Friday, July 31, 2009

A Man With Two First Names

Tonight marks the first time in his professional career that Cliff Lee will pitch for a team not named the Cleveland Indians. That's good news for him, as he goes from one of the most putrid teams in baseball to the World Fucking Champions. Good deal for him and us.

Of course, we all know the the reasons why Cliff Lee is awesome, but here's another one for you: The man has two first names. So in honor of this fact, here's a list right off the top of my head of famously awesome Cliffs and Lees, just to prove how awesome his name really is.

Cliff Huxtable

How could I not start with Dr. Huxtable? Portrayed by Philadelphia's own Bill Cosby, Cliff Huxtable, the star of the Cosby Show, was the coolest Dr./father on the planet. Sure, his son was dyslexic and his daughter a whore who ran off with a sailor, but there wasn't a smoother, funnier father figure on TV. The Cosby Show was fantastic, and I still watch reruns of it from time to time.

Bruce Lee

Kung-Fu is awesome, no matter how cheesy the movies may be, and Bruce Lee is the original Kung-Fu gangsta. Just watch one of his movies and try not to enjoy it. That man kicked some serious ass. And he even fought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Cliff Clavin

Cheers is easily one of the best shows of all time, and a big reason is everybody's favorite mailman. Cliff Clavin played one of the funniest supporting roles ever and was easily my favorite character on the show. While Norm got all the love, Cliff made me almost piss my pants on many occasions. The highlight, without question, was his appearance on Jeopardy.

Stan Lee

The godfather of comic books, Stan Lee is responsible for many of the greats: Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk just to name a few. If you're a fan of comic books or comic book movies, you can thank Stan Lee. He also made a cameo in Mallrats, one of my favorite movies.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

I love dogs, and there's not many more famous ones than Clifford the Big Red Dog (OK, there is, like Snoopy and Lassie and Rin Tin Tin and Hooch and Beethoven but cut me a break). I'm pretty sure every kid in my generation grew up reading Clifford the Big Red Dog, either voluntarily or having it read in class by teachers or librarians. And frankly, that shit was entertaining. Speaking of shit, how big a load do you think Clifford took when he had to go number 2? And did his owners clean it up? How? With a forklift? A bulldozer? These are the type of things I think about. I may have some mental problems.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Perhaps the most famous Lee to ever live, the man charged with killing JFK. While conspiracies abound, Lee Harvey Oswald is the only known shooter in the only Catholic president's assassination, but no one believes this to be true. Either way, the guy shoots people. Moral of the story: Don't mess with a guy named Lee (unless he's handcuffed by police — I hear that's a good time to shoot a guy named Lee).

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It's Friday, Time to Dance

This was passed along by my dad. No words are needed.

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Weary West Coast Watching

Man, these games out west are killing me. I'm an old man. I need my rest. And last night, it all finally caught up to me. After watching every inning of all three games against the Diamondbacks, I simply couldn't 'make it last night, which was probably for the better. Once the bottom of the fourth inning rolled around, I was out cold.

Now, the Phillies did lose their second straight game last night, and for the second straight night, they couldn't get runners home in situations where you simply have to get runners home. Take, for instance, the third inning, when Jimmy Rollins led off with a double and stole third, placing him on third with no one out only to see Chase Utley strike out, Jayson Werth pop out and Ryan Howard end the inning without plating Rollins by grounding out. It was reminiscent of Wednesday night's 7th inning, where the Phils had runners on second and third with no one out after Ryan Howard led off with single and Raul Ibanez followed with a double. Then they failed to bring them home.

Normally, that would be cause for a rant or two, but honestly, it's just a little hard to jump off the cliff (no pun intended) at the moment or fly off the handle. After all, the Phils have been white hot, they just got the reigning AL Cy Young award winner who will make his Phillies debut tonight, and it was the first time they've lost two games in a row since the first two days of the month. Right now, it's a good time to be a Phillies fan.

While I'm weary from these road games against the NL West, you can bet your ass I'm going to watch every damn pitch tonight. It's all set up pretty perfectly for Cliff Lee to ease into his role with his new team. The Phils are on the road, so there isn't nearly as much pressure to perform from the fans. He's playing in a pitcher's ballpark against a lineup that, even with the additions of Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez, doesn't strike a lot of fear. And the Phils will undoubtedly have a boost from seeing Lee on the mound in their colors for the first time.

Frankly, I'm excited. And if Lee pitches well, and gets down a sacrifice bunt, you know it'll be a great weekend.

As you all know, the addition of Lee has been wildly praised. And our boy Antone says this deal makes the Phillies the favorites in the National League, with an insightful breakdown of the Dodgers and Phillies, along with the Cubs and Cardinals.

Show us what you got, Cliff.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Who Says A.I. Never Passes?

There's something supremely divine watching an incredible assist in basketball. Here are the top 10 dimes of 2009, with more than one appearance by Allen Iverson:

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I Love Horses

It's like you're a cowboy who can't ride a horse, but when you ride a horse the first time, you break it.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Travis Cliff Lee the Phillie

Well ladies and gentleman, the Phillies now have four starting lefthanders, as evidently, the Phils have traded for Cliff Lee, last year's American League Cy Young winner.

The Phils are shipping Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and Lou Marson to Cleveland for Lee and Ben Francisco, a 27-year-old righthanded outfielder who is hitting .250 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and 13 steals.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee. I hope your career is much, much better than Travis Lee's here in Philadelphia.

How nuts would it be if they got Halladay too? Seriously.

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So Crazy It Just Might Work

With reports swirling that the Phillies are about to acquire Cliff Lee, I had a thought so crazy (and incredibly improbable) that it would be the most awesome thing ever … what if the Phillies did the unthinkable and traded for both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay?

First of all, everyone's head would explode. Second of all, the farm system would be bare thin. But think how awesome it would be to have Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Blanton as your top four starters. Unreal.

Conceivably, if reports are true for the asking prices, the Phillies could do it if they really wanted to. Trade Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp for Cliff Lee and then swap Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ and Dominic Brown to Toronto for Roy Halladay. That would be the greatest thing in the history of things.

I'd be thrilled with getting Lee, but only if Toronto doesn't trade Halladay. All indications are the Phils could get him if they're willing to meet the steep price. Halladay > Lee. But Lee is all sorts of good.

Anyway, if the Phils do hold on to Drabek and it turns out the Phils' reluctance to deal him was the only reason they couldn't get Halladay, well, I hope for Drabek's sake he's a perennial Cy Young candidate. Because if he's not, he'll get buried, always remembered as the guy the Phils wouldn't give up to get the Hall-of-Fame-bound Halladay. That's a lot of pressure to put on a kid.

Unless of course the Phils repeat as World Fucking Champions. Then everyone is off the hook, no matter what happens.

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I Thought Yesterday Was Wednesday Links

Wanna know just how stupid I am? All day yesterday, I thought it was Wednesday. I'm not making this up. I was wondering where the KSK This Week In F—k You was and everything.

Turns out, it was Tuesday. Apparently, today is Wednesday. That sucks. And I'm an idiot. Here's some Wednesday links …

-I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez. Sometimes, I enjoy reading him. Other times, I think his columns are complete garbage. One thing I do know, his column today is one of the most insightful and well-written columns I've ever read. Do yourself a favor and read it. He makes the best points you will read about Saturday's tragic murder outside McFadden's.

-Naturally, the Philadelphia newspapers are all over Jim Johnson's passing.

Check out the coverage here, here, here and here, among other places on

-This guy should tutor L.J. Smith. Think about it.

-You know Jim Johnson was the man when Big Daddy Drew says kinds words about him:

(Oh, and Jim Johnson died today. Jim Johnson was awesome. Take a cue Favre about learning how to exit the stage gracefully.)

-More on Jim Johnson:

Up until now coordinators have been shut out of the Hall of Fame, but if they ever break down that wall, Johnson is one of the first who should be considered.

-Carlos Carrasco, who was supposed to start today, Lou Marson and Jason Donald have been scratched from the lineup. Yeah, sounds like a trade to me.

-Joe Paterno: much classier than Bobby Bowden:

Bowden is clearly obsessed with the number, but not the other parts of what will add up to his legacy as a football coach. Paterno, in contrast, could care less, and said the same thing when he sat behind Bowden in the count just a few years ago. His name is on the library at Penn State. His team has been the case study for the "Grand Experiment," Paterno's attempt to fuse academics and athletics that has Penn State's football players consistently ranked at the top of the Big Ten in graduation rates. (Northwestern's usually first, but they're also Northwestern.) His contributions to the university extend far beyond the football field …

Even if the NCAA decides to recognize the wins, what Joe Paterno has in the win column on and off the field puts him ahead of Bowden in ways a win column can't ever quantify, and that is a score Paterno likely cares about more than any simple count of wins and losses.

-He's not blowing saves, but yeah, Brad Lidge still sucks.

Made me nervous there last night.

-Kevin Garnett. In high school. Just because.

Enjoy that. Trade talks are brewing.

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Sadly, an End of an Era

Yesterday, I got home from work and performed my customary routine: changed out of my work clothes and tuned in to Daily News Live. A short while later, after discussing the impressive display rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram showcased at that day's morning practice with Ray Didinger, the show went to commercial. When it came back, there was Neil Hartman conveying the sad news: Jim Johnson, the Eagles defensive coordinator for the entire 2000s, had lost his battle with skin cancer and passed away.

Of course, I was saddened, but I seemed to take it in stride at first. We all knew Johnson was not doing well, and I think we all knew deep down he'd never be with the Eagles again. But then, as Les Bowen and Paul Domowitch and Ike Reese and Sal Paolantonio relayed the tales of how Jim Johnson affected their lives, it began to hit me. Jim Johnson, easily the best coordinator the Eagles have had in my lifetime, was gone. The architect of that aggressive, blitz-happy defense gone.

I never met Jim Johnson. I don't really know a damn thing about him other than he was a damn fine coach. But I do know a hell of a lot about the defenses he constructed, and man, they have been devastating. Quarterbacks cringed when they had to face the Eagles, because no matter what, they knew they were going to get hit. Conventional wisdom be damned, Jim Johnson was bringing the blitz and attacking your weakness no matter what. And he did, and did it better than anyone.

It's hard to put things in perspective as to just what Jim Johnson has meant to the Andy Reid-era Eagles. Emphasis always seemed to fall at the feet of Andy's playcalling, never Jim's. But in this city, it was a fascinating dynamic that the fans had with the defensive coordinator. While Andy received the brunt of criticism for the team routinely coming up just short, Johnson has been praised and cherished by this hard-nosed fanbase. Perhaps it's because, no matter what, the Eagles were going to reflect the city on the defensive side of the ball — hard-nosed, aggressive, never backing down, consequences be damned.

Johnson coached some damn fine players: Hugh Douglas, Troy Vincent, Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, Sheldon Brown, just to name a few. All of them credit him for their success. All of them.

No one knows what effect his loss will mean to the team. Sean McDermott is a Johnson disciple, a protege groomed to take the helm. If the success of Jim Harbaugh, Steve Spagnuolo and company are any indications, the Eagles should be just fine. Jim Johnson has proven himself an excellent teacher, to both players and coaches. But it's safe to say things will never quite be the same. How can they be? The team, the city just lost an icon.

R.I.P. Jim Johnson. You will be missed. Go join Harry up in heaven.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

John LeClair, Welcome to the (U.S.) Hockey Hall of Fame

Every Flyers fan's favorite goalie-screening, goal-scoring machine John LeClair has been elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame along with Tom Barrasso and Tony Amonte, another former Flyer, via Puck Daddy:

LeClair, of St. Albans, Vt., became the first American-born NHL player to post three consecutive 50-goal seasons -- all with the Philadelphia Flyers. He played for the Flyers for 10 seasons, totaling 333 goals, and finished his 17-season NHL career with 406 goals in 967 games. He represented the United States in the 1998 Olympics, '96 World Cup and the '88 and '89 World Junior Championships.

LeClair finished second in scoring among all players in the '96 World Cup, helping the Americans to a memorable performance with 6 goals and 10 points in seven games. He was also part of the "Divine Line" at the '02 Winter Olympics, skating alongside Brett Hull and Mike Modano -- the highest-scoring trio (9 goals, 21 points in 6 games) in the tournament. He was drafted 33rd by the Canadiens in 1987 and would win a Stanley Cup in Montreal in 1993. LeClair spent his final two seasons in Pittsburgh.

Congrats, John LeClair. You earned it. You'll always be welcomed in Philadelphia for your monster years as a Flyer.

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Abe Koroma Has an Entire Year to Smoke Pot Now

See this guy?

You may remember him as one of the three Nittany Lions suspended last season for a little incident involving marijuana. Well, apparently, Abe Koroma has been suspended for a year, meaning his junior campaign is over before it even started. Well done, Abe. Whatever you did (on weed), it was worthy of a year-long suspension, your second suspension in as many years, and quite possibly ended your football career. You're almost as stupid as Maurice Evans.

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The Reverend Rankings — My 5 Favorite Players: Eagles Offense

With basketball and hockey on hiatus for the summer and football still a month away from real games that count, there's nothing happening except the dog days of summer. So I'll be publishing my own personal lists of my five favorite players of the four major Philadelphia sports franchises.

View the first installment on the Phillies here, the second installment on the Sixers here, the third installment on the Flyers here and the fourth installment on the Eagles defense here.

I'm Roy Halladay-ed out. The Phillies should get him. If they don't I'm not going to be happy. I hope Rubes reads this today and just pulls the damn trigger. That's all I have left to say about that.

Now let's shift focus to my favorite Eagles on the offensive side of the football in my lifetime.

1. Donovan McNabb

I know half of Philadelphia just threw up in their mouths at placing Donovan McNabb in my top spot. He's everyone's favorite whipping boy, some criticism extremely deserved, some completely absurd. But I'm as big a McNabb as fan as there is. He is, hands down, the most prolific quarterback in Eagles history, and most certainly the best modern-day QB ever to wear an Eagles uniform. Arguing this just sounds uninformed and frankly, ignorant.

Check the numbers: He's the franchise leader in completions (2,534), passing yards (29,320) and passing touchdowns (194). He's posted a career record of 82-45-1 in the regular season, gone to to playoffs seven times in 10 seasons, gone to five Pro Bowls, five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. Add in his 3,109 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns, and you have yourself a great player.

Yes, he didn't win the big one. Yes, he's had subpar performances in many championship games. And yes, he threw up in the Super Bowl. He also led the Eagles to all those opportunities, oftentimes without superior talent at the receiver position. He's battled through injuries, controversies and disappointment, all the while establishing himself as the face of the Eagles.

Yes, he can drive me crazy when he buries a pass at someone's feet or fails to take the open field in front of him with his legs, but he also helped bring a lifeless franchise back from the dead, and he's still here some 10 years later. Each and every season with McNabb at the helm, the Eagles are among the favorites in the NFC. As much as those final losses hurt, it sure as hell beats the Ty Detmer/Rodney Peete/Bubby Brister eras of no hope. A major reason is Number 5.

2. Brian Westbrook

Simply put, Brian Westbrook is the most explosion weapon I've ever seen in an Eagles uniform. Beginning as a punt returner who saw spot duty when he was drafted, Westbrook displayed his dynamic game-changing ability from the start, scaring opposing punt coverage teams to death.

His talent could not be ignored, forcing his way onto the field despite concerns about his size and durability. While injuries have nagged him over his career, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more complete back (LT excluded) in his prime during the years Brian Westbrook has been in Philadelphia. His speed and explosiveness made him a threat to take it to the house on any play. He could break it to the outside, but as he has shown, his strong frame made him just as effective between the tackles. Catching the ball out of the backfield was perhaps his biggest strength, creating all kinds of matchup problems (no linebacker alive can cover him) and despite his stature, he turned into a devastating blocker.

In 2006 and 07, he was as good as back as there was in the league. In 06, he rushed for 1,217 yards, seven touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry, all while catching 77 passes for for 699 yards and four TDs. He followed that up with a remarkable 2007, rushing for 1,333 yards, seven TDs, averaging 4.8 ypc and nabbing 90 receptions for 771 yards and five TDs, leading all the land with 2,104 yards from scrimmage.

And even last year, playing through injury, he put up 936 yards rushing, 9 TDs, and added 54 catches and five more receiving touchdowns. And of course, he made huge plays in the playoffs, especially against the Vikings. It's damn near impossible to not love Brian Westbrook if you're an Eagles fan.

3. Duce Staley

When the Eagles let Duce Staley go, I was admittedly bummed out. Turns out the Birds were right, as Staley had nothing left in the tank, but regardless, I was not pleased. During his seven seasons in Philadelphia, Duce was nothing short of a workhorse, putting up some phenomenal seasons, specifically in 1998, 99 and 2002, when he rushed for over 1,000 yards and carried the ball at least 258 times (325 in 99) each of those seasons.

When a small contingent of moronic Eagles fans booed the selection of Donovan McNabb in 1999 because they wanted Ricky Williams, I applauded the move of picking a potential franchise QB because the Eagles already had a damn good running back in Staley. Sure, Duce wasn't a speed burner with game-changing speed the way Westbrook has been in his career, but he was a dependable, tough workhorse who also could block and catch the ball out of the backfield well. Not to mention that his effort could never be questioned, giving it his all every down.

In fact, in the 2004 NFC Championship game, while the rest of his teammates looked flat and, frankly, disinterested against the Carolina Panthers, Duce played his tail off. Honestly, to me, he looked like the only Eagle, on either side of the ball, who looked like he gave a shit in that game.

And of course, who can forget his incredible performance in the "Pickle Juice Game" in 2000, when he rushed for 201 yards against the stinking Cowboys in Cowboy Stadium?

Huge Duce fan.

4. Irving Fryar

Irving Fryar played 17 seasons in the NFL. Only three of them were with the Eagles, but two of those three were two of his finest seasons of his career. In 1996, he caught 88 balls for 1,195 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl bid in his first season with the team.

Fryar followed that up with another Pro Bowl year in 1997, catching 86 passes for 1,316 yards and six TDs. He tapered off in 98, as age finally caught up with him, but a guy who had been considered a bust and troublesome character for the Patriots turned into a very fine player and upstanding citizen as an Eagle. He also made one of the most incredible catches I've ever seen, leaping up the air, full extension and plucking the ball out of mid-air with one hand, reaching back behind him, and coming down with it as he slammed on the Vet's horrific turf and getting hit. It was amazing.

5. Terrell Owens

I know, Terrell Owens was only an Eagle for one and half seasons, effectively dividing a locker room and causing headaches and distractions beyond belief in his second season. He's an asshole. An attention-whore. A certified lunatic who doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself. He also was a part of the most fun professional football season in my lifetime, and easily the most dominant wide receiver the Eagles have ever had in one season.

The arrival of T.O. in 2004 brought an excitement and fun to the Eagles that had been lacking. No longer was Donovan forced to choose between Todd Pinkston and James Thrash. No, he had his man, finally, and McNabb and Owens instantly became the most lethal QB-WR combo in the league: 77 receptions, 1,200 yards, 14 touchdowns. The only thing that could slow them down was Roy Williams and his dirty fucking tackling.

Owens was electric in that one season, even returning from that injury in the Super Bowl, only to be the best player on the field. Big, fast, talented. He made the offense better than it had ever been under Andy Reid. And as painful as the 05 campaign was, I'd do it all over again if I had the chance, no questions asked.

With Owens in the fold, it wasn't if the Eagles were going to win, it was by how much. They cruised through the season. It was just so damn fun. And Owens was everything we'd hoped he'd be and then some.

The man was a beast. He's tired and played out now, but in 2004, shit, that man could do no wrong in this city. And it was easily my favorite season ever for an Eagles wide receiver.

I expect a ton of people to question my decisions here. No Randall Cunningham, you ask? No, no Randall. He never won a playoff game, and I typically find that the same people who lambast McNabb are ardent Cunningham fans. That annoys the shit out of me to no end, because McNabb is a million times better at playing quarterback than Randall ever was. Not that I blame Randall. I was a fan of his, for sure. Fred Barnett and Calvin Williams almost made the list, because that duo was badass. But that's the list. Take it for what you will.

DeSean may be coming in the future. If he remembers to cross the goal line before dropping the ball.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Worst. Home Schedule. Ever.

As I'm sure you're all aware of by now, I am a Penn State graduate who has season tickets to Penn State football. Of course, I was a season ticket holder as a student all four years, but last season was my first as a graduate. It was a great year to get on board, what with the Nittany Lions going undefeated at home and winning the Big Ten. That demolition of Michigan was especially gratifying.

Well, this year, the home schedule sucks big, fat donkey balls. The first three games are garbage, as Penn State hosts Akron, Syracuse and then Temple Sept. 5, 12 and 19. To add insult to injury, all three of those shitfests start at noon o'clock. That's some bullshit right there.

The fourth game, an 8:05 night contest with Iowa, sounds pretty good on paper, but without Shonn Greene, the Hawkeyes don't scare me one bit. It is a revenge game, though, so a thorough thumping on Iowa would be sweet.

Beyond that, there isn't even a respectable game at Beaver Stadium until the pinnacle, Ohio State on Nov. 7. In between, I get the "privilege" of taking in Eastern Illinois (Oct. 10) and Minnesota (Oct. 17). Then Penn State wraps up the home schedule with Indiana on Nov. 14. That means Arkansas Fred and I are doling out $880 to see the likes of Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana. What a crock of shit. Give me more than one or two actual good home games to spend this type of dough on, you jerks.

When do we get Alabama at home? 2011?

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Hey, Ruben, Just Trade for Halladay Already

Do me a favor: Read this and this. Those are two of the best things I've read about the Phillies and Roy Halladay.

This is a plea to Ruben Amaro Jr. Go get Roy Halladay. Just do it. Listen, I understand the hesitation in giving up both Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ. Drabek is your No. 1 pitching prospect, a guy who's storming through the minor leagues and a guy who has the pedigree on his side. Happ is a 6'6" lefty who currently sits at 7-1 this season with a sub-3.00 ERA — the best numbers of any Phillies starter. I get that.

But let's be reasonable here, Ruben. A year ago, Carlos Carrasco was supposedly the next great Phillies pitcher, the untouchable. Now the Phils can't give him away, just one season later. That is to say, Kyle Drabek looks like a future star, but who knows what he'll look like next year? The answer: Your guess is as good as mine.

J.A. Happ, meanwhile, was a late-season call-up in 2008 and performed extremely well. He has done nothing but improve on that performance in 2009. But Happ is still more unknown than you think. For starters, he was sort of like Kyle Kendrick from two years ago. The Phils called him up with little expectations and no real buzz surrounding him. He did a fine job in spot duty and relief, competed for a starting spot this season and ultimately earned it a few months in.

Happ has been really, really good. A true revelation. But he hasn't exactly performed against any world beaters so far. He's beaten bad teams. When he finally faced a good team, Friday against the Cards, he didn't look so hot. Yes, it was a bad matchup with St. Louis's righthand-heavy lineup, but he picked up his first loss and didn't look good doing it.

And what some fans seem to fail to realize is Happ has yet to be seen a second time by a team. The first go-round, the pitcher always has the advantage. Opposing hitters don't know what the guy has, how his pitches look, what his delivery is coming at them in the box. The second time around, it's not so easy for the pitcher. Batters know what's coming, how it's coming and can adjust. Happ has been good, seems to have excellent control, but his 88-92 fastball may not sneak up on guys so easily the second time around.

That is all to say, basically, Happ and Drabek are not Roy Halladay, a known commodity. And it's not just the fact that Halladay is a known commodity. Those are easy to come by. We all know what a handful of veterans are. But Halladay isn't your average, run-of-the-mill available starter. He is a Cy Young winner. An all-star. One of the greatest pitchers to ever walk the face of the earth. He can give you 7, 8, 9 innings every time out. EVERY time out. Not sometimes. Every damn time. That weary Phillies bullpen sure would like that.

The thing is, as Jayson Stark pointed out, the Phils are leery to give up a pair of pitchers who could potentially be very, very good. But as he states, neither will ever be as good as Roy Halladay. At least, the chances of that are razor thin. Halladay is a once-in-a-generation workhorse. The type of pitcher that really doesn't seem to exist anymore. He would not just make the rotation better; he'd make the bullpen better, resting their arms. He'd make the team better. Even if it means trading away Happ and Drabek.

The future is now for the Phillies. Three, four, five years from now, when Kyle Drabek is in the majors, the Phillies will be drastically different. There's no telling if they'll be contenders in that time, whether they gut the farm system or not. But today, there's no question the Phillies have a chance to repeat. Bring in Halladay, and those chances multiply greatly. Keep him in the fold and you have a core that can win for two, three years. World Series are hard to come by. If you have a real chance to put yourself in position to compete for one, you have to do it.

Now, I'm not saying that Ruben should go in there and tell the Blue Jays: "Whatever you want." Try to keep Happ or Drabek. But when push comes to shove, when the deadline is here, if you have to give them both up to make this happen, well, shit, give them both up. It makes your team better, and isn't that the bottom line?

In five years, maybe Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ are all-star pitchers. Maybe they aren't. But one thing is for certain: Right now, today, Roy Halladay is better — vastly better — than J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek combined. He give the Phillies a better shot at winning the World Series. He completes a team that is ready to win now.

Roy Halladay is the missing piece. Do whatever it takes to get him.

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Can't We All Just Get Along?

The story of the weekend should have been the fact that the red-hot World Fucking Champions just took two of three from the NL Central-leading Cardinals, keeping Albert Pujols in check while winning their seventh straight series. Instead, it's about murder and alcohol and laser pointers. Ugh.

I have to admit, I laughed when I saw the laser pointer schtick directed at Juio Lugo on Saturday. The guy was 3-for-3 in the game, after all, so anything you can to get him out. As Tim McCarver was waxing poetic about how disgraceful it is and how the other fans would do themselves proud by turning the perpetrator in, I sat back and laughed. But really, there is no need for something so childish to take place. It's definitely an unfair distraction to the Cardinals, to Lugo and Albert Pujols. Once was enough, people. Let's leave the laser pointers at home.

To make matters worse, on the same day that Philadelphia was getting another black eye thanks to the laser pointer delay on national television, tragedy took place outside the ballpark. A 22-year-old male, part of a bachelor party celebrating at the ballpark, was beaten to death. Talk about a double-whammy. There's certainly nothing funny about that, especially since it hit home. I went to the Phillies game yesterday for a bachelor party, tailgating early and going all out. Thankfully, our group was simply out for fun. No fights, no yelling matches. Just a group of guys getting drunk and having a blast at the Phils game. The way it should be.

The sad thing about all of this is that when it all boils down, Philadelphia comes out looking bad yet again. Do other cities boo? Of course. Do other cities have drunken fights and fans acting a fool? Absolutely. But honestly, we aren't doing ourselves any favors in that regard. We're all tired of the stereotype, the boarish fans who look for trouble, the ones who throw batteries and snowballs and garbage. It doesn't represent us well, and honestly, it doesn't even represent the majority of Philadelphia fans accurately.

Yet here we are, branded again as savages … and how can we even argue? We interfered with a game. More importantly, more horrifying, we created an atmosphere where a fan, seemingly just out to enjoy some beers, a bachelor party and a ball game, winds up dead. For no good reason other than booze and male pride. Certainly, when you mix alcohol and testosterone, things are going to happen. But how could anyone let it get this far? It's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed.

You'll hear plenty about how ridiculous we are from all over the place. As pathetic as it is that just a few bad seeds can ruin the reputation of a whole, it's true. And as long as these things keep happening in our stadiums with our fans, however few, it will keep up that reputation we all get tired of hearing about. Sports are supposed to be fun. To be an escape. To be enjoyed. Yet here we are, in the midst of another pennant race, scorching hot and in pursuit of one of the greatest pitchers of our era, and the headlines read murder, booze and laser pointers.

I'm as tired as the rest of you when we're branded as low class neanderthals. But when things like the transgressions from this weekend occur, it certainly shines light on why so many outside the city look down on us in disgust.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Dream: Jason Williams in a Sixers Uniform

So you know how the Sixers are in need of a veteran point guard to mentor Jrue Holiday? Andre Miller seems all but gone, and none of the names out there really jump out at you. Sure, Jamaal Tinsley can ball, but the Pacers distance themselves from him for a reason. Bobby Jackson is intriguing, especially to mentor the defensive-minded Holiday, but injuries have ravaged him a lot in his career.

But now a name has arisen that has my juices flowing at the possibility of seeing him a Sixers uniform. Yes, ladies and gentleman, the one true Jason Williams, White Chocolate, is available and no longer retired, via The Big Lead.

Now, at first glance, it may seem like an odd fit. After all, J-Will was never known for his defensive prowess, and as a youngster, he was quite the risk-taker. The man never met a pull-up three he didn't like, and the insanely high-risk/high-reward dimes he'd attempt were both frustrating and tantalizing. None of that seems like it bodes well for the learning curve of one Jrue Holiday, whose game is nothing like that of Williams'.

But, Jason Williams was a young guy who matured into a very good leader and floor general, under control and more careful with the ball, under Hubie Brown in Memphis. He was a solid veteran contributor to the championship Miami team, a stabilizing force making big plays in key moments quite often. And shit, it's Jason Williams. How fucking cool would it be to see him as a Sixer? The guy freakin passed the ball off his elbow for chrissakes!

I mean, honestly, the only way I'd be opposed to the Sixers signing Williams was if they decided to go all sorts of crazy and bring back Allen Iverson. This team isn't winning shit in the foreseeable future anyway.

Make my dream happen, Eddie. Bring in J-Will. Make him a Sixer. That's all I'm asking.

BallHype: hype it up!