Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Somebody Get Me a Doctor...

Wow - Roy "Doc" Halladay is going to be a Philly. Let me get this straight, the best righthanded pitcher of the last six years is going to be wearing Phillie pinstripes. In this world, you have to give something to get something. Nothing worth having is ever easy. Yes, I am the king of cliches (as my Mom once labelled me as a young 11-year old). Bottom line, is that we have added the best pitcher in baseball to our team. I'm okay with this deal, even though we gave away some good prospects. Of course, they are just prospects. However, adding a right-handed power pitcher like Halladay will make our entire staff better, and now we have him locked up for the next four years. As a long-time Phillies fan and watching season after season of them trotting out guys like Joe Cowley, Floyd Youmans, Omar Daal and Robinson Tejada, its a bit surreal to have DOC Halladay actually want to play for the Phis. He even took less money to come to Philly. Consider this an excellent move.

Now, the second part of this deal is trading playoff stud Cliff Lee to Seattle for three prospects. The idea behind this trade is that the Phils couldn't afford Cliff Lee's $9 million salary and they wanted to restock their farm system after purging seven of their top 15 pospects to get Lee and Halladay. What I don't get is why the Phils didn't keep Cliff Lee. They already have the highest attendance capacity in the league. Make no mistake about it, they are making tons of money right now. You think their back-to-back World Series appearances didn't yield any additional funds? You think their attendance packing ballpark is genertationg enough funds? Granted their $140 million payroll is among the top 5 in the league, but the people of Philadelphia have financially and emotionally embraced these fightin' Phils. Hell, it's December, the Eagles are in first place and I'm talking about the Phillies!

My issue -- the Phils front office should have sucked up Lee's $9 million and played this season out. With a staff of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ we would have to be the favorite to win the World Series. At the end of the year, you thank Lee, let him go and get two compensatory draft picks from the team who signs him. His $9 million salary comes off the books and boom - you restock your farm system through the two picks. Instead Phils fans are left to dream about what could've been.

This has got to be one of the most bizarre Eagles seasons in recent memory. They are 9-4, sitting in first place, and just beat the Giants in what was one of the most exciting games I've seen in some time. Granted the game wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the Birds defense (giving up an astounding 500 yards). Before all of you Andy Reid and Donovan haters make noise, I want you to look at the numbers. Donovan is having one the best seasons he's ever had. You see how dangerous this offense can be when you get #5 some weapons. As far as Big Red goes I have definitely been critical of him and clearly he has his flaws (one of which is his inability to do a "chest bum") but I would still list him as one of the five best coaches in the NFL. I'm glad he got an extension and I hope that he and Marty continue to dial up plays the way they did on Sunday in New York. Go heavy on Desean Jackson, show patience and consistency with the running game, get the underrated Leonard Weaver involved, feed Brent Celek and mix in a few snaps for Vick. It is clear that Vick is rounding into shape in time for the playoffs, which is great. I just hope Andy doesn't try to get too crazy with using Vick. Donovan is still the man who should be taking 95% of the snaps. I'll be shocked if this team makes a Super Bowl run. I think losing JJ, Dawk and Stew Bradley is just too much for our defense.

In other news:
  • Isn't it kind of weird that Elin Nordegen never took Woods as her last name? Probably a good move on her part.
  • When the Phils traded for Cliff Lee, Summer informed me that we not only got Cliff Lee, but also Cy Young. Now she thinks we got Roy Halladay and an actual Doctor. Looks like I have some work to do
  • I think post-season statistics should count when figuring out career statistics
  • I love The North Face -- I love their gear, their logo, their tagline, but I think they should not have sued the young Jimmy Winkleman who came up with South Butt (Never Stop Relaxing). Check this out, before it gets shut down:
  • Today I pitched a Christian radio station in Connecticut regarding an energy savings spokesperson. Next thing I know,she's telling me about Jesus and the miracle of Christmas. When I explained to her I was Jewish, she continued to tell me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for hers. I'm sitting here asking myself if this woman is serious and how long can she go on for? However, after being lectured to for 4 minutes and 38 seconds I hung up on her. It wasn't a discussion - it was a monologue and I couldn't take anymore. I have no issue with religion and feel very secure in my own beliefs. I was simply calling to pitch a story and received a lecture on religion. I was tempted to ask her if Jesus would forgive me for hanging up on her. I understand people have different motives and different spiritual connections for what they believe in. I support that. However, when you get an unsolicited one-sided religious lecture from someone without even asking for it pushes me further away from whatever it was she was trying to convince me of.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't Hit the Red Button Yet...

With a belly full of turkey and a year's worth of stories emanating from my Thanksgiving celebration this weekend, I return to the scene of the crime. My blog, my fans, my issues. Panic seems to be the common Philly sports thread right now and I just want to remind everyone of the floatation devices under your seats, should you choose to jump out of this plane. Lots to touch on, so lets dive right in.

I'm not so sure why everyone is so down on the Eagles. Historically, Eagles-Skins game have been extremely unpredictable and tight. This one lived up to that. Bottom line is that we swept a bad Redskins team this year. Yes, the very same Redskins team that swept us last season. People, get your expectations in check. We are not going to blow every team out. We aren't that good, but we are 7-4 and I'm still not buying the Cowboys. The Giants are a better team than they've shown and I believe the division will come down to them and the Birds. Next week the Birds go on the road to play a battered Falcons team. No Matt Ryan, no Michael Turner, and a pieced together secondary. We have a really good chance to win this ballgame, but it won't be easy. I will feel better if we get Akeem "The Dream" Jordan back this week to solidify our linebacking corps. The Falcons still have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, especially on offense. I cannot wait for Summer to experience the wave of "southern hospitality" sure to greet us in our Eagles-clad jerseys at the Georgia Dome. Bring it, Dirty Birds. We'll be ready.

Every hockey season goes 82 games. That is a ton of games. If I'm not concerned about the Flyers 13-10-1 record, neither should you. An 82 game season, much like a 162 game season, has lots of ups and downs. Eight teams make the playoffs and I'm not worried about being 9th in the conference right now. Let's talk in March, okay? I can say without hesitation that this Flyers team is good enough to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup. Hopefully we can get Gagne, Briere and Betts back and keep everyone relatively healthy.

The Sixers are playing bad basketball right now and they just lost Louis Williams (arguably their best player thus far) for 2 months with a broken jaw. Put him in the running for the NBA's tough guy award. Dude broke his jaw during a game, he continued to play, with sed broken jaw, then had surgery a couple of days later. That's hockey tough. The Sixers have also been hit hard by injuries (Williams, Speights & Brand), but when everyone comes back they will still suck. The Sixers are in a bad spot. Too good to be a lottery team, too bad to seriously challenge any of the contenders in the East. Too capped out to make any improvements. Speaking of which, I have a feeling they will bring AI back and he will play well. While there's a part of me that romanticizes about the early part of this decade when AI and the Sixers commanded your eyeballs and dollars, the reality is that this is a bad idea. It's one thing to put up with the AI-circus when he's playing at a high-level like he was 6-7 years ago, but at 33 he's not nearly the player he once was. With his deteriorating skills & speed, an okay outside game, questionable shot-selection and his matador-style defense, I don't think it's a good idea. We didn't even broach the possible, er probable negative impact he could have on this VERY young team. Not to mention, the very telling stat that every team AI leaves gets better. Hmmm, maybe that's their approach. This leads me to believe that Ed Snider and Ed Stefanski believe in one thing -- getting butts in seats and maybe AI has one more run left in him.

What a great win for the Dawgs over the Tech Nerds on Saturday night. I mean, what does it say when an average SEC team goes to play the best team in the ACC, in their building and literally runs over them? A great game plan by Richt, Bobo and yes, even you Willie Martinez. I've been saying this for a couple of weeks, but Caleb King is finally showing the kind of ability Dawgs fans have been hearing about for years. The King/Ealey tandem was unstoppable on Saturday night putting up nearly 400 yards on the ground.

Does this save Willie Martinez job? Hell no. Our defense still gave up 24 points to them and we can't stop anyone. Hell, the game might have ended differently if that Tech WR didn't drop a pass that hit him in the hands on 4th down. I've heard some whispers about who our next DC might be and the names being mentioned are definitely exciting. Anything should be a step in the right direction. I could improve that defense with my all-out Tecmo Bowl blitz package dominant defense of the early 90s. We have some athletes on defense and we are young. If Reshard Jones and Rennie Curran return our defense could be significantly improved (especially with the departures of Prince Miller & Bryan Evans).

Things You Should Know:
  • Congrats to Derek Jeter on being named SI's "Sportsman of the Year." Very well deserved for a class act like him. Remarkably he's the first Yankee to ever win the award and while I'm not a Yankee fan, I have always admired the way Jeter plays ball.
  • After Tiger Woods latest issues, I'm pretty convinced of three things. One, the greatest players in the world do not always make for the greatest role models. Two, without knowing anything about his wife and her possible psycho tendencies, I guess anyone can be cheated on (assuming rumors are true). Three and most importantly, always have a good PR guy on your speed dial -- let me know if any of you need some recommendations.
  • I can't seem to put down Andre Agassi's book "Open." It's been a sensational read. The punishment that his dad inflicts on him is beyond comprehension.
  • On the way back from our Thanksgiving destination of Mississippi, Summer said the most beautiful, unforgettable words to me. "Ross, this weekend I learned a lot about football, and to be honest, I don't hate it anymore. In fact, I could probably go to a Georgia game, watch it and understand why everyone gets fired up now. I could probably watch a full game now." She then compared watching football to eating pickles, which really didn't resonate with me b/c I was still stuck on her earlier proclamation.
  • One of the keys just came off of my keyboard and my keyboard kind of looks like that person missing one of their front teeth. It ain't pretty, folks.
  • Go see "The Blind Side." This was part of Summer's Thanksgiving/Football indoctrination and it doesn't disappoint. It is a phenomenal movie, about much more than just football and Sandra Bullock is outstanding.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

There's Always Next Year...

So the World Series ended about a week ago and although it still stings, I've gotten most of the anger out of my soul, at least regarding the World Series. The key to the series was the Phils inability to hold a lead. In Game 3 Cole couldn't hold a 3-0 lead and in Game 4, Brad Lidge blew a save. Can't blow two games against a team like the Yankees and expect to come out on top. The better team won the World Series. We had to play a near-flawless series, and honestly, we played our best baseball this season in the Dodger series.

The Phils should be busy in the off-season. With that "young nucleus" all now 30 and over, the time is now for these Phillies. I don't think the window is closing after next season, but I do think every year will be a little bit harder than the previous year. After declining Pedro Feliz's $5 million dollar option, the Phils are looking to upgrade at third. Here's the tricky part. Feliz is an average hitter and a superior fielder. For as many clutch hits that he didn't get, he saved us many runs. I really hope we don't sacrifice the glove for another bat in a loaded line-up. There are some interesting free agents available (Figgins, DeRosa, Polanco, Beltre) and with the exception of Figgins, no one I see as a significant upgrade. We need to fortify the bullpen, the bench and if the Phils want to look into Roy Halladay, I'm cool with that. Rumor on the street is that a package for Halladay would be centered around Cole.

A very unimpressive game for the Birds on Sunday night against the Cowgirls. I know Dall-Ass was the recipient of some very favorable calls, but I pin this loss on Coach Reid. To use two replays challenges (losing both of them) and leaving yourself with NO TIMEOUTS, makes no sense. Further, when you are down 7 and choose to try a 52-yard FG with 5 minutes left makes no sense. You still need to get the ball back and score a TD to win. Why not just go for it on 4th down? Don't get me wrong, I'm not on the train to run Big Red out of town, but the things he struggles most with - staying with the running game, managing the clock and replay selection -- all were on display on Sunday night. I believe Andy Reid to be a very good coach, but he has head-scratching lapses throughout the season and unfortunately Sunday night was no exception.

Other Things You Should Know:
  • I've been critical of the cops in Atlanta recently, but the other night I was pulled over after swerving (relax, Mom it had nothing to do w/drinking, but I couldn't see the turn), not signaling and not wearing my seatbelt. Ironically enough, the cop could not have been nicer. Glad to see there are still some upstanding officers on the force.
  • Why is Family Ties not on sydication anywhere? I blame you Comcast.
  • Speaking of TV, I think Tuesday night is the absolute worse night of TV. If you want a successful show, talk to the networks about Tuesday night.
  • Seriously, who is Katt Williams and why should I care?
  • Not sure if anyone watched Andre Agassi's 60 Minutes interview with Katie Couric, but I give the guy credit for essentially bearing his soul and letting us in to see the deamons. I know some people like Martina Navritolova and Marat Safin have a problem with this. Safin wants Agassi to return all of the money he won and all of the titles. This is ridiculous. Agassi lied to the USTA, which was wrong but the titles that he won were won when he was clean. I read an excerpt in Sports Illustrated last week of Agassi's "Open" book, which I will pick-up later this week. For an athlete to come out and say he hates the very sport, which gave him everything (wife included), is pretty unbelievable stuff. It sounds like b/c of his over-bearing father, Agassi had to hit rock bottom in order to be where he is today. I applaud his recent honesty and candor and it makes his amazing return to the top of the tennis world that much more inspiring. I mean, could you ever imagine Tiger Woods saying he hates golf.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The World Series, and a Little Something Called the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party..

A crazy, busy sports weekend, mixed with a healthy dose of Halloween, makes for one of the most-highly anticipated weekends in recent memory.

My beautiful, kind, understanding, loving (did I mention beautiful) fiance has given me the green light to literally sit on the couch (occasionally getting up when nature calls and for sustenance) from 1 pm until 11:30 pm on Sunday and I can't wait.

12:50: Put on my eagles jersey, make sure my fantasy line-ups are set.
1:00 PM: Eagles/Giants
2:30 PM: Halftime/bathroom break
4:10 PM: Either call my Giant fan friends to "say hello" or shut my cell phone off
4:15 PM: Packers/Vikings
7:00 PM: Realize I'm only down 40 pts in my fantasy league with my kicker still left to play
7:15 PM: Change into my NEW Chase Utley jersey (B/c my soon sister-in-law, rocks!!!!)
7:30 PM: Phils/Yankees Game 4 Pre-game
8:00 PM: Play Ball!

I can't remember a better NFL watching weekend in recent memory. You have Ravens/Broncos, Jets/Dolphins, Bird/G-Strings, Vikes/Packers and Falcons/Aints on Monday night.

But the sports weekend, actually begins in earnest with the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party this afternoon in Jacksonville. The disappointing Dawgs take on the all-world, Tim Tebow, who ESPN claims can actually part the Red Sea, led Gators. It is so easy for me to hate Florida and I do. Is it the jean shorts? Is it the gold chains? Is it the chomp? Is it the cocky heir of their fans, half of which didn't even go to UF? Is it their goofy colors? Is it their 20 year dominance over the Dawgs? Is it their titles? Is it their coaches? Yes, it's all of those things. This game is certainly a bigger rivalry game for Georgia than it is for Florida, as it should be since they've dominated us for the last two decades. Did the endzone celebration of 2007 and the 2-2 record in the last 4 games put some of the luster back into this mutual hatred? Yeah, I think so, but until we are able to consistently beat Florida, I don't expect them to hate us in the same manor that we hate them. In fact, I've often wondered who I hate more: The Gators or the Dallas Cowboys?

Enough vitriol, onto the game. I have come up with two scenarios -- either Tim Tebow finds his missing mojo and Urban runs it up on us, or shockingly the Dawgs pull out a close victory. The malaise that the Florida offense has been in over the last several weeks with close, yet unimpressive wins over LSU (understood), Arkansas and Mississippi State has got to be worrisome for Gator fans. Unfortunately nothing heals a sick offense, quite like a Willie Martinez led defense.

Fresh off of our bye week, I expect to see a lot of creativity from Bobo on the offensive side of the ball today. We should see things that the Dawgs haven't shown all year. We are playing the #1 team in the nation and we are on a crash course for the Independence Bowl -- we might as well play this game like its our bowl game. That being said, Florida's defense is fast, talented and aggressive, so our execution will need to be flawless. On defense we have to hit Tebow early and often and keep bringing pressure all day long. If we can manage a score on defense, which I have this crazy feeling we will, I think we can win. We cannot make the mental errors that have become synonymous with Georgia football the last couple of seasons. We must play a near-perfect game. We will need our special teams to not play like they went to school on the short bus. If we don't see any creativity out of our offense, defense and special teams, we will lose and lose ugly. However, if we can utilize our speed and athleticism, get creative with our game-planning, and play a mistake-free, disciplined, football game, I think we can do the unthinkable.

I'm happy with the World Series being 1-1 thus far. Hoping for anything more than a split in NY, was unrealistic. Striking out A-Rod in 6 of 8 AB's was also pretty cool though. Even though the Yankees absolutely HAD to win Game 2, it was still a dogfight. The Phillies fought hard and if they could have delivered some key hits with runners on base, we could be up 2-0. I like that we got a chance to face Mariano Rivera and a couple of guys were able to get on base. I think this could be key for upcoming games. Pitching wise, Pedro pitched his arse off. The homerun that Matsui hit was ridiculous. He went way out of the strike zone to hit that ball and he crushed it. Gotta give it up, for an insane piece of hitting like that.

Bottom line is that Phils can take a big lead in the series tonight, but I've lost faith in Cole. Hopefully I will get it back, but he has not been impressive thus far in the playoffs (and inconsistent during the regular season). He has left a ton of pitches out over the plate and he has been hit pretty hard. His pitches have been very straight with little movement. I actually think the Yanks will win tonight and the Phils will take the next two in Philly. I think Blanton delivers in Game 4 and I like our chances with Cliff Lee in Game 5, though there's no way he can be as dominating as he was in Game 1. We also need for the big guy, #6 to get back on track. I think that happens tonight, but I have a feeling we a 5-4 type of game.

Word on the street is that Pearl Jam is playing the national anthem before tonight's game, which should be interesting since they are from Seattle. Maybe they are big Raul Ibanez fans?

More on the Eagles later.

FYI, the Sixers are 1-1 and Elton Brand is still healthy!

Things You Should Know:

  • Please check this out: Go to 24 seconds in and sit back and enjoy...Amazing, Texas Tech's Mike Leach calling out "fat little girlfriends?" Not a wise move, coach. Now your players are going to be focusing on saving their "relationships" with sed "fat little girlfriends" instead of studying their playbooks. http://http//
  • Inevitably, I always have one friend (it changes each year) who I need to remind to set their clocks back. Seriously, what would you people do without me?
  • How does the government want us to believe that the economy is growing faster than it has in two years, yet more job cuts could be coming?
  • Is there a more frightening horror-movie villian than Michael Myers?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bring on the Damn Yankees...

After spending a few days with our collective feet on the recliner, we now know the defending World Series Champs will take on the most legendary franchise in the history of sports on Wednesday night (by the way, how nice was it to watch two other teams sweat it out for the right to play our team?) What's funny is that I want this match-up. In fact, I think a lot of Phillies fans do. If this team is as great as I think they are, then we shouldn't be afraid of the Yankees or any other team in the league. The Yankees don't scare me. I think we are ready for them and ready for greatness.

Often in the lure of Philadelphia sports history, we tend to fear the great teams. Perhaps this is best explained through my future sister-in-law's post to my last blog (basically the Eagles get tantalizingly close to winning a championship, only to have us all get sick with disappointment as another Eagles season comes to a crashing close.) But greatness is accompanied by a certain attitude and confidence. I feel like the Patriots have it, I feel like the Steelers have it, the Detroit Red Wings, the Florida Gators (why must they have it), USC football, UNC hoops, Tiger Woods, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Yankees, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Ric Flair (wooooo) - they all have it.

This confidence is not just being great, it is knowing just how great you are. It is understanding that your opponent needs to not only beat you physically, but beat you mentally in order to defeat you. It is starring down A-Rod with 2-men on, in a one run game and not thinking but knowing you are going to beat him. When I look at this Phillies roster these guys are playing with tremendous poise and confidence right now. They are playing like they expect to win, not like they hope to win. With greatness, comes hatred. Of that list of teams I named above, how many of those teams do you hate? Why? Because they do what your teams don't do (and sadly, ESPN is obsessed with their every move).

Obviously with the Yankees coming off a big series win over the Angels they have no shortage of confidence too. On paper these teams match-up well. I give a slight nod to the Phils line-up. I like that fact that we can DH Raul Ibanez, which enables us to get Ben Francisco's speed and glove out in the field. Using Francisco in the field gives us three tremendous fielding outfielders. I think the Yanks starting pitching is a little better, but remember we did get to CC Sabathia last year when he pitched for the Brewers during the NLDS. I like our defense better. However, Mariano Rivera is unrivaled as a closer. Period.

This sets up to be a phenomenal series and I think it will live up to the hype. Baseball's winningest team of all-time, versus the franchise with 10,000 loses. The intensity will be off the charts during this I-95 Series. Will Ryan Howard and A-Rod continue their torrid postseasons? Will Derek Jeter add to his legendary Mr. October status or will the new, upstart Senor Octubre (Carlos Ruiz) build on his rapidly-growing post-season reputation? This should be a great series for baseball, and one I think the Phillies can win. This series will require everything the Phils have shown thus far and nothing less. They must stay sharp mentally. The Yankees take a lot of pitches and stretch out games. They wear teams out, so the Phils MUST stay focused.

Can they do it? Can the Fighting Phils actually pull a back-to-back title off? (Philly's first since the early 1970s Flyer teams). Are you kidding me? Are we really this close to doing the unthinkable? I can hardly wait until Wednesday!

And in this World Series hour, we will find out if the Phils have IT.

Dun-dun-dun-dun (insert the Monday Night Football theme here). Has there ever been an Eagles game more under the radar than tonight's showdown against the Skins? Eagles-Skins came always seem to bring out the unexpected in both teams. I think Andy actually runs Westbrook a bit more (probably around 18 carries) and the defense makes some plays on Jason Campbell. Historically, Campbell has played pretty well against us and Clinton Portis tore us apart last year, but the Birds were embarrassed by an AWFUL Raiders team (you hear that Rock?) and they should be out to prove something tonight. I see our offense actually getting a bit more creative this week, with the extra day of preparation. The Skins are in total disarray right now and if we can't beat them tonight that will be a big disappointment, especially with the tougher part of our schedule coming up. I'll be much happier going into the next 10 games sitting at 4-2, instead of 3-3.

Anyone else notice that the Sixers start their regular season on Wednesday night? Yeah, me neither. We'll save this topic for the dead of winter.

Things You Should Know:

  • Ever notice that whenever you get something new you think it is the (INSERT superlative here) in the world. I think its great. I'm pretty sure Summer believes comet is not only the fastest, smartest, cutest dog on the planet but I think she believes the dog knows who shot JFK.
  • Am I the only person who gets in a really good mood once I hit certain grocery stores?
  • Isn't it a bit misleading to say "my favorite part of going to the movies is the previews."
  • At what age do people stop paying attention to you? I visited my beautiful newborn cousin Riley this weekend and everyone in that room hung on her every move. It was really cute but at what point do people say, "okay, i'm going back to my life now."
  • Don't you love yelling at someone for doing something stupid while driving --like blocking an intersection where you are trying to turn --and then they refuse to look over at you, as if yelling at that person while they look at you would give you unmatchable satisfaction.
  • And finally, Mark Sanchez might be my new favorite non-Eagle...check out this video... The guy is a starting QB for an NFL team and he's eating a hot dog on the bench. That is amazing:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

J-Rollin' -- Check out the Premature MLB headline...

My goal = shorter, more frequent posts. I feel that's what the people want. They want their cheesesteak in more digestible portions and more frequently. I'll talk to the staff about that. Unfortunately for you, I have a lot on my mind today...

If you would have told me 5 years ago of my six beloved teams (4 Philly/ 2 UGA - hoops still counts) one of those teams would win three straight division titles, one world championship and on the heels of returning to another championship series/game, the Phillies would have been my fourth guess. At that time, I would have ranked that probability in this order:
3-UGA Football
6-UGA Hoops

That being the case, this run that the Phillies are currently on is nothing short of amazing. It may be my own biased, but I feel like this is a team that people can love. Whether you are a Phils fan or just a baseball fan, they are an exciting team to watch because they really do not give up. There aren't any prima donna's (Cole is probably the closest thing to it) or criminals (save Brett Meyers and JC Romero, come on he thought they were "approved" supplements). They are just a group of guys who are equal parts talented, driven, fun-loving and clutch, and I think the path this team took to get here is a great example of this team's moxie. Read a great article today about former Phils GM Pat Gillick who said when he came to the Phils in 2005, he noticed they had some good ball players, but that there was no real sense of urgency. Players like David Bell, Vincente Padilla, Placido Palanco, Kenny Lofton, Bobby Abreu -- all skilled players but not the type of guys who play with fire. This group of Phils plays hard, they play to the end and they enjoy being teammates. I think they have taken on the personality of Philadelphia and they embrace that roll. I love what Ryan Howard said in Game Four of the Rockies series last week. "Just get on base and give me a chance to bat," before he crushed a 2-strike, 9th inning pitch towards the gap in right centerfield to win the game and the series.

So when Jimmy Rollins came up two nights ago and delivered a 2-out double in the 9th against Jonathan Broxton, the insanely hard-throwing Dodgers closer, I watched with equal parts shock, revelry and expectation. I will never forget that double for the rest of my life or tackling Summer and high-fiving John, just as I won't forget Howard's double a few days earlier or the memories of last year. Eric Bruntlett's winning run sliding into home during game 3, Matt Stairs' homerun off Broxton, Chase Utley's incredible play to throw a Rays runner out at home and of course, Lidge's final pitch). What we as Phillies fans are experiencing are memories that will last a lifetime.

I don't know whether we will close the Dodgers out tonight or if we win it in LA, or if the Dodgers make an amazing comeback and win the series. The latter would be beyond heart-breaking. What I do know is that I love the way this team plays baseball. I love that the Phils were among the top 3 teams in come-from-behind wins this year and we are seeing that play out in these playoffs and during this 3-year run. And who would have expected this from a franchise known as the "losingest" team in baseball.

Big props to Charlie Manuel who makes far more right decisions than wrong ones. A lot of times I question what he is doing (along with many other people who read this blog), but this guy has won with the Indians and he's taken this team to heights we never thought we would see. The fact that Brad Lidge has been as good as he's been this post-season is a testament to Charlie and the way he handles his players.

As for tonight's game, I have a feeling Cole will be solid, but the Dodgers will win a tight game 3-2. However, I believe the Phils will close it out in Los Angeles in Game 6.

Go Phils!

I'm starting to think all of my Raider-bashing on this board jinxed the Eagles on Sunday. But, if ever there was a time to lose to a team (The Raiders) that I'm convinced would lose to a college team, it's while the Phils are doing what they are doing. Am I panicked about the Eagles? No, every year we have a game or a stretch where we are totally outcoached and outplayed and we lose to a team of lesser skill. Last year it was that stretch where we tied the Bengals, got pummeled by the Ravens and lost to the Skins. I still think Andy will right the ship and get things moving. I wish he would commit to the running game (and by commit I mean run at least 25 times a game) but that's not who he is, and "changing" is not a strong suit of Coach Reid. I love the acquisition of former Dawg Will Witherspoon and he immediately upgrades our defense, specifically our MLB spot, where Jeremiah Trotter is showing what two years away from football can do for you. Speaking of two years out, how is the Michael Vick thing working out for everyone?

The Dawgs
The Dawgs got a big win over Vandy, but when we start looking at that game as a "big win," that's when you know this season has stunk! Let's be honest, if we are headed to the Blue Bonet Bowl or the Papa Bowl this year, our true bowl game is really next weekend against UF. Do I expect UF to beat us? Absolutely. But, maybe just maybe we get a little creative on offense, the Gators take us for granted (maybe their bus gets lost on the way to Jacksonville) and we keep it close. While there's no doubt that I'm about as unimpressed (horrendous coaching, zero discipline, poor execution, etc) with this UGA team as any in recent memory (maybe 99' rivals this), beating UF would make this season salvageable.

UGA fan and legendary SFCS contributor Leigh Goldman came up with a short but interesting list of potential defensive coordinators who could coach UGA's defense next year. Three of the names that impressed me were: Everett Withers (UNC), Jim Tresey (USF) and Dick Bumpas (TCU). Personally I think we need a new offensive and defensive coordinator but I don't believe Mark Richt will fire anyone. The hammer will have to come from Damon Evans or President Adams. Regardless I haven't seen anything creative from our offensive since we lined Brandon Smith up in the wildcat during the FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON. Our offense is incredibly predictable and our defense gives up points like it's going out of style. Changes need to come this off-season for the Dawgs!

In Other News:

  • One of the best moments of the Game 4 NLCS came when Joe Torre was walking out to the mound, to calm down one of the Dodgers pitchers (think it was George Sherrill). With Shane Victorino standing on second base, Summer says to me, "Do you think Shane will try to steal 3rd while the Dodgers manager is out there?"
  • Last weekend at borders Summer and I witnessed the greatest conversation in the history of the world. There was a customer who was arguing with a salesperson in the DVD/CD section about how he thinks the old school tube TV's are better than the flatscreen HDTV's. His reasoning -- the two black bars that viewers see above and below their picture on HD (due to the elongated picture) are actually hiding things the TV industry doesn't want the viewer to see. He reasoned that on his tube TV, he could see everything! This is not a joke and this conversation went on for a full 30 minutes, until the store closed. Yes, this man really exists and yes he is walking the streets of our country believing HD is a scam.
  • Our dog Comet is a very vivid dreamer. I often wonder what she dreams about when she starts wagging her tail, chewing and barking in her sleep. One word for you: Snausages.
  • Did any of you really think Balloon Boy was not a hoax? I think they need to throw the book at those parents. Who names their kid Falcon?
  • I just read that Carnie Wilson got a reality show? Seriously? New rule (in my best Bill Maher voice): if your parents or your siblings held celebrity status -- that doesn't make you shit!
  • Did you notice my use of the word moxie above? It's one of the most most underrated words in the English language.
  • I love my Mom and she finally started reading my blog (thank G-d), but one of my favorite things she does is her slightly exaggerated "passion" for the Philly and UGA teams. Don't get me wrong, she loves to see both the Philly and UGA teams do well, and to her credit she knows a good amount about the Philly teams; more so than your Mom! Anyway here is a sample dialogue:

Mom: Ross, what happened in the Phillies game?
Me: Well, they came back and won, Mom.
Mom: They did (insert complete and utter shock here)
Me: Yep, it was unbelievable they fought back in the 8th and won in the 9th, weren't you watching?
Mom: Well, I started to watch, but it was so close and I just get so nervous that I had to watch my favorite show, "Dancing with Stars" instead.
Me: When where you last watching the game?
Mom: Well it was 2-1 Phillies when I changed the channel.
Me: Mom, that was the 2nd inning
Mom: I know, but I just get so nervous that I can't watch.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sleep = Small Price to Pay for A Playoff Win

What an amazing time to be a Philadelphia-sports fan right now. I feel like Philly is one of those "close but no cigar" type of sports towns. Traditionally we go through 3-4 year periods where all four major sports teams get into the playoffs and come tantalizingly close to grabbing those elusive world championships. These happen about every 20 years. My Philly area buddy Pete Marroni and I were talking about this last week. I hope the younger generations appreciate that they are growing up in, what has the potential to be, one of the great periods for Philadelphia sports teams. I will spare you all the details of breaking down each major sports teams chances, but my plea to the Philly fans is to enjoy the hell out of this run. I think that is why I insisted on staying up until 2:16 AM on a Sunday night watching every last out of the Phils-Rockies game game 3 playoff series. It was surreal texting longtime SFCS reader and fellow lunatic Philly fan Derrick H. about whether the Phils could get J-Roll home, or if Lidge was going to get through the heart of the Rockies order. As tired as I am today, I firmly believe that it's time like these, games like last night's, that can define an era. Last night's game epitomized this Phillies team. Your starter doesn't have his best stuff, you fall behind early, fight back, play the game like your ass is on fire, come back in your final at-bat and pray to G-d (or whatever you believe in) that your closer can get through the meat of the opposing teams' line-up. And what would a Phillies playoff game be without adverse weather conditions? I love this team. I love their heart, their grit, their guile, their focus and their belief in each other, and I think Charlie Manuel is the absolute perfect manager for this group. Sometimes we LOUDLY question his decisions, but at the end of the day, this guy makes far more good decisions than he does bad, and he has an incredible feel for the game. It was all I could do to not jump around last night and throw things, waking up my entire house -- but it was good to see Brad Lidge close out that game. I think retiring the strongest part of the Rox line-up will go a long way to re-establishing Lidge's confidence. Hopefully time will tell. Last item of note -- I really believe Carlos Ruiz is THE MOST underrated player on this team in clutch situations. The guy hit almost .500 last post-season and it seems like he constantly delivers in key situations. Not to mention, he's a helluva defensive catcher. He doesn't get the ink that other "underrated" players like Victorino & Werth get, but this guy plays just as big.

The Eagles
Wow! Hello Jeremy Maclin -- so glad you could join the party this year. Earlier in the day, as the Eagles thumped the Buccaneers (or Succaneers as my buddy Wayne refers to them), Jeremy Maclin caught 6 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs, as a fill-in for Kevin Curtis. Yeah, Kevin about your starting spot....we have a great spot for you on special teams! While I am not ready to anoint Maclin anything (though I did pick him up in my fantasy league), I feel much better about the offensive future of this team now, then I did 6 months ago. Between DeSean, Shady McCoy, Brent Celek, Avant, Weaver and possibly Kevin Kolb (jury is still out on him), we definitely have some pieces to work with. That being said, I like this year's team. We seem to beat the teams we should beat and we'll see what happens when we play other good teams, which won't happen next week against the horrendous (sorry Rock) Raiders. This team traditionally plays it's best football in late November/December, so it should get interesting as the schedule becomes much more difficult. Our defense still needs some work, but I do think we are getting after the QB much more consistently, which is great. I wish we could cover the TE's, but maybe Sean McDermott, who I think is doing a good job can figure something out. Right now, I think we are looking up at the Giants. They might be the best team in the league, but there's lots and lots of football to play.

The Dawgs
Memo to Coach Richt -- IT'S NOT WORKING. By "it" I mean the offense, the defense and the coaching. The Dawgs defense has given up 37 points in 7 of their last 12 games. That would be a horrendous PS3 stat, not to mention a major SEC Program. Honestly, how does Willie Martinez still have a job? Granted the offense has not helped much lately, but when things are not working and you are a "major national football power" (even if that's only in UGA fans' minds) you make changes. It's time for Bobo and Martinez to go somewhere else. Maybe there are some pee-wee football teams that have openings, b/c that's where those two belong (kindly take Prince Miller with you). We have long been undisciplined and we have not always been the most intelligent team, but when your actual talent belies your lack of discipline, you can get away with it. This team is terrible and they are consistently undisciplined. Every year we hear about what an "amazing" recruiting class Georgia has. Well, outside of a handful of players (AJ Green, Rennie Curran, Jeff Owens, Blair Walsh and a few others) I don't see much difference between us & the mediocre programs of the world. I realize every team has their down years, but when I saw the amount of talent last year's team had and we still didn't even get to the SEC Championship (or come close to competing with UF), I start to question things. Don't mistake my frustration for anything more than it is. I love the Dawgs (always will) and I think Richt has done a very good job taking the program to another level. However, Richt absolutely needs to make wholesale changes in personnel and since this season is a wash just six games in, I think we should get the young players some time to see what we have. Of course, given Mike Bobo's "ingenious" playcalling & Willie Martinez swiss cheese defense, maybe giving playing time to the likes of Marlon Brown, Abry Jones, Zach Mettenberger and/or Aaron Murray and Chase Vasser won't show us much of anything.

Things I've Been Pondering...

  • So my fiance and I have been putting together our registry for our wedding, and it's actually been pretty fun. I was wondering why people don't just register things from an early age and just keep updating your list accordingly. Think about what a great idea this would be. It would prevent those who love and care about you from asking, "so what do you want for your birthday this year? Well, Mom I put the Justice League of America and a pair of Sky Jordans on my registry."
  • If I told you that I knew someone who had the cure for hiccups -- what would that be worth to you?
  • I just read an interview with Hall & Oates (don't act like you don't still drumbeat your steering wheel when they come on) and they said, Michael Jackson took the groove from "I can't go for that" and used it in "Billie Jean." Not sure I'm feeling that.
  • Why does Atlanta continue to let people smoke in bars? It makes no sense.
  • Guaranteed, coolest music video you never saw: http://http//
  • I'll leave you with this zinger. Apparently France is paying students to go to class. They are paying the ones most likely to fail and drop out, to go to school. However, these students can't buy "fun" things with the money, they can only put it towards school-related items (driving lessons, computers, class-related trips, etc). So in short, if you do the things, you are "supposed" to do - no soup (or brie) for you, but if you are a derelict, well does France have a program for you! No wonder that country is so revered!
    • Sunday, October 4, 2009

      Dear NCAA, Stop Ruining The Game...

      The Dawgs lost a close football game yesterday to LSU, and I have a bitter taste in my mouth about it. They played hard but came up just a bit short. There were mistakes, dumb penalties, missed opportunities - no doubt. LSU won and they made plays when they needed to. Although the outcome may have been the same, the manner in which the Dawgs lost was an absolute disgrace to the game of college football. When AJ Green, who is probably the best WR in the nation right now, went over a helpless LSU DB to grab the then go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 left in the game, Dawgs fans everywhere went crazy, present company included. What followed that phenomenal effort was nothing short of absurd. After Green caught the pass, his teammates ran over and jumped on him. He jumped around with them, turned to the home crowd, nodded his head and appeared to scream something. The refs decided that this was an "excessive celebration" and saddled Georgia with a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off (basically meaning they kick off from the 15, instead of the 30-yard line).

      Here's where the hypocrisy begins. The NCAA markets things like shirts, hats, foam fingers, towels and they make millions of dollars in college paraphernalia each year. These products are designed for fans to show their appreciation and support for their teams. They authorize the building of monstrous stadiums and allow for encouragement from players and the scoreboard operator directing fans to "get loud." Ticket prices and fan donations go up every year and now the NCAA is banning players from acknowledging these fans? Are you kidding me? AJ Green was penalized because he recognized an endzone full of UGA fans who paid their hard-earned money to come watch an exciting ballgame at Sanford Stadium. He recognized the legions of screaming fans in a tight, conference game with time expiring and his team was penalized.

      These kids work so hard to get to this stage, and there's so much intensity playing in front of 100,000 screaming fans, but the NCAA wants players to act like robots. When LSU's Charles Scott scored a go-ahead touchdown run with under a minute to play, he too was whistled for an excessive celebration penalty for signaling #1 after he scored. Stop letting the refs determine the outcome of the game and let the players fight it out on the field. This is ridiculous! If a team is offended by a TD celebration, then keep that player out of the endzone.

      Out of one side of its mouth, the NCAA loves to talk about the beauty, the tradition, the passion and the pageantry behind the sport. Out of the other side of its mouth they want the players to play with NO emotion. Would it be better to just have blowouts? Maybe it should be like wrestling where the outcome is pre-determined and the players just act out a script (yes, Summer wrestling has pre-determined outcomes and there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny). I need to find one of those foam fingers and shove it up the NCAA rules committee collective ass.

      NCAA rules committee, I realize it's probably really difficult to sit up in your stuffy, air-conditioned offices/suites and watch these games, where you care more about what your cut from the gate is. However, in the heat of battle, emotion happens. That's a huge part of what makes sports great. Emotion. Every game provides the fans with a winner and a loser and the players, coaches, fans, waterboys, mascots, media types and yard markers know this. That battle SHOULD BE waged on the field, but your rules are killing the very thing that summons thousands of fans every Saturday (and some Tuesdays & Thursdays) to stadiums around the country. I implore you to let the result be determined by the play on the field, not on the emotions of 18-22 year old kids who are helping to pay your salary!

      Good to see the Flyers off to a great start. 2-0 after two road games and Ray Emery is playing like a man possessed, though with his dark past I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's great to see these guys off to a fast start and they are getting contributions from all 4 lines. Only 80 more games!

      In Other News

      • Any other fans grateful for an NFL bye week? I feel like the bye week is needed for me to have 1 Sunday where I don't sit in front of a TV watching the Birds for 3 hours.
      • As Summer and I are planning our wedding, I often think about what it would be like if I set all of my friends up in a NCAA-basketball like bracket. Who would be the 1's and who would be the 16's? Don't worry if you read this blog, you are at least a 5 seed.
      • I have taken it upon myself to challenge Darrell Solomon's reign on the peanut butter & insert your favorite ingredient here sandwich. Last week I took the peanut butter & banana sandwich to a whole nother' level by dropping dried cranberries between the banana slices. I don't do it for the glory, I do it for the love, folks.
      • There are few things I find more peaceful then when my two dogs are sleeping on the couch on either side of me.
      • Went to a very good restaurant this weekend in Atlanta called Pacci - definitely check it out.
      • Does anyone miss Mike Tyson quite like I do? There has been no one in the fight game who brings as much excitement as he did prior to or during a fight.
      • After her 3rd divorce (this one from Greg Norman), I think Chris Evertt Lloyd/Mills/Norman should be the next bachelorette.
      • Next time you don't feel like working out or you tire after 15 minutes on the treadmill, think about Ed Rousseau - this guy is amazing. He one time ran 384 miles? I don't even like to drive that far...

      Thursday, September 24, 2009

      The Pen Still Mightier than the Sword?

      There's a whole lot going on in the Philly sports scene right now, so I figured why not give the people what they want - my opinions. Here it goes.

      I think the Phillies are in SERIOUS trouble if they continue to trot Brad "Lights OFF" Lidge out in any type of save situation. The guy is toast. After running his record to an impressive 0-8, blowing his 11th save and upping (i think) his ERA to an absolutely unheard of 7.48 in Tuesday night's loss to the Marlins, Lidge should only be used if we are up or down by 6 runs or more. This is clear (and has been) to anyone who regularly watches the Phils. I personally think Uncle Cholie realizes it too, but he also feels a sense of loyaly to Lidge. Let's be honest, if Lidge were able to right his ship he would be a huge boost, but as the leaves begin to change colors and baseball games suddenly become meaningful, it's clear Lidge is totally unreliable and largely ineffective. What we need is to get back some of the injured guys from our pen. Scott Eyre our best lefty this year has been out for about 6 weeks. He's pitched some rehab, so I'm hoping he gets back in time for the playoffs. JC Romero, Brett Meyers and Chan Ho Park are also on the shelf and rehabbing their injuries. We need these guys if we want to make another run at a World Series title. The good news: they will all be well rested. The not so good news: they haven't faced major league pitching in weeks (or month's in Romero's case). Bottom line, a weak bullpen puts TREMENDOUS pressure on our starters. I think our starters are good enough, but only time will tell. Keep in mind, when last year's playoff series began, I don't think any of us believed the Phillies would end the curse. Stay tuned.

      As far as the Eagles go, I fully expect a tighter-than-should-be game on Sunday against the punchless Chiefs. I'm thinking a 27-23 type of score sounds about right. I think Vick will be in for about 20-25 snaps and I think he will be responsible for one of the Birds touchdowns. By the way, Eagles fans - you miss #5 yet?

      Did you hear the news that Jeremiah Trotter had a "good tryout" with the Birds yesterday? What does it say about Omar Gaither that he was first replaced by an undrafted free agent in Akeem Jordan, then he was passed by a guy who didn't play a snap on defense last year (Joe Mays). Gaither eventually "won" the starting job back, when Mays hurt his shoulder. The Birds are now bringing in a 32-year old Trotter, whose knees they said were shot 3 years ago? I'm guessing this is more of a loyatly gesture from Andy Reid, but signing Trotter will be a very curious about that move.

      Sixers unveiled some new unis, which have that sorta throwback look, mixed in with the elementary-blue collar. Personally I like them. Here's a picture for those of you who missed it.

      That would be Thad Young, Elton Brand and the guy who looks like his eyes have sunken into his head is our new "wonder coach" Eddie Jordan. At the uniform announcement, our GM Ed Stefanski made the following proclamation about 2008 FA signee Elton Brand. "All I know is he wants to show everybody who Elton Brand is," Stefanski said. "I don't know if he's putting pressure on himself or not; I hope he isn't because he doesn't have to be our savior or carry us."

      Hey Ed, you signed this guy to an $82 MILLION DOLLAR contract. Not only do we need him to carry us, he better collect tickets and sell popcorn too!

      Looks like The Flyers are facing a tough decision with finalizing their roster as 2007 first round pick James van Riemsdyk starting to show his promise. JVR as we like to call him, is a 20-year old kid who is still trying to grow into his 6'3 frame. Here's a vote for keeping JVR up in Philly this season. The kid has been lights out in the preseason and when you invest so much in a player (second overall pick), you push them, unless of course you are Sixers GM, Ed Stefanski.

      As for the Dawgs, I like our chances on Saturday against the Sun Devils. I expect another offensive show (b/c our defense sucks), but the Dawgs just have too much speed and offensive firepower. I'm psyched to be going to my first Dawgs game of the season and Summer, well she's excited to tailgate. I'll take it! Good to see Joe Cox bounce back in a HUGE way against Arkansas. Again, I think the key is for the playmakers (AJ Green, Richard Samuel, Orson Charles) to make plays and for Cox to manage the game and not try to do too much. Tremendous effort by Cox in Arkansas. Let's hope he can keep it up.

      Things You Should Know:
      *Today in a conversation with my friend Neal, I compared going to Milwaukee to getting a prostate exam. "Neither is as bad as you think it would be - it's all about expectations."
      *My fiance informed me that I hit a touchdown when I landed her. Clearly my sports fanaticism has rubbed off on her.
      *I used to think the biggest waste of police/state resources could be found every morning on Roxborough Road. Yesterday, I discovered that the biggest waste was the four, count em', F-O-U-R cops sitting in Brookhaven pulling over soccer Mom's and golfing foursomes at 10:30 in the morning. Unbelievable.
      *Can someone explain to me the commercialization of Mangos? I remember 10 years ago this fruit was a hidden gem, best enjoyed as a special treat on a hot summer day. Now they put mango in EVERYTHING. Are you kidding me? What next pomegranate? Oh, yeah, too late. Who decides this?
      *If you are into Pearl Jam (and you should be), their newest CD "Back Spacer" is a phenomenal CD. This is their best work since the wildly underrated Yield. Go buy it.
      *Think I'm getting tired of facebook. I was thinking of ending things, but figured if nothing else - it's always a good tool to help remember birthdays (and pimp my blog). But seriously, I don't need to hear about what you ate for lunch or if you were a gay superhero, what your name would be.
      *Muammar Gaddafi - seriously, what hole did this guy crawl out of? I figured I'd have a better chance of seeing a Sasquatch then see this clown. But wouldn't he make for a great villain in the new Batman movie? Seriously he could be the evil Mr.Bill figure. You shoot him and he just rearranges his claymation-injured face.
      *And if you haven't had Whole Foods BBQ'd Turkey Meatloaf, you are missing out. And thank G-d there's no mango flavoring.
      *I think goodness = Free WiFi. Support these places & their free Wifi: Village Pizza (Cabbage Town), Panera and Volvo. Tell them Ross J sent you -- and they will stare at you blankly.

      Sunday, September 13, 2009

      And now the lights come on...

      This morning as I woke up way too early on a Sunday morning (as puppy ownership often forces you to do), my saving grace is that today is NFL opening weekend! What will today bring for the Birds? Will it be the absolutely shellacking we laid upon the Rams last season or the complete unraveling of the birds during their road loss to Green Bay in 2007 when no one seemed able to catch a punt. Perhaps something else? In a mere 7 hours, our questions will be answered.

      In my groggy state this morning, I thought - how great is it to be a college and pro football fan? Yes the Eagles have never won a Championship in my lifetime and yes, the Georgia Bulldogs last title came when I was 6, but I still look forward to every season with foolish optimism.

      As you all know, I'm a huge college football fan. Simply stated, there is absolutely nothing like the pageantry that accompanies the college game. That being said, at the NFL level everything is just experienced on a different level. The grass feels a little greener, the hitting more ferocious, the speed more elite, the rivalries more intense and the execution more flawless (unless of course you are watching a Raiders game). Fantasy football teams aside (and you know that's not easy for me to say), there is something so exciting about the NFL kick-off weekend -- and folks, it's here!

      Looking at my beloved Philadelphia Eagles I see I giant entree of uncertainty, topped with a scoop of hope and a side of doubt. Lets first view the positives and the offense should be the most positive spot on this team early on.

      It all starts with #5. Donovan looks primed to have a big year. He just signed an extension, he looked sharp during his limited pre-season role and I think he wants to win now, more than ever. Like any athlete entering the back-half of his/her career - the realization that "the window" is closing becomes very, very real. I think Donovan has the best year of his career. I think DeSean Jackson becomes an elite WR, I think Jason Avant becomes one of the best slot WR's in the league (a Bobby Engram type), I think Westbrook fights through injuries and has a nice bounce-back season and Shady McCoy shows we might okay platooning Westbrook. I am worried about the cohesiveness (is that a word, Mom) of the offensive line. I don't believe Stacy Andrews played a live down during the pre-season and I don't believe Shawn Andrews will play more than 3 games for the birds this year (Jon Runyan, please pick-up the white courtesy phone). Will Jason Peters be the pro-bowl tackle he was in Buffalo or the guy who looked a 2-steps behind during the pre-season? Many, many questions on offensive line -- and we haven't even gotten to Michael Vick. From a football perspective, I never liked the Vick signing and I'm not sure how much he contributes. I think he'll get some plays called here and there, but if this guy is getting more than 5 snaps a game, I'm not real happy (and I can't imagine Donovan will be either). Bottom line is that if the offensive line doesn't come together, it doesn't matter who our QB is. Offense begins with your line and the fact that our O-line has not played together and is injury-riddled, leads me to believe this team starts off slow. My two surprise offensive players: Jason Avant & Leonard Weaver.

      If you think we have questions on the offensive side of the ball let me introduce you to Sean McDermott, our new defensive coordinator. The passing of Jim Johnson is very sad and cannot be overcome. He was a mastermind and if McDermott is half the coach JJ was, we should be thrilled. Letting Brian Dawkins leave to go to Denver was a horrendous move. Horrendous. I know his skills were eroding, but he still made plays in the run game, he was still a ferocious hitter, a great blitzer and the unquestioned team leader. Thirdly, losing Steward Bradley to a torn ACL completes a horrible off-season for the defense. These three losses are enormous. There is no sugar-coating these. The good news, I think our D-line will be better. I love our front four and believe Chris Clemons, Ty Laws, Jason Babin and Victor Abiamiri (IF he stays healthy) will make our rotation very strong. I think our LB's will be the weakest part of our defense. The loss of Bradly here is crucial. Omar Gaither steps into the middle. Gaither played there two years ago and did a nice job. He's a playmaker, but he's not as big and he can't cover like Bradley can. The secondary looks strong, if you are okay with a 5th round rookie filling Brian Dawkins spot. I applaud the Eagles for going against their beliefs that either Quintin Demps or Sean Jones would be the guy here. This tells me either those guys underperformed or my man Victor "Macho" Harris was too good to keep out of the starting line-up. I'll go with the former. That being said, I think this defense will struggle early and round into shape at the beginning of November. My surprise players: Chris Clemons and Macho Harris.

      Special Teams
      I think our Special Teams should improve under the tutelage of Ted Dashier who has always been a good ST coach. I'm hoping Sav Rocca continues to improve and David Akers gets back to being the near-automatic kicker he was a few years ago. Our return teams are good. Rookie Jeremy Maclin showed me ZILCH in the preseason as a returner and I really hope we don't use DeSean Jackson back there to further expose him to injury. He's too important to the offense.

      Okay, so that's my September view on the Birds. I think we struggle early, play up and down in the middle of the season and come on strong late. I think we finish 10-6, get into the playoffs and lose in the second round. The NFC East is going to be dogfight (insert your poor Michael Vick joke here) and I think the Giants will take the division in a tie breaker. I just believe the losses we've suffered already, along with a HUGE questionmarks on the offensive line are too big to overcome.

      The best thing about today is that everyone begins the season with the goal to be playing in the last game of the season. Today, everyone is 0-0 and at 1:00 PM a new journey, a new season, a new story will unfold. E-A-G-L-E-S....EAGLES!!!!

      And a special shot of southerfried love to my northeast folks:
      B-Train: appreciate the cheesesteak but who stiffed you w/the drinks; the A misses you, man
      D-Nice: keep rockin' the Euro fashion; it's gotta be the shoes
      E-Rock: wasn't it way past your married man curfew
      Laurie: thanks for being our GPS and for putting up with us; did those pics ever come out?
      Lev: chew your food thoroughly; wish I could replay your "run" with Chariots of Fire music playing in the background
      DA: classic time, classic drive home, appreciate the Foo CD. did they get in touch with you yet???
      Balls: I would pay for a ticket to watch a film about a day in your life. I'd probably watch it twice
      Money & Feil: sorry we missed ya'll

      FYI, Pat's cannot hold Jim's jock...

      Saturday, September 5, 2009

      An Ode to College Football...

      The first Saturday every September is a feeling like none other. No it's not Labor Day, or the rising of the tides, or the smell of my Mom's cooking before a jewish holiday (though that's pretty damn good too). It's the beautiful aroma of college football returning. Hope springs eternal through college campuses around America (at least the 80% of those who give a damn about their football). It's the sound of engines running as the cars start pouring into campus. It's the sound of the crickets chirping as another beautiful morning awakens. It's the smell of portable grills being fired up for the first time in 8-9 months. The sight of the perfectly green grass from a summer's worth of inactivity. It's the scent of Jack & Coke at 10 in the morning (I'm getting frothy mouth just thinking about this). It's seeing the parade of colors to support your team and the optimism that defies reality, yet feels 100% justified. It's the sight of thousands setting up their tents, tailgates, TV's, chairs, packing the coolers, blaring their "fire me up" CDs. It's the band! It's the face of kids younger than you -- and you remarking to your buddies, "man remember when that was us, life was so easy then." It's the throngs of thousands of strangers who suddenly feel like your best friend or your worst enemy. There is absolutely NOTHING in the world like the pageantry & revelry that is college football. And the beauty of opening day is that EVERYONE is undefeated. I love you, college football and I welcome you back with open arms.

      As far as my Georgia Bulldogs, we will find out a lot about this team today as we travel to Stillwater to play the gunslingin' Oklahoma State Cowboys, led by Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson. Joe Cox, will finally get his chance, as a Senior, to lead this team to a place that Matthew Stafford never could. Mark Richt will again get the chance to show why his teams play best and he does his best coaching when the odds are stacked against him. First game of the season, on the road, new QB, young team, inexperience on the line, playing an absolutely insane offense -- no wonder everyone thinks the Cowboys are gonna crush us. Not I, said the Southernfried Guy. The Cowboys are explosive, there is no doubt about that. They will get their points, but we will score ours too. Joe Cox has been waiting for this moment for FOUR, long years. He's a better leader than anyone we had last year and I think his skills are good enough. He doesn't have the same gifts as Stafford (the cannon arm, his size) but I think Cox can read a defense better and he will use what he does have to help make the offense better this year. Our O-line is healthy, young and experienced, which is key for any team's offensive success. Part of the problem last year was that Stafford was constantly under pressure and running for his life. Our WR's are all back, with a year of experience under their belts. AJ Green could become an All-American this year. We have added two potential stud WRs in Marlon Brown and Orson Charles. I think Richard Samuel will lead our running backs, and as long as he can hold onto the football we should be fine with him, Carlton Thomas and Caleb King. Honestly, Joe Cox & our offense are the least of my worries.

      I worry most about our ability to consistently get pressure on the QB and our secondary. I'm not a big fan of Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez and I'm hoping he can improve dramatically from last season, bc this defense was horrible last year. Getting Justin Houston back is crucial (though it won't be until the 3rd game) and hopefully Rod Battle can continue to show what he showed in Summer camps. Hopefully converted LB Marcus Washington can bring some speed off the edge. The return of Jeff Owens in the middle is key, and I think we have some young talent in the secondary, but Bryan Evans, Prince Miller & Rashard "I'm not 1/2 as good as I thought was last year" Jones concern me.

      Time will tell, but for this Saturday in September my friends I have HOPE and OPTIMISM. Not so much that we'll be national title hunt or playing for a national championship (relax, Summer I won't be making our new year's plans in Pasadena yet). However, I do think the Dawgs will win 10 games this year and compete for the SEC title. Again, we have a good mix of vets and young guys who can play, and a coach who thrives on doing what people say he and his team cannot do.

      Crazy? Maybe. Optimistic? Absolutely. Ready for college football? I can smell the grills and bourbon now! How bout' dem Dawgs!

      Friday, August 14, 2009

      Still the "Gold Standard?"

      The bombshells came last night while I was at dinner with Summer. About six text messages and five voicemails within a four-minute period. "Vick is an Eagle." My initial thought was amazement mixed with a hint of curiosity. Of all the messages/conversations I had, Barry Martin, your message was the best. "Dammit Ross I need my cheesesteak man! I need to hear your thoughts on this. Man, I got a lot on my mind and I know you better be writing soon. I broke the story on facebook and dammit, you always send me to voicemail. You better start answering your damn phone, jackass." Haha, the message was priceless! Jonathan Ganz (a die-hard Falcons fan & Vick fan) told me he was going to buy an Eagles jersey. Matt Money made perhaps the best point. "How do the Eagles sign Michael Vick and let a guy like Brian Dawkins go?" Danny Silvers, "I can't wait to read the Cheesesteak." Maybe ya'll (that's southern slang, you see) really care what I have to say. Maybe not. Either way, this one's for you.

      Based on Facebook and reading some of the message boards, I'd say the reception to Vick has been shock mixed with disappointment. Here's what we know - Michael Vick is an exciting player. RIGHT NOW Vick is easily the second fastest player on the Eagles (behind DeSean). Even today, Michael Vick has one of the strongest arms in the league. If you go to a hotel or a restaurant and see a reservation under RON MEXICO, Michael Vick will be there. Michael Vick committed an absolutely heinous crime and he has made some deplorable decisions in his life. Donovan McNabb actively recruited Michael Vick to the Eagles (well, this is what Donovan said, though I have my doubts). Michael Vick, a 3-time Pro Bowler (Mom & Summer, this means he was an all-star football player, not an actual bowler) has not played professional football since 2007.

      Here's my take on the situation. Michael Vick deserves a second chance. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I like animals - especially dogs. My dog (who actually abuses people) is sitting right next to me as I write this. What Vick did was horrendously disgusting and causes me to ponder if he is actually the Tin Man. He ran a dog-fighting kennel and admitted to killing multiple "non-performing" dogs by some of the most violent ways imaginable. The guy went away to the big house for 1.5 years, and he is on probation for another 6 months, and can't play in the NFL until week 6. But, he deserves a chance to show that he has rehabilitated himself. He deserves a chance to show contrite about what he did through his words and more importantly his actions. If you are mad that he hasn't served enough time, then blame the legal system, don't blame the man himself. He's already made several appearances on behalf of the Humane Society and will continue do so, speaking to kids in urban area's about cruelty to animals. I am not saying the guy will ever win any "Citizen of the Year Awards" or that all is forgiven, but at least he is starting to do something positive, which is much better than him doing nothing at all.

      Along those lines, if the Flyers signed Danny Heatley (an amazing NHL player who killed a teammate in a drunk driving accident) or the Sixers signed Kobe Bryant who may have had non-consensual, adulterous relationship with a female in Denver, would everyone be so up in arms? You all realize the St. Louis Rams Leonard Little killed someone in a drunk driving accident and six years later was again arrested for drunk driving. Oh, did I mention he STILL plays in the NFL?

      The biggest problem I have is not that he doesn't deserve a chance to resume his career, it's that the Eagles don't need Michael Vick. Our biggest needs are TE, OL and MLB. Last time I checked, we were still depleted at those positions due to injuries. Back-up QB is NOT a position of need and we just added a QB who, per Andy Reid (will not sit on the bench). I've heard people say we can use Vick as a WR or a RB. People, the guy is 29 and has played QB is entire life. After spending nearly 3 years out of the league, you can't just bring the guy back into the NFL and change his position. I also don't like this notion that he will run the fad known as the "Wildcat" offense. The final 4 teams in last year's playoffs were: Pittsburgh, Arizona, Philadelphia and Baltimore. NONE OF WHICH RAN THE WILDCAT OFFENSE!

      After watching Donovan McNabb for the last decade, he's the type of QB who plays best when he is in a rhythm. You bring in Michael Vick to run some plays here and there and now Donovan's rhythm is off. Another thing to consider is that Michael Vick is making about 7 million over 2 years (1.5 this year and a 5.5 option next year). There is no back-up QB or gadget player who gets paid $5 million a year. Period. I really hope the Eagles front office isn't using this as a way to move Donovan after this season. The bottom line is that Vick could not hold Donovan's jock as a QB. If we want to run a West Coast offense, there are much better choices as a back-up QB then Vick.

      Michael Vick is a playmaker, no doubt. If Donovan gets hurt for an extended period of time would you feel better about Michael Vick running this team then Kevin Kolb or AJ Feely? I would be more excited about Vick running the team, but would he be a better fit? I'm not so sure. I'm not a Kolb fan, but Feely has shown he can play. He nearly upset the Patriots in Foxborough two years ago and he won a few games during that 2007 season. Further, the Birds run the West Coast (WC) offense. Vick cannot read a defense to save his life. He gets by on his G-d given ability. This is one of the major reasons he was not allowed to audible while with the Falcons, and he struggled mightily in the WC offense when they ran it in Atlanta. So, while he WAS a very talented QB and an extraordinary playmaker, I don't feel he could run the same offense that our QB's are trained to run.

      One theory I have is that Andy Reid is bringing Michael Vick to Philly, as insurance for a McNabb injury. Along the way, Andy will sprinkle in some plays for Vick to run (wish he would run that by me first) and get him back in the groove of being an NFL QB on and off the field. I would not be the least bit surprised if Vick maintains a very low profile while in Philly and come next off-season, the Eagles then trade a rehabilitated Michael Vick to a team like the Raiders, Rams or Vikings for a high (2nd or 3rd round draft pick). Say what you will about the Eagles, but they are ALWAYS looking at the future (remember them drafting Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis - when they had a pro-bowl secondary of Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent and Dawk). Just keep this theory in your back pocket.

      Finally, to some of the Eagles fans who have said, "I can't support the Eagles anymore," well my sentiment is to not let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. If you have supported this team as long as I have, outside of them signing Osama Bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I can never imagine a scenario where I don't pull for this team. Michael Vick will never be a favorite of mine, but trading in my allegiance isn't even a thought. The team is FAR greater than any one individual and if you chose not to be a fan b/c they signed someone who the NFL and the US legal system agreed served their time, then go cheer for some other upstart, fad team. That's not what the Eagles fan base is about. It's about passion and it's about somehow getting up after another year of disappointment. All any Eagles fan talks about is winning and I GUARAN-DAMN-TEE you that if the Eagles play well this year, you front-running jabroni's will hop right back on the bandwagon. True fans support their teams through good and bad. Several years ago, the Phillies number 2 pitcher Brett Myers beat-up his wife in Boston, but I bet you have long forgotten that while wearing your 2008 Phillies World Champion Shirts. People deserve second chance. I'm willing to give Vick one (regardless of who he decided to sign with) and I'm willing to give you fickle, flip-flopping fans one as well.

      Hate Vick all you want. But if your hatred for 1 player over the other 51 is so great that you would stop pulling for the Eagles, then we don't need you to begin with. Sports fanaticism is about winning, losing, getting your heart stomped on and somehow always holding out for a little bit of hope. It's about loyalty and passion. It's about debating, second-guessing, smack-talking and humility. Have your opinions and express them freely, but if you can honestly start cheering for another team and drop the one you root for b/c of this signing, then I must question whether you were really a true fan to begin with?

      Thursday, August 13, 2009

      There's Football and There's Everything Else...

      Just a couple of things to speak about on this mid-August day. First off, decent outing by Pedro last night. Exactly what I expected, and not bad considering the guy hasn't pitched in the majors in a year. I appreciate that he is a competitor who has pitched on the biggest stage, without flinching. If he can somehow stay healthy, I think our staff is much improved (coupled with the Cliff Lee addition). Hopefully we can get Brett Meyers, JC Romero and Clay Condrey back to bolster the pen and Brad Lidge will pull his head out of his ass (spoken like a true Philly fan).

      Well, the Eagles first pre-season game is tonight and I am psyched. It's the RETURN OF FOOTBALL. I know my fiance shutters at this thought, b/c it means my attention scale on Saturday, Sundays, Monday nights and some Thursday nights will be equivalent to a....a....sorry, we were talking about football right? Absolutely love this time of year.

      Anyway, I don't get to discouraged by the Eagles consistently mediocre pre-season play. The play calling is as vanilla as it gets, and the scores are usually the least important things. Let's hope we don't suffer any further injuries, which being Philly fans, you know how that drill goes. Here are 10 things I will be looking for tonight (mind you the first teams are only supposed to play a little over a quarter):

      1- How will Joe Mays do as our starting MLB and will he be a total liability if forced to cover a TE or RB?
      2- Will Winston "roadkill" Justice (who is the starting tonight for the injured Shawn Andrews) be the human turnstile he was in his nightmare start against the NY Giants in 2007? If so, #5 better wear body armor.
      3- LeSean "Shady" McCoy are you as good in actual games as you have been in camp & can you block?
      4- How will the triumvirate of Dawgs do (Max Jean-Gilles, Reggie Brown & Sean Jones, who I hope replaces Quintin Demps in the starting line-up)?
      5- I'm hoping the Five&Dime connection goes deep at least once (note, that's the name I just came up with for Donovan to DeSean)
      6- Will Jason Peters be the dominant left tackle that Andy Reid and the Eagles front office believe he is?
      7- Can Jeremy Maclin contribute THIS YEAR and will be as dynamic of a returner as he was in college?
      8- Is young Bryan Smith who bulked up to 250 going to be any type of contributor this season
      9- Is Kevin Curtis more of the 1,000 yard receiver of 2007 or the injury-proned 2008 version?
      10- How will Sean McDermott's defense differ from JJ's? Granted, this will be hard to tell from a pre-season game.

      Speaking of football, the Dawgs had their first inter-scrimmage game of the Fall and received some impressive performances. Richard Samuel (who will be our best tailback this season) had 5 carries for 108 yards and 2 TD's (including a 65 yard scamper). He also scored on a 70 yd catch. Orson Charles (a true freshman who will be a monster) had 3 catches for 59 yards, AJ Green (who is a monster) had 69 yards and a TD. Joe Cox was a very crisp 9-13, 158 yards and 2 TD's. They did play a little defense too, led by Rod Battle a senior who apparently was unstoppable with 3.5 sacks. Exhale, it's just a scrimmage.

      Couple of cool links here. First one is a link that was leaked regarding the Sixers new road uniforms - I like these a ton. Thank G-d the shooting stars are just a faded memory..

      Here's a preview of Ray Emery's Flyers mask. In case you are wondering that is "Smokin" Joe Frazier on one side, Bernard Hopkins on the other and Rocky on top (I actually thought one side was was Donovan, but read it was Hopkins). Apparently Emery is a big boxing fan - shocker! Personally I think the concept is cool but the helmet itself lacks orange, which is synonymous w/the Flyers. Jay Ariano, this is for you....

      Wednesday, August 5, 2009

      The Good, the Bad, the Ugly...

      A lot of news coming out of Eagles camp early. The defense suffered a potentially crushing blow when starting MLB Stewart Bradley was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Make no mistake, this is a HUGE loss, as many believed Bradley was primed for a pro-bowl season. With a new defensive coordinator, losing your MLB is a big, big loss. Joe "Say Hey Willie" Mays will get the first-team reps, with Omar Gaither chomping at the bit to get back in the starting line-up. The early word on Mays is that despite him being undersized at 5'10 and 245 -- the guy hits like a mack truck and he hits everything that moves. The only good news in this injury thing is that Bradley's injury happened early enough in camp that whomever becomes the new starter will get lots and lots of reps w/the first team. Also, Bradley should be able to make a full return for the 2010 season.

      Great to hear that the Jeff Lurie said no one will ever wear #20 as long as he is the owner of the Eagles. Traditionally, the Eagles don't really retire numbers (Reggie White's #92 was the last number they retired), and if they decided to bring that practice back, it should start with #20. Great move, Lurie.

      FINALLY, first round pick Jeremy Maclin got his arse into camp this AM. Maclin who many believe could get some serious playing time this season, should help tremendously in the return game. Hopefully we won't continue to put DeSean Jackson in harm's way (since he is far and away our best WR) and we can now use Maclin as a punt returner.

      Some great news is that it appears Brian Westbrook is ahead of schedule in his return from ankle surgery. Early word is that he looks AND feels great. Hopefully Westy can have a big bounce- back year. What a sick offense we could have if he and Maclin can give us something.

      Note to Jacqua (pronounced "Ganja") Parker - you aren't that good, so kindly put down the dope, buddy. Like my buddy Derrick said this AM, how do you wait to training camp to bust out the ganja? The dude had an entire off-season and he picks now to light-up. Brilliant. Apparently they were OL Todd Herremans car...hmm, interesting story.

      Phils continue to be up and down. I'm done with Jamie Moyer. I don't care if the guy hasn't pitched out of the pen in 35 years, his ass belongs in the pen (I'm sure most fans probably believe he belongs in an easy-chair). There's no way you can say that the 7-2 JA Happ and his sub 3.00 ERA should go back to the pen. This kid has earned the right to start for the Phils and I will be very disappointed if he heads back to the pen b/c of Moyer or Pedro.

      The Sixers signed Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey this week. Forgive me for drooling on myself, while I drift off to sleep.

      Props to former Diamond Dog and current Chicago White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham has been voted the American League Rookie of the Month for July. In 27 games, Beckham led all AL rookies with a .330 (32-97) batting average, 32 hits, three home runs, 18 RBIs, 10 doubles and a .526 slugging percentage.

      In Other News:

      • Just heard that Donovan McNabb is the most popular athlete in Philadelphia, followed by Chase Utley. Primoz Brezec is a close third.
      • Dale Murphy (former Brave and Phillie) has a son who is expected to be a starter for the Dolphis this year -- how old do you feel?
      • Anyone see Jeremy Piven on Monday Night Raw? My favorite part was when he jumped off the top rope and was caught by John Cena. Hilarious. Piven also was in Atlanta last week and stopped in at the Varsity.
      • Speaking of Piven, I think Entourage is dancing dangerously close to "jumping the shark." I absolutely love the show, but if I have to watch any more episodes that focus on E and Turtle, I'm gonna write HBO.
      • Dear Atlanta radio stations, why do you suck? (not you Dave fm, not you)
      • Does the 4th photo of Putin's pictorial make anyone else a little uncomfortable
      • And finally, as my fiance reminded me when we first started dating --- everyone farts...yes, even the great Tiger Woods. A lot of controversy over who dealt this one. Fartgate 2009 continues. You decide...

      Wednesday, July 29, 2009

      A CLIFFhanger No More...

      A flurry of trades to close out the MLB trade deadline and let me start by saying I really like the Cliff Lee deal. As my 18 loyal readers know, I was not ready to trade our top pitching prospect, our top position prospect and JA Happ (a possible Rookie of the Year candidate) for Doc Halladay. Again, Halladay is a stud pitcher. No doubt. But, the fact that you heard ZILCH about Halladay being traded to another team after the Phillies acquired Lee, tells me that Jays GM JP Ricciardi overplayed his hand.

      What the Phils are getting in Lee is a 22-game winning, AL Cy Young winner from last year. This year he is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA in Cleveland. His ERA clearly indicates that he was a very good pitcher on a very bad team. I think Lee will be a huge boost to the Phils rotation and I'm thrilled with the deal. We traded none of our top 4 prospects (Jason Knapp was definitely the highest rated prospect -- a low A-ball 18 year old who throws in the upper 90s) AND we landed a legitimate #1 pitcher to our rotation. Also, Ben Francisco (a name the Phils fans will have a blast with) gives us the right-handed bat we need off the bench.

      The Phils didn't need a great pitcher, they needed a good pitcher to keep them in games. If their staff can keep it close, I fully trust our explosive line-up will continue to win games for us. Cliff Lee happens to be a very good pitcher who will not only keep us in games, but will win them. The million dollar question is whether our bullpen can be as effective as they were last season. That's a whole nother' blog for another day.

      Under a heavy heart the Eagles began training camp on Thursday. The good news - football has begun. The bad news - so have the injuries. Asante Samuel, Shaun Andrews, Kevin Curtis and Jason Peters are all hurt. I don't get too worked up about training camp bumps and bruises, but the offensive line needs reps to work on their continuity. I'm hoping Andrews balky back won't continue to be an issue during the season, but I have a feeling it will. Jon Runyan anyone?

      The Flyers signed "tough guy" Ole-Kristian Tollefson. Forgive me if you don't see me jumping up and down about a guy who has missed 57% of his games over the last two years. Isn't the term injury-proned tough guy an oxymoron?

      The injustice regarding MLB's steroid "list" is disheartening. These players signed a confidentiality agreement stating that their names would remain anonymous. Now, about five names have been leaked from the 103 that tested positive -- including the Roid Sox own David Ortiz & Manny Ramirez. First off, those names should absolutely remain confidential, if that was the agreement. Secondly, how do you release only five of the names? Thirdly, steroids, though illegal, were not listed as banned substances by baseball. Amazing how baseball continues to suffer through the steroid era and simultaneously shoot themselves in the foot (Hey, Plaxico). Maybe they should just have the Roid Wing in the Hall of Fame and be done with it.

      In Other News:
      • I heard a commercial that the "Most Interesting Man in the World" had been pronounced dead seven times -- I couldn't stop laughing.
      • Nice to hear the Atlanta Police Department tried to use their stats to show that violent crime is down in Atlanta. Despite these numbers they still added 139 cops to the force. Maybe the Mayor/Police Chief could better allocate the four cops that sit on E.Roxborough road every morning catching those hideous speeders in the highlands
      • The more Joe Jackson opens his yapper, the worse I feel for MJ
      • Anyone wanna bet Brett Favre will be on an NFL roster by October?
      • Dear Southwest, please come to Atlanta
      • My fiance just informed me that the Phils not only traded for Cliff Lee, but that Cy Young was included in the deal. Sweet!
      • To anyone who thinks legendary comic Andrew DICE Clay is dead, absolutely MUST watch this clip. This is one of the funniest things I've EVER seen....