Archive for October, 2010

Is Two Always Better than One?

Posted: 10/12/2010 in Uncategorized

Initially I thought having a Phils playoff game and an Eagles game on simultaneously would be my sports utopia. What a perfect scenario!  However after experiencing the dual emotional rollercoaster of each game, wearing out my “last” button on my remote and annoying those around me (sounds like just another Sunday night) the truth is, it was hard to enjoy this sports cornucopia. The Phillies were my priority, but my favorite sport is football, so it became quite the internal struggle. Halftime of the Eagles game brought a nice respite for the remote but as both games started to wind down, the stress amped up. Don’t get me wrong – there are for worse problems to have, and I’m thankful the Phils are still playing and the Eagles are desirable enough to play on national TV. We made it through with two victories and it “just don’t get no better than that.”

After finishing off the Reds in convincing fashion the Phils now set their sights on the San Francisco Giants. Are the Giants the one team in the NL I feared? Yup, but after watching the Phils shut out the NL’s best offense in 2 of 3 games I am feeling pretty good about our chances. Funny, it sounds like a lot of people are not only cheering for the Giants, but also picking them to knock us off. I don’t really care about who people pick. I like being the underdog, but I also like the pressure that comes with being the favorite. We are a two-time NL Champs so the Phils have all on the pressure on their shoulders. My theory has always been that in a seven game series, the better team will end up winning four games, and in my heart I firmly believe the Phils will win this series. The Giants will be tougher than the Reds, they match up well with our big three and their bullpen overall is better. Our advantage is the strength of our line-up, our speed, defense and the mental side of having been there. Don’t discount the “having been there”/experience aspect. Ask the Reds about what happened in Game 2 when their four run lead dissipated thanks to a complete mental meltdown and their sphincter’s tightening.

Think we aren’t taking this series seriously? Check out this photo from today’s Philly Inquirer of the big 3 and a “comfortable” Joe Blanton. Good thing we won’t need him. Oh, wait, he’s our game 4 starter? Perfect. Go get em’ Joey!

By the way, as dominant as Doc Halladay’s pitching performance was in Game 1 (and it was as good as I’ve seen since I watched Cub rookie Kerry Wood strike out 20) – Cole Hamels complete game shutout in Game 3 was nearly as impressive.

Eagles

Was VERY happy for Kevin Kolb on Sunday night. Unfortunately (for him) much of the city’s attention was on the Phils, but it was good for him to reclaim some of his mojo against a bad 49ers squad. No shock that Big Red is going back to Vick as soon as he is healthy, but I’ll be curious to see what happens when we play the Falcons next week. I’m sure there’s nothing more that Vick would like then to beat his old squad in his new temporary home. Losing Jason Peters could be huge on the O-line too. Not that he’s lived up to the hype when we traded for him, but he’s so much better than King Dunlap or anyone else we could use out there. I think there’s a chance they will move Herremans to left tackle and move someone else to left guard. After all, left tackle is only the most important position on the o-line, protecting either one of the aforementioned QBs.

In closing, Shady McCoy is all that and then some. This guy can cut on a dime and he’s tough as hell (playing with a broken rib). He can catch and run, and his pass blocking has even gotten better. What a great draft pick he’s turning out to be.  I know we all miss Brian Westbrook the person, but you don’t hear anyone clamoring for him on-the-field now. Shady is it!

Dawgs

I experienced the best Dawgs game of the season live and in person with Wayna J, Flipper and Dre last Saturday. The can of whoop ass we opened up on Tennessee was a nice way to exact some revenge on a team that wears that ugly prison jumpsuit orange color.  Of course being a Georgia fan and making any reference to another team’s criminal-related activities is hypocrisy at it’s worst. So rather than talk about yet another UGA player who was arrested today, let’s focus on what’s important. Football. Despite trouble in the secondary and in the run game, Georgia played a strong game. The biggest difference I noticed was the energy level. This team seemed to have it. Whether that was due to the early score, the belief that they have a weapon no one can stop (AJ Green), the continued maturation of Aaron Murray or greater familiarity with the new 3-4. Maybe it was a combination of all of those things or maybe Tennessee just sucks. Whatever it was, it was a great game day experience even though it was a 12:20 game.

In Other News:

  • Special THANK YOU to everyone who reads, comments and cares about this blog. The comments on here, facebook, email, in conversation are great and I appreciate every single one of them and every one of you. I write b/c I care about this stuff and I enjoy putting my opinions out there – but just wanted to return the love and say thank you.
  • I miss my dad. Although it’s been 8.5 years since he passed away a day doesn’t go by without me thinking of him, which is a way for me to keep him in my life. Obviously time has worked as a blessing and a curse. A blessing because my life has moved on, but a curse for that very same reason. I’ve missed my dad more lately because I’m at a point of my life where I could talk to him like a man, rather than just his “little man.”  The relationship I had with my father is probably the most challenging I’ve ever had with anyone in my life. While it was always filled with unconditional love – I felt there was always a struggle for us to really understand each other. As I get older I have more of those “a-ha” moments where I begin to understand a bit more of the why my father was the way he was. And in my mind, if he was still here I believe he would better understand who I am. This is something I think about all the time. He was as good a provider as I could ever ask for. In fact he was many things to many people. If I can provide half of that to my family, I’ll be thrilled. Sometimes I wish I was more like him and sometimes I’m grateful to know I’m not like him. There were also things about our relationship that I wish were much different. Through time I’ve learned this is as great a gift as any he could have given me in relation to how I hope to raise my own children one day.
  • To the ATL residents – if you haven’t been to Farm Burger, you might be missing out on the best burger in Atlanta. And the fried okra and sweet potato fries ain’t bad either.
  • Why do people complain about it “only being Monday,” or “how they can’t wait for Friday” then they wonder how the year has flown by. Really?
  • Summa J and I are watching the Chilean mine rescue – at it’s the most amazing TV we’ve seen in quite a long time. Can you imagine being trapped in the dark for 69 days underground with only the light from your helmet? This is truly an amazing story happening before our eyes. Consider me IN for the movie and the soon-to-be books that will be written. I wonder why they are bringing the healthiest miner up first. An amazing story nonetheless.
  • They are filming a movie 2 blocks away from our house. The movie stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Betty White – both of whom Summa J and I saw on the set. We now feel obligated to go see this movie, which I will probably fall asleep in.
  • When I saw Top Gun, I wanted to be a fighter pilot; When I saw the Pat Tillman Story, I wanted to be Pat Tillman. Can’t impress upon you what a great documentary this was.
  • Summa J and I decided that Halloween has jumped the shark this year, but haunted houses and pumpkin patches never go out of style.
  • Oh wow – they lifted the deep shore drilling ban just in time for the elections; This is great news if you think the response to the BP spill in the Gulf was swift, effective and efficient. Awesome!
  • Next time you decide to feed either your face or your loved one’s faces with MACdonalds, you might want to think about this story first: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101012/bs_yblog_upshot/mcdonalds-happy-meal-resists-decomposition-for-six-months

Playoffs? We’re talking about Playoffs? Playoffs?

Posted: 10/05/2010 in Uncategorized

After four straight NL East titles – I have three thoughts. One, this might be the greatest period of baseball in Phillies history, and how fortunate am I to be living, breathing, screaming (often to the concern of my wife, my dog and those within a 15 mile radius) and loving every minute of it. Second thought, how the hell did the Braves do this 14 straight times in the 90s and early part of the decade? My third thought, win or lose, this is the best Phillies team I’ve ever seen.

I like our chances as much as any team I’ve ever cheered for. That being said, every sports fan out there knows that oxygen depleting feeling when your team goes belly-up after sky high expectations. I’m cautiously optimistic. On paper, I see the best three man rotation in baseball, backed by a team that committed just 83 errors (an absurdly low number), a set-up man and closer who both seem to have found their 08′ form and a line-up that boasts bigger bats than Captain Caveman. We have the experience of having been there, which is a huge intangible. Our two glaring weaknesses as I see them: middle relief and sometimes our focus wanes. Over the course of 162-game series it’s perfectly normal for a teams’ concentration to come and go. For an experienced, older team working on their own legacy – this is simply unacceptable. Do you hear me Jayson Werth? I love and hate you often during the same game.

Bottom line,  while I’m enjoying the hell out of this amazing run, another world title would cement this team’s legacy. The Reds are a very good, young team making their first appearance in the playoffs in 15 years, but we should be good enough to defeat them. 

Welcome to the playoffs, Doc Halladay!

Eagles

The Eagles loss last weekend to Washington was atrocious. Not because we lost to Donovan McNabb, who still looks odd in the gold and maroon of the Washington Redskins. Personally I thought #5 was going to play much better. He showed a few reasons why the Philly fans grew tired of him. Missing open receivers, throwing 100 mph heaters on running back screens, running out of bounds when you are trying to run the clock out, but he got the W, which is something Don did a bunch for us. I loved the standing ovation the Philly fans gave McNabb before the game, essentially urinating in the face of all the pundits who want to tell you about how we cheer opposing players injuries and how we boo’d Santa Claus (let me know if you ever want the real story behind that).  While I appreciate what Don did for us and never wanted to trade him, I’m not sure this team would have be much better with him right know. Anyone notice McNabb threw and INT to Nate Allen, the guy we drafted with the pick we received from Washington in the McNabb deal.

My concerns with the Birds? Jesus, where to start. The fact that Kevin Kolb evolked memories of Bubby Brister, the defense couldn’t stop anyone when they absolutely needed a stop, Big Red had another gaffe (though I put that on the refs) and our Special Teams were not very special.  Keep in mind the Birds ALWAYS start slow but we’ve lost to the only decent teams we’ve played this year (GB and Wash).  I expect the offense to be better and I hope the defense will get better.  I will reserve judgement on Kolb until he has a full week to prepare but if he doesn’t throw a ball over 20 yards against SF this Sunday night – it could be ugly.

I need to address the Michael Vick issue. From the moment they signed Vick, my stance has been consistent. What he did was reprehensible. I didn’t really like him as a player, I wished the Eagles didn’t sign him but after paying the stiffest penalty in history for dog fighting, I believed Vick deserved a second chance. I simply don’t believe in a case like Vick’s you can send someone to jail with the hope he comes out rehabilitated and not give him a chance to work and continue to re-acclimate himself into society.  I know some Philly fans are starting to warm to Vick and others remain firmly entrenched in their hatred towards him. I understand both positions and mine remains the same.  I didn’t think Kolb should have been replaced with Vick but after watching the last four weeks, I can’t argue with what appears to be the right move. If Vick is the starting QB and he gives the Eagles the best chance to win games, does that mean I am cheering for him? I suppose so. Even if  you don’t outwardly cheer for him while he’s in the game, if the Eagles win Vick deserves some of the credit. If the Eagles win a game on Sunday and Vick is the QB and you are happy they won, didn’t you cheer for Vick (albeit in an indirect way).  I’m as big a dog lover as anyone but I also believe in second chances in certain situations. Again, if Vick didn’t play football and he was an accountant, I would feel the same way (I probably just wouldn’t cheer for him, unless he got me a big, fat return).  

I think Bill Simmons poignantly said this about Vick last week:

If Vick didn’t pay a reasonable price for his sins, it would be one thing. But he torched his career, blew a lucrative contract, went bankrupt, spent 19 months in prison and became a public pariah. That wasn’t a reasonable price? Every prison sentence has four goals: remove a lawbreaking person from society; assess an appropriate penalty; incarcerate the individual as a deterrence from ever breaking the law again; and hopefully, rehabilitate him or her to become a contributing and upstanding member of society. With Vick, the first three goals were accomplished. The fourth goal seems to have been accomplished. What more do you want? Deny him a chance to make a living? Under what constitutional umbrella? The man paid his price.

Simmons wrote a really interesting piece on Vick and I think time will tell if he continues to give time, money and his celebrity status to the horrendous act of dog fighting and openly working with organizations around the country to educate and correct this heinous act. Here’s to hope and second chances. 

Dawgs

And you thought it couldn’t get worse – unless you watched the Colorado game. It’s like a broken record watching these Dawgs. Horrendous play calling, undisciplined, dumb penalties and mental mistakes. My advice to fellow Dawg fans – don’t jump off the ship, but reset expectations. This will be a brutal year, so enjoy watching AJ Green b/c he’ll be long gone next year. Enjoy watching Aaron Murray try to survive develop. And the new UGA VII will unveil next weekend against Vandy. All things to look forward to.  Summa J and I will be going to Athens on Saturday for a 12 pm UGA/Tennessee game. Can’t tell you the last time that game was at noon on Saturday. Ouch.  

Mike Bobo and all of the offensive coaches should be relieved of their duties. Last year Richt cleaned house on the defensive side of the ball and this off-season this sorry collection of offensive coaches needs to exit stage left. I give Richt one more seaons and I think unless we go winless this year and Richt completely loses the team, McGarity will do the same.

Flyers

Pre-season is upon us and I have two words for you: Sergei Bobrovsky, but you can call him Bob for short and he will be the goalie of the future.

Sixers

Pre-season is upon us and I have two words for you: Oh shit. Evan Turner isn’t even going to start? This can’t be good.

In Other News:

  • Braves fans, congratulations on “back-dooring” your way into the playoffs. After hearing so much chest beating after your first-half crown, I’m sure none of you sweated making the playoffs for a minute. For all of you “crazed, passionate, loyal fans” who helped say goodbye and thank you to Bobby Cox last weekend, why not support the playoff team you’ve been cheering for and actually GO to the game. What a novel concept. If you cannot sell out a playoff game, during your beloved manager’s final run, with a young team, when playoff tickets are $20 a piece – you might be worse fans than I thought.
  • I’m starting to think this world is a more self-centered place than I ever realized.
  • The other night I chastised (in a loving way) then challenged my Mom to master Microsoft Excel. While she kept making excuses and talking about bringing winter clothes down, I told her to stop wasting time and meet her challenges head on. I told my Mom I would check-in on her later in the week and I would be disappointed if she didn’t make any progress. Clearly the child had become the parent. Then my Mom responds with, “That’s fine, don’t call me this week either.” And clearly the parent has become the child. Mom, if you are reading this, I hope you finished your homework.
  • I was forced to watch Jersey shore last night and dare I say it was mildly entertaining. Taking notes from Summer, I made sure to ask lots of questions during key parts of the show, similarly to what she does to me while I’m watching sports. 
  • We went to the Atlanta BBQ festival this weekend and sad to say – it sucked. Since I don’t eat pork, I probably should have lessened my expectations but to summarize I spent $32 and didn’t eat a thing.  All the chicken was gone and the food was scarce. Nice work festival organizers!
  • However, Summa J and I did experience the wonder that is Marco’s Pita on Ponce – holy cow. I happened to meet the owner who might have been the coolest guy on the planet. I highly, highly recommend that place on Ponce for local ATLiens or any visitors.
  • Am I the only person who think the world would benefit from a new Outkast CD?
  • Go see the Pat Tillman movie. It’s the kind of movie that will make you think that conspiracy theorists might not all be cooks.
  • Rick Sanchez is such a dip shit, but I am going to miss that quirky, entertaining dip shit.  
  • And this is for you my Phitin’ Phils. Good luck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fjDS0jKiE