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:
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.
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 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 Johns.com 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.