed view of Gonchar and the puck. He simply couldn't stop it. We may have seen the last of Marty Biron as a Flyer. Then again, maybe not, seeing as there are no goaltenders out there at all.

Anyway, one guy who should be gone is John Stevens. To allow his team to play terrible down the stretch, lose home ice advantage, watch the once potent power play fall apart, come out flat in game 1 of the playoffs, choke away two leads, continually fail to play good defense, see no improvement from the beginning of the year to end in the faceoff circle and just basically underachieve, the guy should be fired. A first-round exit isn't good enough. At all. Get a coach in there that will use Claude Giroux on the man advantage, a guy who can motivate Jeff Carter in the playoffs, and a guy who can, you know, actually coach up his players to teach them defense and winning faceoffs.

It was a terrible thing to witness, and there are things that have to change. The Flyers' centers should work all damn offseason on winning faceoffs, because they were dreadful at them this year and it cost them big time in the playoffs. Pittsburgh manhandled the Flyers in faceoffs and controlled the puck much more as a result. Also, the Flyers should target a lethal faceoff guy, a guy that can be trotted out there to win every important faceoff the way Keith Primeau did for the Flyers.

And some guys should really look at themselves in the mirror. Jeff Carter had a fabulous season, but he was terrible in this series. He came up small, missed some golden opportunities, and really, just got taken off his game by getting roughed around a little. He needs to find a way to use his big frame a little more aggressively. Scott Hartnell needs to harness his agitator status and take a lot less penalties next season. Players like Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle need to communicate better on defense, and as a whole, the Flyers have to become better with the puck, stop turning it over and get crisper on their passes. The first course of action is to fire John Stevens. I hope it's the step the Flyers take.

Luckily, the Phillies came from behind again and won, and Chan Ho Park did this:

In all honesty, I was consumed more by the draft, and I was completely underwhelmed with the Birds trading up two spots to get Jeremy Maclin. My line of thinking was they needed a running back more, and if you were going to get a receiver, why not just trade the pick for Boldin? But as the Eagles' draft unfolded, I have to say, I like it, especially the more I think about it.

Maclin is a stud, and he'll definitely make the Eagles better. And I loved the pick for LeSean McCoy. Seeing as the Broncos took the guy I wanted more than anyone else real early, McCoy was the next back I wanted. Donald Brown wasn't doing it for me, but McCoy, I've seen him play and he's exactly what the Eagles look for in a back. Add in the Cornelius Ingram pick, and I'm pretty pumped now. Ingram is a huge target that could solve the Eagles' red zone problem, assuming he is healthy. And with the trade for Ellis Hobbs, it leads me to believe the Eagles still may not be done.

In all honesty, I'd be shocked if they didn't trade Sheldon Brown now. May I suggest shipping off a future pick, Kevin Curtis and Brown, perhaps, for Boldin? Or how about making a play for Julius Peppers? Braylon Edwards? Probably not, but I would think the Eagles are going to try and move Brown somewhere. Either that, or make his trade value completely deteriorate by making him ride the pine like they did with Lito. That would suck.

Either way, I'm cool with the Eagles' offseason, except for, you know, completely being dicks to Dawkins. But getting Peters, Andrews, Sean Jones, Weaver, Hobbs and the draft, it looks like a hell of an offseason. Which may or may not be done.

Eventful Saturday either way, and it culminated with getting very, very drunk.

Yesterday was very nice in the afternoon. For the first time all year, a Phillies starter didn't give up a home run, as Jamie Moyer continued his dominance against the Marlins.

The Phils exploded for 13 runs, and the game was never in question. Hell, they were in such command that the Marlins brought in Cody Ross to pitch the ninth. That was fun. The sweep brought the Phils to 9-8 and a game and half within Florida for the division lead. And with Park's home run and Moyer's 1-for-1 with a walk and HBP, the Phillies pitchers are hitting better than Jimmy Rollins. Someone wake Jimmy up please.

The Phils provided some relaxing relief early, but there'd be none of that late. The Sixers decided to go back to that strategy of falling behind and coming back, which they did thanks to Andre Miller just taking over in the 4th, but, as has happened so many times this year, the Sixers lost on a heartbreaking shot at the end of the game, this time by the Turkish assassin.

I have to be honest with you, I have no idea how the Sixers are staying with Orlando. I thought this was going to be a 4-1 Orlando win, but the Magic had to use everything they had to even the series 2-2. I still don't think the Sixers will win, but they are doing a hell of job staying in every game. Iguodala didn't have a very good shooting game last night, but he's becoming a legit threat, and if Orlando can't straighten out its three-point shooting, the Sixers can stay in this series.

I never thought I'd say this this season, but the Sixers have a chance now to win more playoff games in 2009 than the Flyers. Who would have guessed that two months ago?

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Get Boldin Now

Um, if these reports are true, the Eagles better fucking get Anquan Boldin in midnight green. Like now. Right now.

A second-round pick? Really? That's it? I'd give Arizona my second-round pick right now. Hell, I'd throw in a third and Reggie Brown. One thing's for damn sure, the Eagles better not let the Giants beat them to the punch. And losing out to the Jets would be pretty inexcusable.

There he is Joe Banner, Andy Reid and Jeffrey Lurie. That No. 1 receiver, for the low, low price of a second-round pick, is right there for the taking. Anquan Boldin certainly sounds better than drafting some of the Eagles' notable second-rounders of late (last year excluded, because DeSean and Laws have proven to be worthy picks) such as Kevin Kolb, Winston Justice, Reggie Brown and Matt McCoy.

For the love of God, make this happen, draft Moreno and get my hopes up for another run to the Super Bowl before crushing my hopes with a devastating loss. Please!

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What a Wonderful Weekend

Man oh man, you couldn't ask for a better weekend. Not only is it supposed to be ridiculously nice out in Philadelphia (70 degrees today, and in the upper 80s/maybe even 90 tomorrow and Sunday), but there is a pile of awesome sporting events going on.

The Sixers take on the Magic tonight at 8 for game 3 and again on Sunday at 6:30 for game 4; the Phillies embark on a three-game trip down south to try and make up ground against the first-place Marlins starting at 7:10 tonight, then 7:10 tomorrow and 12:10 on Sunday; the Flyers take on Pittsburgh in game 6 tomorrow at 3, trying to stave off elimination yet again and force a deciding game 7 Monday; the NFL draft begins at 4 tomorrow, with the Eagles expected to be one of the more busy teams on draft day; and Penn State plays its annual Blue-White game in Happy Valley, although Jerome Hayes and Sean Lee won't play.

Perfect weather, an orgy of sports … it doesn't get much better than that. So make time to go outside and enjoy the weather … AND get your butt in front of a television to watch all the awesomeness in the sports world.

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It's Friday, Time to Dance

Last night, the Flyers put forth a very strong 3-0 victory to stay alive, now trailing Pittsburgh 3-2 and headed to Philadelphia for game 6 at 3 p.m. tomorrow. In honor of the Flyers surviving to live another day, I present you with some delicious Cake:

Wouldn't it be a nice treat if the Sixers won tonight too?

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Sidney Sandwich

Last night, Sidney Crosby found out what it's like to be the cream when they construct an oreo:

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Sidney Crosby Has a Vagina

I would just like to say for the record that Sidney Crosby has a vagina. I am not sure if there is a person on this planet that infuriates me more than him. Also, I believe that if I ever saw him on the street and we come to blows, I would kill him. My anger towards him would lead me to just annihilate him. A person can only take so much of his whining and overacting before it leads to vomiting.

"The kid" must get his nickname from the fact that he cries like a 2 year old anytime something doesn't go his way. Crosby leads the league in sticks to opposing teams stomachs and then skating behind one of his defensmen for protection. This was evident last night when he crosschecked Richards in the back in the last minute of play and then proceeded to stay 10 feet away from Richards. Crosby is a vagina.

Also, I could not help but remember Kimmo's comments about the refs treating the Penguins differently then the Flyers after game 1. Kimmo brought up how the refs would seem to converse with the Penguins while they would yell at the Flyers when they discussed penalties. At the end of the 2nd period when Jim Jackson was yelling about Mike Richards being brought down behind the play, Richards went over to ask the ref about the play. You can read the refs lips yelling, "Thats enough, get to the locker room," without even discussing the play.

Speaking of vaginas, I would just like to point out that in MY OPINION, Robbie Gould should probably kill himself. That kick was 18 yards [Ed note: The kick was 25 yards: Gould, Robbie 3rd 07:54 25 yds - Missed; The line of scrimmage was the fucking 8 you fucking moron, so don't question me.] that he missed at Penn St. against Iowa.

The kid was horrible then and has he even kicked a field goal over 50 yards yet? I'm not sure, but he is in the top five of NFL players that I am 100 percent positive that I would be able to beat up. I wish him the worst in life.

BallHype: hype it up!

Stayin Alive

In game 4, it was Marc-Andre Fleury standing on his head and stealing the game for Pittsburgh. Last night, it would be a stretch to say Marty Biron stole the game for the Flyers in their 3-0 victory to stay alive, bringing the series back to Philadelphia tomorrow for game 6, but he most definitely stole the first period.

Except for the first five minutes, when the Flyers actually came out and played well, the Penguins completely owned Philadelphia in the first period, outshooting the Flyers 15-5 and spending almost the entire period in Philadelphia's end. The score could have easily been 3-0 Pittsburgh after one, but Marty simply wouldn't let that happen. He was on top of his game from the start, getting square to the shooter, absorbing pucks and thwarting all 28 shots the Penguins threw at him. Without Marty, the Flyers would be trading their blades and sticks for golf shoes and clubs right now.

I have to say, after sustaining that first period barrage, the Flyers clamped down and played some damn fine hockey. But, as per usual with the Flyers, there was something that truly bugged me, and, per usual, it was at the doing of John Stevens.

The past few days, all we've heard from Stevens and the majority of the Flyers is how well they've played in games 2-4 despite dropping two of those three games, how the effort was certainly there and if they keep playing that way, they'll be rewarded, how they really have been getting the better of the play. By that logic, it sounds like the line combinations have been doing a pretty good job, doing everything but finishing it off for goals.

So what does Stevens do? He starts the first period by completely shuffling his lines. The Flyers looked awful in the opening period, and finally, a little more than halfway through, he put his regular lines back together. Shockingly, the Flyers then began to play better. I mean, I can understand Stevens mixing things up a little to try and get some more goals, but throwing the entire lineup out of whack seems illogical. Again, as I said after game 1, why not reunite the lines that played so well together in the final regular season contest against the Penguins if you truly feel like you need to change things up? Sometimes, I really don't understand what John Stevens is doing out there, and I'm not the only one.

As I've been saying all along, Claude Giroux deserves more ice time and absolutely should be getting shifts on the power play. He's been the Flyers' most consistently dangerous forward in the series, and he could potentially help the struggling Flyers power play. Well, during the first intermission, Al Morganti echoed my sentiments, saying he would like to see Giroux get closer to 20 minutes of ice time and, you know, be a part of the power play. Then he proceeded to mention how Giroux only played 4 minutes in the first period, and subsequently, the Flyers generated very little offense. This is why I like Al Morganti. He and I are on the same page.

All right, now that that's out of the way, things turned on a dime thanks to the fourth line. Daniel Carcillo, who has really done nothing but get better with each game as a Flyer, jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone, rushed up ice and dropped the puck for Arron Asham, who followed him into the zone. Then Asham unleashed a shot that Alexander Ovechkin would be jealous of, absolutely blasting an unstoppable, perfect slapper in the far top corner.

Now, I've watched Asham enough not only this year but during his career in the Atlantic Division to know he can let fly a heavy shot, but I had no idea he could produce such an unreal blast that could not be placed any better. It was just an unbelievable shot that no goaltender alive could have stopped.

Turns out, that's all the Flyers would need, but for good measure, Claude Giroux played outstanding again and gave the Flyers a cushion by burying the puck in the vacated net on a very nice touch pass that may or may not have been intentional by Darroll Powe. Jeff Carter should take notes from Giroux on how to bury the puck in an empty net.

Then Mike Knuble, who absolutely had his best game of the playoffs, slammed home the exclamation point off a rebound from a Mike Richards' blast. It was an excellent game, and the Flyers played tremendous defense in the final two periods, surrendering a total of 13 shots in the final 40 minutes, two less than they allowed in the opening period. Now the Flyers come back home with a chance to even the series, and if John Stevens has any brains between those ears, he'll make sure Giroux gets as much ice time as is humanly possible.

Oh, and Evgeni, this is hockey, not soccer. Not sure if you're aware of that. Kudos to the referees for getting that call right and taking away that goal.

P.S.—Rumor has it I may be attending the Sixers game tonight.

Update: I'd like to marry this girl:

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Links, in Honor of Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacque Wamutombo

This year, the Rockets became one of my favorite teams in the NBA because they signed Brent Barry, got Ron Artest and, of course, had Dikembe Mutombo.

When the Sixers first traded Theo Ratliff for Dikembe Mutombo in 2001, I was devastated, angry and upset. Not because I had any problems with Dikembe, in fact, quite the contrary, after all, his pure joy when his 8th-seeded Nuggets toppled Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and the top-seeded Sonics was just an awesome sight, but I was/am a HUGE Theo Ratliff fan. But it turns out, the trade was brilliant, as Mutombo helped lead the Sixers to the NBA Finals with his incredible defense and tremendous rebounding, and the big guy really grew on me. He really, truly did.

Dikembe Mutombo is the best defensive center I've ever seen play, and by all accounts, he is the nicest, funniest guy in the NBA. And he truly has his priorities straight, helping out his impoverished homeland and doing good deeds all over the place. Sure, I remember in 2002 when every time he touched the ball in the Sixers-Celtics first-round playoff series the entire Wachovia Center let out a collective, "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" because of his clunky hands and awkward offense, but I also remember a warrior and a great teammate. I'm going to miss Dikembe and all his hilarious antics, Cookie Monster voice and incredible defense. All the best to you, Dikembe. Now on to the links …

-Go to TrueHoop and read everything, especially the awesome coverage of Dikembe's retirement here.

-Praise Jeebus, Navorro Bowman only got a slap on the wrist.

Yeah, Rubin, that rose is nice and all, but you got any weed?

Now please, Navorro, no more smokey smokey, OK? Wait till you get to the NFL for that.

-Chauncey Billups and the Nuggets are doing work, son:

Back in the day, somewhere around 7th, 8th, 9th grade, my friends and I used to have these ongoing jokes about Vinny Testaverde, Yancey Thigpen and yes, Chauncey Billups where we'd make these weird hand motions when referencing them for no apparent reason. I'm not sure why we did it, why it involved those three guys or exactly how it started, but we were pretty committed to it. Clearly, my friends and I were weird kids.

-Jeremy Tyler, considered the best high school big man in the country, is leaving HIGH SCHOOL early to play professionally overseas.

Some of the details:

Tyler told the Times that he's making the move because he's too focused on getting better at basketball to spend time hitting the books, adding that "people look to college for more off-the-court stuff versus being in the gym and getting better."

The 17-year-old Tyler left San Diego High School before finishing his junior year, but he says he'll try to get his diploma by taking classes online. He also says he's ready to spend two years in Spain before returning in June of 2011 for the NBA draft.

Tyler told the Times of his European excursion, "It will help me get better and grow up."

First Brandon Jennings, now Tyler. This, my friends, is awesome. I certainly don't want a lot of players to go overseas, preventing me from watching the future players of the NBA before they get there, but leaving high school, and the books, behind to get paid, that's freakin great. I wish I could have done something like that. School is for fools kids. I would know, I graduated from college in just four short years and now get paid dick to work for the man. When I grow up, I want to be just like Jeremy Tyler.

-A first-round exit is not good enough, and neither is the status quo:

Fans focus on results and look for reasons for those results. The easy targets when a hockey team disappoints are the goaltender and the head coach.

Marty Biron has played well in this series. He has not won a game by himself, as Fleury did Tuesday or as Biron did a couple of times in last year's playoffs. But it would be a stretch to blame Biron, a soon-to-be free agent, for what has happened in this series.

Stevens is a tougher call. The Flyers were stunningly flat in Game 1. That is the players' fault, but responsibility for a performance like that tends to fall on the coach. And then there is the simple truth that coaches are not exactly permanent fixtures in the NHL.

Look at the Penguins. They won their series against the Flyers last year, advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, and then replaced their head coach in the middle of this season. It is an unforgiving business, but there's little reason to believe changing coaches would accomplish anything.

The Flyers are a good team, but the results say they are not as good as Pittsburgh. That was true last spring, and it appears to be just as true this spring.

-Domo rightly questions Maurice Evans' decision to enter the draft.

Sometime late Saturday afternoon or early evening, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will walk to the podium at Radio City Music Hall and announce that a Penn State defensive end has been selected in the first round of the draft.

Eight months ago, most people figured that defensive end would be Maurice Evans. He was coming off an outstanding sophomore season in which he registered 12 1/2 sacks and 21 1/2 tackles for losses and forced five fumbles. He was All-Big Ten. The world was his oyster.

Then, last September, everything went to hell. Police were called to a noisy party at a State College apartment shared by Evans and teammate Abe Koroma. The cops found marijuana in the bedrooms of both players.

It's perfectly understandable why Maybin decided to pass on his final year of eligibility and declare for the draft. Evans' decision to do the same, though, is a little bit more mystifying.

His position coach - Lions defensive-line coach Larry Johnson - basically told Evans that he should stay in school for 1 more year. He advised him to return to Happy Valley, put up the kind of numbers he put up as a sophomore, and improve his draft stock.

Basically, if Evans' marijuana incident wasn't proof enough of how stupid he is, his decision to go pro certainly drove that point home. The guy is an idiot, and it pains me to write that because Mo Evans is one of my favorite players from Penn State. He was an absolute beast in 2007, and if he came back this year, he'd be the best player on the defensive line and with a bounceback season like 2007, he would have vaulted to the upper half of the draft. Now he's going to be a late-round pick with no guarantees. What a moron.

-The Yankees, despite a bevy of empty seats down low, are already planning to raise ticket prices next year. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

-MJD takes Sports Illustrated to task for it's "apology" to B.J. Raji.

-I hate Ohio State, but this old hit is too awesome not to post:

-Stephen Curry is going pro.

-Shanoff's take on Jeremy Tyler. Very well said.

-Scottie Reynolds is declaring for the draft, but he won't hire an agent.

That's a good idea, because, uh, Scottie is not ready for the NBA at all. He should come back to Villanova, work on his consistency and try to turn himself into a first-round draft pick, because he sure as shit isn't a first-rounder this year.

-Breaking down Pedro Feliz's hot start at the dish.

-Honestly, no need to cover those up:

For the record, if you haven't been watching the NHL playoffs beyond just the Flyers-Penguins series, you're missing out. Typically this time of year I spend much more time watching the NBA playoffs, but this year, I've been watching more hockey than ever, and it's awesome. Last night's Chicago-Calgary game was incredible, and the end of the Rangers-Caps game was epic. Watching Alex Ovechkin is one of the most incredible things in the world, even when his team loses. His goal last night was sick:

He shoots the puck so hard that it's nearly impossible to even see. And the most impressive thing is how deadly accurate he is. The guy barely ever misses the net. Makes me even more disgusted with how many times the Flyers do miss the cage. But Ovechkin, even in all his dominate glory in the third period, couldn't best Henrik Lundqvist, who was incredible.

Anyway, the Flyers will try to stave off elimination in Pittsburgh tonight. This has the potential to be the worse thing ever. The Pens are up 3-1, the Rangers are up 3-1, the Devils are tied 2-2, and Boston already swept. If the Devils win, and with the Rangers and Pens all but wrapping things up, the remaining teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs would go like this: Pittsburgh, New York, Boston and New Jersey. There is nothing that could possibly be worse than that. I mean, I'd be forced to root for a team from Boston to represent the East, and God knows I don't want to do that. It would be a lot easier if the Flyers decided to just do the impossible and win three straight already.

BallHype: hype it up!