Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Fall Already?

Not quite, but it's certainly right around the corner. Like this week around the corner. College football kicks off on Thursday, and Saturday, I'll be in State College for Penn State's opener against Akron. Time to get ready. Word to the wise, listen with the sound down, because those are some weak-ass songs to a pretty good video.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Let's Start the Vinsanity

Bonus basketball video: Vince Carter air show because it's Friday and Vince can flat out throw it down:

BallHype: hype it up!

Young Brandon Jennings Doin Work

If you've read this site for any amount of time, you know I'm fascinated with Brandon Jennings. The guy is entertaining and insanely good with the ball in his hands.

Consider me a huge fan. So when High School Hoop releases some unseen Brandon Jennings footage from the summer before his senior year of high school, you better believe I'm gonna post it.

I can't wait to watch this guy take on the league, and I won't have to wait long: The Sixers play the Bucks on Oct. 31 for their home opener, the second game of the season for Philadelphia. Something tells me I'll be there.

BallHype: hype it up!

The Mighty MJD Puts Himeslf in McNabb's Shoes

Something I didn't even think about was how Donovan McNabb must have felt last night listening to the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field go nuts for Michael Vick — the same crowd that has, at times, called for McNabb's head.

Well, the mighty MJD was on the case, which is why he gets paid by Yahoo to do this blogging thing for a living:

But I can't help but wonder what Donovan McNabb was feeling when the crowd went bananas for Vick. I don't know if McNabb's ever been cheered like that in Philadelphia. And yet, the second a convicted dog murderer takes the field, he gets a reception like Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III. I couldn't blame McNabb if he was standing there thinking, "Maybe I should start an underground gerbil-fighting operation."

McNabb is fourth among active quarterbacks in career touchdown passes, trailing only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He's got the third-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history, behind only Brady and Steve Young. His career winning percentage is an outstanding .651. A paltry 2.09% of his throws are intercepted, which beats Brady, Manning, Joe Montana, Dan Marino or anyone else you want to name. He's the Eagles all-time leader in yards, attempts and touchdowns.

McNabb's given his all to the franchise, in times when they've provided him with a good supporting cast, and in the times where they haven't. I just wonder if he felt a tiny bit underappreciated last night when a convicted felon walked into the game and got the kinds of cheers that McNabb hears way too infrequently.

Makes you stop and think for a second. Especially when you consider Donovan McNabb's Eagles never lost a game to Michael Vick's Falcons.

BallHype: hype it up!

Hey, Billy King, STFU

Wanna know what really pisses me off? When someone who was completely inept and horrible at his job decides to criticize someone who did his job better than just about anyone else, even if he caused some waves along the way. That's why this gets me ticked the hell off:

A.I.’s former GM warns that bringing in the free agent guard may not be such a wise move: “King, a former national defensive player of the year at Duke, spent 10 seasons in the Sixers’ front office, eventually trading Iverson to the Nuggets. ‘Everything is about Allen, and it can’t all be about Allen at this point in his career,’ King said. ‘He’s no longer that intimidating figure who can just blow by everybody. So he’s got to do other things, and I’m not sure he will…(Iverson’s) personality is to say, ‘I can still do this. I can take all the shots and stay out late and do everything I did in my 20s,’ King described.”

Hey, Billy, just shut the fuck up already. If you hadn't completely hamstrung the organization with your ridiculous contracts and horrific moves (Samuel Dalembert, Kyle Korver, Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner, Chris Webber, Glenn Robinson, etc.), if you hadn't drafted Larry Hughes over Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki, if you actually ever brought in another all-star in the prime of his career instead of washed-up, maybe Al would have learned to be a little deferential. Maybe he would have learned to take fewer, better shots.

Maybe if he wasn't put on a team where no one else could score, he wouldn't have created all these bad habits. Maybe he still would have, but at least the guy went out there and did his job on the court for over a decade. At least he gave his all when it mattered most, made himself into one of the greatest Sixers, one of the greatest players ever. Sure, he made plenty of mistakes and acted selfishly, foolishly, stubbornly. But he also did his job and did it well.

You, on the other hand, helped turn a franchise that rose to the city's forefront because of Allen Iverson turn into an afterthought due to your incompetent moves and unthinkable contracts. Fuck you, Billy King. Duke sucks and you suck.

Just shut the fuck up and go away. Forever.

Update: Thank the heavens for the reason and intellect of Shoals.

BallHype: hype it up!

It's Friday, Time to Dance

Oh hey, not sure if you heard, but Michael Vick made his Eagles preseason debut last night.

In all likelihood, Vick will be primarily used this season, whenever he's reinstated, in that newfangled wildcat formation, which the Eagles logically didn't showcase last night. Why show it in the preseason? The thing that is so intriguing is that Vick provides something no other team can really do with the wildcat — legitimately frighten defenses that a real passing threat. Vick was, after all, a starting quarterback in the NFL his entire career before going to prison.

Since the Eagles can potentially introduce a new version of the wildcat, I propose we call it the thundercat, because Thundercats was a kick-ass show with an awesome theme song. So awesome, you can dance to it.

The thundercat. Think about it.

BallHype: hype it up!

The Third White Linebacker

As a lifelong Penn State fan, Penn State grad and current Penn State season-ticket holder, I've naturally grown accustomed to the Nittany Lions having incredibly strong linebacking corps. Two in particular, the 1999 team and the 2005 team, stand out for me.

In '99, it was Brandon Short and LaVar Arrington that got all the acclaim, and rightfully so.

Short was the most fundamentally sound player on that defense and simply one of the best backers in the country, and Arrington was nothing short of a freak, giving visions of the next Lawrence Taylor. Arrington won the Butkus Award and was drafted third overall by the Redskins. He made three straight Pro Bowls from 2001-2003, playing six season in Washington and one for the Giants before retiring. Short, who was my favorite player perhaps ever at Penn State, was drafted by the Giants, playing seven season (5 with New York and two with Carolina).

But the third linebacker of the bunch, Mac Morrison, was no slouch either. Named second-team All-Big Ten in 1998 and 1999, Morrison showed he wasn't simply another guy to plug in with two studs. He was a damn fine player in his own right, getting invited to training camp with the Seahawks.

Unfortunately for Morrison, who was having a great camp, he suffered a career-ending injury. But Morrison was always a favorite of mine, because he simply never made mistakes. With him, Arrington and Short, Penn State proudly upheld its reputation as Linebacker U, even if that '99 team that was rated preseason No. 1 underachieved.

Fast-forward to my senior year at Penn State. That season, Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor came in getting all the pub, and rightfully so.

Posluszny was the undisputed leader of the defense, improving on his breakout season of 2004 by dominating everyone in his wake. He won the Butkus and Bednarik Awards for the best linebacker and best defensive player in the nation, respectively. Meanwhile Connor, the sophomore from Strath Haven, came in as a huge recruit the year before and exploded in 2005. This dynamic duo helped lead Penn State to the Big Ten title with the help of Michael Robinson and Tony Hunt on the offensive side of the ball, restoring the glory to Penn State football. Poz went on the next season to become the all-time leading tackler in Penn State history and was drafted 34th overall by the Bills, where he starts at linebacker. Connor followed that up by breaking Poz's record in 2007 and was drafted by Carolina last season, where he's fighting for a starting spot.

The third guy in that 2005 linebacking corps was one Tim Shaw, a guy who eventually was moved to defensive end as Sean Lee's talents supplanted him. Shaw was a good college player, not a standout by any means, but solid. I never foresaw him as a pro player and never really paid much attention to his career once he graduated from Penn State. That is, until last night.

As I'm watching the Eagles play the Jaguars, I see this guy, No. 57 on the Jaguars, make a tackle. He's white and playing linebacker. I immediately ask my roommate, "Is that Tim Shaw? From Penn State?" No one knew for sure, so I checked it out. Sure enough, that's the same Tim Shaw who roamed the same defense in State College as Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny. Who knew? Turns out, Shaw played in 14 games for the Panthers in 2007 and three last year for Jacksonville, where he is again this season.

I had no idea he was even in the pros last year, let alone still out there doing his thing. Just goes to show you how much talent Penn State produces at the position. Having three linebackers (even though Shaw played defensive end his senior year, still) from the same linebacking corps in the pros is impressive. Good to see Shaw's still alive.

I was hoping to have another potential all-NFL linebacking corps this season for Penn State. Sean Lee, who may very well break Connor's tackles record, and Navorro Bowman are all but assured to be playing on Sundays, and both are in the running for All-American/Butkus status. And I was hoping Mike Mauti, a talented sophomore who showed a lot of promise last season, would make a strong push to the starting lineup and maybe show some pro potential. Then he went and tore his ACL, dashing my hopes and dreams. That means we're stuck with shitty Josh Hull, who most assuredly won't be getting a third white linebacker shout-out years from now the way Tim Shaw and Mac Morrison just did.

Because Josh Hull will never set foot on an NFL field. Because he sucks. At least I get to watch Bowman terrorize the Big Ten this season.

I can't wait for next weekend.

BallHype: hype it up!

The New Buck

For the past eight years, we've grown accustomed to having Correll Buckhalter (when he wasn't hurt) around to help spell Duce Staley and Brian Westbrook for the Eagles. Of course, this offseason, Buck joined Brian Dawkins in Denver, exercising his right as a free agent to go where he saw fit.

But even with Correll's departure to the mile high city, the Eagles won't be without a Buck in the backfield this season. At least, not if I'm the one making cuts. And by all indications, Eldra Buckley, the first-year running back out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, looks to be firmly planted as the third-string tailback for the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles. So long, Lorenzo Booker. You were a complete and utter waste of the draft pick the Birds traded for you.

Right now, Buckley is still listed behind Booker on the Eagles' depth chart, but simply from watching preseason, I'd be shocked if Booker made it over Eldra. The new Buck had an excellent first game against New England, scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown, and making his mark to fit in the Eagles' system, catching 6 balls for 56 yards.

His second game was more of a struggle, just as it was for the Eagles as a whole. He fumbled and really didn't do much with the ball. Then again, Booker didn't much either. And last night, with the starters playing through the third quarter, Eldra didn't get on the field much and was limited to just six touches. But he has clearly won favor with the team over Booker, because Lorenzo didn't even see the field last night.

And there's good reason for Buckley to make the team over Booker. For starters, he's a north-south runner, even with his small stature, that complements the styles of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy very well. While Booker essentially has the skill set to do what Westbrook and McCoy do, albeit much, much worse than they do it, Buckley brings something different to the table. He's physical and fearless, and the guy runs hard. In three preseason games with limited touches, he's already shown me more than Booker has all of last year and so far this preseason.

Add on top of that Buckley's ability to play special teams, and this is a no-brainer. Last night, late in the game, Eldra flew down the field on a kickoff and made a big initial hit. He didn't wrap, but he stayed with it and made the tackle about a half yard from where he made first contact. And he looked completely natural on special teams, just as he has all preseason. That's something Booker simply can't offer this team, and when you're the third guy behind the superstar talent of Brian Westbrook and the undeniable potential of LeSean McCoy, you better be able to play some special teams.

That give Eldra Buckley the edge, and he has one more preseason game to nail down the spot, if he hasn't already. I certainly hope he does, because I really like the way this guy works. He gives it his all every down, and frankly, he looks like a football player. Plus, it just wouldn't feel like an Andy Reid football team without a Buck in the backfield.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Child Please Kiss the Baby

I was going to write something about HBO's Hard Knocks this year, specifically the awesome entertainment value of Chad Ocho Cinco, but fellow regular MLJ commenter Tampa Bo beat me to the punch with this run-on sentence-laden, punctuation-devoid guest post.

Honestly, this show is absolutely great, and Chad Esteban Johnson Ocho Cinco is 100 percent the most interesting footballer in the world.

The more I watch this show, the more I love Ocho Cinco, and the more I wish he somehow, some way was a Philadelphia Eagle. He is just legitimately, awesomely entertaining.

I will be saying his most insanely brilliant catch phrases "Child please!" and "Kiss the baby" all the damn time now. Forget T.O. This man needs his own show.

BallHype: hype it up!

Ball Go Far

Ball go far!

Wow. Just when you thought the Phillies closer spot was set to screw the team over again — against the god-awful Pirates, again — Ryan Howard goes and totally picks up the man who shares the same first name. Moments like that are why I'll take Howard over Teixeira any day of the week. Strikeouts or no strikeouts, Ryan Howard is simply a man no one wants to pitch to right now. He is, in the infamous words of the one and only meech, a cot-damn beast.

Essentially, the opposite of Cole Hamels circa 2009. Except for last night. Finally, Colbert Hamels looked like the starter we've all come to know and complain about for being a pussy but still love because he's awesome and pitched the greatest stretch of pitching in the history of playoff baseball last season. Or something like that.

Last night, it was vintage Cole: 8 innings pitched, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts. Just the way we like it. And what the Phillies need out of last year's playoff hero. Now, he still gave up too many hits for my liking (7 over 8 innings), especially early on, but the guy bore down and pitched out of early jams, going 8 brilliant innings. Finally, he seemed to be able to put batters away, and he avoided what has become the norm for him this season — the huge blow-up inning. Encouraging to say the least. Though it did come against the Pirates. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, right? Right.

Ryan Madson, on the other hand. Well, as awful as Brad Lidge has been as the closer (and he has been plenty awful), even he can't approach the atrociousness of Ryan Madson as a spot closer, despite what idiots like Adam EatShit tell you. The numbers don't lie.

In 9 save opportunities this season, Madson has blown five of them. Five. Out of nine chances. Ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Madson is no closer, as he showed again last night.

Everyone around here, myself included, is (rightfully) complaining about Brad Lidge, who has converted just under 74 percent of his save opportunities this season, leading the league with 9 blown saves. Well, Madson has converted a ridiculously horrific 44 percent of his save opportunities this season, meaning he'll blow more than he'll save for you. In fact, in just 9 opportunities, he's blown just four less saves than Lidge has the entire year … in 34 chances.

You know how Charlie keeps saying he has no better option than Lidge? Well, if Madson is the best alternative (and the general public seems to think he is … at least before last night), then Manuel is 100 percent correct. Lidge is just plain terrible this season … but not nearly as terrible as Madson in the closer spot. Let's put that business to rest. Madson has been phenomenal as the set-up guy, so let's not mess with him anymore.

Simply put, we have to hope Lidge gets his shit together and/or Brett Myers comes back and pitches lights out — no pun intended (OK, maybe it was intended. Fuck off). Because Ryan Madson simply is not a closer. End of story.

Thankfully, we have the big man to bail out the atrocious ninth-inning pitchers. Nothing's finer than seeing Ryan Howard make the ball go far.

And fuck PIttsburgh. Because fuck them. That's why.

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Only in Philadelphia

No words, just this:

BallHype: hype it up!

Brad Lidge Sucks, Cole Hamels Blows and Vice Versa

Anyone ever see the movie "Vice Versa" besides me?

For those of you who haven't seen it, basically, it's a movie from 1988 where the guy from Beverly Hills cop (Judge Reinhold) and the kid from The Wonder Years (Fred Savage) play a father and son who wind up switching bodies when the two touch a mysterious Thai skull at the same time. That's the '80s for you.

Well, on my way to work this morning, that movie popped in my head for whatever reason and gave me an idea. See, outside of Eric Bruntlett and for a stretch there Jamie Moyer, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels have been by far the worst players on the Philadelphia Phillies. The two men who were incredibly integral to last season's success have both done a complete 180, sucking more balls than John Amaechi. Hamels has a robust 6.75 ERA in the month of August, and his numbers on the season are pitiful: 7-8, 4.78 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 157 hits and 22 homers surrendered in 139.1 innings.

He has the fifth highest ERA in the NL, and opposing hitters are batting .285 against him. He blows.

And Hamels' numbers look good compared to Lidge's: 0-6, 7.33 ERA, 56 hits and 11 home runs surrendered in 46.2 innings, 1.80 WHIP, .299 batting average against and 9 blown saves in 34 chances. That's a 74 percent success rate in save situations … and that's rounding up!

Last night, after the Phillies battled back from a one-run deficit in the ninth to take a one-run lead, Brad Lidge not only blew the save, not only lost the game, but the guy failed to get a single PITTSBURGH PIRATE out. For the record, the Pirates are 52-71 this season and traded away every half-decent player they had from the start of the season. And Brad Lidge blew a save against those guys … without even getting a single out.

So what does this have to do with the movie Vice Versa? I'm glad you asked. Now, I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but Marshall Seymour and Charlie Seymour learn an awful lot about themselves and each other after switching bodies. In the end, they're both better off for it.

Well, I propose we try our own little social experiment, taking a page out Jeffrey Lurie's book. Let's find this magical skull and get Lidge and Hamels to touch it, effectively switching bodies. Brad can see what it's like being Cole, the pussy pretty boy who carries his puppy in a backpack.

Something tells me Lidge will never be more happy that he was born Brad Lidge, the badass closer with the shitty intro music, than that pussy-ass Cole Hamels. He'll realize what he has as the closer, bear down and get his shit together, because he doesn't want to show any weakness like Cole. He'll have to prove his manhood all over again. Maybe that will do the trick.

Meanwhile, Cole will be thrust into the high pressure cooker that is the closer role. He'll realize how good of a gig he has a starter, where one mistake won't necessarily kill you because the team has plenty of chances left to pick you up. Maybe he'll realize it would be a good idea to shut down the opposition early so there's not so much pressure on the bullpen late. And maybe he'll regain his form, because the closer role is a very pressure-packed one and we all saw just how well Colbert pitched last October when the pressure was never greater. Maybe that would do the trick. And maybe he'll toughen up a little bit and not bitch about chiropractors and resting his arm and whatever else bothers him.

If not, fuck it, just send Lidge out back and shoot him and replace Cole with Jamie. Anything is better than those two right now.

I don't care how loyal Charlie is. I don't care how piss-poor the other options are. The Phillies cannot go into the postseason with Brad Lidge as the closer and Cole Hamels as the No. 2 starter pitching like this. They just can't. Move Cole to the fourth spot. Put anyone — Madson, Chan Ho, Myers — in the closer spot. Or find that skull to set these two straight. Otherwise, nice knowing you.

What have Hamels and Lidge ever done for us anyway?

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who You Got, Howard or Teixeira?

A week or so ago, my roommate asked me if I'd rather have Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira at first base. On the surface, the question may seem like an odd one asked by one Phillies fan to another, especially since Howard has already won Rookie of the Year, MVP and a World Series ring.

But the question is a little more complex, as we both discussed. Especially when you take a look at all things considered. Teixeira, after all, is the far superior defensive player and has two Gold Gloves to prove it. And like Howard, he's no slouch at the plate either … in fact, the guy may very well win the AL MVP this year.

Statistically, the two 29-year-old first basemen have eerily similar numbers. In now his seventh season in the bigs, the first-year Yankee has accumulated a .289 batting average, .378 on-base percentage, .543 slugging percentage and .921 OPS. He's hit 234 home runs and driven in 769 runs. This year, he's having a beastly season: .288 average, .385 OBP, .556 slugging, .941 OPS, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 136 hits, 34 doubles in 120 games.

Meanwhile, Howard's career numbers, now in his sixth season (fifth full season) are .277 batting average, .374 on-base percentage, .583 slugging, .958 OPS with 211 home runs and 603 RBIs. This year, he sits at .268 ba, .348 OBP, .554 slugging, .902 OPS with 34 homers, 104 RBIs, 27 doubles, 126 hits, and even three triples (and five steals!) in 121 games.

The numbers show two very evenly matched players. So back to the question: Who would I rather have? Howard strikes out at a much greater rate than Teixeira, and Mark is unquestionably the better fielder, so that may lead one to lean toward the Yankee first baseman. But my choice is and always will be Ryan Howard. And not just because I'm biased toward the Phils (which I am).

No, my pick is Ryan Howard for one simple reason: The man takes it upon himself more than perhaps any other slugger in baseball to put his team on his back down the stretch, almost single-handedly carrying the offense when the playoffs come near. In his career, Howard has hit more home runs in August and September than in any other months and by the time September is through, ditto for RBIs. His batting average is .281 for his career in August and an astounding .317 in September, which is his truly hot month. HIs career numbers in September: .317 ba, .435 OBP, .716 slugging, 1.151 OPS, 44 home runs and 111 RBIs.

Right now, he's smoking hot, propelling the Phillies to 22 games over .500. He beat the Mets yesterday with two home runs and five RBIs. He's doing the heavy lifting right as the Phillies approach the final month of the regular season, just like he always does.

Last year, Howard got off to a horrific start, finishing April batting below .200 and not doing much better in May. He was being beaten up. It was supposedly a down year. Until September rolled along. He went so crazy that he wound up challenging Albert Pujols for the MVP award, as insane as that sounds. In 24 games in the final month, he hit .352 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. His OBP was .422, his slugging .852 and his OPS a ridiculous 1.274.

He brought the Phils to playoffs on his broad shoulders and helped lead them to a championship. And he's in the process of trying to do that again right now. I know he can do it because has before and he will undoubtedly again.

As good as Teixeira is, and the guy is a hell of a player, he has yet to prove he can do that in his career. Sure, playing for Texas and Atlanta didn't help. But he was also supposed to be the final piece for the Angels, which he wasn't. In New York, he's certainly making good, but I wouldn't trade Howard for him under any circumstance. Not right now.

Teixeira is the superior defender, the more disciplined player. He won't drive you as mad as when Ryan strikes out four times and makes an error. But he also doesn't quite strike as much fear in the hearts and minds of pitchers as Howard does, especially when it's crunch time. Because time again, Howard has shown he comes through when his team needs his most. That's the sign of a truly indispensable player.

Yes, he strikes out too much. In a weird way, that may actually benefit him because it tempts pitchers to pitch to him in tight spots in the hopes they can strike him out, which in turn leads to plenty of home run and RBI chances that perhaps Albert Pujols and to a lesser extent Teixeira don't get. Yes, he has to keep improving on his much improved defense. But man, it's hard to ask for much more out of a player than what Ryan Howard gives you.

BallHype: hype it up!

I'd Be Lying If I Said I Felt Bad

You know what's funny? Not only have the Mets lost Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright, J.J. Putz, John Maine and plenty of other underachievers to injury this season, but now they've lost their ace and "big" trade deadline acquisition as well.

Johan has discomfort in his pitching elbow while Francoeur has a torn ligament in his thumb. No one cares about Francoeur because, well, it's Jeff Francoeur. He was supposed to be the next great thing, but instead he just sucks, though he was the top hitter for the Mets since coming over.

But Johan is another story. Discomfort in the elbow. Yes please. The Mets sound downtrodden and expect the worse. That would just add an extra special kind of insult to injury if the great Santana, the man who was supposed to put this team full of choke artists over the top, has some series elbow issues.

I'd tell you I kinda feel bad for the Mets and their fans, but I don't. Because fuck the Mets, that's why.

BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Secret Admirer Links

Today, I got an email with the subject line: SECRETS. The good old Gmail account for this here site informed me that the message was from someone named Lecha Hampton. I do not know anyone named Lecha Hampton, and frankly, it sounds made up.

The message read: I love your blog. Your identity is not a secret. You look much better in person. Have a wonderful day stranger. I have been up way too long. It was a very long weekend.

Chances are this is just a nonsense email from one of my stupid friends to confuse the hell out of me. Mission accomplished. I have no idea who Lecha Hampton is or who the potential culprit of this fake email could be, so any information from anyone who may or may not know of a Lecha Hampton's existence or the funny guy who is playing a joke on the dear Reverend would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Let's get some links …

-This video would be much more enjoyable if Josh Hull was edited out:

-This video, on the other hand, is perfect just the way it is:

-Abe Koroma is transferring to Western Illinois.

-Dante Cunningham is signed, sealed and delivered with Portland.

-Michael Beasley has checked in to rehab.

-KG dunk mix, just because:

-Newsflash: Cole Hamels sucks this year:

But after Hamels allowed 10 hits and four runs in five innings in last night's 4-2 loss to the Mets, he is 7-8 with a 4.78 ERA.

That's the fifth-highest ERA in the National League. Only Livan Hernandez (5.47 ERA), Jamie Moyer (5.22 ERA), Ricky Nolasco (5.22 ERA) and Braden Looper (4.95 ERA) are higher.

His .285 opponents average is ninth highest in the league.

True story: On Friday night, I went to see Inglourious Basterds, which is awesome by the way, and during the movie, Adam EatShit sent me this text message: "Cole is a bitch"

-Know why you should never leave a game early? Because you could miss an unassisted triple play to end the game, that's why. Oh, and also, because the game got pretty close there. Pathetic display of fandom.

-What would us college football fans do without the genius of the U?

Orange on one side, green on the other side indeed.

-Don't call it a comeback.

-Why the Eagles suck:

2. Hey, Andy Reid's still coaching this team, right? Remember, this is a guy who failed to inform his star quarterback last year that games can end in ties. Not only is Andy Reid a poor game manager, he's an AGGRESSIVELY POOR game manager. Not only will he end up fucking up the game, but he'll fuck it up by using the most illogical strategy he can possibly devise. More importantly, he will take hours upon hours to implement that strategy. For the Eagles, huddling during the last two minutes of a game isn't an option, it's fucking mandatory. It's just the kind of team-building exercise that can really help Reid's men cope with the agony of losing yet another 4-point game that ended with Brian Westbrook getting stuffed on a power rushing play that he wasn't well-suited for.

So Philly can bring in all the fancy new skill position players they like. They won't be poised to do the team much good when there's 90 seconds left and the team is STILL FUCKING HUDDLING when everyone at the bar is shouting at the TV, "WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY STILL HUDDLING? ARE THEY FUCKING RETARDED?!" That's the true legacy of Andy Reid. It takes a special kind of coach to make every random asshole in the bar feel like they could do a better job AND be correct in just such an assumption. Worst of all, Jim Johnson is gone, and not around to be the all-purpose coverall for Reid's numerous, glaring fuckups.

-Dodge ball, Utah-style:

-And just for shits and giggles, a dogfighting ring was busted in Germantown. No word yet on the involvement of Michael Vick. Or inspiration. Or something like that.

Finally, as I publish this, the Phillies are up 5-2 in the top of the 7th, led by the two-headed monster of Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee. Howard driven in all five runs with a three-run homer in the first and a 2-run homer in the third. He's a beast. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee has gone 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and striking out four. He also did allow 2 runs, but both are unearned, shrinking his already miniscule ERA to 0.69 as of the beginning of the 7th. The guy is good.

BallHype: hype it up!

Mickey Morandini is Rolling Over in His Grave

As the Phillies game began yesterday, I spent much of the first few innings complaining to the cadre of people that were at my house rendezvousing for our fantasy football draft, which was set to begin at 3 p.m. at the bar down the street, that Eric Bruntlett was still alive and actually starting a baseball game when, you know, he sucks. Then the guy gets two hits in his first two at-bats.

It seemed like the fun thing to do. The Phillies were already up 6-0 after just one inning thanks to the good fortunes of facing Oliver Perez, perhaps the biggest headcase of a pitcher I can recall. Ollie did us all a favor by serving up two 3-run homers in the first inning — one to Jayson Werth and the other to Curbball — and couldn't even make it out of the first inning. His line: two-thirds of an inning pitched, 4 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 home runs. Great signing there, Omar.

Anyway, as Pedro started to get rocked (perhaps he isn't any better than Jamie, my bad), we headed down the street to get our draft going. I got myself a seat right in front of the TV and watched intently as the 14-team keeper league draft ensued. After both Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson surrendered a run to make it a 9-6 game, it was Brad Lidge time. Just what we all wanted and expected after going up 6-0 in the first.

This time, it wasn't Lidge who screwed up. He got Angel Pagan to hit a grounder to first, only Ryan Howard missed it, resulting in a 3-base error. On the next play, Bruntlett, who was 3-for-5 with a run scored, actually resembling a real baseball player for the first time this season, returned to form, booting an easy grounder hit to him to allow Pagan to score and Luis Castillo to reach base. 9-7, one on, nobody out.

I began to berate him once again. This utility player who is supposed to be good at defense, who hits below .200, can't even make a simple play. He's not a great fielder, despite what some might tell you. He's not fast. He can't hit. All he has is that stupid beard, and I was just killing him.

Then on the very next play, David Murphy hits a "single to second." The official scorer may have given Murphy a hit, but in reality, Bruntlett booted another ball. Granted, it wasn't an easy play, but it was one he should have made. And I have no doubt Chase would have made both of those plays, rendering what happened next obsolete.

Thanks to some divine intervention, Jeff Francoeur and his incredible waste of talent came to the dish, and this happened:

I simply sat there in shock. Of course I was pumped. But I couldn't believe my eyes. For the second time in my life, I watched a Phillies second baseman notch an unassisted triple play. The first, as you all know, was on Sept. 20, 1992, as Mickey Morandini turned an unassisted triple play against the Pirates. And then Bruntlett yesterday, who not only pulled off the unthinkable feat, but did it to end the game.

He sure knew how to shut me up. Though to be fair, the triple play opportunity was set up by Bruntlett's ineptitude on the two plays before. When you boot two balls to set up that scenario, it kind of takes a little luster away, no? Maybe I just hate Bruntlett too much to give him full credit. I know Morandini did it without fucking up first. Advantage Mickey, at least in my eyes.

I know no one cares about my fantasy team, but I'll just throw my roster out there. I had the 14th pick, and yes, I know, my running backs suck:

QB: Tom Brady, Brady Quinn
RB: Thomas Jones, Reggie Bush, Felix Jones, Tim Hightower, Jamaal Charles
WR: Steve Smith, Santonio Holmes, Percy Harvin, Chris Henry
TE: Brent Celek, Chase Coffman
DEF: Giants, Dolphins
K: David Akers

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Selfish Suicide Links

Yesterday, it was approximately 8,000 degrees here in Philadelphia. Maybe 9,000. When work was done, all I wanted to do was go home and relax in the air conditioning. One problem: the El wasn't running eastbound.

Why, you ask? At the time, I had no idea. All I know is a police officer was there yelling that there were no eastbound trains, only westbound. I asked him why, and he said something happening at 8th Street. Turns out, some bitch decided to jump in front of a train:

Subway service between the 15th Street and Spring Garden Street Stations was shut down for several hours starting just before the afternoon rush yesterday for an investigation into an apparent suicide at the Eighth Street Station, a SEPTA spokeswoman said.

According to agency spokeswoman Sylvana Hoyos, an unidentified woman jumped in front of an eastbound Market-Frankford El train around 3:20 p.m.

The unidentified woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

SEPTA provided shuttle-bus service between the 15th Street and Spring Garden Stations during the shutdown. Train service resumed around 6:30 p.m. - Robert Moran

I hope this unidentified woman is rotting in hell. I know how SEPTA works, so I wasn't about to wait a half hour for a stupid shuttle bus that would take another half hour or more to get near my house. Instead, I hopped back on the Broad Street Line and got off at Girard, then proceeded to walk the 20 or so blocks, in the scorching heat, to my house. Oh, and did I mention I was the only white person in sight for 15 of those blocks?

On my walk, I passed by a bank that puts up the temperature on those time/temperature signs. It said 98 degrees. By the time I got to my house, I was a sweaty mess. My clothes were drenched. Frankly, it looked like I had just jumped in a pool with all my clothes on. Disgusting.

The moral of the story is if you're going to kill yourself, fine. I have no problem with that whatsoever. More power to you. But don't be a selfish asshole and ruin everyone else's day. Do what any considerate person would do: Shoot yourself in the head, jump off a tall building, hang yourself, overdose on sleeping pills … anything but jump in front of a train, thus ruining everyone else's day that relies on trains for transportation. Selfish bitch.

Let's link …

-Ever wonder why Tony Dungy is so nice to Michael Vick? KSK solved the mystery, and no, it's not because Dungy is a swell guy.

-Spence really misses Cliff Lee, as do many Cleveland fans I'm sure.

At least they still have LeBron. We're stuck with Iguodala and Brand.

-Usain Bolt, still pretty fast:

-Eight Five is now a kicker:

-A George Lynch commercial? Yes, please.

Uh, I don't see a future in acting for Georgey boy.

-Brandon Jennings and Kevin Love, at the Elite 24 Midnight Run:

-Who says white men can't jump?

-Aaron Maybin finally signed with the Bills. Now Buffalo has a chance to finally realize that all Maybin has in his arsenal is a speed rush. The guy had a great season for Penn State last year, don't get me wrong, but he can't stop the run, can't overpower anyone and has exactly one move — the speed rush. He had to leave after last season because his stock was never going to be higher. I hope he proves me wrong, but something tells me the Bills faithful will be proclaiming him a bust in a year or two.

-A letter to Big Ben.

-Another way Bobby Bowden can catch, and pass, Joe Paterno:

Bowden-Prostate: Never mind that now. I have 42 wins as a head coach in the Arena League, Bobby. Meaning even with the vacated wins gone, you’d be 27 up on Paterno. If they can count the wins from Samford in your record, certainly they can count games your own dear prostate won coaching Arena League Ball.

Bowden: Hoo-wee! Let’s celebrate!

Bowden-Prostate: How?

Bowden: [/falls asleep, loses to Wake Forest.]

-Ten things Mets fans can do at Citi Field.

-Want to see some fantastic basketball photos? Go here, via Ball Don't Lie.

Last night, I wound up watching much more of the Phillies game than the Eagles because, as you know, the Phils game was incredibly entertaining while the Eagles game was not. However, Donovan's touchdown to DeSean was a thing of beauty (1:10 in):

BallHype: hype it up!

It's Friday, Time to Dance

In honor of Plaxico Burress, let's dance to one of the most awesome songs of all time:

Turns out neither lawyers, guns or money helped Plax out much.

BallHype: hype it up!

The White Boy is Back

He's back, baby! The one and only true Jason Williams signed a one-year deal to back up Jameer Nelson for the Orlando Magic.

Speaking of Jameer, the Chester/St. Joe's product threw out the first pitch at the Phillies game last night — where Ryan Howard hit a BOMB in the 12-3 win of Mark Schlereth's kid — and showcased his power taking some BP before the game:

If he can play infield, the Phils might as well sign him to take Bruntlett's spot. Jameer is the man.

But back to the story at hand. On one note, I'm sad J-Will is with Orlando, but only because I was holding out a sliver of hope that the Sixers would sign him. When you look at it, however, it's an ideal situation for him. In fact, it's practically identical to his time with Heat.

Williams will be a backup whose responsibility it is to come off the bench and provide solid minutes running the show, something he did very well in Miami. Since the Sixers, barring some unforeseen miracle, are destined to finish in the middle of the pack and go out in the first or second round of the playoffs, I'm probably going to be pulling the Magic as my second favorite team in 2009-10. I mean, just check out the roster:

Vince, Dwight, Rashard, Jameer, and J-Will … what's not to like? Oh, that J.J. Redick character. I don't like him. But other than that, this roster is full of talent and guys I like. Added to personal favorites Nelson, Carter and Williams, along with Lewis and Howard, the Magic have assembled quite a talented roster with Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus.

It's certainly going to be a heated three-team race atop the Eastern Conference with Orlando, Cleveland and Boston. I'll be pulling for the Magic out of those three because they now have easily my favorite 1-2 point guard punch in Jameer and J-Will.

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Many Times Did He Practice That?

Watch Kansas State guard Denis Clemente make an insane trick shot:

I don't think I could even get the ball that high up on the scoreboard.

BallHype: hype it up!

In Two Years, the Eagles Will Sign Plax

Not sure if you heard, but it's official: Plaxico Burress is going to jail, for two years no less.

Can I has Andy Reid, please?

Hmmmm. Two-year jail sentence. A talented player screwing up his career and life right in his prime. Where have heard this before?

There's some good news for Plax here. If recent history is any indication, Plaxico will be signed by the Eagles shortly after his release from prison, at least if Andy Reid is still around.

For serious, Plax gets the same sentence for shooting his damn self in the leg as a guy who ran a brutal, inhumane dog-fighting ring? And, oh I don't know, almost two years less than a guy who killed another guy? Only in America!

BallHype: hype it up!