Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Legalize It Links

Gambling that is. All forms. With talks to legalize table games in PA casinos underway, it's time to stop this anti-gambling insanity and just legalize all forms of gambling across the nation. It's a win-win for everyone: states get a little financial relief from the money casinos rake in, and degenerate gamblers get their fix without having to travel to New Jersey or Vegas.

Of course, I'm a little biased because I absolutely love gambling, especially playing cards. Sit me down a poker table and I'm a happy man. Blackjack, roulette, the tits. I love to gamble. And realistically, how is this not a better option than what's out there now? Legalize all forms of gambling and tax it, thus helping states. Currently, the only people who get a cut are outlaw bookies and the players in Vegas and AC. Time to wake up and let this thing benefit everyone.

The opposition to legalizing gambling is weak. Take, for instance, a section from the article linked to above:

Shaheen said falling gambling revenue across the country further calls into question the $200 million in annual revenue from table games legislators plan to rake in. Slot machines have brought in only $300 million in the last five years, instead of the $5 billion in property tax relief Harrisburg promised, he said.

OK, there's a huge difference between $300 million and $5 billion, of course. But still $300 million is $300 million no matter how you slice it. That's $300 million more than would have come in had the slots not been legalized. And I'm pretty sure that tanking economy probably didn't help the way-off $5 billion estimate. Either way, every little bit helps, and its been proven that gambling brings in money for states who legalese it. Some money is better than no money, yes?

Grow up, America. Time to legalize it already.

To the links …

-Yes, I do believe Mr. Manuel does belong here:

“You won’t see me panicking.  I’ve been in the game a long time. I love everything about the game. Getting slapped, getting knocked down and losing, and everything like that. That’s all part of getting up, and that’s all part of doing it, and that’s all part of getting a good life in it.
You’ve got to be tough; you’ve got to be mentally tough. That’s one thing we’ve got in common in Philadelphia. They always say that I’m mentally tough. And how tough they are.
Well then I belong here then.”

-Today in 2007, the Phillies clinched the NL East.

It was the start of something beautiful.

-Excellent article by Sam Carchidi on Ray Emery:

"I hate to lose . . . maybe more than I like to win," he conceded.

Emery has been extremely sharp in the preseason. He finished with a 1.78 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in six exhibition games.

-I don't care about the Knicks at all right now. They're terrible, and besides Nate Robinson and David Lee, I don't even remotely enjoy watching any of their other players. But in Shoals' preview of New York, there is a line so awesome that it had to be reprinted:

Oh, and if you're closely watching what shakes out with Eddy Curry, you're a terrible person.

True story, when I was in high school, I used to work at a gas station in the most awesome job in the history of awesome jobs for a lazy high school teenager. After school, I'd head over to the gas station, sit there and watch cable television, eat candy and drink tons of Rosenberger's iced tea until my shift was over. It was great. And at 3 or 3:30 every weekday — I can't remember the exact time — a show called Preps was on Comcast, and I watched that shit every day. Eddy Curry was the star of the show, and the biggest episode was when he announced his decision to forgo college and head straight to the NBA. The kid was a straight beast in high school. And for shits and giggles, check out this video of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler going at in high school, with Chandler throwing down a sick dunk:

-The awesome editor of Puck Daddy likes the Flyers to win the Eastern Conference:

The Flyers pick is simple: That a team loaded up front that has at least two shutdown defensive pairings can overcome average goaltending. (See Red Wings, Detroit). 

Well, Greg, just imagine if Emery plays like he has this preseason. Then that pick is even simpler.

-One isn't just the Phillies' magic number:

The number of hands I have broken punching a wall after watching Brad Lidge pitch.

-How did Shoals know Joltin' Joe Blanton and I rap battle like it's our jobs?

-Andre Iguodala makes Dime's 30 Best Go-To Players list, coming it at 19. Not sure if I agree, but the guy did make some big shots last year.

-LaVar does not care for Dan Snyder.

-Read Jeff Pearlman's story about former Phillie fan favorite Sal Fasano and his son. Sad tale. Here's hoping it all works out for Sal, Santo and the entire Fasano family.

-Some Big 5 news and notes.

And tonight, the Phillies can wrap this thing up once and for all, with Pedro Martinez on the hill. Just end this already, old goat and company.

BallHype: hype it up!

Final Tune-up and Finally Finishing

Last night, I was offered free tickets to the final Flyers preseason game against the Minnesota Wild, so naturally I took them. I, along with sliver fox, Adam EatShit and his little brother, headed down 95 to see the final tune-up before the regular season opener Friday. On the ride down, Adam asked his little brother who his favorite Phillie was, and he said he liked them all. So then Mr. EatShit asked him if there's anyone he doesn't like on the Phillies, and he replied Pedro Feliz.

Myself being a big Pedro fan, I respectfully disagreed, telling the little tyke why I am a fan. We agreed to disagree and made our way into the Wachovia Center. I was incredibly interested to see what the lines looked like in this final tune-up, and everyone who will make the team suited up, with the exception of Blair Betts, who we all want to see make the team but is in contract talks with the Flyers, thus not quite on the squad yet.

I gotta tell you, I really liked what I saw last night. Yes, the Flyers lost 5-4 in a shootout, and giving up four goals in regulation sounds bad, but early on, the team played incredibly well, especially Ray Emery. The new goaltender faced 10 shots in his period and a half of action, surrendering just one goal. That goal was the direct result of a boneheaded play by Jeff Carter. Down a man, Carter raced over to a puck in his own zone and saw Scott Hartnell streaking down the ice, wide open. Carter saw him and tried to get the puck to him on a backhanded shovel pass, hoping to reach Hartnell for the sure shorthanded breakaway. One problem: Carter flubbed the backhand, failing to get it out of the zone, and Martin Havlat wound up scoring because of it on a chance Emery really had no shot to stop.

But besides that one that slipped by him, Emery was sharp, smothering the puck to prevent rebound opportunities and showing his insane athleticism and speed going from post to post. For a guy I clearly didn't want any part of, Emery has played fantastic this preseaon. That certainly bodes well for the Flyers' chances.

But of course, as I'm sure you've all come to expect from me, my eyes were glued to Claude Giroux, and for good reason.

Giroux was impressive yet again last night, scoring the game's first goal, and all night long, he was making things happen out there on the ice. The guy is going to be a star, there is no doubt in my mind. Jame vanRiemsdyk will surely benefit from playing on a line with Claude.

As far as the line combinations are concerned, I have to say, I love this team's depth. I was a little stunned to hear that 28-year-old NHL rookie Mika Pyorala, who has spent his career in Europe, would be playing alongside Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, but in the few games I've watched, Pyorala has looked good. And he did again last night, scoring a goal and finishing the night a plus-2. Much like his linemates, Pyorala looks like a player with some nice skill and a scoring touch who is also not afraid to get a little dirty playing defense. Gotta love that. The next top line of Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere simply has a ton of firepower. The more I see of this line and the more I think about its potential, the more I love its makeup. Carter is a sniper, which he proved with a breakout 2008, and Hartnell has a knack for being around the crease and finding the back of the net himself. Adding Danny Briere, a great playmaker and incredible passer, to that duo makes for a lethal scoring line.

From there, as I stated earlier, I'm pretty high on having JVR and Giroux on the same line, and Arron Asham is a hard worker that adds some grit. Asham played well with Briere and Giroux last season, so he'll do, but I wouldn't mind seeing another more skilled or quicker player up there with the two youngsters. Either way, don't sleep on this line, not with the incredible talent of Giroux and the goal-scoring potential of JVR.

Add all that to the very solid fourth line of Ian Laperriere, Daniel Carcillo and Darroll Powe, and the Flyers can comfortably roll four lines every single night. With Laperriere and Powe providing tremendous defensive play and relentless pursuit, along with the toughness and even scoring touch of Carcillo, and that's a fourth line that you can rely on. My hope is that Blair Betts gets signed as well, and the Flyers can move either Carcillo, Powe or Laperriere up to the third line to play alongside Giroux and JVR, with Betts centering the fourth line. Then keep Asham around as the extra forward. Either way, I'm liking this team's depth a lot.

Add in the defense pairings that are looking quite good, and this team has some scary potential. I love the Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn reunion. Together two years ago, this was a shutdown pair, and while Coburn didn't necessarily have a bad 2008, he wasn't quite the same player with Kimmo by his side. Now they're back together, and Chris Pronger and Matt Carle looked very comfortable, and formidable, together. I'm not sure I can name another team that has two shutdown defensive pairs as talented as the Flyers top two. Then add in steady defensive defenseman Ryan Parent along with 24-year-old Danny Syvret and the Flyers have depth there too. Especially with Randy Jones in the minors and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen occupying the seventh defenseman spot. Though I will say, Syvret, in his limited ice time last night, didn't look impressive.

As far as the game itself is concerned, our attention was split between the happenings on the ice and the Phillies game. From where we were sitting, sliver fox and I could see the Phillies game on a TV in one of the sky boxes.

We saw J.A. Happ skirt around a bases loaded jam in the 2nd, Lance Berkman trotting around the bases in the 3rd and Paul Bako driving in Jimmy Rollins to tie it. The next time I glanced over, I saw Pedro Feliz trotting around the bases. Since we couldn't see the score from our seats, silver fox looked it up: grand slam by Pedro, Phils leading 5-1. Bet you like Pedro now, huh little guy? Moments later, they flashed the score and highlighted Pedro's grand slam on the scoreboard, and the fans went nuts.

The only other time I looked up, we saw Jayson Werth hit his homer. From there, all attention was on the Flyers. After Emery left, Johan Backlund came in and immediately gave up a goal. It was a nice shot in a prime scoring position, but it beat Backlund on the short side, showing he was clearly out of position. And he didn't look much better the rest of the way. The nicest thing I can say about what I saw from him is that I really hope Brian Boucher gets healthy fast.

While the score didn't bear it out, the Flyers were playing well. They outshot the Wild, who are known as a defensive team, 39-24, and to my surprise, the Flyers actually fared well in the face-off circle. They won 35 of 62 draws, good for 56.5 percent, led by Mike Richards (9-13, 69 percent) and Darroll Powe (9-15, 60 percent). Giroux also won five of nine, and both Briere and Jeff Carter each won half their draws. Looks like the Flyers actually did work on that this offseason. Let's hope it carries over into the season.

We left the game with 10 minutes left in the third so as to get home in time to see the end of the Phils game. It was preseason after all. We got to my house in time to see the final two innings, now with the score at 7-4, watching Ryan Madson actually close out a game. Though, as has been any Phillie in the closer role's forte, he made it exciting, giving up a leadoff single to Kaz Matsui followed by a fly out and then another single, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. But then Madson struck out Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence to get the victory and, thanks to a Braves loss, reduce the magic number to 1 with five games to play. I feel a whole lot better after last night than I did this time yesterday, and thank god for that.

One more win. Might as well make it tonight.

BallHype: hype it up!

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 14

They say you never forget your first time. And with October right around the corner, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here, part 10 here, part 11 here, part 12 here and part 13 here.

Today is part 14, originally published Oct. 16, 2008, by Arkansas Fred:

Strange but True

I watched the Philadelphia Phillies clinch the National League Pennant for the third time in my lifetime (actually only second because I was three months old in '83). So I should have been overwhelmed and excited? Right? Well to my own surprise, I wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I was happy the Phillies won, but I was not overly excited. I expected the Phillies to win that game. Why wouldn't they? There was not a doubt in my mind that they would beat the Dodgers with Cole Hamels on the mound.

Let's face it, the Dodgers were overrated. They had Manny and yeah that was it, just Manny. There was no point of even pitching to him, since Martin and Ethier were gagging at the plate for 5 straight games. I guess my point is that I expected the Phillies to take care of the Dodgers. They were a much better team from the start and there was not a question about that. So I'm saving my excitement for something that talent-wise should happen in a few weeks, but is beyond anything I could ever dream about.

Also, I would love to find out when Ryan Madson started hitting 97 mph with his fastball. I am absolutely stunned. What the hell happened to him? Not that I am complaining, but I just cannot fathom it. Ryan Madson comes in from the bullpen and I have 100 percent confidence in the man. Everything about him, I believe in. He even looks kind of intimidating.

His fastball blows by hitters, even the great Manny had trouble catching up to it last night. His changeup is either the best or second best changeup on the staff depending on how Tim McCarver is feeling on that night. He has been lights out. It has boggled my mind. I never thought I would see that day. I even feel more confident with Madson in sometimes than Lidge. That might sound strange but it's true.

A few more random thoughts: I am happy for Charlie Manuel right now. I love that guy. I could listen to Charlie be interviewed all day and not get tired of it. That guy sounds sincere and loves the game. Pat Burrell deserves this more then any other player on that team. That guy comes out and does the best he can day in and day out. He never complained about the fans, always stayed with it and you can see it in his face how much this means to him. You got to love "The Bait." I still hate Jimmy Rollins. I hate you Jimmy. I really do. I cannot stand to hear you talk. (Ed note: If he helps us win a World Series, you have to not hate him anymore. That's a rule.) Just imagine if Ryan gets hot. Here is hoping that Jayson Werth wakes up. Also, I hope everyone missed Anthony Gargano on Fox News after the win. He needs to stick to mid day afternoon talk. Don't try so hard Ant. Just be yourself.

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This is Way Better than the Triple Deke

So you think this was an awesome move (except for the whole not scoring part)?

Then I've got a move for you. In fact, it was so awesome that the guy even scored:

That was Mike Farrell, forward for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, with a ridiculous goal. Even more ridiculous, it was his second goal of the game and it came shorthanded while down 2-1. That means he attempted, and succeeded, this maneuver while down a goal and down a man. It tied the game at 2-2 and his team went on to win 4-2.

Eat your heart out Gordon Bombay.

BallHype: hype it up!

Return of the Ax Man

It looks like the Eagles are partying like it's 1999 2000 2001 2004 2005. That's right, Jeremiah Trotter, former Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the Eagles last seen not playing in Tampa Bay in 2007, is a Philadelphia Eagle once more.

This adds yet another bizarre twist to an already odd 2009 Eagles season. Between the enigma that is Shawn Andrews, the unexpected signing of Mike Vick, the death of Jim Johnson, and yet another injury to Donovan McNabb, it's been a whirlwind for the Birds and us fans in a short period of time. Now this.

I gotta say, much like the Vick signing, I'm completely baffled by this one. I understand the Eagles aren't thrilled with their linebackers, especially in the middle with the injury to Stewart Bradley, but bringing back Trotter? Really? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the same Jeremiah Trotter with chronic knee problems? The same Trotter who was too slow and too much of a liability in pass coverage in 2006 that the Eagles let him loose after the season? The same Trotter who couldn't even get on the field except for three games for an awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers team in 2007? Call me a skeptic, but I don't see how this guy can possibly play now, three years after the Eagles last cut him loose, when he was too slow and too worn down to play then.

Now, I'm not saying I'm upset with the signing or don't want this work. Far from it. I'm a huge Jeremiah Trotter fan. Always have been, always will be. When the Eagles refused to give him the money he wanted in 2002 after two Pro Bowls at the age of 25/26, I was furious. When he came back, I was thrilled. But come on, more than three years after he was a truly impactful player you bring him back, after he was out of football last season and might as well have been the year before? Seems suspect to me.

I guess the guy really impressed the Eagles with those two workouts. And evidently, he feels better physically than he has in years. Yeah, a year-plus off from football will do that for your body.

But Trotter told the Daily News it went "two to three times better" than last week's initial workout, in which Reid said Trotter seemed more agile than he was when the Birds released him, 25 months ago.

Trotter, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Eagles, arrived as a third-round draftee in 1998, then left early in 2002 to sign with the Washington Redskins as a free agent after a nasty salary dispute. He returned in 2004 and helped the team get to the Super Bowl. After being released again in 2007, he signed with Tampa Bay but played in only three games that season and hasn't been on an NFL roster since.
However, Trotter is just 32, and he said last night that arthroscopic knee surgery in 2008 restored lost mobility. "To say my knee is better is an understatement," he said.

Sort of makes you wonder why he didn't get the surgery earlier if it made him more agile than before. Again, I remain skeptical and won't expect much from Trotter, though the guy has proven he'll do whatever it takes to help the team win, whether that means blowing up the run as the middle linebacker or as a special teamer. But after a strong performance by Omar Gaither Sunday, albeit against the atrocious Chiefs, I don't really see the immediate need. Then again, there really is no downside to the signing. If it doesn't work out, so what? And if it does, all the better.

Plus, Trot's presence in the locker room, especially with Brian Dawkins now residing in Denver, couldn't hurt. Welcome back, Trot. Hope you still got something in the tank.

BallHype: hype it up!

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Phillies know they haven't clinched a playoff spot yet, right? Right? Because the way they've been playing of late, you'd think they had this thing all wrapped up in August. Only problem with that is, uh, they're not in the playoffs yet. With last night's 8-2 loss at home to Houston, the Phils sit four games up on the Braves (who've won 7 in a row) in the NL East and just two games up on the Rockies, who lead the wild card. With six games left to play, their magic number sits at 3.

While winning three of six, going just .500, seems like a very attainable feat, especially for a playoff-caliber team, the Phillies aren't exactly resembling a division champion right now. Since taking two of three from the Braves over a week ago, the Phils have gone 3-5, losing two straight series to the Marlins and the Brewers. They've lost games going up against pitcher the likes of 3-8 Anibal Sanchez and his 4.00-plus ERA, Rick VandenHurk (4.44), Manny Parra (6.16), Braden Looper (5.10) and Yorman Bazardo (8.23). In other words, they've been losing to bad pitchers, failing to hit the most pedestrian of hurlers, and their own guys on the hill have been getting swatted around by teams already out of the playoff race. Forget the bullpen trouble for a second — the entire Phillies team looks like a disaster right now.

Yesterday, I called them the the Philadelphia Mets, and it's eery how similar they're playing like the 2007 and 2008 versions of New York. Surely this team can't choke away the division and a playoff birth the way the Mets did, right? Hell, not making it now would be even worse than the Mets. But here we are, with the red-hot Braves on their tail and the Rockies hanging around in that wild card spot.

Still, it's not time to panic yet, right? Right?

Astros 8, Phillies 2: What's this? Bizarro beat Cole Hamels? But him good! ... I saw on the Twitter that Houston's announcers made reference to the 2007 Mets in relation to the Phillies. It's a bit premature to panic anywhere outside of Philly, where it's required to panic. The thing is, the Braves might win the rest of their games, so the Phillies are going to have to win at least (using fingers) one ... two ... three. They can do that.

I sure hope they can do that. But the way they're playing, the prospects aren't looking good. Even after suffering a four-game sweep earlier in the month at the hands of the Astros, the Phillies couldn't muster up enough to avenge that sweep against a pitcher who came in with an 0-2 record and 9.55 ERA. That's not good. Thankfully, they take on more horrendous pitching to wrap up the season. Unfortunately, they've been sucking donkey balls against horrible pitchers of late:

Here are the next three pitchers the Phillies face:
• Tuesday: Wilton Lopez (0-0, 10.38 ERA)
• Wednesday: Brian Moehler (8-10, 4.86 ERA)
• Thursday: Felipe Paulino (2-10, 6.06 ERA)
Six of those 10 pitchers have a 5.12 ERA or higher. Five of them have a 6.06 ERA or higher. No pitcher has better than a 4.24 ERA.
The Phillies need to win just two of their final six games to clinch no worse than a tie in the National League East. They need to win just three to win outright. You have to think the Phillies can beat two of these Astros pitchers before the Marlins come to town this weekend, right?
The problem is nobody other than Ryan Howard is hot at the top of the lineup, and even he isn't on fire. Here are the September averages for the everyday eight: Jimmy Rollins (.261), Shane Victorino (.227), Chase Utley (.222), Howard (.294), Jayson Werth (.239), Raul Ibanez (.268), Pedro Feliz (.227), Carlos Ruiz (.319) and Paul Bako (.286).
The Phillies are dragging down the stretch, which is not a good sign for the postseason. But the Astros sure are setting them up nicely with the next three pitchers they face.

Maybe a little too nicely, given their recent struggles. If this team doesn't take at least two from the Astros, they don't deserve to win the division. As it sits, they are 0-5 against Houston this month. 0-5. Against a team that is currently 10 games under .500 (73-83). That's unacceptable, no matter how you slice it. They better wake the hell up here before it's too late.

The farther away we get from 2008, the less this team resembles the World Fucking Champions.

BallHype: hype it up!

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 13

They say you never forget your first time. And with October right around the corner, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here, part 10 here, part 11 here and part 12 here.

Today is part 13, originally published Oct. 16, 2008:

Links to the World Series

-A poem, or song, or something, from We Should Be GM's, with their photos.

-Go to The700Level today. They are, expectedly, all over this, especially with people going nuts!

-And definitely go to The Fightins, the best Phillies site on earth. Once again, they point out the doucheyness of T.J. (Terrible Journalist) Simers, but the man did have a great finish in his article:

TODAY’S LAST word comes from Norm Pangracs:

“After the fifth inning I called the number the Dodgers said to call if anyone is causing trouble during the game. I was surprised to get a recorded voice. I thought for sure a live person would answer. I left a message: ‘There’s a group from Philadelphia making me very uncomfortable. They’re the Philadelphia Phillies.’ “

-Hit up Deadspin today to get some cool links, the wakeup call and The Balls' joy.

-Bugs & Cranks offers support.

-More links from Big League Stew, and some thoughts from Dave Brown.

"After hearing about the '93 team over and over again, we finally have a chance to make our mark," said Jimmy Rollins, whose leadoff homer signaled another tough night ahead for Chad Billingsley.

-As always, great video from Awful Announcing.

-And finally, go to and read everything. I mean everything. Like this David Murphy gem:

"This is awesome," Jamie Moyer said, a few tear tracks running down his face as he listened to the surprisingly healthy contingent of Phillies fans hailing the victors. "The support we've had - you just can't thank people enough. We're celebrating this with them, and to me that's the most important thing. And even though we're not in Philly, I'm thinking about the fans in Philly having a good time, and that's what it's all about."

And this:

The final out went like this: Nomar Garciaparra, popping up foul to catcher Carlos Ruiz. He was standing on the painted NLCS 2008 logo along the third-base line when he squeezed the ball. And with that, the Phillies are going to the World Series. It is a simple sentence that masks so many emotions, that cannot come close to untangling 15 years of frustrating tangents. Yet there is beauty in the simplicity.

The Phillies are going to the World Series.

"It will be absolutely madness from a Philadelphia standpoint," said Cole Hamels, so young, so good, the starter and winner last night in the Phillies' 5-1 victory over the Dodgers.

"The excitement, the energy level, it'll be something," he said. "Philly has missed this. I'm so happy to be a part of this. To get back to the World Series, they deserve it."

And this:

In the biggest game of his career, at just 24 years of age, Hamels worked his fastball-and-change-up magic once again last night, and he did nothing less than pitch the Phillies into the World Series. He was then named the series MVP.

He has now won three straight postseason games, the first Phillies pitcher in history to do that. On the list of accomplishments he hopes to add to his resume, this is just the first notable one. Look in his eyes, and you can tell he believes there are others to come.

"You know going out there in the big game, you want to be that guy that can dictate it," Hamels said. "I've had the opportunity this year, and I've been able to not only come through, but hopefully put us into more situations where I can do it again, and again, and again."

"They were trying everything they could. It just seemed like Cole was so in command, it didn't matter," said closer Brad Lidge. "He's a true ace."

When the seventh inning came around and Hamels walked two batters with two out and veteran Jeff Kent was coming to the plate, the stroll to the mound by manager Charlie Manuel didn't mean Hamels was finished for the night. Manuel gave his young pitcher a combination pep talk and lecture and left him in there.

"He wanted to give me some confidence, I guess," Hamels said. "He wanted to know if I thought I could do it, and I said I knew I could."

Hamels, in one of those moments he cherishes, got Kent looking at a 94-m.p.h. fastball for the third out. It was his last pitch of the night, and it was as nasty as his first.

And this:

The Phillies are going to the World Series.

Say it out loud. Shout it so William Penn can hear it atop City Hall.

"I think I'm going to have a heart attack," an ebullient Brett Myers said before leading a charge back onto the field. About a thousand red-clad Phillies fans had gathered behind the team's dugout. They chanted, "Four more wins," and, "Let's go, Phillies," and, finally, "We want beer."

"I don't know how they survived among all those Dodgers fans," Myers said. "Shows you how tough Phillies fans really are."

And this:

"This is going to be the year," Charlie Manuel said. "I can feel it, yeah."

-Jayson Stark:

They've spent their whole careers hearing about the Phillies of Carlton and Schmidt, the Phillies of Kruk and Dykstra, even the Phillies of Ashburn and Roberts.

But now it's their turn.

Now it's Jimmy Rollins' Phillies. And Chase Utley's Phillies. And Cole Hamels' Phillies.

Now it's Ryan Howard's Phillies. And Shane Victorino's Phillies. And even Matt Stairs' Phillies.

And as that baseball floated through the sky, a soft-spoken catcher from Panama settled under it, asking himself for what seemed like an hour: Is this thing EVER going to come down?

"I know that ball was not a tough play, but it took a long time," Carlos Ruiz said after history had finally settled in his glove. "I was saying, 'Come on, baby. Let's go. Come down already.' "

"I don't know if I understand what's really taken place here," said Jamie Moyer, the only member of this team who actually attended the parade of the one World Series championship in Phillies history. "I don't know if it's really sunk in. I know we're going to the World Series, but it hasn't sunk in."

With eyes watering, Moyer began to tell the story of what it was like to be a kid in high school in October 1980, skipping school to watch the champs parade down Broad Street.

"I remember people hanging from the street lights and the trees, and toilet paper all over," Moyer said. "And everybody was your friend. A half a million people were all friends."

And then somehow, in 2006, the world spun and brought him back to his hometown, to a team that was still trying to figure out how to win these kinds of games. And a couple of weeks later, he found himself in the middle of a team meeting, telling his new friends about that parade -- and laying out a dream for all of them, to reach a parade of their own someday.

"And now we're one series away from being on the floats in that parade," Moye said. "It's amazing."

"You know what? It hasn't hit me yet," Rollins said. "We still have a lot of work to do. We've got to find a way to win four more games. That's our goal. Our goal is to win the World Series. The goal was not just to win the National League. The goal was not just to get to the World Series. We qualified. That's all we did. So we've still got work to do.

"But when it's all said and done, and my career's over, and hopefully we win the World Series, then that legend of the Phillies in 2008 will be a great story. But until then, we've still got four games to win."

They might be the hardest four games they've ever tried to win. But even as they celebrated in the middle of a ball field 3,000 miles from home, the 2008 Phillies were still clinging as hard as ever to the sense of purpose that has made them what they are. "We've gone this far," Moyer said. "So why stop here?"

Why stop here, indeed.


BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Video Madness

This catch makes me hate Greg Lewis that much more:

I bet you do something good now.

Tim Tebow got knocked the fuck out, which is bad news for him and Florida, good news for the rest of the country:

Upper Darby's own Simoni Lawrence got his penis hit by a motherfucker:

Yes, he called the first down sticks a motherfucker.

BallHype: hype it up!

I Hate Penn State and the Philadelphia Mets

If it wasn't for yesterday, I may have either committed suicide or homicide this weekend. Well, not suicide. Then I wouldn't be able to get to the office today and complain to all three of you people. So homicide. If it wasn't for yesterday, I probably would have murdered someone or something, that's how incredibly awful Friday and Saturday were.

On Friday, I headed back to my parents' house in preparation for Arkansas Fred to pick me up there at 9:30 a.m. Saturday to head out to Penn State. During the drive home, I listened as Cliff Lee got pounded for four two-out runs in the first inning. By the time I got to my parents' house and settled in, the Phillies were down 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Of course I watched the end, because what else would I do?

Though I had little hopes of the Phillies prevailing, I couldn't turn away. After all, this team has a penchant for coming from behind. After Sergio Escalona struck out the side to keep the game at 8-4 going into the ninth, the Phils started to get something cooking. Greg Dobbs finally resembled the pinch-hit machine of last year, leading things off with a single pinch-hitting for Pedro Feliz. Then Andy Tracy of all people got a pinch-hit single, putting runners on first and third with no one out. The comeback looked to be full on. But then Milwaukee brought in the second best closer of my lifetime, who got the third straight pinch-hitter, this time Matt Stairs, to pop out.

Still, the Phils had a shot, albeit a small one. Jimmy Rollins came to the dish down four runs and seemed to be playing things smart. He took the first two pitches for balls, going up 2-0, and looked as though he was wisely working Trevor Hoffman any way he could to get on base and bring the tying run to the dish. But of course he wasn't. That was all an illusion, because on the third pitch of the at-bat, Rollins swung at a low, inside pitch and popped it up. That's when I lost it, storming out of my seat and then out of the room ranting and raving: "Jimmy, you dumb fuck! You have to take a strike! Even if you hit a fucking home run there, you're still down a run, you moron! This team doesn't know what see a fucking strike means! You dumb asshole!" It was something along the line of that.

That play just drove me so mad. I really don't think this team does know the meaning of taking a strike. In that situation, down 4 runs, everyone on the planet knows the batter's job is to get on base to bring up the tying run, not to try to hit a three-run bomb so you can still be losing. Well, everyone but Jimmy Rollins. That stupid motherfucking completely extinguished any hope, as Shane Victorino grounded out to end the game. Stupid baseball by an 11-year veteran. Not a good start to the weekend.

And that was only the beginning. Arkansas Fred showed up at my parents' house shortly after 9:30 the next morning and we were off to seek revenge on Iowa. After a relatively smooth and uneventful drive, we arrived in State College with the rains falling the second we got there. With 7-plus hours to kill before we wanted to get to the game, we wandered around town a little bit before settling in an uncrowded bar so as to get a seat to drink some brews and watch some of the noon games. We settled upon the bar formerly known as Sports Cafe, now called the 797 Lounge.

Now, before the place went to shit, the Sports Cafe was pretty cool. It always had games on there, cheap drinks and a nice outside area to sit. It was a nice place to get drunk and watch games. However, now, I have to believe the place is poorly run. For starters, Arkansas Fred and I had a tough time determining if the bar was even open yet. The entranceway is pitch black dark, with no lights whatsoever. Honestly, it's like a bat cave. I'm not making this up. We almost decided to keep walking, thinking it was closed, before we noticed the small open sign in the window. Note to owners of pretty much any business: Don't make your entranceway all black with absolutely no lighting. People will logically think you're closed.

While the rest of the bars we passed by were pretty packed, we entered and to our delight found a bar with college football on the TVs, beer flowing and not a crowd in sight — unquestionably due to the horrible entranceway. We gladly took two empty seats at the bar, put down a couple beers and watched as Michigan struggled with Indiana. Then we decided we were hungry, but the food there was entirely too expensive, especially for a shitty bar that was poorly lit. So we instead headed over to Rotelli to take advantage of their lunch special — a half a sub, slice of pizza and choice of soup or salad for $6 — and high definition televisions. We ate and drank for a while as we watched Virginia Tech absolutely destroy Miami and stayed as long as we could since it was pouring outside. In fact, it had been raining nonstop from the moment we arrived and didn't relent all day and night.

Tired, worn out and still not even five yet, we decided to head to Arkansas Fred's car to gather our rain gear and then either find another spot on campus to watch the games or take a quick cat nap. Hell, we even threw around the idea of taking a nap in the car. We're old men, you know. And once we got to Fred's car, the rain began to fall even heavier, so we said fuck it and caught a few Z's. By the time we awoke, it was 6 o'clock and we were primed to finally make our way toward the stadium.

We ventured to Findlay Commons in East Halls for old times sake, bought some drinks and slowly walked around a bit. Finally, we got into the game about 50 minutes before kickoff to watch some warmups, rain still coming down. And it was during warmups that I should have known this game was not going to go well. In every passing drill, the Penn State players were dropping the ball left and right. No joke, in a simple drill where the receiver runs 10 yards down field uncovered and nabs passes from the quarterback, the ball was dropping to the wet turf way more than it was being hauled in. In warmups. Uncovered. Rain or no rain, that's just pathetic.

And pathetic was the theme of the game. Though we would all be fooled into thinking the opposite early on. Iowa received the opening kickoff and proceeded to go three and out. Starting at their own 21 yard line, the Nittany Lions went deep on the first play. Off play action, Daryll Clark hit a streaking Chaz Powell in stride. Powell pulled away from the defender and took it to the house. Just 2:34 in, Penn State was up 7-0, scoring on the first play from scrimmage, a 79-yard touchdown.

Just like that, it looked as though Penn State was primed to avenge last season's loss. And things looked even better after Penn State forced a turnover — an interception by Nick Sukay — on Iowa's ensuing possession and began to drive. Again starting at their own 21, Penn State methodically moved down the field, chewing the clock and getting into the red zone. But the drive stalled at the Iowa 11, and Penn State had to settle for a field goal. Still, after one quarter of play, Penn State held a 10-0 lead and had outgained Iowa 147-26. So far so good.

One problem, it was the final good thing to happen in the game. Penn State would not score again. Instead, the Nittany Lions turned the ball over four times and made mistake after mistake. And I hated every second of it. I hate the cold, rainy weather that is a staple of State College. I hate the offensive line, who can't block anyone. I hate the horrible special teams that surrendered a blocked punt that was returned for the touchdown. I hate the Tom Bradley's stupid zone defense that leaves gaping holes for quarterbacks to find receivers. I hate Josh Hull, who can't cover anyone, and I hate Tom Bradley for being so stupid as to leave Josh Hull in on obvious passing downs. I hate dumb penalties. I hate Daryll Clark's infuriating penchant for coming up small in big games, for routinely running himself into pressure, for throwing passes so mystifyingly horrible that it makes you wonder who he was even throwing to. I hate giving up safeties. I hate Iowa. Boy do I hate Iowa. I hate the band and its retarded band director that routinely plays music while Penn State is on offense and even WHEN THEY'RE FUCKING RUNNING THE NO HUDDLE JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU STUPID BAND DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE AND BEING QUIET WHEN YOUR TEAM IS ON OFFENSE I HOPE YOU ALL DIE HORRIBLE DEATHS. I hate stupid, jerkface, asshole "fans" who leave at halftime of a 10-5 game because it's too rainy and too cold — just fucking stay home then. And I really, really hate even more stupid, jerkface, asshole "fans" who fucking start singing and dancing along to faggoty Bon Jovi songs, stupid, out-of-place "Sweet Caroline" and every other horrible fucking song when your team just gave up the lead to go down 11-10 on a god damn blocked punt returned for the touchdown. I hate it all. I hate it all so very much. Why couldn't I have just gone to school in the south or in California or anywhere else where the weather is nice, the women are attractive and the football team doesn't suck horribly? Oh yeah, because I suck. Just like Penn State.

Outside of that first play, there was nothing worthwhile that happened. Iowa simply played better and smarter than Penn State. The Penn State offensive line is horrendous. Not a single player is even remotely good, Stefen Wisniewski included. Iowa's front four manhandled the horrific Penn State line. And Daryll Clark, for all the good numbers he's accrued as the starter, has not once beaten a single good team.

Last year against Ohio State, he played like shit. In fact, it was Pat Devlin who led the Nittany Lions on the game-winning drive in Columbus, not Clark. Against Iowa last season, he singlehandedly lost the game for Penn State. And in the Rose Bowl, he was unimpressive in a game that was never close. Then this season, after looking pedestrian against the likes of Akron, Syracuse and Temple, he made exactly one good throw against Iowa, which just so happened to be his first throw of the game. From there, he completely shit the bed: 12 of 32 (37.5 percent), 198 yards, 3 interceptions. Yes, the one interception went right through Evan Royster's hands, but the other two were just flat awful. Sure, Clark got hit a ton, but the fact of the matter is that he comes up small in the biggest games. Seriously, who has the guy beaten? Look at his wins as a starter: 2008, Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Syracuse, Temple, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, *Ohio State*, Indiana, Michigan State; 2009, Akron, Syracuse, Temple. The only respectable team in the bunch, besides Ohio State (where Clark sucked) is Oregon State. The rest of those teams were terrible. Daryll Clark hasn't beaten anybody, and more alarming, he's played horrible against good teams.

The guy had a tremendous 2008 overall, don't get me wrong, but he just isn't a smart quarterback. Who the hell was he throwing the ball to on that third-quarter interception? Why does he refuse to run when the open field is there? How many times have you seen him move directly into the pressure, stand stagnate when the rush is closing in? The guy has a horrible pocket presence, and it gets worse the bigger the game. Until proven otherwise, Daryll Clark simply cannot be labeled a big-game quarterback. Because he isn't. It sure would be nice if Penn State even had a backup to call upon when Clark plays as horrendous as he did Saturday. Although, when they did last year, Penn State still refused to pull Clark in favor of Devlin at Iowa despite the fact that Clark was throwing the game away.

Of course, Clark had plenty of help in giving the game away Saturday. I already touched upon the offensive line that just isn't very good, and then there was Evan Royster. The usually sure-handed tailback made two crucial errors as Penn State was driving in the 4th quarter attempting to come back. The first came early in the final quarter, when Daryll Clark found an open Evan Royster inside the Iowa 40 yard line. Clark fired a very catchable pass to Royster, but the ball went through his hands and tipped up, getting picked off. The interception was returned all the way to the Penn State 24 and three plays later Iowa got into the end zone to go up 18-10.

Then on Penn State's very next drive, after a 35-yard kickoff return by Chaz Powell and a late hit out of bounds put the ball on the Iowa 36, it looked as though the Nittany Lions still had a chance. On the first play, Royster finally broke free, scampering deeper into Iowa territory on a long run. But as he was hit, he fumbled. It was recovered by Iowa, and at that moment, the game was essentially over.

Sadly, it wasn't a bad game for the defense, but then again, I couldn't name you a single defensive player that had a good game. While the d didn't give up many points, the defensive line that had been so dominant in the first three games was silent. Iowa's experienced offensive line handled Ollie Ogbu, Jared Odrick and Jack Crawford easily. Ricky Stanzi was clean almost the entire game. There wasn't a signature player for the defense all night.

In the cold, rainy, sloppy weather, there wasn't really a single Nittany Lion that played well. Maybe Andrew Quarless, but his opportunities were limited. Other than that, it was much like last year. In terrible weather conditions, Iowa simply made fewer mistakes, played a cleaner game and came out victorious.

The loss, combined with the never-ending rain, made for a not-so-pleasant ride back home. The rain followed us the entire way home, and to add insult to injury, we found out the Phillies lost yet again, at which point I said, "Are they going to get swept by the Marlins and lose to the Astros too, like the Mets? This team sure is looking like the Mets the past few years all of the sudden." As you can tell, I was in a great mood.

Thankfully, yesterday gave me a reprieve from the awfulness. The Eagles came out and did exactly what they were supposed to do against the Chiefs, dominating in a 34-14 game that was never close. Actually, it was 14-7 at one point because Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg called the worst 4-and-1 play in the history of 4-and-1 plays. LeSean McCoy was running wild and the Eagles have a big offensive line and an actual, real fullback. Not to mention they've had tremendous success running the ball out of the wildcat. Yet when they had a 4-and-1 at the KC 44, they rolled out Kevin Kolb and had him try to make a pass. It did not work. What a stupid play call.

But that was really the only dumb thing about that game. The Chiefs are just dreadful. There isn't a single good thing I can say about them after watching that debacle they put forth. The team is bad. And the Eagles trounced them as they should, highlighted by DeSean Jackson's 64-yard touchdown catch.

I guess the groin is doing all right. The Eagles really had a field day. Against a horrible team, Kolb threw for more than 300 yards in his second straight game, becoming the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to throw for 300 yards in his first two career starts. Not bad. He finished 24 of 34 (70.6 percent) for 327 yards and two touchdowns, and added a rushing touchdown for good measure on a qb sneak.

The Seans each had themselves nice games as well. DeSean continued his ascent to an elite wide receiver, nabbing 6 balls for 149 yards and the aforementioned touchdown while LeSean picked up 84 yards on 20 carries in his first career start, scoring a touchdown himself.

And then there was Brent Celek, who had himself another excellent game, catching 8 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Celek is quietly putting up insane numbers, also climbing the ranks of playmaking tight ends in the NFL. Basically, he's becoming everything L.J. Smith was supposed to be. It's nice to see Celek blossoming early in the season.

Defensively, well, the line played outstanding, giving Larry Johnson absolutely no room to run whatsoever, and that allowed Omar Gaither to run around and make plays. It was the first time this season the linebackers made a true difference, and Gaither was the one making the majority of plays. Glad to see them take care of business rather easily against a clearly inferior team.

And to top things off, the Phillies finally won, bringing the magic number down to three, but again, it wasn't easy. After building a 6-1 lead, the Phils pitched it into a save situation to make it dicey. However, Ryan Madson actually did get the job done, and the Phils held on for the 6-5 win. Thank god. I don't think I could handle a Mets-like collapse, which it seems almost as if the Phils have been headed for this September. They better just take care of the Astros and get this thing over with. After all, they owe them.

I watched that ending at my grandparents' house, there for a family party. As the evening approached, two of my cousins decided they were going to Atlantic City, so of course I went along for the trip. I walked into the Taj with $200 dollars and walked out with $260 thanks to betting on trusty old red 19 at the roulette table. That put a nice capper on the night, though getting home at 1 a.m. made for a rude awakening this morning.

But hey, it sure as shit beats everything that happened on Saturday.

BallHype: hype it up!

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 12

They say you never forget your first time. And with October right around the corner, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here, part 10 here and part 11 here.

Today is part 12, originally published Oct. 16, 2008:

Elated, but Not Done Yet

Listen, I've given this Phillies team a lot of shit during the year. I hammered Jimmy Rollins. I destroyed Pat Burrell. I questioned Charlie Manuel. I evened argued that Cole's no ace just yet. And you know what? I was wrong. Dead wrong. About all of it. And I've never been happier in my life to be wrong.

Last night, Jimmy Rollins started the game just like he did in the clincher against the Brewers—with a leadoff home run. It was glorious. And Pat, Pat. He's had a HUGE playoff run, got a clutch RBI hit last night and made an absolutely spectacular catch for a big, slow leftfielder. Then there's Charlie. Like virtually everyone, I haven't always been too kind to old Uncle Cholly. I've questioned his moves, his makeup, his leadership. Well, I question him no more. Charlie Manuel is the best manager I've seen in a Phillies uniform. And he earned this trip to the World Series, and like he said, this team isn't done.

"Also, this is for the city of Philadelphia. We've got one more step. This is the third step. We've got one more big step and then we're gonna take a Grand Parade."

And let me be the first say, Cole, I was wrong. You are an ace. Right here, right now. Last night, even without your "best stuff," according to that decrepit old windbag Tim McCarver, you buckled down, threw your third straight playoff gem, and sent this team to the World Series. You earned that NLCS MVP. You deserve it. You are an ace. You are our ace.

That was one of the most satisfying games I've ever seen. Every pitch, every at-bat was fun, nerve-wracking and exhilarating. I loved every minute of it. I will always, always remember that game. From Chase Utley's tremendous defense, turning double plays, diving for the ball like his life, our lives, depended on it to Pedro Feliz vacuuming up everything at third to Pat Burrell's catch, Ryan Howard's hits, Jimmy's home run to Werth chatting up Furcal, the man who opened the door with his 3-error inning.

I'll remember Cole dealing, Madson just pitching lights out and Shane Victorino, getting intentionally walked twice because of his penchant for huge hits, and his tremendous play in center.

And I'll remember Brad Lidge, doing his damn thing, getting a popup to end the game, as Curbball Ruiz squeezed it.

And I'll remember these images, as I went down the street, hit up the bar and drank in the win.

Take it away, Harry.

Today, I am smiling. I don't smile often, unless it is in the midst of laughing. But today, I am smiling. But the work is not done. There are still more games to be won. Four more to be exact. And you know what? I think this team has 4 more wins in them. Four more.

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Anthony Adams and Farts

True story, when I was a freshman at Penn State, Anthony Adams was a starting senior defensive lineman and one of my favorite players on the team. Playing alongside Michael Haynes and Jimmy Kennedy, Adams didn't get the same recognition outside of State College as his All-American counterparts, but the man was a beast.

While Michael Haynes, who was drafted 14th overall in 2003, is currently not on an active roster and Jimmy Kennedy (12th overall) is currently a backup defensive tackle in Minnesota, Adams, drafted in the second round that same season (57th overall), is starting for the Chicago Bears. He's carved himself a nice little seven-year career here so far, and he's apparently becoming a pretty popular guy in Chicago. At least, popular enough to get a guest post on the Chicago Tribune Players Only blog, in which Mr. Adams shares this nice little nugget of information, via TSB:

In the film room, we make up lists for fines. Like (passing gas) is a $20 fine. If you fall asleep, that's like $20. If you jump offside in practice and we see it on the practice film, that's $20 and $100 for in the game.
Mark Anderson might be the worst (gas-passer) ever. He takes these protein shakes, so he smells like little babies do. He's the worst at getting the fines and then saying he didn't do it. I know he got that fine for that extra shove in the Steelers game. He wouldn't let anybody see how much it was. We don't get him (an extra fine) for that. When the league gets you, we leave you alone.
I don't get fines for (passing gas). I leave outside the meeting room and do my dirt.

Now this is exactly the type of thing blogs were created for, so players can share information about farting to the general public. I knew I always loved Anthony Adams for a reason.

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Commence the Iowa Hate

Last year, Iowa not only ruined Penn State's national title hopes, but those bastards ruined my entire weekend. Daryll Clark played like complete dog shit and got concussed. The defense was terrible, and Iowa capitalized on Penn State's mistakes and took advantage of some more than questionable calls. It was a truly awful experience. I hated every second of it.

Truth be told, I've hated everything about Iowa football my entire life. Growing up, I had a friend from Iowa who was an avid Hawkeyes fan. He moved to the Philadelphia area in 3rd grade from that stupid midwestern state, the same time I moved to Bucks County with my family, and we instantly became friends. And we would trash talk all the time about the Iowa-Penn State matchups. That spawned my hatred for the Hawkeyes. Thankfully for me, growing up, Penn State owned Iowa. Not so anymore. Iowa has defeated Penn State in 6 of the last 7 contests, including the most horrific football game ever played, a 6-4 Iowa victory in Beaver Stadium my sophomore year. It was atrocious.

But tomorrow, at 8 o'clock, on national television, with Gameday in town, I just don't see the Nittany Lions losing. Clark will be fired up to prove he can get it done against the better opponents, and you can sure as shit bet he'd like to atone for last year's performance in Iowa City. The defense has been dominant, and with the likes of Mark Rubin, Anthony Scirrotto and Lydell Sargeant gone from the secondary and replaced by the more talented (and better) D' Anton Lynn, Drew Astorino and combination of Nick Sukay, A.J. Wallace, Knowledge Timmons and Stephon Morris, Ricky Stanzi won't have much to work with. Against Iowa's tough defense, Penn State might not score much, but I don't expect Iowa to move the ball at all against the Lions. Time for revenge. Time for Penn State to do what they did to Iowa last time they visited Happy Valley.

Time for payback.

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Wildcat, Bitches!!!

I'm not sure if you heard, but some character named Michael Vick is going to play for the Eagles on Sunday, whoever that is. Apparently, he's kind of a big deal.

Marty Mornhinweg has already stated that Vick will, indeed, play Sunday, most likely in the wildcat. And with the Eagles' infatuation with the formation in the first half last week, expect to see plenty of it with Vick under center.

I'm not really sure what to make of this game or the return of Vick. The Chiefs are just awful, quite possibly the worst team in the league. The Eagles should win, and after last week's embarrassment, they have to win — they need as many wins early on before their schedule gets considerably tougher. I fully expect them to do that. And I expect them to experiment a bit more with this new formation to see how effective it can be and how Michael Vick fits into the team's plans. Should be interesting, to say the least. Wildcat, Bitches!

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It's Friday, Time to Dance

As you are all aware, the Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday here in Philadelphia. So in honor of taking on the Chefs Chiefs, do a quick little dance to the intro of one of the most illuminating shows ever based in Kansas City:

Malcolm and Eddie. Good times.

BallHype: hype it up!

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 11

They say you never forget your first time. And with October right around the corner, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here and part 10 here.

Today is part 11, originally published Oct. 14, 2008:

I Want to Vomit: Phils, Linkage Style

-Dan Levy has a great line to open his post:

At one point in the sixth inning, I sent Matt an instant message that simply said, "I want to vomit."

Couldn't agree more.

-Jayson Stark says stuff.

They were five outs away from a crushing loss, a loss that would have evened this series at two wins apiece, a loss that would have brought all the tragic moments from their star-crossed history showering down on all their heads.

But this is a team that doesn't think that way. This is a team that thinks two-run, eighth-inning deficits are just the perfect launching pad to kick off their latest miracle comeback.

"This team's amazing," closer Brad Lidge said in a raucous October clubhouse. "I don't care if we're down by 10 runs. If there's two innings left, we just believe that somehow, some way, we're going to catch up. No matter how many runs we're down by, I'm still thinking I'm going to come into the game."

-T.J. Simers seems a little ANGRY at Joe Torre, does he not?

-Shane Victorino is the best thing to come out of Hawaii since:

* The surf board
* Five-O
* Magnum
* Don Ho
* Those episodes of the Brady Bunch when they go to Hawaii

-Enrico gots some video.

-Matt Stairs quote of the year.

-Not Phillies, but apparently Braylon Edwards wishes he went to Penn State. So do I.

-Also not Phillies, but a great, funny post over at NOIS.

-Matt Stairs: "He looks like a guy who's dressing like the 1993 Phillies for Halloween."

-Always entertaining is the morning video, and this is no exception.

-Barack Obama says he's rooting for the Phillies.

-'Duk has some big ups for Matt Stairs.

-Terrible lede, but excellent job giving Chase some props for his defense.

-YES! I agree with everything written here.

-For photo stealing, go to Walkoff Walk for details, and get photos like this:

-Excellent game story by David Murphy.

-Shane loves being a villain.

-Hef writes a letter to the Phils.

And let’s not forget Shane Victorino. That dude is scrappy despite the fact that he’s not a white dude. He’s gritty and he hustles and he’s a smart player and he’s got a big heart. Again, despite not being a white dude. I think he and Chone Figgins should start a club (but Figgins should pay dues because he sucks).

-Cole Hamels is ready.

-Forget the regular season. The Phils won in LA, and now have a 3-1 lead.

-One win away. Actually, 5 wins away.


BallHype: hype it up!