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.”