Monday, June 29, 2009

The Memories

Man, what a crazy week it's been. Between the Flyers HUGE trade, the Sixers drafting of Jrue Holiday, the roller coaster ride of the Phils, the Eagles signing of Shady McCoy, the Dawgs getting commitments from a couple more top prospects - including the top prospect in the state - and several childhood celebrities passing was packed. Wow, time to exhale. Think I'm going to break this blog up into two parts.

First off, what a sad week it was with the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Gary Papa and Michael Jackson. Seriously, it feels like my part of my childhood was buried last week. Not to sound overly dramatic, but all four of these people were a part of my youth. Though all of these are equally sad in their own rights (as death often is), the two which hit me hardest were Papa and Jackson.

Growing up in Wilmington, we got all of the Philly news, which began my fanaticism in Philadelphia sports (and subsequent seasonal dose of kick-in-the-cujones disappointments). As early as I can remember, my family watched ACTION NEWS - ABC 6 every night to get our news. So many great family memories from those days (when my parents let me stay up to watch the sports at 11:15). I'll put the triumvirate of Gary Papa, Don Tollefson and Scott Palmer against any local sports team in the country. Of those three, Papa was the guy who always stood out for me. He had a phenomenal voice, a smooth delivery, he was very knowledgeable, often did the 5, 6 and 11 pm newscasts and he just seemed like a great guy. He was a talented sportscaster and he fought to the end before prostate cancer took his life at 57. Very sad. Watching ACTION NEWS whenever I return to Delaware/Philly/NJ area will never be the same. Great tribute by Jim Gardner here:

To say I was floored when I heard Michael Jackson passed away, would be putting it mildly. Even after watching about 75 hours of CNN coverage this weekend, it still hasn't fully set-in. Quite simply, he was my generation's Elvis and I feel confident in saying we will never see another like him ever. Ever. He transcended music. He made it okay for white boys to try and dance (and wear jackets with lots of zippers on them). He created mainstream pop and revolutionized music videos and radio. He treated music videos like films. Going back now and watching the intricacies he incorporated into his music videos is simply mind-blowing. While I don't agree with his off-the-stage behavior, I firmly believe this guy was robbed of his childhood by his insanely overbearing father, which speaks to his desire to change his appearance and surround himself w/children and bubbles the chimp. Now, this doesn't justify the many allegations and the rumors of sharing both his bed and his jesus juice with young children. However, I do firmly believe that the tale of Michael Jackson from beginning to end is one of sacrifice, stardom, struggle and ultimately sadness. I simply cannot believe that he is gone and while I think there is a lot more to understand about his death, I have chosen to focus on his amazing musical contributions.

And of course his record sales are now through the roof, his property value has shot up and everything Michael is suddenly cool again. Kinda messed up how that works huh?

So for your reading pleasure I have put together MY top 15 Michael Jackson songs (We Are the World - does not count)...When dealing w/the King of Pop, you can't limit yourself to a top 10. I'm sure some of this will be up for debate, so bring it on.

2-Billie Jean
3-Man in the Mirror
4-I Want You Back
5-Smooth Criminal
6-Wanna Be Startin' Something
7-Got to Be There
9-Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
11-Human Nature
12-Say, Say, Say
13-In the Closet
14-Off the Wall
15-Who Is It
(honorary spot: Can You Feel It)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back-to-Back Posts tonight...

On the eve of the NBA Draft there are lots of rumors swirling. One has the Sixers dealing enigmatic center Sam Dalembert to Milwaukee for Michael Redd. A Dallas paper reported the Mavs could send the expiring contracts of Eric Dampier and Jerry Stackhouse for Elton Brand. Read my lips - the Sixers will not making any such deals tomorrow night UNLESS they move back in the draft. I don't think Fast Eddie wants to part with any of the young talent required to move up into the top 15. I could see us "acquire" (aka buy) a 2nd round pick b/c we always do, but otherwise I don't see us making a move. Again, I think Maynor will be the pick.

FYI, I also think the Hawks are getting a steal in the Jamal Crawford deal. Doesn't Speedy Claxton's contract run through 2028?

Please tell me someone else watched the amazing US-Spain CONCAF Game this afternoon? This was the type of action-packed game that could help people in the US get excited about men's soccer, or at least the national team. I'm still not sure how we got the "tie breaker" to get into the game against the world's current #1 team. And, even though they totally outshot us and outplayed us in the second half, the US played with great hustle. The finals will likely be against Brazil on Sunday at 2 pm.

Did you hear the Flyers will play a game against the Bruins in Fenway on New Year's Day? That's gotta be the coolest thing I've heard in years. I'm really hoping that each team will eventually play in a couple of outdoor games per season. Its a great, great move by the NHL.

Why is everyone making such a big deal about the fact that the Dawgs have 2 early night games this season? Isn't that when great programs often play?

In other news:
  • How great to hear that Perez Hilton got hit by -- personally I think that "guy" got his comeuppance
  • Apparently at the Spain-Venezuela soccer game in Atlanta tonight, there was a wrestling ring set-up outside the game where masked wrestlers fought. Unreal.
  • I love getting in the elevator with someone who is on their phone. When this happens, I try to select my floor and make sure the door closes as quickly as possible. Why? Because I get great joy by watching people look incredulously at their cell phones as we travel up 20+ floors together in a steel encased elevator, as they shockingly say "hello," perplexed about how they have somehow dropped their call.
  • I think dry-fit is one of the greatest inventions of all-time. Yeah, all-time.
  • ESPN are you serious??? You are showing EVERY Manny Ramirez "I'm back from taking steroids" minor league at-bat? Surely there must be a spelling bee or jai-lai game on somewhere. Seriously, how do they justify this? It would be like following Pete Rose during his visits to AC -- hmm, there's an idea.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to the Future...

To all my loyal Phillycheesesteakheads, sorry for the delay - I was off getting engaged, but you have my word, the updates will be coming more regularly -- as long as my fiance, Summer, agrees to step up her game too.

Well it was great to see the Phils pummel the Rays this evening, in a rematch of last year's Fall Classic. Phils bats come alive, Jamie Moyer throws a nice game and the Phils blow out the Rays 10-1. Again, I'm not too up or too down on the Phils yet. Its way too early. Wake me up when July ends. The Phils injuries (Lidge, Ibanez, Condrey, Scott Eyre) are happening at the right time. This is championship-caliber team, but we must add another frontline starter to help take the pressure of off Hollywood Hamels.

Apparently the Sixers are re-branding themselves with their old logo. The only change will be a rectangular court around the 76 ball with "Philadelphia" along the bottom. Supposedly the Sixers will introduce a back-up logo (because what team that struggles to make the playoffs doesn't need a "back-up" logo) and new uniforms later. My personal favorite 76ers uniforms were the blue uni's with white stars down the side and the white SIXERS in red trim. I used to have a Dr. J poster over my bed, when he was rocking this uniform and had a mad-afro. I wonder if Iggy would be willing to grow a fro?
The NBA draft happens this Thursday and I'm thinking the Sixers will select VCU's Eric Maynor. I'd be happy with either Maynor or Ty Lawson, but I just have this feeling Maynor will be the guy. Eddie Stefanski, please no foreign players...

Nothing much happening on the gridiron, which is really sad. It makes me miss the USFL - Spring Football -- what a brilliant idea. Same goes for the Flyers.
Things you maybe diiin't know:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back by Popular DeMANd

To the two people who actually asked when my next blog was going to run (Steve-O and B-Train), Christmas/Channuka/Kwanza comes early boys. Actually, I think the blog is picking up steam. Even my Mom asked how she could sign-up for it yesterday, but I'm making her sweat it out, since she was so late to jump on the bandwagon. All she needs to do is threaten me w/no ice tea next time I visit and the power will shift back in her favor. Nonetheless, thank you for reading and caring (or pretending) about SouthernFried Cheesesteak - together we can take over the world and overthrow the tyranny taking place in Iran.

So the Sixers have brought in a myriad of guards over the last week to determine who their #17 pick will be. To me, its gotta be either Ty Lawson or Eric Maynor. It should be a no-brainer. AT LEAST one of those guys will be there when we pick. Mr. Stefanski - Lou Williams is not a PG and according to Derek Hinmon - he has NEVER played PG in organized ball. Why start teaching him at the pro level?

Am I concerned about the Phillies? Not at all. People, do you realize we won a WORLD "Fu--in" SERIES last season?? The fact that everyone is up in arms b/c we "can't compete with the Red Sox" shows you just how far we've come. In Philly we don't win titles, we win a title every 25 years and bitch the other 24. Is there anyone out there who REALLY believes the Phils will go back-to-back? Ain't happening and I'm okay with that. We will always have 2008. Look, we definitely need a veteran arm, but NO ONE is going to give up a decent arm right in June. I expect the Phils to sit tight and make a Blanton/Loshe-like deal at the deadline.

Huge props to Chase Utley who leads the NL in the All-Star voting with almost 2.3 million. Chase you are the man -- told you I'd put you in the next blog. Did you know that the Phillies also lead the league in fielding percentage (.990) and in average home attendance (43,000 +)?

Eagles, glad to see they re-negotiated Donovan McNabb's deal. Its a win-win. If D-Mac doesn't deliver a title in the next two years or even a 6th trip to the NFC Championship game, I'm curious to see what they will do with him. To me, he's one of the most under-appreciated athletes in the city. By the way, I'm pretty sure they have enough money below the cap to bail out the big 3.

Big Derian Hatcher finally hung-up his skates after a valiant NHL career. The 17-year veteran will be a scout for the Flyers. I wonder if Ray Emery will challenge him to a fight in the locker room?

Dawgs home opener is set for a 7pm kick-off against the Cocks of South Carolina. This worries me b/c just like the players, the fans need to get in game shape. Starting off w/a night game gives us fans waaaaay too much time to consume inhuman amounts of bourbon. It could get ugly. Two big commitments for the Dawgs this week... Da'Rick Rogers (rated by rivals as the top prospect in the state and 22nd overall) verbally committed, as did massive offensive lineman Brent Benedict (the 40th overall prospect). The thought of Rogers and Marlon Brown in 2 years, teaming up with AJ Green for his 3rd and final season has me salivating - was that too much information?

In other news....
*I just saw the most interesting man in the world's newest commercial - the man can speak French in Russian!!!! How do you not respect that? I'm planning my halloween costume now.
*On the contrary, NBA Finals - you done yet? Kobe could win 16 NBA Titles and he still couldn't hold MJ's jock.
*Apparently Miami is home to the angriest drivers -- you live by the ocean people, what is there to be so angry about?
*Am I the only who watches games on tape delay after you already know the outcome, but when you are watching this game on tape delay you somehow believe the outcome might be different?
*Anyone else enjoy watching soccer (on HD and possibly on tape delay)?
*The more I learn, the more I know that dogs are without a doubt man's best friend
*If you are one of those people who sweats uncontrollably, you are cool with me as long as you CLEAN UP THE MACHINES IN THE GYM after you use them. Don't walk away like you didn't know you sweat out 5 lbs of your worst stench on the flat bench
*Yesterday, my friend Jonathan Ganz and I made lunch plans. We talked about whether he was going to pay-up on the Ibanez-vs-Burrell stats, to which he said, "It ain't over, Ibanez could still break his leg." I let him know that even if that happened tomorrow, Pat the Bat's number would still fall short of Ibanez's numbers. Jonathan's response, "At least it would make the NL East exciting again." Damn it feels good to be a Phillies fan!
*Name me a more consistently great food then cereal.
*Craig Ferguson might be the most unfunny man on TV. Period. Not even HD saves his lame-ass routine.
*Brett Favre - seriously man? I know there are a bunch of teams just licking their chops, hoping you come back. I know you are out to prove Ted Thompson wrong, but its enough. Although, is it Brett's fault or Minnesota's fault? If they weren't interested (and none of the other teams were interested) would I be filling my blogspace with this? Probably not.
*In closing I bring you this story from former MLBer (and I know he's probably tooling around in some low-level league trying to make a comeback) Rickey Henderson. Single-handedly the most entertaining player EVER....
In 1996, Henderson’s first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Steve Finley said, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Henderson looked at Finley and said, “Ten years? Ricky’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

HD, I think I love you, so what was I so afraid of...

I'm sitting here watching my first ever baseball game in HIGH DEFINITION and the Phils are taking it to the everybody-on-their-cujones, WORLD CLASS Dodgers. First off, I always enjoy watching the Phils stick it to Randy Wolf (who was a one-time Philly favorite). Twice, when he was a free agent, Wolf passed up the opportunity to rejoin the Phils (could have won a ring last year, Wolfie) to pitch out west. I'm pretty sure he used the Phils to up his offer from the Dodgers, but I have no tangible proof of this (I do have some damning photos, though). Regardless, another strong showing from Antonio Bastardo (or Fat Bastard, as my house now refers to him, although that moniker doesn't really fit his sub-200-lb build) and the Phils line-up is just nasty. Underrated catcher, Carlos Ruiz, has been on a tear since last September. He calls an excellent game and now he's starting to hit. One other thing to keep an eye on-- the Phils starting pitchers have gone 6 innings or more in seven straight games. That's quite a turnaround from the batting practice session they were tossing over the first two months of the season. Back to Ruiz -- his bat could be crucial to the Phils line-up in terms of balancing all of our big left-handed bats with his right-handed bat. And I'd love to see one more guy put up sick numbers in that line-up.

Love that Asante decided he needed a "day off" today. Come on, Dog, dude's only making $57 million and these are only "voluntary mandatory off-season no contact play installation bring your own lunch" practices.

In other news:
*Congrats Atlanta on becoming the second most dangerous municipality. Shockingly, our Mayor says that Atlanta is safer now than it has been in years, which is a brilliant defense. Maybe I should invite her to a sleep-over party at my house so that she can hear the parade of sirens we wake up to every morning. However, the THREE cops I see each morning on my way into work, chomping on their Krispy Kremes and pulling over soccer moms and hard-working commuters, are doing a STELLAR job of keeping the rough speed-bumped streets of E. Roxboro Road safe and free!
*Anyone think Phils rightfielder Jayson Werth could pass for one of the Geico caveman?
*NBA Finals - I watched game 55 of the Phils marathon season over you last night - I'm just not feelin' you.
*HDTV - I swore that I would never be one of those crazy, possessed HD-elitests who "only watch things in HD." The truth of the matter is, my girlfriend could probably get me to sit through The Real Housewives of Des Moines if it were in HD. My life is forever changed - where is the next Branch Davidian meeting and is it too late to get on the executive board?
*I didn't watch the Tony's b/c I'm pretty straight, but this was unbelievable, courtesy of Rock of Love/Poison frontman Bret Michaels - watch the very end.

*Speaking of music, go checkout Sammy Hagar's new band - Chickenfoot; I'm not sure why and I'm not really sure if I like them, but for some reason I'm rooting for Sammy to succeed; Maybe so he'll stay out of the tequila business - I'm not quite sure.
*Anyone ever notice that the bad guys in wrestling never bleed? Not since Ric Flair (who bled for everyone) has a bad guy bled well, and consistently
*I'm watching Stern on Letterman (in HD) ripping on Sasha Baron Cohen about his bare-assed sky-drop on Eminem's face. To Stern's point, he did the same thing 17 years ago as the world's newest super-hero FARTMAN, and Stern was villified for it. If something didn't happen in HDTV, did it really happen at all?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

scAIR Jordan

News out of the Eagles camp is that Brian Westbrook will have surgery on an ankle that has been bothering him for over a year. I'm okay with this. A guy like Westy, at this stage of his career, is probably better off missing all the pounding, wear and tear these camps can bring. This does make the drafting of Shady McCoy crucial though -- and the kid better learn quickly b/c clearly Lorenzo Booooooooka - is not the asnwer! I think the Birds will bring in another back (for some reason I see Shaun Alexander) as insurance should Westy's knee/ankle act up during the season. Clearly, he won't ever be the 500-touch RB he once was, but I think we can still use him as a 20-touch/per game back. Also, I really like the signing of Brian Stewart as a special assistant. He was definitely the fall-guy in Dallas and I think the Birds have 2 really good fallback choices at D-Coordinator if JJ misses any time or is unable to continue coaching. Good to see everyone respecting his privacy -- haven't seen or heard much about him, since he left the team. Hope he gets better very soon!

10 Years ago, the headline "Jordan Coming to Philly" would have me streaking through the streets of Philly (or maybe Atlanta, since its warmer). However, in 2009 Eddie Jordan becoming the Sixers next head coach leaves me unsettled. I'm sure Eddie is a bright, kind man, who loves puppies dogs, sunsets, and basketball, which was apparent to the Sixers braintrust during their 4-hour interview, where Eddie went into great detail about his offense. Personally, I think the Sixers got this one WRONG. Way wrong!

Here's why - In 518 games as head coach of the Kings and Wizzards, Jordan's career record is a whoping 230-288 (that's a 44.4% winning percentage for all my math fans out there). Last time I checked, that's a step above SUCKVILLE. His supporters (insert joke here) say he took the Wizzards to the playoffs in 4 of his 5 seasons. When more then 50% of the teams in any league make the playoffs, that comes off as not-so-impressive. He's made it beyond the first round ONCE in six total seasons. As Sixer fans we've seen the likes of Chris Ford, Mo Cheeks and Tony Dileo lead this team into the playoffs. We need better then Eddie Jordan! I'm sure Stefanski has fond NJ memories of Jordan from his Nets days, but this ain't 2000 anymore, Eddie. So far your moves have been questionable at best. I think you get a pass for the Elton Brand signing (unless he gets hurt again this year) but Eddie Jordan was not the right choice and I give him 2 years. Not to mention Jordan, in his introductory press conference heaped praise on Jason Smith. Haven't heard of him? Probably b/c he played in 3 games 2 seasons back, before blowing out his knee early in camp this year. Lets build our franchise around him....I'm over it already. Also heard a rumor that the Sixers were looking into dealing last year's top pick Marreese Speights and their pick this year (#17) to the Grizz for Marco Jaric (who has an insane contract) and the #2, which would be Ricky Rubio - who sorta looks like and plays like he was in Menudo. One word - NO. Rubio averaged 8 pts a game in the Spanish Armada league. If this happens my pal Derrick Hinmon and I will go up to Philly and personally kick our GM in the cujones.

In better news, two back-to-back great pitching performances courtesy of two young Phils out on the west coast this week. Antonio Bastardo (G-d help him if he pitches poorly in Philly) went 6 innings against San Diego, gave up 4 hits, a run and struck out 5, with a fastball that hit 95 on the radar gun. The very next night underappreciated JA Happ (who somehow goes by Jay) went 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 0 runs and struck out 4. It's not unusual for an unseen pitcher to do well in his debut (like Bastardo - loved that the Phils were saying he threw in the high 80s), but I really think JA Happ will do well as a starter in Philly. Not saying the Phils won't or shouldn't trade for another pitcher since it looks like Brett Myers will be out for the year, but the future could be very bright for the Phils with all of this young talent. I didn't even mention Kyle Drabek who is 21 and was hitting 99 MPH on his fastball in his debut w/AA Reading. Are you kidding me? A 99 MPH heater? I'm already frothing at the mouth.

Flyers - Ray Emery? Really? Well, if you want attention, that's what you are getting. This guy admitted to getting pulled over 30 TIMES by the police. I'm pretty sure you can see him on a couple of episodes of COPS - Ottawa. He fights with other goalies (he once fought w/Marty Biron), other teams, his own teammates and despite taking Ottawa to the finals, they still bought out his contract (don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out). Only 26, maybe he has grown up, but I seriously think we just added Ric Flair (aka the dirtiest player in the game) to our roster. Maybe he'll put Crosby in the figure four.

Dawgs opener is set for a 3:30 EST kick-off against Oklahoma State. Crazy to think, but when was the last time the Dawgs opened the season as underdogs? I can hardly wait. Also, Gordon Beckam who was an absolute man-beast during the Diamond Dawgs College World Series run, was called up by the White Sox today. He's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Random Things:
*I could care less about the NBA Finals. Not sure why, but I think Dwight Howard, while physically insane, is kind of a dork. He just strikes me as that guy in the gym who pulls up his shirt to wipe his brow, so that he can check out his abs.
*Go see The Hangover - freaking hilarious. Not so much a movie that you will quote ala Wedding Crashers, but just a creative movie that will keep you laughing.
*Super-excited for Summerfest this weekend. Is there anything like daytime drinking, when you can walk/stumble/crawl home? I love you, Virginia Highlands
*How great is it to see Andy back w/Conan? If they can get back together, I can still hold out hope for a Silver Spoons reunion (sadly my special lady or anyone else 27 or younger will not appreciate this reference).
*Last weekend, while in Mississippi, I saw the single greatest reaction to anything I've ever seen. Thank you Jay for making our trip so fullfilled.
*Wayne Joss - I told you I'd put you in my next blog. Are you happy now? You are the best kickballa' on the planet.
*And I leave you with this - two gay penguins raise an abandoned penguin. This is the stuff that should be front page news. I can't make this stuff up... gen/ap/Europe/EU_Germany_Male_Penguin_Parents.html?cxntlid=thbz_hm