Thursday, August 28, 2008

I = Gold Medals

Who would believe that one of Penn State's own starting safeties would have won Olympic medals this summer? Thats right, Mark Rubin used to beat Michael Phelps and all his oddly proportioned glory.

I say that makes me at least equal if not better since I once beat out a starting safety, for the #3 ranked team in the country, for a girl. Am I an Olympian? Obviously not. I am fat and hairy and wholly unathletic. But I can say now that I am by 3 degrees of separation equal to one of the greatest Olympians ever, and it feels damn good!

Today is My Friday, Time to Dance

Since I have off tomorrow due to my required attendance at my sister's wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, today is my Friday. I may not have time to post tomorrow because my freaking sister is getting married on the first Saturday of the college football season. And I have season tickets to Penn State. What a bitch.

Anyway, in honor of the college football season starting, I present you with preseason No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs, with their epic team celebration against Florida last year. It was one for the ages. It's my Friday, time to dance.

Kid Falls at The House That Glanville Built

Thank you Deadspin and for this gold. Don't worry, the kid is fine. Enjoy.

Kid Falls Over Home Run Fence - Watch more free videos

I hope he was a Mets fan.

Hilarity All Around

As I'm sure you all know, Jay Mariotti left his post at the Chicago Sun-Times. As it turns out, everyone at the paper is ecstatic, and the paper even went so far as to do this:

Wow. Just wow. Deadspin has the tale of Pete Gaines and some more info from the paper. That is unbelievably funny.

And in more hilarious fun, we turn to Craig Sager, everyone's favorite NBA sideline reporter and Steve Nash's personal man to mess with during interviews. From MOUTHPIECE Blog:

Craig Sage seems like an awesome guy. And Jane Fonda gave it up.

Devlin Not Happy, Neither Am I

The news that Joe Paterno named Daryll Clark as Penn State's starting quarterback in the opener was no surprise. Clark is older, has more experience and the Penn State staff really likes him. But you really have to wonder why a kid highly regarded as one of the best quarterback prospects in the country as a high school senior, Downingtown East's Pat Devlin, hasn't seen the field and won't be under center for Penn State's first snap of 2008.

In a very interesting article by Bernard Fernandez of the Daily News, Devlin expressed his frustrations.

"I don't know what the feeling is. Maybe it's disappointment. It's probably a lot of feelings mixed into one," Devlin said yesterday in his first comments to the media since Paterno informed Clark and him, as well as fringe candidate Paul Cianciolo, on Monday night of his decision to go with Clark in what likely was the tightest quarterback race in Happy Valley since Rashard Casey and Kevin Thompson split time during the 1999 season.

"You work so hard for something, you feel pretty good about it and the next day they tell you you're not going to start," Devlin continued. "There's still frustration . . . If they put me on the field a little bit, I guess that's what I got."

Those are some troubling comments from a highly touted quarterback, who originally committed to Miami, considering there were rumblings of Devlin considering transferring after last season. I know a prominent Downingtown alumn close to Devlin who said the Nittany Lions quarterback was considering transferring to Delaware last year so he would not have to sit a year to play.

Now, with Clark getting an extra year of eligibility next year that he has every intention of using, the redshirt sophomore Devlin will have to bide his time. Unless, of course, he plays well enough Saturday to make Paterno at least let him split time with Clark this year.

But considering he has already considered transferring before, these comments aren't too reassuring:

Might Devlin entertain thoughts of transferring if he believes his crack at starting is getting further away instead of closer?

"Nobody's really asked me that," said Pennsylvania's all-time high school passing yardage leader, not really addressing the question. "I don't expect to be hearing it in the next couple of days, either."

So has Devlin spoken to anyone about how he feels about what appears to be at least a temporary setback?

"We talked that night," he said of a telephone call to his father, Mark Devlin, a Penn State graduate. "[It was] regular fatherly stuff."

Anyone else?

"I got more important things to talk to my friends and teammates about than that," Devlin said.

I just hope Devlin can find a happy medium, get on the field this year, and become a very good play-caller for the Nittany Lions. The kid has a world of talent, and he should get the chance to showcase. Hopefully in Happy Valley.

Last Night Must Have Opposite Day

How else can you describe what happened in last night's Phils-Mets game? Surely, coming off an emotional, draining 5 and half hour, 13 inning win to take a half game lead, it was going to be difficult for the Phils to muster up another strong performance against the Mets with Johan Santana on the mound.

It was almost as if people were conceding first place right back before the game even began. After all, Kyle Kendrick has struggled of late, and Johan has been the most dominating pitcher in baseball the last few Augusts. But Kendrick actually outpitched Johan, to an extent. Honestly, he struggled much more than Johan, threw more pitches and had worse location, but Kendrick surrendered just two runs, while the Phils picked up three of Santana. No one saw that coming.

The game went to the bullpens, with both were hurting for arms. The Phils more so, as Jamie Moyer only managed three innings on Tuesday night. And that's where the world was really turned upside down on its head. Scott Eyre did do a marvelous job for the Fightins, going two perfect innings and striking out three. But thin on arms, it was Rudy time, and old man Seanez couldn't get the job done, blowing a save in the eighth. And even Brad Lidge couldn't get the job done, allowing the Mets to take a sizable lead. He sure picked an awful game to do that.

Meanwhile, the Mets bullpen pitched flawlessly, going a combined three shutout innings and yielding just one hit. That's not a misprint. It really happened.

Considering the lack of bullpen arms available, it wasn't a shock the Phils lost, allowing the Mets to get right back in first. It was, however, quite odd the way it unfolded.

Oh, and keeping with the opposite theme, how about Pat Burrell this year? He's having the complete opposite season as last year, where he struggled most of the year and turned it on in July, August and September. This year, Pat's been scorching most of the year, but now, when it really matters, he sucks donkey balls.

And it's not the, "He's hitting the ball hard or just in a funk" kind of Pat Burrell. It's the old, dreaded "Looking at strike three" Pat Burrell. That's not good for anybody. If he doesn't snap out of this soon, the Phils could be in trouble.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Steve Downie Was Always Crazy

Wow. I can't believe I never heard of this.

Steve Downie is a crazy motherfucker! But honestly, how do you let Steve Downie be a captain? He's crazy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan, but man is he nuts.

Carlos Ruiz, 3rd Baseman

In all my excitement and joy, I forgot to mention that Carlos Ruiz manned third base for an inning last night, which turned out to be one of the many moves that worked to perfection for Charlie Manuel last night.

Thanks to The Fightins, we have documented evidence. Enjoy.

Destination Super Bowl

Donovan McNabb was on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, with Dr. Z picking the Eagles to make it to the Super Bowl and lose to the Patriots. I'm going to have to agree with the guy on them making it to the Super Bowl, but they will probably beat the Patriots this year. I don't see how they can't. Donovan is healthy this year and is going to have a monster year. If you don't believe me, then you are a douchebag.

They have one of the top three running backs in football. DeSean Jackson looks like he is going to be a really, really, really, really good football player. He will also be returning punts which will be a slight upgrade over Reno Mahe, and by slight I mean enormous.

L.J. Smith is healthy as well and playing for a contract. The offensive line has been together for about 10 years now it seems. Apparently, they have too many defensive ends and more than two solid DTs. The Eagles have a strong, young and fast linebacking corps. They probably have the best trio of cornerbacks in the league. Brian Dawkins is Brian Dawkins. And David Akers lost 20 lbs and gained a lot of muscles in his butt to kick the ball farther.

What more can you ask for? And Sav Rocca learned how to kick the ball this year, at least during the preseason. So either way, the Eagles are probably going to win the Super Bowl this year. That's all I'm saying.

Also, I hate Mets fans. They are just dumb, ignorant people. I also really do not like Italians [Ed Note: FUCK YOU!]. They are creepy and annoying. I may be mistaken but it seems like every Mets fan I have ever seen gives the appearance of an Italian person [Ed note: You mean Puerto Rican, jerk]. So, either way I guess I'm just saying that I don't like those kinds of people.

Chris Coste really should just change his last name to Clutch at this point. Also, here is a question for you. Why did Charlie Manuel pinch-hit Brett Myers for Rudy Seanez last night when he told Brett not to swing? Couldn't Rudy have done the same exact thing and possibly been used for another few batters in the next inning if it occurred? Did they really need to use a pinch hitter to just stand there like an idiot? That seemed dumb. Don't get me wrong, Charlie did good last night. The whole Ruiz at 3b for an inning for the pinch hitter was brilliant. So good job last night Charlie.

Oh Fuck Me

Just when everything seemed to be going so swimmingly for Philadelphia after last night's epic game, Sports Illustrated goes and pulls this:

Just what we need, the SI jinx. In fact, it's a double jinx, as Dr. Z, one of the dumbest football "experts" on the planet, predicts the Eagles will make the Super Bowl. This can't be good. There is now an even greater chance Donovan will get hurt and the Birds will sputter to another mediocre and disappointing season.


Lazy and Hazy

I'm exhausted from last night's game, and I was so busy getting amped for it yesterday. So now I'm here to pass along some recent updates, via links!

Daryll Clark was named the starting quarterback for Penn State, which is a surprise to no one.

The Flyers are giving Bryan Berard a chance at a comeback. At one time he was a really good defenseman. He also tested positive for steroids. I guess that's understandable when this happens to you:

We'll see how this works out.

Reggie Brown is still not healthy.

MLB begins instant replay use tomorrow!

Oh yes, and this fair site got a nice little link from fellow Philadelphian A.J. Daulerio on some little site called Deadspin. You may have heard of it. No? Well, it's a pretty bid deal. Which means I'm kind of a big deal. A little self-promotion never hurt anyone.

HOLY BALLS!!!!! What It Was Like Being At One of the Best Games Ever With a Mets Fan … Who Just Happens to Be My Boss

Jesus fucking Christ!!!! That was easily the best baseball game I've ever attended in my life. And I owe it all to a Mets fan.

Now, everyone settle down a bit. He's not that kind of Mets fan—you know, a complete freakin idiot. The guy is my boss, and he's pretty laid back. A couple months ago, he asked two of my co-workers and I if we wanted to go to the Phillies-Mets game on Aug. 26, and of course we said yes, even though he's a New Yorker and a stinking Mets fan. So he got the tickets, and last night finally came.

From the onset, I knew I was in for a good time because one of my co-workers got this gigantic freaking soda. When he sat down, the dummy spilled the thing all over the girl sitting in front of him. It was hilarious. I could tell I was in for a hell of a time.

And then the game started. Jamie Moyer, who I've seen pitch pretty much every time he's taken the mound at home this year, looked like an old man for the first time in a long time. Frankly, it was a minor miracle that the Mets only managed two runs in the first inning. He struggled to throw strikes, and the inning was painfully slow, as most Jamie Moyer innings are. But Jamie wasn't the only old as dirt pitcher in this contest. No sir. Thirty-six-year-old Pedro Martinez, who is 9 years younger than Moyer, struggled mightily himself in the first, giving up a leadoff double to Jimmy and walking Chase. But unlike Moyer, Pedro got out of the jam with no runs. The entire first inning took 35 freaking minutes. I shit you not. And that was only the beginning.

Moyer was throwing BP out there, and I had to contain my anger, at least in the profanity sense, so as to not look like the raving lunatic I truly am in front of my boss. To make matters worse, there was an entire row of meathead Mets fans two rows in front of me, a stupid bitch that didn't stop yammering the entire game behind me, and more Let's Go Mets chants than my ears can take. Jamie surrendered another run in the second, and things weren't going so well in the third.

Then all of the sudden, Moyer got Fernando Tatis to hit a laser down the third base line that nailed Carlos Beltran, occupying third at the time, getting a huge out. Or so I thought. The third base ump called it foul. Carlos Ruiz was pissed, so I naturally thought the ump jobbed the Phils. Then Tatis hit a three-run bomb in that same at-bat where he should have been out, and I wanted to start chugging beers and start fights with Mets fan. Only I couldn't. For you see, my boss was there. And he's a Mets fan.

It sucked. The Phils were down 6-0 in the third, and to add insult to injury, my roommate informed me from home that the ball that hit Beltran was indeed fair, and the umps screwed us again. I felt like a homicidal maniac.

All that was racing my was "FUCK! SHIT! FUCK! FUCK! SHIT! FUCK! SHIT! I FUCKING HATE THE GOD DAMN METS! FUCK!" Meanwhile my boss was glowing like a school girl. I was fucking pissed.

Old many Moyer scraped his way through three innings, surrendering six runs on nine hits. It was brutal. The Mets tacked on another in the fourth, and the Phils were down 7-0. It was going to be a long night.

The Phils did manage a run in the bottom of the fourth, but a 7-1 deficit wasn't really doing me any good. However, my boss did reassure me that the Phils had a chance once they got through Pedro because the Mets bullpen has been even worse than what ESPN would have you believe. And they've been bashing the Mets bullpen all year.

Turns out, the Phils didn't even have to wait for Pedro to exit. In the 5th, I was certain my eyes deceived me. Clay Condrey, he of the long relief, led off the inning with a double. And it was legit. I was stunned. And his hit woke up the slumbering Phils. Jimmy Rollins, who is officially back from his hiatus experiment, smashed a homer to right. Suddenly the score was 7-3. Chase followed with a walk, and Ryan Howard decided not to strike out for once, launching an opposite field homer to bring the Phils within in two. Game on. I was jumping and yelling and hitting things as my boss slouched in his seat, head in hands, just taking the abuse.

After the inning, Pedro was gone, and it became a battle of the bullpens. Just like that, I went from extremely pissed and hopeless to feeling like the game was in our hands now. It was fucking sweet. Two scoreless innings followed, and the Phils bullpen kept the Mets on lockdown in the eighth as well. And in the eighth, Carlos "Curbball" Ruiz got a one-out single. Then Coste pinch-hit and got a single. And then James Calvin Rollins, who was already 4-for-4 on the night, became his old, clutch self, driving in Curbball to bring the Phils within one. Unfortunately, Chase and Burrell, who both had horrible at-bats all night, couldn't get the job done. With runners on first and third, everyone's favorite second baseman struck out. A mortal sin. Then Burrell popped out. I was fuming again.

Still, the Phils were within a run, and Brad Lidge was his dominant self in the ninth, striking out two Mets in a 1-2-3 inning. I was biting my nails as my boss was praying. Howard led off the ninth with a fly out. Then Victorino, who looked completely lost at the plate all night, grounded out. Up came Werth, and I told my boss, "He has to hit a home run right here to tie the game. If not, it's over. Bruntlett is on deck, and that man can't hit." Werth did manage a single, but the game looked to be lost. Eric Bruntlett was up, and we all know what I think about him.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Eric Bruntlett, he of the .214 average at the time, ripped a single down the right field. And Werth, ever the hustler, motored all the way around and headed for home. The throw may have beaten Werth, but Brian Schneider couldn't handle it. Eric Bruntlett saved the day, and wound up as the potential winning run on second, advancing on the throw home.

Curbball Ruiz had a chance to win it, and he seemed up to the task. He ripped one up the middle, but Jose Reyes made an incredible diving stop, fired a laser to first and sent the game to extras. I fucking hate Jose Reyes. Still, it was hard to complain. Eric Bruntlett got a hit. Really. Eric Bruntlett. And I wasn't the only one stunned. Arkansas Fred sent me this text message: "Are you kidding me? Brunlet?" He can't spelled very well, but you can't blame him. He's practically retarded.

In "overtime" it looked as though no one wanted to win the game. My boss and I were growing weary, just waiting for someone to be thrilled and the other to be disappointed.

The game was a microcosm for this divisional race. No one seemed like they wanted to win. Runners were stranded. Bullpens were taxed. Pitchers were used as pinch hitters. A game that started at 7:05 p.m. was still taking place well after midnight, as the game entered the bottom of the 13th.

That's when Shane decided enough was enough. The Flyin Hawaiin, who had literally not had even a good swing, let alone a good at-bat on the night, took his place in the box with an 0-for-6 on the night. But on the second pitch he saw from lefty Scott Schoeneweis, Shane smoked a ball down the right field line, to the corner, and wound up on third easily with a triple. Maybe all he needed to do was bat righty.

Two intentional walks followed to load the bases to get to Rudy Seanez's spot on the lineup. So what does Manuel do? He sends in Brett Myers to pinch-hit, as there are no more position players left. It is the 13th inning after all. Brett had a brilliant at-bat, too. He must have been instructed not to swing under any circumstance, and rightfully so, to stay out of a double play. It worked to perfection. Myers ran the count to 3-2, almost working a walk. He did strike out looking, but it was a great at-bat.

Then Coste came up, already 3-for-3 on the night, and on the second pitch, everyone's favorite perseverance story ripped a ball to deep center field, well over the drawn-in Mets outfielders, to plate Victorino with a walk-off single.

I went bonkers. Unfortunately, I couldn't destroy the Mets fans that were still in attendance, seeing as my boss was there. But I did give him a good ribbing. It always feels good to beat the Mets, but shit, to do it like that, down 7-0, scoring 8 unanswered runs, winning finally in 13, after 5 and a half hours of game time? It was one of the better feelings of my life. So good, in fact, that I didn't even have any qualms about walking down Girard, toward Frankford, from Broad Street. I could have been shot dead right there, and I wouldn't have cared. Luckily my roommate picked me up at around 10th Street, but I would have walked the entire way with no fear. I was on an adrenaline high.

We beat the stinking Mets, in fantastic fashion by the way, to reclaim first. You should have been there. I'm sure as shit glad i was. And oh yeah, I'm never going to a Mets-Phils game with a Mets fan again. Even if this one was great. Because I felt like a shell of myself not getting a few beers in me and spewing vile at those fucktard Mets fans. I fucking hate those scum-sucking leeches. FIRST PLACE BABY!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This Has All Been One Big Misunderstanding

So I was watching the Phillies last night when something dawned on me. Maybe there's been more than meets the eye in the 2008 version of Jimmy Rollins. For you see, since his stint on the disabled list early in the year, 2008 Jimmy Rollins has not been remotely like 2007 MVP Jimmy Rollins or even the happy-go-lucky, hustling Jimmy Rollins of years past.

But then last night, the old Jimmy was back. The Jimmy everyone loves. The Jimmy that doesn't spout off at the mouth about his hometown fans. The Jimmy that doesn't suck. In the Phils' 5-0 win, he, along with Jayson Werth, was the catalyst for the team, driving in the first two runs and scoring the third for an impressive 3-for-3 night with a single, double, triple, hbp, walk, run and two RBIs. It was almost as if the J-Roll of old had gone away, only to return when his replacement hit rock bottom.

And you see, that got me thinking … Could it be that the real Jimmy Rollins has, in fact, been gone since April 8, the night he sprained his ankle going back to 2nd at Shea Stadium? I contend that Jimmy Rollins started the season with every intention of replicating his 2007 season. But when he got injured and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career, he got a taste of what having some time off feels like.

And you know what? Jimmy liked it. Why should he be busting his ass night in and night out when he could sit at home, relax and collect a fat paycheck? So when his time to return approached, Jimmy took a page out of the old Calvin and Hobbes playbook. He broke out his trusty old cardboard box and favorite sharpie, and whammo, his duplicator was born.

Like Calvin (which is James Rollins' middle name by the way), Jimmy duplicated himself to get his clone to do the work. That way, Jimmy could stay at home and read comic books with his stuffed tiger … or something like that.

It was a full-proof plan. That was, until his clone started to get him in trouble. You see, Calvin's clone kept doing and saying dumb things, which got the original Calvin in more trouble than even he could get into himself. I'm sensing some eerie parallels here.

Just as Calvin's duplicate caused him problems, so has Jimmy's. For starters, the duplicate version was simply not as good at baseball as the original. He didn't hit very well, and apparently Rollins forgot to mention to his clone that running was a part of the game. Then, the clone seemed to get even more relaxed, even after causing Jimmy to be benched for not running out a pop-up. He decided to show up late for a game against the Mets. Then he defied the original Rollins, saying his manager was wrong for benching him.

The real Jimmy was beginning to get nervous. He watched as his duplicate began to destroy his season and to some extent his reputation. But Jimmy enjoyed his time off, so he sat down Jimmy No. 2, explained to him he needed to cool it down a bit and start trying a little harder. But Jimmy No. 2, getting more and more frustrated that he was asked to do all the work while that no-good original got all the credit, decided to sabotage Jimmy No. 1. So on national television, with his team in the middle of a divisional race, clone Jimmy bashed original Jimmy's fans, making the public in Philadelphia turn on him.

To make matters even worse, Jimmy No. 2 went in a 5-for-50 funk, scoring just two runs and driving in 0 runs in 12 games. Well, finally Jimmy No. 1 had enough. He broke out his cardboard box, set it to transmogrifier and got rid of that pesky clone.

And last night, the real Jimmy Rollins made his triumphant return. Inspired by the incredible hustle of Jasyon Werth, who somehow beat out a play at second base to set up Rollins for his 2-run single and later scored on a ground ball to second from second base, Rollins ignited the team. He finished a home run shy of the cycle and began to win back the fans his duplicate had alienated. This has to be the case right?

It sure took a while, but we're awful glad to have the real Jimmy back. Let's hope the clone doesn't resurface any time soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pittsburgh, Land of the Smart

Or not so smart. It looks like Pittsburghers have a tough time spelling on this sign, courtesy of Hugging Harold Reynolds.

Apparently contractions don't go over so well out west.

Makes me sick …

Check out this link to the salary cap status of all 32 NFL teams as of today. I know, I know … we aren't as far under as the Chiefs (who apparently have to spend money to reach the salary floor). Congrats to Steven Jackson for taking the Rams down to "only" $8 million under the cap and Jason Peters for holding out for a bigger chunk of that $21 million dollars under the cap that the Bills are working with. In my opinion, NFL owners have way too much power …

Philadelphia Had a Nice Little Saturday … and Friday … and Sunday

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me right back in. The Phillies, fresh off a floundering 4-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers last week, have now won three straight series—the latest taking place this past weekend and concluding tonight.

With Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers rolling into town Friday night, I thought to myself that this series could very well be the end of the Fightins. Instead, what we were all treated to was an awakening of the bats, to the tune of 8 runs on 10 hits to beat Greg Maddux for the second time in a week. Ryan Howard homered. Chase homered. And Coste had a game-high 4 RBIs, breaking the game open with a crushing 3-run bomb off Maddux. It was a very nice surprise.

To make Friday night even better, the Eagles looked absolutely unstoppable against the Patriots defensive starters, as McNabb tore the old, slow New England defense apart to the tune of 13-17 for 180 yards and a touchdown. And as we all know, it should have been two touchdowns if Hank Baskett had not pulled an L.J. Smith and dropped the ball.

Speaking of L.J., he finally had a strong outing, catching 3 balls for 44 yards and making Mike Vrabel look like the overrated, overmatched linebacker he really is. Tony Hunt did an admirable job at fullback for his first time out, although he certainly has some work to do on his blocking. But he looked better than any of the other Eagles fullbacks, and he actually can do something with the ball when he gets it. His excellent hands and inside running ability should give him that starting fullback spot, as long as he can show improvements with his lead blocking.

But the star of the show was again the man who has been the star of the preseason for the Birds. DeSean Jackson has simply been a beast at wide receiver and is starting to make me believe Joe Banner and Andy Reid aren't lying about being confident at wide receiver. By the looks of it, as long as Jackson can pick up the offense (which he seems to be doing just fine) he will be better this year than Kevin Curtis was last year. That's a bold statement, but I truly believe that. He again led the Eagles in receiving, nabbing four catches for 67 yards. Oh yeah, and he also did this.

On his punt return, DeSean showed his incredible return skills that he's been known for, and add in this kick return by Quintin Demps, and the nightmares of Reno Mahe's fair catches quickly fade away. I'm not even sure we'll know what to do as fans actually having not one, but two return men that can take it to the house at any moment. I am sincerely excited for this.

It was a pretty awesome Friday.

Then on Saturday, the Phils kept the hot bats going and actually scored 9 runs for Cole Hamels. It was amazing. Almost like they forgot Cole was pitching. Burrell did the heavy lifting with three hits, three runs and five RBIs including his 30th home run of the year, and Chase did his thing with two hits and three runs. That's right, Cole is 2-0 since his chat with the team.

Then yesterday, it simply came down to one man and one man only: Pete Happy. Well, that's not entirely true. Joe Blanton continued his up and down trend, this time on the positive side, pitching a very good game. Chad Durbin pulled a Houdini act and pitched out of a bases loaded, no out jam, surrendering no runs, to keep the Phils within one. And Shane Victorino notched two hits and two runs.

But it was Pedro Feliz who played hero. With the Phils down a run in the bottom of the 9th, Feliz stepped up with Shane on second, Kendrick pinch-running at first for Andy Tracy who worked a walk and two outs. Then Pete Happy singled to right on an 2-0 pitch to tie the game.

But that wasn't all Pedro had in store. With my eyes falling heavy as the clock approached 12:30 a.m., Pedro strolled up with two men on again in the 11th. The man seemed to have had enough of the game and wasted no time, launching a three-run bomb to left center to end the game and bring the Phils to within a half game of the stinking Mets, whose bullpen imploded yet again yesterday. Man does this division suck. But Pete Happy made me forget how bad the Phils have been before this little streak here. I'd vote for him.

But the good news didn't end there. The Birds received some much needed help from the football gods, as Osi Umenyiora tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee and will be gone for the season. Somewhere Winston Justice is breathing a sigh of relief.

In some not so great news, Jimmy Rollins still sucks. He went a whopping 1-for-13 over the weekend, scoring two runs on Saturday, and driving in 0 runs in the three games. He went 0-for-5 last night. That brings his total to 5-for-50 with 4 runs and 0 RBIs since informing me I am a front-runner, and his season batting average is down to .255. Way to go Jimmy.

Still, Jimmy Rollins' sucktitude notwithstanding, it was a great weekend in Philadelphia. And it's up to white hot Brett Myers to complete the 4-game sweep of the Dodgers to avenge the 4-game sweep embarrassment out in LA. Oh yeah, and the Mets come to town tomorrow with first place there for the taking.

Friday, August 22, 2008

David Murphy Should Be Fired

Typically, I have no problem with David Murphy, the Phillies beat writer at The Daily News.

But just minutes ago on "Daily News Live," Murphy said Ryan Howard is having a more disappointing year than Jimmy Rollins. What?!? Are you on drugs David Murphy?

Here's his reasoning. Ryan Howard's batting average is way farther below his career average this year than Jimmy's is. That's it. That's his entire reasoning. And while that's true, his other numbers are right on par, where Jimmy's are way, way down, especially from last year's MVP season.

Here's the numbers: Howard-.229 average, 33 home runs, 104 RBIs, 228 total bases and 61 walks. Sure, he's on the verge of striking out 200 times, but he's still produced a lot of runs this year.
Rollins-.261 average, 8 home runs, 42 RBIs, 176 total bases and 39 walks. Not to mention Rollins has been benched twice, once for not hustling (he's only hustled about 50-60 percent of the games, maybe) and for showing up late. Oh yeah, and he got hurt stepping on second base.

Really, you think Howard is more disappointing than Rollins, David Murhpy? You're a fucking idiot. I bet you think Edgar Martinez is better than Mike Schmidt too because his average is higher. What a moron.

It's Friday, Time to Dance

Since the Eagles' idea of a No. 1 receiver Kevin Curtis succumbed to the dreaded sports hernia, I decided, as painful as it might be for some Eagles fans, to feature the only true No. 1 the Birds have had with Donovan McNabb under center.

So here I present, Terrell Owens doing the Ray Lewis idiotic dance.

That was the coolest celebration I've ever seen, and I loved every second of it when it happened.

So is Brad Lidge

The Fightins continue to be an excellent place to get your Phillies fill. Great interview clip from Brad Lidge, who not only praises Philadelphia fans, but bashes Houston fans all at the same time.

Seriously Jimmy, how can a guy who's been here less than a year understand us better than you?

Theo Ratliff is the Anti-Jimmy Rollins

And I like him for it.

Check out what Ed Stefanski told Kulp and Matt P at The700Level about Theo Ratliff:

"He said he loves Philadelphia. He loves the fans because the fans make him play hard, and the fans are always there for him, and he knows if he puts in the effort, the Philadelphia fans will like him.

He figured the Philadelphia fans out. Philadelphia fans are all about effort. When you give the effort, and maybe it comes up short, they're gonna forgive you. When you don't give the effort is when the fans get on you."

Theo Ratliff is my favorite 76er of my lifetime besides Allen Iverson. Glad to have him back.

Enough With the Whole Eric Bruntlett Joke Already

Coming off an outing on Wednesday where I started to believe this team might wake up, I went to Citizens Bank last night and witnessed another flop by the Phillies.

Now, there were many reasons for the loss: poor situational hitting yet again, the Phils lack of ability to hit Tim freaking Redding, Ryan Madson and some shoddy fielding. In fact, those four things were actually the main causes of the loss. But there was something else that absolutely killed the Phils chance to win, and to be quite honest, it's something that has severely hindered this team all season. Eric Bruntlett.

Let's face the facts people, Eric Bruntlett is not a Major League Baseball player. He's just not. As of today, Bruntlett is batting a lofty .214, a full 20 points lower than what Abraham Nunez batted last year. And he was considered a weak link. Add on top of that that Nunez was about 800 times better in the field and things don't look so good for Mr. Shitty Beard. I know, I know. People like to tell me Bruntlett is good in the field. Heck, why else would he come in as a defensive replacement at third or left all year? Simple, Charlie is an idiot.

In his first game starting, Bruntlett made two crippling errors against the Mets. Since then, he's been a mediocre fielder at best, and last night, he made a terrible error, failing to catch a sharp grounder that was hit right at him. He now, as a spot player, has seven errors on the year, and he has zero range to account for those errors.

Even worse, however, was his back-breaking at bat in the ninth inning last night. Down by a run, Shane Victorino—the only guy who really seems to give a damn in recent weeks by the way—led things off with a single. Bruntlett was up there to move Victorino along. And you know what he does? He squares to bunt and pulls back, taking a called strike. Then, he squared to bunt again, pulled back and took another called strike. Now the bunt is off.

Luckily, Shane decided to take things into his own hands and steal second. He was safe, and Bruntlett had a great opportunity to either move Victorino to third with a ball hit to the right side or play hero by tying the game with a hit. So what does Bruntlett do? He looks at a called third strike. That's three strikes looking to go down without even putting up a fight, against the worst team in baseball, for a team trying to catch the Mets in the division. In August. It was pathetic.

Sure, Carlos "Curbball" Ruiz could have picked Bruntlett up, but he already used up all his offense for the night with a solo home run in the seventh to give the Phils the lead. Then Chris Coste continued his struggles at the plate, grounding out weakly to end the game.

Don't get me wrong, Bruntlett wasn't the reason the Phils lost last night. But he sure as shit didn't help. Not one bit. And he has hurt the team way, way more than he has helped this year. The thing is, he should have never even been in that situation last night. With the game on the line, you don't want it in the hands of Carlos Ruiz, Eric Bruntlett, Chris Coste and So Taguchi (who was the only extra man not used in the game).

Once again, Charlie Manuel's glaring weaknesses as a manager came into play. For all his success in the win-loss column and the team making the playoffs under his reign, Charlie Manuel is still simply not a good game manager. He repeatedly uses his bench players far too liberally, depleting the bench early in the game. He keeps taking out potent bats in close games when the Phils are leading for defensive purposes, only to see a team tie the game or take the lead, leaving it up to players that couldn't hit pitchers in the Little League World Series let alone Major League pitching.

Last night was just another example of that. And the players that are supposed to get the job done haven't been helping Manuel out at all either. Since his comments calling out the fans last Tuesday, the reigning MVP is 4-for-37 (.108) with 2 runs and 0 RBIs in 9 games, including an 0-for-4 performance last night. Next time you open your mouth, Jimmy, maybe you should make sure to not completely suck. Ryan Howard had another incredibly horrible game, going 0-for-4 with three fucking strikeouts. His failure to make contact is just ridiculous at this point.

And in a huge spot in the eighth, with Jayson Werth working a leadoff walk and Utley ripping a single, the Phils had two on with nobody out down just a run. Howard proceeds to strikeout for the third time on the night, followed by an inning-ending and rally-killing double play by Pat Burrell. Two on. No one out. Down a run in August, trying to catch the Mets. Against the worst team in the league. The Phillies couldn't even advance a single one of those two runners, let alone get one or both of them home. It was a microcosm for the entire season.

It's time to face the facts. This team stinks. Luckily, this entire division stinks, so they have a chance to make the playoffs still, albeit one that is slipping away. But even if they do manage to outlast the Mets and the fading Marlins, what then? I don't see any real circumstance that this team, or the Mets, or the Marlins can compete with the Brewers or Cubs, and even though the Diamondbacks and Dodgers have terrible records, both teams have great pitching and are teams that have been hitting pretty well of late.

It's been a long season already, and watching a team that was supposed to win "100 games," according to a player that has shown up to play for about 20 so far this season, put forth another lackluster effort, it makes you wonder if they know or even care that time is running out. I know my patience is running out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dime Gots It Right

I know I'm basically just shelling out links to other sites today, but that's because there have been some incredible posts/articles today. This one by Austin Burton at Dime takes the cake.

Why wasn't Allen Iverson invited to camp? Today, you can watch Jason Kidd and Allen Iverson play 100 games, and 100 times out of 100, Iverson will be better at absolutely every facet of the game than Kidd, including passing. Jerry Colangelo should be destroyed for not even inviting the one guy who made it abundantly clear he wanted to be a part of Team USA. Burton expresses this better and more rationally than I ever could. Check it out.

The Worst Broadcaster in the History of Broadcasting Gets Hired

Well, he was the worst broadcaster during this segment of "Boom goes the dynamite."

According to Deadspin, his name is Brian Collins, and he graduated from Ball State and was actually hired in the field of broadcasting. Simply amazing.

Great Read

Special thanks to at The Fightins for this great find.

Please check out the article by James Beale. It really is an excellent read.

NFL News: The Sad and the Funny

In serious, terrible news, NFLPA head Gene Upshaw died from cancer last night. Nothing to joke about here.

By all accounts, Upshaw was an outstanding guy and great representative. Certainly, players have had their squabbles and things haven't always been great for Upshaw during his tenure, but you never heard anyone say a bad word about him as a man or a player. R.I.P. Gene Upshaw.

In lighter news, Cincinnati Bengals fans have employed a genius, hilarious way to show their displeasure of bringing back Chris Henry, via The Sporting Blog.

Just a little humor to help distract from the serious. Again, R.I.P. Mr. Upshaw.


Thanks to Matt P at The700Level for this nugget. MLB and the Umpires agree to institute instant replay for boundary calls, which means foul balls and home runs I assume, in the near future. Although they are unsure just how near that future is.

Finally, bad umpiring will held accountable. At least on foul balls and home runs. Hooray for technology! And boobies!

Who Needs Brett Favre? We Got Brett Myers

Last night's game was extremely encouraging on many levels. First and most important, the Phils have taken the first two games from a bad team when they desperately need it. Second, Chris Coste seems to be getting his stroke back, and Greg Dobbs actually got a meaningful (HUGE) hit while starting with his two-run bomb in the 5th.

Add on top of that Chase getting two hits and looking more comfortable at the plate and Victorino notching two more hits, and it looks like the Phils may be getting something going, albeit against the worst team in the league. But the most encouraging thing was the continued dominance by Brett Myers. As the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki points out, Myers has done some pretty outstanding things since he was recalled from Triple A.

The former phenom has been showing exactly why he was considered such a huge prospect so many years ago. In his six starts since being an IronPig, Myers is 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA. Sure, two of those wins have come against the Nationals and the other against a terrible Pittsburgh team, but Brett also pitched well in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers where he went 7 strong, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 8 strikeouts. Even in his two no decisions, he pitched pretty well. Sure, the first outing against the Mets he was erratic, but he only surrendered three runs in five innings. Then against St. Louis, he allowed just two over six.

Point is, Brett has been on point. Save for that first game back, his control has been masterful. In fact, no disrespect to Cole Hamels, but he's been the Phillies best starting pitcher since the All Star break. Not that Cole has been bad. In fact, quite the opposite. But he hasn't been as dominant as Brett. In fact, only three starters, since the break, have been better than Myers in the National League, as Zolecki points out, and those three are all pretty damn good names: CC Sabathia, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson.

Last night, Brett was the star of the game. He pitched his third shutout of his career and first since 2004. That's a big deal with a bullpen that's been overworked and a team that has struggled to score runs. The Phillies brass kept saying if Brett could come back strong, he'd be better than anyone they could get. While that may or may not be true, getting the Brett of old has proven to be the Phils biggest (non)move of the year.

There's still a long way to go, but with the Mets losing Billy Wagner and the Phillies gaining a front of the rotation starter in Myers, a repeat of last year is not out of the question. As long as Myers can keep it up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Hernia Strikes Again

As Kulp reports over at The700Level Kevin Curtis apparently has a sports hernia, which is not good news for the Eagles.

Curtis joins the ranks of L.J. Smith and Donovan McNabb to have suffered this injury, and if their issues dealing with it are any indications, Curtis is in for a disappointing season. That's a real blow, especially coming off a 77-catch, 1,110-yard season, by far his best season of his career.

Reggie Brown is already injured for the time being, and honestly, he's not very good to begin with. DeSean Jackson, while impressive, is just a rookie, and Jason Avant is an untested player. I expect both players to step up, and Jackson has the potential to become even better than Curtis, but not likely this year. Losing the top receiver, especially when that means more time for Hank Baskett and Greg Lewis, is a terrible thing for a team that didn't really have a No. 1 receiver to begin with. At best, Curtis is a 2, but he is the best receiver on the Eagles.

Hopefully Curtis will make a speedy recovery because the Eagles need him. Unfortunately, as we've all seen with this injury, the chances don't seem likely. That means Reggie Brown, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant and company better step it up big time if this team truly hopes to make a serious run. If only Anquan Boldin or Chad Johnson (even with his injury) could succeed in their trade demands. Though I wouldn't hold your breath.

Joe Horn on the other hand? Maybe. Because he's old. And probably cheap. And well past his prime. Great.

I'm Pretty Sure EA Sports and Tiger Woods Are Going to Hell for This One

Shout out to Major League Jerk for this video.

Wow. I'm not even going to go there.

Cool Runnings

Leon, Sanka, Junior and Yul would be proud of fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt, who is the fastest man on the planet.

For his second race, check out Deadspin. The man is a freak of nature. Not only did he win gold in the 100 and 200, he set world records and completely obliterated the competition. No one wins sprints with that much distance between him and the rest of the field. Amazing.

Update: Dan Steinberg has some great quotes from Bolt and others.

I Would Marry Zoe Bouchelle Right Now

For those of you who don't know Zoe Bouchelle, she is a senior midfielder on the Penn State women's soccer team, and she, along with fellow teammates junior goalie Alyssa Naeher and junior forward Katie Schoepfer, have been named to the Hermann Trophy watch list.

For those of you wondering what the Hermann Trophy is, basically it's the Heisman Trophy of women's soccer—a pretty big deal. Now, what you may be wondering is why on earth do I care about this? Well, let me tell you all a little story, after another photo of Ms. Bouchelle.

You see, as a sophomore at Penn State and foolishly a journalism major, I joined The Daily Collegian as a sportswriter. In my junior year, I had the privilege of covering the women's soccer team with my roommate. And believe it or not, covering women's soccer is a privilege if you're not lucky enough to get the football beat. Women soccer players are, shall we say, extremely attractive. Most female athletes aren't.

Needless to say, I was excited to see some good-looking women play a sport I used to partake in. And all it took was one practice for me to fall in love. Her name was Zoe Bouchelle, a hotshot freshman from Notre Dame Prep in Maryland and a drop-dead gorgeous blonde, if I do say so myself. Penn State's coach at the time, Paula Wilkins, was looking for big things out of Zoe, and I was more than happy to write a few feature stories on my new favorite Nittany Lion. But low and behold, Bouchelle suffered a stress fracture in her foot and had to be redshirted. My dreams were ruined.

In practice, she was isolated, rehabbing her foot, and at games, I had a job to do, talking to players and coaches that actually participated. My enthusiasm dwindled a bit, although there was plenty of eye candy on the team. Still, I only truly had eyes for Zoe, whom I never had the chance to profess my true love to. I sincerely regret this.

Her game-action photos do not do her justice, but trust me, I'd marry her right now if she was willing. Hopefully I see her this year at Penn State, as I'll have plenty of chances with football season tickets and all, and maybe I'll even get a chance to do this:

And, ideally, whole lot more. Whether that be the case or not, I salute you Zoe Bouchelle, and I wish you the best in your quest for the Hermann Trophy. And if by the slimmest of chances you are reading this, feel free to shoot an email my way. It would certainly make my day.

Werth to the Rescue

With all the media attention centered on how fans would react to Jimmy Rollins last night, it turned out to be just another baseball game. Sure, Rollins got it pretty good from the fans in the first inning, initially in the top half when a grounder was hit to him at short and again in the bottom half when he lined out to right.

But in the end, the fans reacted as they always do. When Jimmy came up his second at bat, there were more cheers than boos, followed by some more boos in his third at bat, but in all fairness, the guy went 0-for-4 last night, dropping his average to .263. Frankly, Rollins continues to be the antithesis of an MVP this season. Having said that, Jimmy took it well, however, I think he should have came out wearing one of these:

Now that would have been funny.

Onto the game. Joe Blanton, since he came over to the Phillies, has become the epitome of this team. He's been infuriatingly inconsistent. First, he started out pitching like garbage. Then, he pitched extremely well. And last night, he was back to his old tricks, getting smacked around by the lowly Nationals through five innings last night, giving up four runs on eight hits. He was pretty awful.

Luckily for Blanton, the offense didn't act like Cole Hamels was pitching and actually bailed out its pitcher. Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs did the heavy lifting as the Phils tied the game. Then, Charlie looked like he was going to do something very stupid, taking Ryan Madson, who was dominant in the top of eighth striking out the first two batters and forcing a weak grounder to himself on the third, out in a tie game for Brad Lidge. I understand getting Lidge up, but it looked like Manuel was going to go to his closer even if the game was tied—despite the fact Madson had an easy inning, wasn't due up and the Phils had already used two of their extra men. Plus, we've all seen how Lidge has performed in tie games lately—not good.

Luckily for Charlie, it turned out to be a mute point because Jayson Werth had simply had enough. The man of the odd, thin, flavor-savor facial hair launched a homer to the left field seats, leaving the game in Lidge's hands.

Mr. Perfect kept the name for yet another day, converting his 31st save in 31 tries. It was a much-needed win for the Phils—but as Wheels said during the game, it felt like one the Nationals could win. It certainly looked that way for a while, and had the Phils lost to a team with the worst record in baseball and a 10-game losing streak coming in, Rollins and his mates would have had a really rough go of it tonight.

However, the Phils win again, extending Washington's losing streak to 11, Billy Wagner is out indefinitely, and this mediocre division is still there for the taking. And by the way, Boo? Fuck you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Todd McCulloch, Then Tra Thomas, Now Andre Iguodala

Apparently, the Sixers new $80 million man no longer wants to be called Iggy.

Directly from Skeets:

Via Sixersoul, Phil Jasner at the Philadelphia Daily News reports that new $80 million dollar man Andre Iguodola would like you to stop calling him 'Iggy,' thanks. "In 4 years, he has been called 'A.I.2,' 'Iggy' and 'The Other A.I.' "I don't like 'Iggy,' I don't mind 'The Other A.I.,'" he said. "It just shows the fans are watching basketball and know what I do. I want to be 'Dre, that's it. 'The A.I. thing, it's about Allen, always being in his shadow. He's a different player, brings a different element. It's like Kobe and Michael Jordan. Everybody says, 'Who's the next M.J?' You never want to be compared to another player [that way]. I just want to be me.'" Manuel "don't call me Manny" Lee feels 'Dre's pain.

Now, I completely understand that if Dre doesn't like being called Iggy, he has that right. But come on man, you've been in the league for four years. Couldn't you have done this earlier?

Same thing for Todd McCulloch (who was called "McCulla" for most of his career, then said it was actually "McCullock") and Tra Thomas (who after a long time being known as Tra, suddenly wanted to drop the Tra and be known by his given name William). It didn't work for Tra, and he should have known. There is only one William Thomas in Eagles lore, and that is this man:

I've grown accustomed to calling Iguodala Iggy, but I'll try to abide and stick to Dre or just Andre or Iguodala or whatnot. Even if he is highly overpaid. I still like the guy. Plus, he can do this:

Good luck on the name change thing Iguodala. You may need it.

Marty Biron or Lumberjack Super Hero?

Honestly, I'm not sure how Greg Wyshynski finds these things, but he found another great video on Marty Biron over at Puck Daddy.

Biron is a strange, strange character. And I like him for it.

Yea, but Can He Catch a Fly Ball in His Hat?

Kramer should have just asked this guy to catch a home run with his beer instead of asking Paul O'Neill to hit two home runs or catch a fly ball in his hat.

Pretty impressive.

Campaign Cheer, Not Endorsed by The House That Glanville Built

In the infamous words of Jimmy Rollins, I might catch some flak for this but … I think Campaign Cheer, by my friends over at WSBGMs, is an inherently stupid concept that I will not support whatsoever. Corey and Carson have done a lot of good over there on that blog, and I love reading it every day. They've given me a shout out with a spot on the blogroll, and I'm truly grateful. I'll continue to read the site every damn day, continue to comment and respect the work they do.

Having said that, Campaign Cheer, which is being picked up everywhere from Deadspin to The700Level and beyond, is just an incredibly stupid, asinine idea. Basically, what this whole concept is saying, is that Jimmy Rollins is right. Fans shouldn't boo. It makes the team play bad. Cheering makes them play better.

Have you ever been to New York or Boston? Those fans boo just as much, if not more, than Philadelphia fans, and last time I checked, the franchises in those two cities have won a hell of a lot of championships. When a team is playing bad, or a player just flat-out is bad, the team or that player deserves to get booed. When they do something good, they deserve to get cheered. That's exactly what fans do in Philadelphia, and that's what fans are supposed to do. To state otherwise is just ridiculous.

Get rid of the boo-birds? Really, that's what you want to do? You want Philadelphia to actually become St. Louis? How about just moving to St. Louis instead of asking people to change who they are? Don't force your beliefs on me. Shit, this idea isn't even WSBGMs' idea. It's Jimmy fucking Rollins' idea. He's the one who said the fans shouldn't boo. They should cheer. It's unoriginal.

I don't know about you, but I'm not going to let a prima-donna athlete, one that has been unconditionally supported since his arrival in Philadelphia, dictate how I'm supposed to act just because he's having a shitty year and putting forth the worst effort of his career. At one point, the Phillies were 13 games above .500. Now, they are in second place and playing inconsistent, losing baseball. Of course the boos have come, and rightfully so.

But shit, have you been to a Phils game this year? It's not like the fans have been raining down the boos on the team this year. In fact, they rarely boo unless something bad happens, like a rally-killing double play or an error or Adam Eaton taking the mound. If you can't take getting booed when you make a mistake, then you shouldn't accept the cheers when you do something well. Simple as that. The players get paid a shitload of money to take the good with the bad. And, oh by the way, the fans are the ones paying those exorbitant salaries.

Personally, Campaign Cheer is about as anti-Philadelphia as it gets. Not because we must boo. Shit, I don't even boo that much to be honest with you. But there are times where it's called for, and there certainly shouldn't be unconditional cheering just because booing makes the players feel bad. Tough shit. Missing a deadline at work makes me feel bad, but I don't cry about it. Players and teams earn their cheers in this city and earn their boos. That's the way it is, and that's the way it should be. You get what you earn, just like any walk in life.

I understand the idea behind Campaign Cheer. I really do. And you know what, it's fucking stupid. Instead, I propose everyone heads on down to the ballpark, pay for you seats, enjoy the game, and act appropriately. When the Phils fuck up, boo like there's not tomorrow. When Ryan Howard hits a home run, cheer like we just won the World Series. But don't be a follower, conforming to a stupid campaign or the words of a spoiled All-Star simply because it's what they want. That's cowardly. If people can't accept the fans for who they are, that's there problem. Not the fans. Don't change because someone else tells you you should.

Tim Hauck, Stud

If you don't know who Tim Hauck is, you aren't a true Eagles fan. Hauck was, at just 5'10" 187 lbs., a human eraser. The man had more big hits than any undersized safety I can recall, and frankly, I'm convinced he'd kill Sean Considine if he had a chance for bringing a bad name to small, white safeties.

Anyway, I bring him up because Bad News Bloggers has an interview with the man who ended Michael Irvin's career, via The Big Lead.

Check it out. Tim Hauck is now an assistant coach at UCLA, in case you were wondering.