With the Philadelphia Phillies lineup being aging and/or injury prone with a farm system near barren as far as positional players, many fans have questioned the large allocation of money in filling their closer spot. Jonathan Papelbon’s Freudian slip upon his arrival for spring training is not going to make these critics less queasy From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
When asked if he often thought this winter about how 2011 ended, Papelbon said, “Every day. All day.” He stared for a couple of seconds without saying a word.
“I mean, I don’t think about it at all, man,” he said.
Unencumbered by election campaign or public relations concerns as an elected official, former Philadelphia Mayor/Pennsylvania Governor and current sports commentator Ed Rendell (above) can sit back and ruminate on achievements during his political career and amongst his personal favorites is his role in facilitating WIPs 20th annual Wing Bowl at Philadelphias Wells Fargo Center. From Philadelphia Sportsweek:
Super Bowl vs. Wing Bowl – which is better? Which do I prefer? That’s easy to answer . . . Wing Bowl! Why? It’s simple because, as a Philadelphian, I have very little nexus with the Super Bowl and the experience I have with it . . . well, frankly, just sucks.
…I also choose the Wing Bowl over the Super Bowl because I had a role in making it what it is today. As many of you know, I’ve been a fairly regular caller into the morning show, starring the bombastic but great entertainer Angelo Cataldi, the caustic and wittily sardonic Al Morganti and the classy, smart Rhea Hughes (what’s she doing at Wing Bowl?).
One day, Angelo wanted me to come to Wing Bowl, which was then at the Electric Factory. I came with a small replica of the Liberty Bell to present to the winner (Eric “Gentleman E” Bell). When I got there, the Factory was bursting at the seams. So I suggested to Angelo that it should be moved to the Spectrum to accommodate all the fun. As part of the deal to build the CoreStates (now Wells Fargo) Center, the city was given the right to use it for 10 days. I believed that this caveat would be great for community groups, but none of them could pay the setup costs. WIP, of course, could and did, and that’s how Wing Bowl became super and eventually took place in front of 20,000 screaming lunatics.
The first year at the Spectrum, I appeared again wanting to see the fruits of my handiwork. I found, much to my surprise, that the Bowl had a new wrinkle – scantily clad, well-endowed Wingettes. They were delightful, but I still wanted to run for governor, so that was, alas, my last Wing Bowl in person, for fear of being photographed among the Wingettes. But my role in making Wing Bowl a special day for our city ranks as one of my proudest achievements…
As far as the actual eating competition, Takeru Kobayashi obliterated the Wing Bowl record by downing 337 wings in front of a hostile “USA…USA” chanting Wells Fargo Center mob. At one point Kobayashi came close to succumbing to the “If you heave, you leave” rule by gagging on one of his wings, but in the end he held it down and left the local competition far behind.
Jonathan Squibb retained his crown for the third year running as champion of WIPs annual Wing Bowl held yesterday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia
Squibbs downing of 255 wings set a Wing Bowl record and was a one wing margin over runner up Bill “El Wingador” Simmons.
While the showdown between Squibbs and Simmons provided competitive drama, the sideshow was very much lacking this year as celebrity guests was limited to porn legend Ron Jeremy and an exhibition appearance by professional eater Takeru Kobayashi. Kobayashi appeared donning a Flyers jersey and gobbled down a cheesesteak in 24 seconds in what was seen as a rebuke to the International Federation of Competitive Eating whom does not sanction the Wing Bowl event and whom Kobayashi is reportedly feuding with.
Image taken with permission from The Big Sharkey Show.
Another Iggles offseason means another round of speculation and debate on whether the Birds move on with Donovan McNabb at the helm, or to hand the reins to Kevin Kolb in the hope that Kolb develops and gels along with the young core of offensive players that emerged in 2009. McNabb has vociferous critics amongst Igglephans, perhaps the most strident being Bernard Hopkins, a man who grew up on Phillys meanest streets, spent his teenage years robbing drug dealers and who honed his craft in a state penitentiary, eventually going on to be considered by many as the worlds best pound-for pound fighter during his prime and whom is regarded by many as the baddest dude in the city of Philadelphia. Be it cold hard facts, bitter lashing over a perceived personal sleight or garnering free publicity for his upcoming fight, The Executioner let loose his latest salvos on the subject of #5. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover :
At first, the 45-year-old prize fighter from Philadelphia promoted his long-awaited rematch with 41-year-old Roy Jones Jr. set for April 3 in Las Vegas.
Eventually, at Hopkins’ urging, the subject turned to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was not far away on South Beach being interviewed by the NFL Network about tomorrow’s title game between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.
“The people now say, ‘Take him to Arizona, he has a house there,’ ” Hopkins said. “But my thing is, I’ve been telling you this since after the [Eagles' 2005] Super Bowl [loss]. At the end of the day, you have a guy that is a front-runner. You have a guy that doesn’t even give a hint that he’s upset. He smiles. He doesn’t show any type of feeling of ‘Damn, we’re so close and we kicked the bucket.’ “
McNabb could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Rich Burg, a publicist for the Eagles’ quarterback, said Hopkins’ anger stems from a meeting between the two men at the NovaCare Complex earlier in this decade.
Hopkins attended a practice in 2004. Burg said McNabb was unaware Hopkins was visiting until a brief meeting before the practice. Burg said the meeting was too brief for Hopkins, who felt shunned. Burg worked for the Eagles’ media relations department at the time.
“If there is anyone who is craving attention, it’s Bernard Hopkins,” Burg said. “He tries to get it all the time by using Donovan’s name. Donovan has shown his class by ignoring the entire thing.”
Hopkins said if McNabb had better body language during a game that Eagles fans would like him more.
“Fake me out,” Hopkins said. “Throw Gatorade. People would look at that – even if it’s an act – and say to themselves . . . ‘He’s upset because they just blew it just like I’m upset as a fan.’ They would say ‘He relates to the fans.’ He doesn’t relate to the fans by his body language. The fans can’t feel you.”
“When you have that smile and you come out of the tunnel doing the Michael Jackson dance and the score is zero-zero – are you kidding me?” said the oldest man to ever hold a middleweight boxing title. “You’re dancing and doing all this moonwalk and the score is zero-zero and you’re saying, ‘I’m ready.’ I told people McNabb needed to go three years ago and they were, ‘Oh, you’re hard on McNabb.’ Now the same people are saying, ‘Oh, you’re right. He needs to go, he needs to go.’ “
Hopkins finished his rant by accusing McNabb of believing he was above his teammates.
“He’s the guy inside the house who gets the extra food, the extra clothes, he gets treated a little better,” Hopkins said. “Now, the guys that are outside picking up the corn – they get treated a little different outside. But the house all of a sudden got upset, because he’s not playing well and [McNabb] wants to know, ‘Why you all doing this to me? . . . Why are people in personnel talking about me? I’m one of you, right?’ Are you kidding me?
“So he . . . goes on HBO and you talk about racism. He’s going to go and speak about racism, about who has to go above and beyond because they’re African American, than [the] other quarterbacks. . . . He’s right about that. [But he's] the wrong messenger.
“You know when O.J. became black? When he was facing life. That’s when he became black. That’s what these guys do. They get wrapped up in this world. See, Tiger Woods knows he’s black now. All that other bull, ‘I’m half this and I’m half that.’ – all right, Tiger, what color are you now?”
Jonathan “Super” Squibb outlasted the likes of Lights Out Taylor, The Mouth of the South, Obi Wing, Fat Bastard, Oink Oink and the Hungry Hungry Hebe to emerge victorious for the second straight year at WIPs annual Wing Bowl at The Wachovia Center in Philly yesterday
The South Jersey resident downed 238 wings, 3 wings shy of the Wing Bowl record held by Joey Chestnut. Squibbs victory will set up a showdown next year with the 3-time Wing Bowl champion Chestnut when the recent “locals-only” policy will be rescinded.
The Wing Bowls festivities also included guest appearances by Jersey Shores Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (above) and Susan Finkelstein, who is facing trial for allegedly offering sex for World Series tickets to an undercover police officer.
Dan Gross reports in the Philly Daily News that Ms Polizzi was “brutally booed” upon her entrance and when ridng a mechanical bull. Ms Polizzi was a good sport about it, returning the boos with an extended middle finger and she brushed off the abuse with “Its Philadelphia”.
(not the Kyle Korver of his day : Billy Cunningham)
Certain know-it-alls just do not have the ability to field a question and reply “I am not really certain” and just leave it at that instead of exposing their ignorance. This certainly applies to Bill Simmons as evidenced by his speculation that lack of support for the Philadelphia 76ers may have a racial component involved when The Philadelphia Daily News posed a question to him during his book signing tour date in Philly. From the Philadelphia Daily News Editorial page:
A COUPLE OF weeks ago, I sat and watched Bill Simmons, ESPN’s lead columnist and the author of the current New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Book of Basketball,” at a sold-out appearance at the Borders just south of City Hall.
For more than four hours, Simmons signed books, shook hands and traded barbs with hundreds of fans there to buy a book whose target audience, narrowly defined, is hard core basketball fans. Sports fans at a book signing about basketball: This was, presumably, a cross section of Philadelphians who might be interested in basketball.
Of the 500 fans who showed up, there weren’t 10 guys wearing Sixers gear. Afterward, I asked Simmons about it: Is Philly just not a good pro hoops town?
Simmons, love him or hate him, knows basketball. He just consumed roughly every pro basketball game ever filmed, and, as a lifelong Celtics fan, should have a decent idea of the Sixers’ status in the Celts’ once-upon-a-time main rival’s hometown.
Pausing to thinking for a second, he tilted his head back, crossed his arms and half-whispered his answer: “I don’t think so,” and then paused. “No.”
“It could be a race thing to some degree. They’ve never had an awesome white player, and they’ve always had the most iconic African-American player. They had Doc, then they had Barkley, who was obviously very outspoken, and then Iverson.”
Would we have showed up more if the team were whiter? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.
I wont even bother wasting my time defending Philly sports fans against such blatantly ignorant and insulting speculation but am puzzled and appalled that Daily News sports editor E James Beale stated that Simmons may be correct. That, and when it comes to basketball and 76ers history/knowledge, neither Beale or Simmons seems to recall somebody named Billy Cunningham. Gee guys, maybe, just maybe if Shawn Bradley and Matt Geiger didnt pan out….
Billy Joel (above right) during his less acquiescent period
Perhaps overstating the current state of the Phillies vs Mets rivalry, the Phillies and Billy Joel are nonetheless taking no chances of provoking any overeager or fighting drunk Phillies fans during his appearances with Elton John at Citizens Bank Park. from Philly.com
In a bid to keep the peace at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies wanted to cloak or replace the 16-by-16-foot Mets banner at the top of the set decoration at the Billy Joel/Elton John concerts tonight and Saturday.
Alas, they could not find anything suitable.
Joel will wear a Phillies jacket for at least part of the show and will make some sort of joking reference to the Mets and their 10-games-back status
My colleague Bob Ford and I hear that the Phillies had reached out to the “Face 2 Face” concert to express concern about Joel’s New York-theme set.
It’s not that the Phils are worried about any kind of baseball rivalry, we hear; they just don’t want some yahoo having too much to drink and throwing something at it or starting a fight. The Mets banner was visible at recent shows at Nationals Ballpark and Wrigley Field.
Perhaps Joel will sing “Philadelphia State of Mind,” as well.
..in Philadelphia celebrity boxing matches, the former Bash Brother Jose Canseco will square off against Wing Bowl legend Bill “El Wingador” Simmons From Philly.com:
Bill Simmons, the all-time WIP Wing Bowl champ known as El Wingador, confirms that he’ll head into the boxing ring July 24 against former major leaguer Jose Canseco.
Simmons, who’s 47, 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, acknowledges that he’s getting into the ring for the money and the exposure. He is working on a brand of chicken wings that will hit grocery stores in August.
Canseco, who’s 44, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, is fresh off a defeat in his mixed martial arts debut. Last month, 7-foot-2 sumo wrestler/kick boxer Hong Man Choi whupped him in 77 seconds in Japan. In previous appearances in the Philly area, Canseco boxed WYSP morning man Danny Bonaduce to a draw in January and lost to NBC10 sports director Vai Sikahema in July 2008.
Simmons, who says he’s a street fighter, boxed a pro wrestler named Smoke to a draw in 2003.
One thing Simmons says he won’t do is go back into competitive eating. “At my age, it’s easier to fight than eat,” he told me.
May the best man win, but I am wondering what Philly local legends/celebrities are left for Josie to take on in the future since Eric Gregg is no longer amongst us. Dave Schultz?…Beanie Sigel?…Matt Geiger?
On the heels of the PR hit the Eagles have taken for letting Brian Dawkins walk (which is arguable on both sides), protesters organized by ACORN held a tailgate party outside of Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s mansion to protest the Eagles continuing refusal to pay $8 million (plus interest) to the city of Philadelphia for the citys share of luxury box rental at the municipally owned Veterans Stadium. The Eagles are refusing to pay due to a dispute about lost revenue from the cancellation of a 2001 preseason game due to concerns about the condition of the artificial turf. From the Phila Inquirer:
Twisting a Philadelphia sports slogan, about 30 protesters stood at the gate of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s Wynnewood mansion yesterday and shouted, “Pay, Eagles, pay!”
Under the watch of about a half-dozen Lower Merion Township police officers, members of the activist group ACORN held a half-hour “tailgating” protest, complete with grilled hot dogs, at dusk. The protesters contended that the Eagles still have not shared with the city money from rents on luxury boxes from when the team played at Veterans Stadium.
No one from the house came to the gate during the protest. A telephone call to an Eagles spokesman was not answered.
Pointing out that Mayor Nutter has proposed cutting some city services, ACORN activist Junette Marcano of the Oak Lane section said it was important to look at ways to raise revenue without reducing services. Low- and moderate-income communities, which ACORN works to help, rely heavily on city services, she said.
“These are resources we should look at instead of making cuts,” Marcano said. “There are other ways of getting revenue instead of cutting services such as police and firehouses and libraries and rec centers.”
Chanting “Show me the money,” the protesters, most wearing red baseball caps bearing the ACORN logo, stood outside Lurie’s home on Llanfair Way, the former residence of the publisher and philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg. Amid the chants, they noshed on hot dogs from a portable grill.
Ian Phillips, the group’s legislative director, said businesses and other entities owe the city millions.
“We could use that money to cut the budget shortfall,” Phillips said. “We’re going to be calling out other people who owe the city money. We’re moving down the list.”
Darkhorse rookie Jonathan Squibb bested the likes of Glutieus Maximus, Obi Wing, Da Disposal, Frank Da Fraud and Hank the Tank to win this years “locals only” Wing Bowl yesterday at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA – Jonathan Squibb, a skinny 23-year-old from Winslow Township, N.J., is the new Wing Bowl champion.
Super Squibb, as he is known, tore through 203 wings – 23 more than second place finisher Not Rich and 50 more than third place eaters Hank the Tank and Da Disposal – while chomping his way to glory and a brand new Mini Cooper automobile.
Going into the competition, the Rutgers University and Winslow Township High School graduate was ranked with 9 to 1 odds by 610 WIP talker Al Morganti, who created Wing Bowl at the sports talk station 17 years ago as a diversion for sports fans mired in a pro sports championship drought.
œNobody believed in me but my family, but I knew I could do it, said Squibb, who is œin career transition.
He planned to celebrate tonight with family and friends. What was his secret?
œIt™s more up here than down here, he explained, pointing first to his brain, then his stomach.
From the Associated Press
Jose Canseco was primed for some more bashing.
Instead of grabbing his Louisville Slugger to send a baseball into orbit, Canseco taped his wrists and put on some boxing gloves to try and send former Partridge kid Danny Bonaduce (above) into a daze.
The former Oakland A’s slugger showed he has only warning track power in the ring. He staggered Bonaduce with a couple of big blows in Saturday night’s three-round fight, but failed to deliver the knockout punch and the celebrity boxing match ended in a deflating draw.
“He hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit my entire life,” Bonaduce said.
Bonaduce’s nose was bloodied and the two hugged after the bout. All that was missing in this D-list celebrity boxing bout was the reality TV cameras.
“If there’s a knockout, it’ll probably be me,” Bonaduce said before the bout.
Bonaduce never looked in any serious trouble and Canseco seemed hesitant to go after him with ferocious cuts.
Canseco took his second shot at celebrity boxing after he was whupped by former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema in his debut boxing match last July. Bonaduce, who played Danny Partridge on the “The Partridge Family,” is like Mike Tyson in his heyday in the outlandish celebrity boxing circuit. He’s beat Barry “Greg Brady” Williams and Donny Osmond.
Maybe those two 1970s TV stars combined have biceps as big as the hulking Canseco’s. The 6-foot-4 Canseco weighed in at 260 pounds. Bonaduce is 5-6, 180 pounds.
“I truly don’t know that I can damage him,” Bonaduce said. “He’s just too big. I can just outpoint him.”
He didn’t much time to play rope-a-dope against Canseco. The bout featured only three, 1-minute rounds. Canseco sparred early Saturday, ran 10 miles and proclaimed himself in top shape to last 3 minutes, if needed.
And no, neither boxer was drug tested.
“Thank God, no,” said promoter Damon Feldman, laughing.
There are many Philadelphians who would normally be irked with the reputation that Philly sports fans have for booing but who will nonetheless be hoping Flyers fans live up to the rep this Saturday at the Wachovia (for now) Center where Gov Sarah Palin was invited by her best Philly pal Ed Snider to drop the ceremonial first puck at the Flyers home opener. From Philly.com’s Decision:November 4 blog:
Sarah Palin will make a center-rink appearance at the Flyers game Saturday, where she will drop the puck at the ceremonial face-off.
My question is how will she be received? This is Philly, and we, don’t forget, boo Santa Claus. Will the GOP buy up all the seats? Are hockey fans all Reagan Democrats?
And are the Flyers taking a risk by doing what appears to be a political endorsement? As they say, wait and we shall see.
Here’s the opening paragraphs of the press release…
Philadelphia, PA “ October 8, 2008) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the nation™s most popular hockey mom, will join the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers regional search for the œUltimate Hockey Mom contest and drop the puck at the ceremonial opening face-off as the home team Flyers host the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday, October 11 at 7 p.m.
œBecause of the tremendous amount of publicity she has brought to our sport, we invited the most popular hockey mom in North America to our home opener to help us get our season started, said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider who founded the Flyers in 1967. œWe are very excited she has accepted our offer and we are very proud of the publicity she is generating for hockey moms and the sport of hockey.
The Flyers have been searching for the ultimate hockey mom in the Greater Philadelphia Region through an on line contest which asked hockey players or hockey moms themselves to submit their hockey mom poster to the team.
Hockey moms and players were encouraged to submit posters showing their hockey mom pride and their loyalty and dedication to the sport via the team™s website, philadelphiaflyers.com, by October 7. The team will award all hockey moms entered into the contest with a free “puck-er peach” lipstick and four tickets to a Philadelphia Phantoms hockey game. The winner will appear on the ice with Palin for opening face-off.
The McCain campaign operatives should have thought twice before vetting this appearance as even if Gov Palin is escorted by Bernie Parent and Pelle Lindberghs widow to center ice while waving a BEAT L.A. banner, unless Snider decides to have security confiscate all camera cell-phones, this is only going to lead to yet another embarrassment for the cluelessly flailing McCain campaign that will be all over YouTube.
(though they couldn’t make the trip to Milwaukee, the Sadistic Exploits bask in the accomplishment of their hometown team’s victory)
The Philadelphia Phillies have erased the memory of their 3 and out playoff loss of 2007 and have advanced to the NLCS for the first time since Team Mullet of 1993 with their 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers today at Miller Park.
The Fightin’s took this series with the “Weaverball” combination of strong pitching and the longball. Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies on the board with a leadoff HR and in the third inning the spirit of Ned Yost was in the Brewers dugout as Dale Sveum elected to intentionally walk Ryan Howard with 2 outs to face Pat Burrell. Sveum was either ignorant of or choose to ignore Burrells excellent career #s vs Jeff Suppan and Burrell made them pay by turning on a 2-2 pitch and launching a 3-run blast. Jayson Werth followed up with a HR in the next at-bat and after a brief torrent of boos from Brewers fans, said fans and their thundersticks were taken out of the game. Phillies starter Joe Blanton kept them silent by efficiently setting down the Brewers through 6 innings and after a leadoff HR by Prince Fielder and single by JJ Hardy in the 7th, Charlie Manuel went to the pen and Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge held on for the win. Before the game there was much concern from Phillies fans over the somewhat anemic offense during the first 3 games. The margins of victory in the first two were a result of a Mike Cameron misplay of a Chase Utley liner in Game 1 and the freakish 9 pitch Brett Myers walk off of CC Sabathia that extended the Phillies inning and helped set the stage for Shane Victorinos grand slam. The Phillies didnt produce anything resembling a real rally during the series (having scored in 3 of 27 innings during the first three games) but the flukes and long ball were sufficient given the strong Phillies pitching this series
I would have to consider the upcoming NLCS to be pretty much of a toss-up. The Phils and Dodgers faced each other 8 times this year (all games post-Manny acquistion) where each team took turns sweeping 4 games from the other in their respective home parks. The Phillies rotation and bullpen looks really strong going into the series, but the Phillies have a long history of being completely handcuffed by Derek Lowe (who will be getting 2 starts this series). The Phillies win today does ensure that Cole Hamels will be matched up against Lowe. The biggest question is what the Phillies bring offensively. Is Chase Utley finally going to show up for his first playoff series? Was todays 2 HR performance by Pat Burrell his final hurrah as a Phillie or will he make the Dodgers pay for pitching around Ryan Howard? Will Rollins, Victorino and Werth follow up on the good series they had and will Feliz/Ruiz be a black hole in the bottom of the order or will they contribute some ancillary production at the plate? And of importance: If Larry Bowa goes ballistic on an umpire at CBP while wearing Dodger blue, will he be booed, bemusedly laughed at or will Phans give him the “Lar-ry..Lar-ry” chant and give him a standing O as he leaves the field for old times sake?
In what was a display of competitive desire or selfish immaturity, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers (above) took umbrage took over being lifted in the 8th inning of the Phillies 4-2 victory over the Pirates and manager Charlie Manuel was having none of it. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Myers pitched the third consecutive strong outing by a Phillies starter, working into the eighth inning, and picked up the decision last night in his team’s 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. But Myers had words with Charlie Manuel after the manager went out to lift him from the game.
After giving up a ground-rule double to Chris Gomez, Myers retired Freddy Sanchez on a hard line drive to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the second out in the eighth, but Manuel came out of the dugout to bring in left-hander J.C. Romero.
Myers turned his back and walked toward second base when he saw Manuel coming. When Manuel reached the mound, Myers was visibly upset and appeared to say,“This is my [expletive] game,” before leaving to a standing ovation from the crowd of 45,060 at Citizens Bank Park.
Television cameras showed Manuel confronting Myers after returning to the dugout. The two exchanged words and Myers turned his back on his manager, who tried to grab him by the shoulder until Myers disappeared up the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.
Manager and player had a brief meeting after the game, however. Myers admitted to reporters, “It’s my fault.”
“I’m a competitor,” Myers said. “I like competing and I wanted to stay in and finish the game. But sometimes your emotions get the best of you and you might do something irrational out there. He thought I did. That’s part of the game. It’s all patched up now, though. We’re buddies”.
I am happy to read that Myers and Uncle Cholly have no lingering hard feelings but this was not Myers “fucking game”, it was the Philadelphia Phillies game. Regardless of Myers pitch count and recent effectiveness after being demoted to AAA, he had still given up 3 hard hit balls that inning (kudos to the Phillies fans who ducked out of the way to allow Jason Werth to reach into the stands to make the first out) and given Myers propensity of giving up big innings and coughing up the longball, it was a prudent decision by Manuel to go for the near-automatic JC Romero vs lefthand batter 2-out situation (especially when the very capable Chad Durbin was available for the 9th) and minimize any chance of the Pirates getting back into a game where the Phillies had to win. It also wasnt like Myers was blindsided as pitching coach Rich Dubee called for a time-killing conference at the mound before Myers last batter, obviously to buy time for Romero to loosen up. Myers is embarrassingly silly looking when he is angry and after showing up his manager on the mound, I give Cholly all the credit for waiting until he got back into the dugout before laying into Myers rather than going at it with him right there on the mound.
Former Phillies closer/ 1993 World Series Goat/Current Phillies post-game cable TV analyst/Wing Bowl aficionado Mitch Williams is not one to stand for one sided officiating per the following item in the Philadelphia Daily News, as penned by Dan Gross :
Mitch Williams lived up to his “Wild Thing” nickname Saturday at a Catholic Youth Organization basketball game in Medford, N.J.
The former Phillies hurler cursed at a female referee who was calling a basketball game in which his daughter, a fifth-grader, was playing for St. Mary of the Lakes against Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Williams, who now sells his own brand of salsa and who later this month starts hosting a Phillies pre-game show on The Big Talker 1210 AM, told us yesterday that he was sorry for using the f-word while yelling at the ref. “I’m emotional when it comes to my kids. What I saw happening was completely unfair,” Williams said, referring to his daughter’s team being fouled repeatedly with a lack of calls from the refs. Williams also appears regularly on the morning show on 610 WIP-AM, and is a Phils post-game analyst on Comcast SportsNet. The apology isn’t doing much for Ron Martin, who oversees referees as the Camden Board 34 independent assigner. He said yesterday that he called St. Mary of the Lakes to say that although the season ended last night, if Williams “is going to appear at any games next year, we will not officiate them. If he enters the gym in the middle of a game, we will stop officiating.” Martin is executive editor of the Burlington County Times. “A lot of people challenge calls, but when someone hits on one of the magic words, we can’t tolerate that stuff,” he said. Martin said Williams’ outburst is “not indicative of St. Mary’s athletic program. There are some great people over there,” he said. The 33-year-old female referee declined comment yesterday
Any connection between the referee and either Joe Carter or Curt Schilling could not be ascertained as of this writing.
Former Philadelphia Flyers legendary center/non-legendary GM Bobby Clarke doesn’t see eye-to-eye with NHL officials lack of tolerance of the latest cheap shot coming from a member of the Orange and Black. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
You’ve got to love Bobby Clarke.| He’s 58 and hasn’t taken the jock off yet. Yesterday, the former Flyers general manager, who played 15 years in the NHL and is in the Hall of Fame, created yet another buzz.Clarke not only went to the defense of Flyer Steve Downie – a permissible stance by any team exec – but he implied that the victim of a sucker punch deserved the shot.“I loved it,” said Clarke of Downie’s fist to the face of Toronto’s Jason Blake.Alarm bells went off all over North America.
Downie was suspended for the season’s first 20 games for a preseason hit on Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond.
In the days after that, Blake implied that the 20-game suspension wasn’t enough.
Re-enter Downie. On Saturday, in just his fourth NHL game, the Flyers rookie went after Blake, punching him in the left eye while the victim was being held by officials during a scuffle.
“Blake was a guy who had no problem going out and saying he should be suspended for life or suspended for the year,” Clarke told The Sports Network of Canada. “When you say something that stupid, why shouldn’t this kid go after him for it?
“The kid did what every hockey player should do. If a player like Blake, who’s been around as long as he has, wants to criticize a player, then he has to go on the ice with him and suffer the consequences.”
Blake shrugged it off.
Clarkie, who broke Valery Kharlamov’s ankle with his stick in the 1972 World Cup, played in the days when an eye demanded an eye.
He still lives there.
The major topic of current discussion amongst Igglephans is the question of Donovan McNabb and his current and future role with the Birds. Should this be the last Eagles season with McNabb at the helm, Phil Sheridan certainly can not be accused of helping run #5 out of town. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
…If Donovan McNabb is one of the best NFL quarterbacks of this decade (and the fact-based belief here is that he is), why do the Eagles often look better with supposedly lesser QBs?…
…The question arises as A.J. Feeley likely makes his second start of the season today in a must-win game against the Seattle Seahawks. Feeley’s performance, and that of his teammates, will be fodder for debate all this week as McNabb returns to practice for the Giants game.
So this is the perfect time to try to figure this thing out….
…If you believe your eyes, you saw the Eagles play a more complete and more focused game against the New England Patriots last Sunday than they’ve played all season. That could be explained by a lot of things – a challenging and aggressive game plan that won the players’ hearts and minds, the historic and insulting Vegas line that made the Eagles 24-point underdogs – if it was an isolated incident…
It wasn’t. We saw this in 2002, when Feeley started five games after McNabb broke his ankle. We saw it last year, when Garcia took over for the injured McNabb. Just as they did in Foxborough, the Eagles played differently with different men at quarterback.
The assumption is that there is something lacking in McNabb, some magic spark provided by the feisty Garcia and Feeley. It isn’t something you can measure with numbers or prove with statistics. It’s just something you sense.
That brings us to the theory that just might explain all of this.
The problem here isn’t McNabb; it’s the rest of the team. The problem isn’t that McNabb isn’t a good enough leader; it’s that he’s on a team without enough good followers….
…The rest of the Eagles know that McNabb will absorb a disproportionate amount of criticism and blame when things go wrong. He is the lightning rod that keeps the rest of them from taking any direct hits from the fans and reporters. That’s true to an extent for most quarterbacks, but not to the absurd degree it is here, where McNabb gets ripped for his facial expressions, where and when he stands on the sideline, what his mother writes on a blog and so on, ad nauseam.
In his case, literally ad nauseam.
Take McNabb out, though, and the rest of them have no one to hide behind. The offensive linemen can’t count on McNabb being blamed for taking sacks. The receivers can’t rely on McNabb being blamed for their inability to get open, adjust to a ball, or hang on to one in their hands. The defense and special teams don’t slide by, failing to create decent field position or make any big plays of their own. The coaches can’t take shelter behind the veil of vague answers that encourages the knee-jerk scapegoating of the quarterback.
They play, and coach, better not for Garcia or Feeley, but to cover their own well-remunerated backsides.
The worst thing is that the easiest fix for this is the one proposed by McNabb’s most vocal critics. It means moving on, letting McNabb go somewhere else to take a fresh chance at winning it all while Feeley or Kevin Kolb take on the full weight of leading this bunch.
If that happens, my money is on No. 5
Philadelphia’s Mayor-elect “Mixmaster” Michael Nutter (above) made a pronouncement that one would have never heard during the Frank Rizzo era. From the Phila Daily News/WHYY Next Mayor Blog:
Yo, Mike. Did we hear you dissing on Rocky?
Yup, in a speech about Philadelphia’s identity at the Franklin Institute last night, Nutter said the city needs to get over the iconic Sly Stallone film Rocky, about the south Philly boxer with a dream. Say what?
“We are entering the post-Rocky era in Philadelphia,” the mayor-elect said. “I think it’s an identity that doesn’t serve us well.”Nutter — who did say he enjoys the movie — continued, “the movie had a Cinderella quality about it. If you had no skills somehow you could be great.”
He went on to say “We need to stop celebrating low skills and start working on an identity where smart is cool and going to college is the norm.”
Delco Daily Times sports scribe/ unintentional comedy writer Jack McCaffery is still on the “Trade Ryan Howard for pitching” campaign. This time he sets his sights a bit higher than Kip Wells or Ted Lilly, but manages to think this idea through even less than his norm, even while playing the smart-ass and sneaking in a crack at Pat Gillick. From the Delco Daily Times
…But should the Phillies not reach the playoffs, they will have to confront a reality: That nucleus, so talented, so popular, is never going to win anything. And once they realize as much, general manager Ruben Amaro and his assistant Pat Gillick will have to edit their list of untouchables.
They must do that because history says David Montgomery will not spend the necessary money to gain a championship. But if done right, the Phils can spend their other valuable resources. They can exchange Howard, Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels or Brett Myers for maximum value in trade. And if they are at peace with their baseball integrity rather than married to the realities of sports marketing, they will realize that there is one name on that list ill-fitted for the National League yet also so contractually appealing that his very mention by an auctioneer would invite a stampede.
When they do that, they will consider trading Howard for the ace pitcher they lack. And might not the Minnesota Twins be interested in offloading Johann Santana, soon due a record raise, for Howard, who could D.H. for about a million per for the next four years?
That is a cue for the shallow of thought to shout out, œThere they go again, trying to run a superstar out of town. But the idea is not to dump a superstar, just to find one who can pitch….
…What responsible baseball reason? This one: Ryan Howard is about two errors from lifting Steve Blass off the hook for that throwing-phobia disease. And as long as the Phillies are in the no-D.H. league, they cannot commit to a max contract for a position player unable to toss a smashed beer can into a 200-gallon trash drum.
There was always some layer of mystery as to why Howard proved incapable in his double-secret outfield auditions, the ones that could have kept Jim Thome in Philadelphia. The only constant is that more than one scout has crossed eyes and raised eyebrows whenever the subject has been broached. If it weren™t impolite, they may even have shuddered.
This has nothing to do with Howard™s rampage to 173 strikeouts, for any hitter capable of going for 40-plus and a buck-20 can strike out as often as he pleases. But it does have to do with the discomfort that the left-left Utley-Howard power base risks. And it does have to do with the rebirth of Pat Burrell, who is good for 30-plus right-handed dings. And it does have to do with moving Utley out of harm™s way at second and protecting him from more injury. And it does have to do with Iguchi, the kind of situational hitter that the Phillies have lacked, and who will re-sign here only if he has a real shot at an every-day position.
And mostly, it does have to do with the only way the Phillies can acquire a superstar pitcher…
Well thought out Jacko. McCaffery cites Dave Montgomerys unwillingness to pony up mega-$$$ but feels that a trading off 4 years of Ryan Howard at bargain price for nothing more certain than one year of Johan Santana is a swell idea. I look forward to a future McCaffery article suggesting that the Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to Oakland for Joe Blanton.
The following item in the Courier-Post was unfortunately not accompanied by an on-site photo.
Ed Wade sat for most of the day Thursday, waiting out the weather and hoping for a jump.
In the late afternoon, the former Philadelphia Phillies General Manager got one and it was “great.” At least, that is, until the wind caught him.
Wade spent some time hanging from tree branches after his skydiving landing went awry.
“My choices were the tree, a couple one-story buildings and some power lines,” he said Friday morning. “I thought the tree was the best alternative.”
In good spirits and sporting some minor scrapes, Wade said his jump went bad after wind prematurely pushed him into the “drop zone” at the Freefall Adventures skydiving outfit in Williamstown. He tried to circle around for the landing, but “took it a little too far.”
“I guess I became a tree-hugger yesterday,” Wade said.
He was helped down by the Williamstown Fire Department.
Wade, who was fired from the Phillies in October 2005, said he and a friend from the Navy’s Leap Frogs planned on spending the day jumping at Freefall Adventures but weather conditions kept planes from taking up jumpers until late in the day.
The jump was Wade’s 36th solo try. He began skydiving about 18 months ago, he said, when friends from the Leap Frogs took the time to teach him. He has a Class A License.
“I learned from the best,” he said. “I learned a little more yesterday.”
Stephen A. Smith was so eager to fawn over Daisuke Matsuzaka’s appearance at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia yesterday (above) that he managed to ignore and overlook a player who so happened to win the NL MVP Award in 2006 while commanding the attention and admiration of both sports media and baseball fans worldwide last season. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
You didn’t have to see Boston’s new Asian sensation pitch against the Phillies yesterday to know exactly what Beantown is lavishing in and what Philadelphia is sorely lacking. All anyone had to do was take a peek into the stands and the press box inside Citizens Bank Park yesterday to know exactly why the Red Sox doled out about $103 million to get the latest Godzilla import.
“He’s the real deal. Trust me,” Boston’s Big Papi, David Ortiz, said after the game yesterday. “Whatever it is, he’s got it.”
We can only pray the Phillies will have someone like this someday because they certainly don’t have him now.
The World Series has ignored Philadelphia since 1993, which would explain the media’s occasional jealousy, because of their inability to do the same. But everyone was paying attention on this Saturday afternoon. Matsuzaka was in the house, along with a plethora of Asian journalists recording his every move. And if there was an empty seat in the ballpark, blame it on the folks who preferred watching the action from the concession area – with no need for an interpreter.
The ballpark wasn’t packed to watch Ryan Howard or Chase Utley any more than the fans were in attendance to see who would be singing the national anthem. They came to see Matsuzaka pitch in a major-league ballpark for the first time and watch the tentacles of a nation following in line.
Matsuzaka represents the arrival of a new time, a new era and vibrant expectations. The Red Sox made that happen by getting him to Boston.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Phillies watch while stuff like this happens.
Supposedly, we’re big-time like everybody else. Huh!
Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer had a chat with Mets closer/2006 NLCS ummm…non-hero Billy Wagner in which Country Time pays respect to the Phillies squad while repeating his standard exaggerations about Phillies fans.
To hear Billy Wagner tell it, the Phillies’ biggest hurdle this season won’t be the Mets, Braves or Marlins.
It will be you – the fans.
“The Phillies have the best team,” Wagner said at Mets camp the other day. “But there’s a lot of pressure playing in Philly.
“It’s just a tough environment. Nothing is close. That team’s biggest challenge will be playing at home. Their personnel is great, but it’s a tough city to play in. They can’t get off to a bad start.”
The implication seemed clear: Wagner believes fans will bury the Phillies if they get off to a bad start. Either that or he’s playing some mind games on his old team.
“It’s easy to come in there as a visiting player when you’re only there for three days,” Wagner said. “But 81 days, that’s different.
“People there expect you to perform, and when you do perform, they’re still on your ass. In Philly, you can’t have a good enough year. It’s different in other places. In Philly, you should never give up a run or you should hit a home run every time up.
“When you’re booing Mike Schmidt – come on.”
Home was not kind to the Phillies last year. They finished just a game over .500 at Citizens Bank Park and needed to go 5-2 on their final homestand just to pull that off.
But does that have anything to do with the fans, or the pressure they can put on players, as Wagner contends?
“Nah,” pitcher Brett Myers said. “I think it’s a great place to play. If you screw up, the fans will put you back in line. It’s like tough love.
“Billy might think it’s a tough place to play. Me? When someone tells me I [stink], I try to show them I don’t. It fuels me.
“The way I look at it, fans are allowed to tell us we stink. When I was a kid and I stunk my dad would tell me on the ride home, so it kind of brings back memories.”
Playing in New York isn’t exactly stress-free, but Wagner says Shea Stadium is a much easier to place to play than Citizens Bank Park. Part of his dislike for Philadelphia’s park is the coziness and proximity of the fans. The guy has acute eardrums and hears everything. It’s more difficult to pick out individual insults in New York.
“You can’t pay attention to it,” Myers said. “That’s why Billy couldn’t make it here. He could have been a superstar in Philly. The fans loved him because he threw 100. But he chose to focus on the negative part instead of the positive: The fans are the way they are because they care.”
The forthcoming release of Phillies General Partner Bill Giles memoirs is not likely to be eagerly anticipated by Phillies fans lacking in a sense of black humor, but at least one line of this book will certainly enter into Phillies lore. From the Philadelphia Daily News:
BILL GILES TELLS the story in his new book of a visit to Jack Betz’ representative during his search for investors to help him buy the Phillies. That rep called Betz – who owned a water-purifying firm – at home. Betz’ response? He said he liked the Eagles more.
Betz’ wife, Claire, overheard the conversation and tossed in her 2 cents, which ended with, “we’ve invested $5 million in dumber things.” So began the tenure of Giles as president and then chairman of the Phils, providing much of the fodder for 17 entertaining chapters in a book called “Pouring Six Beers at a Time,” written by Giles and Doug Myers. The back cover, appropriately, features a shot of a descending Kiteman at the Vet, part of a cast of characters (along with Cannon Man, Benny the Bomb and Karl Wallenda) who have become relics.
“The best promotion, of course, is winning teams and a good facility,” Giles said Wednesday, “and fortunately, although we haven’t been to the playoffs, the last few years we’ve had winning teams and we have a great facility and that’s a whole lot better than trying to figure out who the next Wallenda’s going to be.
Embattled Phillies LF Pat Burrell arrived at the Phillies spring training site in Clearwater Fla. on Wednesday and addressed some of the criticism and accusations he has taken over the winter, most notably from Phillies Special Assistant to the GM/luxury box meet-and-greet guy/self-appointed Minister of Tough Love Dallas Green (above).
From the Philadelphia Daily News:
In December, Green challenged Burrell to become a better player. In one of the most memorable quotes in recent Phillies history, Green said: “It’s neat to have money, it’s neat to have good looks, and it’s neat to have broads all over you. But there comes a time in every player’s life when he needs to get his act together.”
People who know Burrell well say he was angered and wounded by those remarks. He had always considered Green a friend and ally. The personal nature of the criticism was particularly stinging because Burrell became engaged this winter.
“It’s disappointing to hear things like that,” Burrell said, doing his best to downplay the matter. “I’ve always thought that anything that doesn’t apply to this game is personal and shouldn’t be talked about by anybody, let alone people within the organization.
“I’ve known Dallas a long time and I believe there was really no harm in what he said. I’m over it. It’s time to move on. It’s unfortunate that it happened.”
As of yesterday, Green and Burrell had not talked. They will at some point, but Burrell shouldn’t expect an apology.
“It’s a dead issue,” Green said. “I have nothing to add or subtract. I just want us to be successful. That’s my job.
“I like Pat and I hope we’re still good friends. I’ve always loved the kid. He belongs here for the rest of his career, and I want him to be successful.”