Tag Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

Why Sports are So Important

On Saturday night, I attended a wedding between two good friends of mine. It was a nice ceremony and I cut a rug for the majority of the time.  I ran into my friend Shawn and immediately said, “Yeah, I’m gonna miss the [Eagles] game Sunday because I have work all day.”  His response, “Dude me too.” Then both of our minds clicked and we said at the same time, “We should just record the game and watch it later.” We devised an entire plan. With a time window from 9-11 pm I would patiently wait for Shawn to walk into my house and tell me he’s done work.  We would then wait for our friend, Steve (who also had work), to call us so we could all watch the game. My phone and laptop would be off all day and I wouldn’t turn it on until the next day.  To help reinforce our plan I set up signs at work outside of my area that read in bold blue ink, “NO Talk About the Eagles Game” “I DVR-d It.”  I didn’t talk to my boy BC because we argue football every time we see each other and I couldn’t risk it. (He yelled to me that the Cowboys would win the Super Bowl and Tony Romo would win the MVP. I honestly was left speechless because it was so irrational my brain couldn’t grasp it, I had to sit down.)    I put my Ipod on shuffle and trudged through my nine hour shift.

When I left at 9:00 I came home and immediately yelled as quickly as I could, “Don’t tell me anything about the game. I know nothing, justleavemealoneanddon’ttellmeanything!” Shawn arrived around 9:30 and I said was to meet him in 10 minutes at his house.  The plan became such a mission that we didn’t watch the Phillies because they might reveal the score of the Eagles game which happened a few hours earlier.  I didn’t put on my Michael Vick jersey because we were getting food and I didn’t want someone saying, “So how about that game today?” To say we were paranoid, determined, anxious, and excited would all be appropriate and it made me think, “Is there anything else that evokes this much emotion?”

Look at it this way.  Does anyone record the State of the Union address or America’s Got Talent or American Idol or any other event with that much vigor and determination to have it viewed without any biased or prior knowledge?  I tried making a list or at least an idea on why sports are such an integral part of our lives and why we go to the ends of the Earth or to the brink of insanity to keep the purity of something that only last a few hours.

It is a representation of your region- If you think about it; it’s the least logical, but strongest reason for why sports are so important to us.  Does the fact that Milwaukee has a good baseball team make it a good city? No, I visited that city in August and it was fun, if you enjoy empty streets by 11 and empty bars that have drunken Brewers fans talking about how much better Yovani Gallardo is than Roy Halladay (it really was fun though).  But sports fans don’t take it that way.  If your team is bad, then you have a self-conscious perception of yourself that the entire world judges you as a part of that team. If the Phillies blow it against the St. Louis Cardinals then people nationally will call people from Philadelphia “choke artists” because sports are the microscope that American cities are looked through. It makes us invested in the game because if the team is the best, then the CITY is the best.  Do you know anything about people from Seattle? No, but you know that the Seahawks stink so why would visiting Seattle be on your list of “West Coast Cities I’d Like to Visit?” It’s the reason that BOSTON got its own issue of ESPN the Magazine; not just the Patriots or Celtics or Bruins or Red Sox.

It’s a loooooooong season- Every sports season has a range of about four months.  Exposure to something over four months a year eventually leads to a liking if not a respect for whatever the viewer is seeing. For example, I listened to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” for about nine months every morning from 10-12. I hated Colin Cowherd. I couldn’t stand him.  From his stupid rant on John Wall (who he called J-Wow) to his whiny and high pitched voice I couldn’t understand why he had a radio show.  But hearing him every day I started to calm down and out of sheer saturation and exposure he started to grow on me.  I started to strive away from what I didn’t like and began to focus on what I DID like.  It took a long time, but I have respect for Cowherd and I don’t think he’s that bad.  He actually makes some good points and his analogies are creative and solid.  He’s educated and keen to what goes on around the world.  It’s the same with sports franchises.  The Phillies play from April-October which is more than enough time to “expose” a non-fan to the sport, to the players, to the front-office, and to the fans.  For example, the Four Aces being on the Phillies gave the team so much publicity that people now enter their own little “Four Aces Cliques” based off which one of the four they like they most.  The long season allows for the ability of gradual exposure making it simpler to ease into fandom instead of it being thrust down your throat. 

Winning is an addicting feeling- I grew up in a dismal time in Philadelphia sports. The Sixers stunk (except 2001), the Eagles stunk (up until 1999 when the Andy Reid era started), and the Phillies stunk (up until 2007). The Flyers were good but in the hierarchy of the Philadelphia sports market they’re fourth by a large margin.  Regardless, up until about 10 years ago, all Philly knew was losing.  All my generation knew was bad team after bad team after bad team.  But Philly’s new generation got its first taste of winning in 2001 when Allen Iverson led the Sixers to the Finals.  Dubbed the worst Finals team in NBA history, Iverson scored 30 of his game-high 48 in the first half and the Sixers stole game one from the Lakers. Although the Sixers lost the series 4-1 (it was the only game the Lakers lost in the playoffs that year), Philadelphia was hooked on a drug called Winning. And around the same time the Eagles became contenders with the Phillies following suit. Soon enough, Philadelphia was a winning sports town. 

But why is it so addicting? Because it’s so simple. In a world where nothing is clear-cut or simplistic, sports are.  You either win or you lose.  That’s it. There is no “well we lost out on our mutual fund, but our Sirius satellite stocks are doing well!” You either won 28-27, get to celebrate with a parade, or you lost 28-27 and you get to think about what could’ve been for the next six months.  Winning equates to accomplishment and succeeding at a task is a coveted emotion.

It’s our childhoods- Every kid grew up playing a sport. Whether it was baseball, basketball, football, hockey, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, or track and field, we all personally had a stake in a sport.  The knowledge of the game and thrill of the competition stays with us for our entire lives.   Turn on sports talk radio and listen to how many callers say, “I used to play college baseball” or “I’ve coached football for years.” It represents the best times of our childhoods. It represents a time of purity when all you had to look forward to on Fridays and Saturdays was your next football or baseball game.   They were games that could be played with minimum resources.  All that’s needed to play basketball is a ball and a net, football needs a ball, baseball needs a bat, a ball, and a glove. All of which could be found for more than affordable prices. Today, kids spend the majority of their time playing video games which cost 300$ for the system alone. And unless they create some professional video game league, they’ll miss out on an important aspect of being kids; and that’s going outside and playing.

It’s about companionship- Some of the longest stints of my social life come during a sporting event.  I’ll go the bar during playoff basketball or a UFC title fight more often than I do just to get some drinks.  It’s a guaranteed conversation topic and it allows for people to gather for a single reason.  Without sports the bar would be a metaphorical wasteland of socialite drifters trying to find common ground with other socialite drifters that they’ve never met nor are they likely to ever see again.  With sports it creates an identity and sense of being a part of something.  Regular people now become fans and now have a common ground to start conversations.  “Hey my name is John,” becomes “So what do the Phillies do in the bottom of the inning here? Do you keep Halladay in?” I’ll be at a bar sitting next to a stranger.  Now on a regular night I wouldn’t really say anything to the stranger because there’s nothing to say.  But if I look up at the screen and Vick throws a dart to Desean Jackson I can look at him and say, “Did you ever think Michael Vick would be able to throw a pass like that?” And then take off from there.  It’s the reason that at parties, when all the guys meet in the corner, they don’t talk about the drapes that they just bought, but did Halladay pick up his 20th win or did the Eagles beat the Cowboys.  Regardless if the person is wearing a rival team’s jersey, a little hazing and heated conversation makes for a time that you can’t achieve if you’re talking about Democrats and Republicans.

After we got food and arrived at Shawn’s house it was 11:00.  I thought to myself, “I’m about 15 minutes away from seeing this game.”  At the same time, Shawn’s little brother, Mikey, walked past us.  Shawn and I both got out and yelled, “Don’t say anything, DON’T SAY ANYTHING!”  He said, “Dude…the Eagles are terrible.” My world crashed. He later told us that he thought we didn’t want to talk about it because they lost to the 49ers.  It was eleven hours and a great amount of energy for nothing.  I turned on my phone and saw that the Eagles blew a 20-3 lead and lost 24-23.

Interleague Play is Good for Baseball

As the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox close their three game series I read my friend Steve’s Facebook and this is what he had to say.

“Why would anyone want to get rid of inter-league play? It’s only a few weeks a year and everyone gets excited about a series like this. So much better than [the Phillies] playing the Nationals and Marlins 40 times”

It’s a good point.  With a 162-game season and only five teams in each division it equates to a team playing everyone in their division 18 times a year. For example, in the National League East, the Phillies play the Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves 18 times each.  It’s a pro because fans can gauge how their team stacks up against the division or how strong division itself is. It creates rivalries that attract fans to the stadiums and creates a disdain for the opposing teams that causes excitement and passion.  But, the con is that they play each team 18 times usually in three or four game sets.  Think about it, do you really want the Phillies playing the Marlins or the Red Sox playing the Toronto Blue Jays 18 times a year? Interleague play breaks that up the mold that baseball has held onto for 150 years and refuses to budge on (but that’s a whole other story). 

Major League Baseball started interleague play in 1997 meaning before then, the only times the American and National Leagues met were during spring training, the All-Star game, exhibitions, and the World Series.  It was enjoyable as a National League and baseball fan to see the headlines on a newspaper of a guy named “Ted Williams” hitting .400 or Joe DiMaggio hitting for his 56th consecutive game.  There was purity and a beauty to finally catching a glimpse of these players and fans truly flocked to games they played in.   But, in the age of the Internet and absolute exposure to all things there are no surprises anymore.  You know what Josh Hamilton or Albert Pujols did AS they did it. You know what their swings are like, where they hit the ball, and what they look like.  You know how nasty Cliff Lee’s curveball and the streak that he is on  and you can watch the Phillies pitching staff without just reading about them. (Think about it, how much less exciting would Stephen Strasburg’s debut have been if it wasn’t during the age of the internet.  You would’ve had to read it in the newspaper the next day, completely missing out on the energy and electricity.) Until things like Williams hitting .400 or Barry Bonds hitting 73 home runs in a season (granted on steroids) happen and bring a lot of attention, the MLB needs to adapt and save itself.  Interleague play is the first step to that.

Every year the NFL schedules a division from the National Football Conference to play a division against American Football Conference.  So over a span of four years, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore Ravens.  What’s that mean?  The best teams from the NFC will eventually play the best teams from the AFC and when the best play then what happens? The best games, the best advertisements, the best ratings, and the best players.  If the NFL didn’t have their own version of interleague play then that would mean another division game and three is too many. So is 18.  If the Red Sox and Yankees played nine times or even eight, it would be a better rivalry (Is there any more overrated rivalry in sports? It’s a rivalry deep rooted in tradition, but only for those who are either baseball purists or those from Boston or New York. They play 18 times a year, how many times can ESPN say “The Best Rivalry in Sports” before we all say, “Wait this will be the 12th,13th,and 14th time they’ll be playing? It’s only July!” Spare me the forced drama.).  Interleague play allows for an increase in potential rivalry games and more important divisional games. For example, the New Yankee Stadium is about forty miles from Citi Field, but the Mets and Yankees would have only played in the 2000 World Series if it wasn’t for Interleague play.  That just doesn’t make sense.

There are arguments against interleague play with one side saying that no one wants to see a team ranked in the bottom of one division of the NL play against the bottom ranked team in one division of the AL.  Well there’s no parity in baseball as it is, the bad teams are always bad so why force the Phillies to play the Nationals 18 times when they can play the Texas Rangers six of those times. It’s a part of the damage control; the MLB should accept the losses that bad teams don’t raise attendance so let the best teams play the best more often. Why do you think the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics play every Christmas? The other part of that argument is that why teams would be interested in playing another that they don’t share any historical or geographical data with?  Again now that the internet is available, does that even matter? It becomes more about what players are in the game, not the city they play for.  In today’s age, would someone be angry that the San Francisco Giants are playing the Tampa Bay Rays because they’re so far apart or would someone be excited that Tim Lincecum is pitching against David Price?

The MLB has to learn how to adjust to a more hungry and growing sports market.  By limiting the times the best teams from both leagues are able to play each other, they are limiting their best product. The NFL has adjusted to the market and is by far the fastest growing and most popular sport in American culture.  The MLB has more purists and traditional fans, but they don’t make ratings, the casual fan does. (I call it the Tiger Woods effect, which I’ll expand on in the coming weeks, but every sport has a set fan base, but it’s those who don’t normally watch that determine if a sport will become popular.)  So having said all that, interleague baseball is meant to be enjoyed.

Happy Father’s Day: Benny the “Mush”

For Father’s Day I bought my dad two books: Sniper One and Seal Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper.  To call him a history and military buff would be an understatement.  It’s more of an obsession.  He can look at a weapon on TV and diagnose: who invented it, what its advantages are (for example, the M4 is used in Iraq because it’s small, allowing for better maneuverability in urban environments), how it’s loaded, and when it was first used. He watches two stations, the Military Channel and the USA Network so he can watch reruns of his favorite show N.C.I.S.  (His favorite character is Ziva because she’s from the Israeli Mossad.).  He’ll sit on the couch for hours calling out every weapon and tactic the military uses and how “they have a plane that on radar comes up as a seagull!” However, if I was to ask him, “Dad, who do you think the Eagles should pick up in free agency this year?” He’d answer, “Who?” For that, he has earned his title of “Benny the Mush.” Why; because the Sports Gods are vengeful.

Big Ben is 6’3” and 325 pounds of intimidating muscle.  He is covered in tattoos from head-to-toe but not in a way that makes it look overdone, it’s strange but it flows well (don’t tell my mother I said that) and it makes him unique and distinguishable from everyone else. His voice, as deep as James Earl Jones and as raspy as Louie Armstrong, can’t be described as talking but as barking.  He was a truck driver for 30 years and now works for the township where we live and he’ll let you know every chance he gets. “Chazz, I’ve been working for 37 years straight. No layoffs.” It’s commendable and rare, especially with the job market and fluctuations in the economy.  If I was 12 and I wrote this I’d say he’s the man who eats nails for breakfast with no milk and watches John Wayne movies because no is as manly as  “THE DUKE!” Hearing this description you would expect to hear stories of us sharing Sundays taking turns screaming at Andy Reid or buying ticket packages to go see the “Four Aces” take on the world, but that won’t happen because Big Ben doesn’t watch sports.

It’s a strange dynamic, especially since most of what my dad’s interests are didn’t rub off on me as much as it did on him.   I really only watch sports and movies (this week I’m dedicating a post to “Why Johnny Depp is Overrated.” Trust me, my argument’s too solid.).  Except for my friend Bean, none of my other friends understand what it’s like.  My friend Bobby has watched every Eagles game with his dad and if he’s at the game, calls every time they score a touchdown. It’s cheesy, but that’s what sports do.  Although it is basically a stereotype that all fathers and sons have to share sports experiences, it does have an aroma that can’t fulfilled by going to the movies or taking a trip to the beach.  But does it bother me? No, not at all because I watch enough for the both of us.  What bothers me is that I haven’t figured out a way of getting rid of his title as the “Mush.”

The balance of sports is delicate.  If it is broken, abused, or misused in any way then the Gods come with a vengeance that makes what Liam Neeson did in “Taken” look like nothing more than just a guy politely asking some people if he could have his daughter back. Big Ben is a textbook “Mush.” What specifically is a that? It has been applied to betting and sports but in short, a “Mush” is someone who ruins everything they are associated with.  For example, if a “Mush” attends a Phillies game, you might as well leave after the sixth inning because they are not going to win.  Any chance of a positive outcome for a situation you are striving for instantly becomes mush.  For a real life example, the Philadelphia Flyers finished last in the NHL in points in 2007. How? Big Ben took me to the Thrashers-Flyers game right before they went on that 10 game losing streak. It solidified his standing as a “Mush.”

What are the criteria for becoming a “Mush?”

  1. The most recent games you have watched have been overwhelmingly losses. Losing streaks happen, but absolute anarchy means there are higher spirits at work.
  2. A falsified interest in something.  If you didn’t watch the NBA Finals, don’t tell your coworkers, “I don’t understand why Erik Spoelstra won’t adjust his game plan.” The Sports Gods are intelligent; they take that as an insult.
  3. Denial. No one wants to be known as the “Mush” just like Johnny Depp doesn’t want to be known as “overrated.” But it’s the first step in recovery.  Accepting it allows the “Mush” to open up to the mercy of the Sports Gods (or in Johnny Depp’s case, accepting that he plays the same role in every movie.).

 Everyone has a “Mush” in their group and there isn’t anything less enjoyable than knowing your team has no chance.  It’s like hearing the ending of a movie you wanted to see badly.  Yeah you’ll like it, but what could’ve been a personal top 10 movie becomes as impactful as “Balls of Fury.” (For me, I’m talking “Black Swan” and “The Sixth Sense.”)  There are only a few ways to appease the Sports Gods and save your city and franchises from the curse of the “Mush.” The most effective way is sacrificing them by completely isolating them in any sports situation.  The Gods will not punish those who don’t watch.  Although it’s not recommended but tricking the Gods works also (but there is no data that it works in the long run).  The team the “Mush” roots for will lose so you this example as a guide. Remember, they are in denial so they think their rooting helps the team.

Mush: Who’s playing?

Fan: The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants

Mush: Go Eagles!

Fan: *slyly* No! I bet on the Giants!

Mush: Oh, GO GIANTS!

Mission accomplished.

It is a lifelong fight, there are more “Benny the Mushes” than we let on.  It’s a crusade that sports fans will have to deal with forever.  There are ways to circumvent the “Mush” but one thing is for certain, it’s an undesirable title.  I am forever fighting an uphill battle because Big Ben has ACCEPTED his title so I forever have to trick the Sports Gods and sacrifice my standing with them in the afterlife.  If the Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl during my lifetime, it was worth it. (Quick note, if you can’t think of a “Mush” in your group then uhm, you’re it.)

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, thank you for everything.

Watching the Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies the Old Way

                In the age of being able to watch TV from an Ipad, a laptop, or the classic Picture-in-Picture, watching multiple shows and sporting events simultaneously have become more common than Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (zing).  However, what happens when you don’t have the first two and your TV’s manual doesn’t come with instructions on how to set up PIP (trust me I went through the manual three times.)? One web logger found out the hard way and was forced to watch the Philadelphia Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies game with nothing but the old “Last” button.  So, while the Phillies blow it in the 12th inning, I give you my observations for the night.

                Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat Game 2- Final Score- 94-73, Heat.  The game was flipped to five times and stopped after the third quarter when the 76ers went down 23.

It comes as no surprise that the Heat are up 2-0 in a series against an overmatched 76ers team. LeBron James continues to pick them apart having scored 29 with seven rebounds and six assists as the 76ers “best player” Andre Iguodala finished with a solid five points, seven rebounds and seven assists.   Having said that, it’s hard not to notice how terribly the 76ers played. They shot 34 percent and their best player of the night was Evan Turner, who surprised everyone (even my friend Bean who texted me “It’s ridiculous man how bad they’re playing…all except Burner.” This is common practice that all Turners are known as Burner) with 15 and six. Unfortunately, that didn’t help them from getting blown out by 21, even with Dwyane Wade only scoring 14. The 76ers starters were outscored by 47.  Their only chance to win a game in this series is game 3 at home.  Don’t count on it, they’re getting swept.

                Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Final Score- 6-3, Brewers in 12.  This game was watched from Pete Orr’s pinch hit up until the 12th inning. Sorry, it’s playoff time, they take precedent.

Now before you grab your notebook and recite your latest fat joke towards Joe Blanton, just know he didn’t pitch that badly.  He only gave up two runs in seven innings, struck out four, and gave his team a chance to win (ugh, I hate that phrase).  However, their 3-4-5 hitters went 2-17 and Jimmy Rollins continues to disappoint as much as Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (follow that link, look at her versatility or lack thereof.).  He continues to hit for home runs instead of playing “small ball” that was effective for the Phillies to start the season. The hitters can’t bear all the blame with Ryan Madson giving up his first run of the season and Kyle Kendrick walking three and giving up three runs, solidifying the Phillies loss.  The Phillies are still 10-5 and weren’t expected to win every game, but they also weren’t supposed to lose each game Blanton started so far.   The two biggest questions for the Phillies are now, “When will Rollins and Francisco click at the same time? And how long until Charlie Manuel realizes Kendrick can’t pitch in the MLB.”

                Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Game 2- Final Score 3-2, Flyers.  With a blowout happening in Miami and the Phillies only 15 games in, this game was on the most.

The Flyers are starting to look good again after taking a 2-1 series lead. Would I say that they’re scary good like they were in the beginning of the season? No, but Brian Boucher proved he still has a little game left in him. Besides overcommitting on a rebound in the second period that led to a Nathan Gerbe goal (my father, a goalie his whole life and whose stories include the likes of Bernie Parent, started screaming at the TV about how terribly Boucher played that shot.  That’s why Philly is the greatest sports city.), he stopped 35 out of 37 shots and has to give hope to panicking fans who were unsure about their goaltending situation.  The next most impressive thing was the Flyers’ penalty kill that went 7-8 tonight with them having another 5-on-3.  Although no team wants to give up eight power-plays a night, it’s reassuring knowing they play well on defense.  The next-next most impressive thing is James van Riemsdyk, who although didn’t record a point, is finally playing like the 6’3 200 pound “Ovechkin-build” force he should’ve been since he was drafted (to clear up that Ovechkin reference, he’s just physically similar, not in terms of talent.).  These are all good signs for the Flyers who are playing behind the consistent play of Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Expect another win in Buffalo on Wednesday and the Flyers finishing the series in Philadelphia.

Seriously though, how exciting is it that during the month of May, there are three Philadelphia teams playing? “Friends” just came on TV, I can’t make this up; the Entertainment Gods are vengeful!

Coming Next Week

  This was a busy week, I’d like to say thank you to Coach Black for making my interview and everything easy.  I also would like to thank everyone who viewed my web log this past week, I haven’t had greater volume since I started.  Thank you to everyone who commented me on my “How Sports Made a Friendship Beautiful” column and I appreciate everyon who said they enjoyed it.  However, next week it will be back to business. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this and I expect everything from me to be better and more enjoyable.

Expect a full analysis of what I felt about the Philadelphia Phillies opening day for the new baseball season and a new edition of “Shoutouts.”

Have a good weekend.

Jayson Werth Potentially “Got Paid”

  I apologize for not posting anything last week.  I had mid-terms so I had to spend my time studying. I think I failed my Italian mid-term. Molto, molto male.

  However, it’s back to business. 

I currently have a theory (which I believe even Bill Simmons himself would give credit to) that I mentioned during  “Shoutouts” in specific regards to Jayson Werth, the right fielder whom Philadelphia had fallen in and out of love with.  The same player whom fans held up signs saying “Werth it” after the questions of him re-signing with the Phillies started. The same five-tool player  who decided to take a 7 year $126 million contract and left Philly to take his talents to Washington D.C. 

I call it the “Got Paid” theory, excellent.  It states the following: “An athlete who, because of his recent performance, has received a large sum of money from an organization, whether it is from the athlete’s current or another organization, in hopes that he will continue with at least the same production.  However, said athlete’s performance usually declines at a steady rate until he is dubbed, including but not limited to, “overpaid” or a “bust.” 

Now I know there are a lot of overpaid athletes (Joe Johnson anyone?), but there are specific criteria that HAVE to fulfilled before the athletes can be deemed, “Got Paid.”

1. The athlete must have a productive season/s prior to the signing of a big contract.

2. The athlete must be a prized free agent during the off-season

3. The athlete must sign that contract with a team who finished worse than his current team during the prior season/s.

4. The expectations of the athlete must increase. Example: Houshmandzadeh being considered a top receiver when he signed with the Seahawks.

5. The athlete must have a significant drop in production during the years succeeding the signing of that big contract.

Look at some examples of athletes who “Got Paid” over the years.

Barry Zito – 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland Athletics. He finished with a 23-5 record and a 2.75 ERA; Signed a 7 year $128 million deal with the San Francisco Giants and hasn’t had a winning season, nor has he been under a 4.00 ERA since.

TJ Houshmandzadeh – 2008 Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 112 receptions for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns; Signed a 5 year $40 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks and posted 79 and 35 receptions in 2 years since.

Albert Haynesworth – Two time pro bowler for the Tennessee Titans and considered the prize of the 2009 off-season; Signed a 7 year $100 million contract and has been playing like this since.

 This should scare Werth because he did fall into his own slump last year as his contract situation became more and more imminent .   He arguably had his most productive season individually (I know, he couldn’t get a hit with runners in scoring position) in 2010 (step 1, check).  He signed with the Washington Nationals who only finished 22 games behind the Phillies in the division last year (step 2, check).  There is a lot on Werth this season as he is projected to be the National’s clean up hitter, (much different from his batting fifth on the Phillies where his main function was protecting Ryan Howard) and along with Ryan Zimmerman, becomes their biggest run producer.  It sounds like a tall order for a player who has never hit 100 RBI’s in his career.  With MLB contracts being guaranteed there is a comfort zone Werth can fall into because he is going to get the full payment of his contract regardless if he is cut or traded by the Nationals. We’ll see if he helps me get one step closer to turning my theory into a law.

February “Shoutouts”

  Considering this is the end of my first month posting on this web log, I thought I would reminisce and do a monthly post called “Shoutouts.”  Mostly sports related, and after I get a bigger following (did that sound conceited?) would like others to “shoutout.” We’ll start slow with my top 10 of the month of February. And here we go.

10.  Shoutout to the NBA Eastern Conference for officially taking over as dominant conference for the next few years.  In 2012 if Chris Paul goes to the East, then it’s gonna be an awesome time for East coast fans.

9.  Shoutout to baseball season starting, more specifically the Philadelphia Phillies. Hopefully Domonic Brown’s new placement of his hands will help him with his swing because I don’t want the no. 4 prospect in baseball being a bust.

8.  Shoutout to the Philadelphia 76ers for being .500 after 58 games.  I was watching them last night with my friend Bean and we were ecstatic that the 76ers were 29-29 if that’s any indication on how bad they were.  Things are looking up

7. Shoutout to the Philadelphia Flyers, who are continuing their dominance in the NHL and went 7-1-1 in the month of February (they have one game left against Ottawa)

6. Shoutout to the Green Bay Packers, who although I can’t stand that they won the Super Bowl, at least the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t.

5. Shoutout to the Black Eyed Peas on officially winning the “Worst Halftime Show Ever,” your trophy is in the mail. (And as honorable mention, Christina Aguliera gets  a trophy for her National Anthem performance)

4. Shoutout to Christian Bale, who starred in the “The Fighter” (which became my favorite sports movie of all time) and absolutely has to be the favorite to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this weekend.

3. Shoutout to Brett Keisel who shaved his beard for charity, which raised over $30,000.  In a society where the negatives about athletes are more out-front than the positives, it’s good to hear a story about the positive actions of an athelte.

2. Shoutout to Jayson Werth, who took a contract for more money and ran with it, then complained about the Phillies not signing him.  (I’ll address this in-depth this week and introduce everyone to my theory called “Gettin’ Paid.”

1. Shoutout to the Detroit Pistons more specifically:  Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, and Chris Wilcox for proving that professionalism isn’t apart of how you do things.  To just boycott a shoot-around as a means of wanting your coach to get fired is immature. Then to laugh when he gets ejected from a game just proves it.  Besides, T-mac, you aren’t the player you used to be.

Phillies Fans Are Ready for 2011

With pitchers and catchers starting this week, I went out and sought  Philadelphia Phillies fans (or “phans,” I guess) and they answered this question, “What are you looking forward to the most this baseball season.”

Matt Falls – “I can’t wait for the first warm sunday night when you’re having a few beers outside and the Phillies are playing in the Sunday night game.” (Agreed, baseball’s the only sport where that’s possible.)

Sean Humenchuk- “A. Phillies winning the World Series B. Having four pitchers throw no hitters for the first time ever C. all of the above.”

Kelly Asroff – “Dollar dogs.”

Gabriella Carabasi – “My favorite player is gone so I’m going to go with just getting ‘stupid’ in the parking lot.” (An example of Philadelphia’s reputation.) 

Josh Black – “The best baseball team in the MLB to bring the championship back home with more [than] 100 wins in the regular season.” (Everytime I think of the “postseason”, I just think of this. More specifically the first 15 seconds)

James Ryan – “I just want to see this Phillies pitching lineup to start going.”

Jim Amadio – ” Web gems, pine tar and Cliff Lee.”

This was a text sent to me, from Bryant Collins – “How the big four for the Phils [are] going to perform. This is the best starting rotation in the history of this organization…He [Ryan Howard] will have to carry more of the load for this team and wipe the memory of the last out of game 6.” (Which I agree with, that big contract he signed in April put alot of expectations on Howard and he didn’t live up to it in the playoffs. 5 years 125 million is alot, we’ll see how he plays withouth Jayson Werth protecting him in the 5 hole.) Continue reading