Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day
Flyers Stanley Cup Champions Parade From The '70s

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Current State Of The Philadelphia Phillies

OK, so this blog has been doing a real crappy job on updating what's going on with Philly sports lately. I will take the blame for that. It's run by a bunch of college kids and we all have finals right now. And if teams like the Flyers, 76ers or Eagles were just playing, it would be a lot easier to make up missed dates. But not with the Phillies who play almost everyday. So, this post is going to be about the state of Phillies since our last post, which was the 7-3 ninth inning comeback in Florida.

After that game, the Phillies won four in a row, beating the Marlins 6-4 and 13-2. The 6-4 game was another come from behind victory in the ninth inning and the Phils won it in the tenth. The 13-2 game was nice because it was a relaxing way to enjoy a Phillies game since most of them have been exciting come from behind victories. Jamie Moyer also continued his dominance over Florida in that blowout win.

After the weekend series in Florida, the Phils had a three game set at home against the Nationals. On Monday, they won 13-11. It was a game in which the Phillies hit two grand slams. One was by Ryan Howard and the other by Rauuuuuuuullllll Ibanez (more on this guy later). Howard's tied the game at 6-6 and Ibanez's gave the Phils a 13-11 lead in the eighth inning. Something to take note of is Brad Lidge didn't save this game. Ryan Madson did. Lidge apparently has problems with the knee he had surgery on before last year. He is going to throw a bullpen soon and see how he goes from there on whether or not he is going to the DL. 

Tuesday was a thrashing of the lowly Nationals 7-1. It was also Charlie Manuel Bobble Head night, which looked like a sweet give away and in a more serious story, Cole Hamels left another game early. This time it was a sprained ankle. He said it was mild though and that he should be alright. Poor Big H. He can't get a consistent outing this year so far. His last two outings he was doing well until he got hit by a line drive and then turned his ankle. 

So, after five wins in a row, the Phillies can't win every game. Last night after a first inning homer by Shane Victorino, Brett Myers gave up three runs and Jack Taschner gave up one as the Phillies lost to the "Natinals" 4-1

Last night's game ended the month of April as the team is off today. They start a three game home set with the hated Mets tomorrow. 

Some Thoughts On The Recent Play Of The Phillies:
-I am really liking the way this team is playing right now, minus last night. They are showing resiliency by coming from behind and their hitting is picking up for their pitching. Once this staff gets back into normal form, I feel we are going to be very good. And the past couple of games, the Phillies have been scoring runs throughout rather than in the latter innings like they did in some of their wins last week. 

One of the brightest spots so far about this season is Raul Ibanez. The guy can just flat out play baseball. He is such a ball player. He has given us more than anyone expected. We thought he would hit and he's hit better than we thought and we thought he was an "iffy" fielder and he has turned out to be a very good fielder. Quickly Ibanez is becoming a fan favorite, especially after replacing a huge fan favorite in Pat Burrell. 

76ers Drop Game 5, But Gain Something At The Same

I didn't get to watch. I was so mad. I had to do a group project and the game was on NBA TV in out of market towns. So I was not able to go to a sports restaurant as I did for Game 2.

But, I did follow the score through written play-by-play on the Internet and the Sixers lost 91-78 and are on the brink of elimination. Once again, the 76ers shot just as well as the Magic as they have been doing most of this series. Yet, the thing that hurt this team was the lack of defensive rebounding and ability to score. When you hold a team to 91 points, you should win. Also, there is no reason why a team should get 15 offensive rebounds and one of their players gets 10 of them. That would be Dwight Howard. He had 24 total on the game.

While the 76ers did lose this game, they are still a live and have some extra incentives to get hyped up for Game 6. Both Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee will not be playing.  Howard elbowed Samuel Dalembert in Game 5, received a technical foul and thus the league decided to suspend him one game. The elbow game after Dalembert was basically holding him down while he was trying to go for a rebound. But the refs didn't see that. They saw Howard's elbow shot and penalized him for it. Oddly enough, Howard accidently elbowed his teammate Lee in the game as well. Lee fractured his sinus because he got hit in the face. He is expected to be out longer than one game.

If the Sixers lose tonight, it will be a very embarrassing loss. With Howard out, the 76ers should be able to get to the basket better and that is 20 something points the Magic will have to make up with either Marcin Gortat or Tony Battie. These two guys are no "Superman." 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hectic Thoughts from Finals Week and the First Days of Summer

Here is an incoherent post put together over the past week - finals and now the sweet taste of summer.

- Mel Kiper Jr. has become a cross between Wolverine and John Travolta. The hair just seems to grow "bigger" and more poofy, while his mouth is somewhere around the Rosie O'Donnell level. He needs to take some Tylenol PM before every argument with Todd McShay.




- Speaking of Kiper and McShay, thank the lord that the NFL draft is over. Every year I wish there was more on ESPN about the NHL playoffs and less on the draft. There has been exactly one hyped player that is any good in the past few years: Matt Ryan. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Alex Smith all stink. There are a few great ones out there, but most of the time the analysts miss them. I would like all of the time back in my life for watching PTI talk about Reggie Bush. And I would like to make a prediction and another plea for my wasted time back - Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford will both stink. I think Stafford will be worse than Sanchez because 1. He is playing for a horrible organization that drafts offensive players such as Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew to "protect their franchise QB" instead of the actual protection - an offensive line and 2. Have you seen the Lions "new" logo? They sketched in an additional 7 lines to make it look, ah... fiercer? I'm predicting another miserable season, albeit not 0-16 if that is where team management thinks this bunch needs the most work. New logo and new quarterback = 2-14. 

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- On the other hand, this draft has the potential to be the best ever for the Andy Reid era. Drafting two playmakers in the first two rounds? One of which I was schoolmate of, no, sophomore with, no, um... watched on the football field for Pitt. Shady McCoy is the real deal, a replica of Westbrook and not even the image of a snarling Drew Rosenhaus standing beside him as he donned his Eagles hat for the first time could sour my day. What could sour my day however was...

- The Flyers stinking up the ice. Although I must admit (and shove in everyone's face) that I was no where near surprised. Shocked by the turn of events during the game? Yes. Surprised, no. I have maintained since the all-star break that this team is merely a collection of talent with no team aspects. Jeff Carter hasn't played defense since February, Mike Richards has been so obviously hurt, Joffrey Lupol has disappeared, Danny Briere - well I won't get started on him. I don't think I have ever seen such talent translate into a such a mediocre team. Last year we suffered a 10 game losing streak and still managed 97 points. This year? A team coming off a Conference Finals run with six 25 goal scorers and much more steady goaltending managed just 99 points, 2 more than the year before. For the past two years I have given Marty Biron a hard time and I am now at peace with him. Of all the goalies on the free agent market, he is the one that makes our team the best. My targets in the offseason are...
- Get rid of Joffrey Lupol
- Make it so I never have to hear the words "Flyers" and "Randy Jones" in the same  sentence again.
- I know they won't do this now, but fire John Stevens. I don't think he is a bad coach but  he is in no way the coach for this team. We need a mean coach to go along with our mean  style of play. Some may say that it is hard to argue that a 99 point season is a  disappointment, but I've never seen a worse "good" season from the orange and black.

- It used to be that the other organizations were compared to the Flyers. When the Phillies, Eagles, or Sixers lost, people said, "can't they learn anything from the Flyers?" They most competitive team, constantly signing the biggest stars... are now being compared to the Phillies. After the elimination I wondered aloud, "Haven't they learned anything from the Phillies? Any of their heart?" Looks like we have officially passed into another realm...

- WIP smartly pointed out that this draft could not have come on a better day. Any time the Flyers are eliminated from the playoffs the city is in a pretty bad mood. Luckily Jeremy Maclin was picked 10 minutes later and Shady a few hours after that. Mix in a Phillies 9th inning comeback and it turned out to be not such a bad sports day. I'm not completely over the Flyers...

- My Flyers playoff beard is still holding up pretty strong. 3 weeks and counting and I just can't let it go. The players shaved theirs after the game. Eventually...

Moving on...

- As pointed out by my cousin, Raul Ibanez does share a striking resemblance Harry's archnemisis and everyone's favorite dark lord. As long as he keeps playing like he wants to take over baseball, I'm fine with any spell he is doing (as long as steroids is not involved).

- Jimmy Rollins predicted a .400 month for his batting average in the next month. Last time he predicted this he went on what would be the start of a 38 game hitting streak while batting over .400. Thanks to Philly.com for this - not my original idea. Just want to let it be known.

- Theo Ratliff is averaging almost 18 minutes per game in the playoffs. The man formerly known as "the expiring contract" has been a better defender and a better player on the court than "Slammy" Dalembert who is making 10 times as much. But hey, on the bright side, they are both much more productive than Elton Brand, who is making more than both of them combined.

- I am now embarrassed to be associated with Lenny Dykstra. The man is millions of dollars in debt, bought Wayne Gretzky's house for 18.5 million, can't sell it, and claims that everyone owes him money. In reality he owes everyone money and has 24 lawsuits filed against him. It's not light reading but it's worth knowing who represents your franchise.

- OMG! The Marlins lost 7 games in a row! They are suddenly no longer ESPN's main story, on the ESPN "slash" commercials, and everyone's pick to win the World Series. Apparently two weeks of baseball in April really isn't enough time to judge your contenders from your pretenders. Who woulda' thunk it?

- An argument about Cole Hamels. Is he a pussy? No. Is he a 24-year-old kid from California? Yes. He emulates diva in the same way that Peter Forsberg did. He is a little hurt and comes out of games. Hamels, however, put the team on his back and won the World Series for Philadelphia. Forsberg ate our money and moved the Flyers towards their worst season in franchise history. Right now Hamels is just going through a string of bad luck. I'd rather the Phillies take him out of these games and leave it up to the bullpen. In the end - it saves Hamels' arm for later in the season when many pitchers burn out.

- I have played 1 and a half full seasons of Tiger Woods Golf and have made exactly 2 cuts. Hooray for video game expertise.


Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

76ers Get A Taste Of Their Own Medicine Sunday Night

Unfortunately.

That's right. Hedo Turkoglu hit a three pointer with 1.1 seconds left to propel the Magic to an 84-81 Game 4 victory.

First off, what a tremendous series this has been so far. Oh my goodness. Three out of the four games have come down to a last shot. As far as Sunday night's game goes, the 76ers played good defense because they only gave up 84 points. But they shot terrible and that has been a big problem for them. If they want to win this series, they have to shoot better. They have to play their game and run a little more. They seemed hesitant in Game 4 and then when they did shoot, they weren't good shots some of the time.

Lastly, on Turkoglu's game winner, Thaddeus Young has to make him drive on that play. Turkoglu is a three point shooter and he wants to shoot threes. That was too easy of a shot for him. I would rather him drive and take a contested two or a layup. But not a three. Also, if he makes a two, than the 76ers can take an easier shot to try to tie it with minimal seconds remaining.

The 76ers need to win tonight. They need to stomp on the Magic's momentum. This will be great test for this young team.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flyers "Promising" Season Is Over

How about we take something positive from these happenings just like coach John Stevens did after every loss the past two or three weeks.

Yeah...let's not.

The fact of the matter is, yesterday's 5-3 New York Met-esque collapse will go down as one of the most frustrating games in not just Flyers history, but Philadelphia sports history.

I mean what team takes a 3-0 lead AT HOME in a playoff game and lose 5-3? Is that possible? Obviously, especially in this town, it is. To be perfectly honest though, I attended yesterday's game and I just came back from the 76ers game (which will be posted about soon), so I'm too tired, gassed and horse to critique the game. The result speaks for itself. The team became too complacent with their lead and with Dan Carcillo's thrashing of Max Talbot. After that fight everything went downhill. Then, in the third period after Sergei Gonchar's basically blue line goal, the team showed no urgency or intensity until the last couple of minutes. Then, when they pulled Marty Biron for an extra attacker, they botched that up and inexcusably let Sidney Crosby score the fifth goal.

This team needs to be addressed in seriously in some areas. And no, John Stevens in not the problem. He's done no worse than any other of the fifty million coaches the Flyers have had over the past twenty years. Think about it. Since Mike Keenan left after the 1988 season, they Orange and Black have not had a coach for a consistent amount of time. Seriously, other than Roger Nielson (may he R.I.P.), they have either fired or let go of a lot of coaches. So, Stevens is not the issue. From what I can tell, and counter me if you think I'm wrong, here are the issues.

1) The Blue Line: The defense needs improving. Kimmo Timonen is good and Braden Coburn and Ryan Parent are promising young players. Luca Sbisa is another promising young defensman. Matt Carle is OK, but he is not great. Andrew Alberts shows bits and spots of good play. And Randy Jones flat out stinks. I don't care what anyone says. Maybe he did in last year's playoffs, but he is so overrated in my opinion. I am not a Randy Jones fan.

2) Goalie: Marty Biron shows flashes of brilliance, such as Game 5 and the first period of Game 6. Last year's playoffs can go into that mix too. But, he is not consistent enough. While I say the goaltender position is an issue, there is not really anybody out there to replace him. He might be the best option.

Those are the two key areas I see right now. I can't really say offensively because the Flyers did have like six guys with 20 or more goals this year. Yet, where was Jeff Carter in this series? Where was Mike Richards? Where was Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul? They got outplayed by Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. They did. Say what you want. Make as many excuses as you want. Blame the refs for all I care. They got outplayed. This team got outplayed.

And furthermore, even though the 76ers lost tonight (as I said more on this soon), it's really a shame people continously go out and fill the Wachovia Center for the Flyers but not the 76ers too. The 76ers battle back from decifits and play with heart. They're scrappy. They represent the city well in times of perrill. I'm not saying to stop cheering for the Flyers and being crazy for the Flyers. Keep that going. It's great. We're the best fans in hockey by far. However, it would be nice if more people would support the 76ers. There is no reason the 76ers should have problems filling the arena for playoff games when they're tickets are cheaper than the Flyers. Maybe this town just doesn't like professional basketball. Maybe this town just likes the physicality of hockey better. Maybe I'm just the only one who gets excited for a 41-41 team. Who knows?

All I know is that I'm horse, frustrated and tired as a 99-year-old man. I have a four hour drive back to Ithaca early tomorrow morning. I'm going to bed. There will be a post on the 76ers loss, Phillies win and state of the Eagles tomorrow.

Poll Results For The Week Of 4/19/09

The question was what chance do you think the 76ers have to win this Orlando series?

76-100 percent: 0 votes
51-75 percent: 1 vote
26-50 percent: 3 votes
0-25 percent: 1 vote

I think the three votes for 26 to 50 percent came after they won a game or two. Hopefully they can pull it out. I personally agree with the results. I think it is a 50-50 thing because if they do what they have to do: stop their three point shooters and make shots on the offensive end, they can win this series.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Comeback Kids"

This is what the Phillies should dub themselves for this first part of 2009. This is getting to be unbelievable.

Last night, the Phillies were down 3-0 in the top of the ninth inning down in Florida. Well, they get two runners on base for Matt Stairs, who singles in a run. Then, they get in a bases loaded situation and the Florida closer walks in a run. Next, Shane Victorino hits a grand slam to put the Phillies up 6-3 (he's making a habit of these [Knock On Wood]). Chase Utley caps it off with a homer of his own following The Flyin' Hawaiin's heroics. The Phils ended up winning 7-3.

Then, tonight the Phillies took an early 2-0 lead (including a Chan Ho Park home run), but then Park gave up four runs in the fourth to put the Marlins up 4-2. That was the score until the top of the ninth inning once again. The Phillies tied it in that inning and forced extras for the first time this season. In the top of the 10th, the Fightins' put two runs on the board to go up 6-4. Subsequently came "Scary" a.k.a. Brad Lidge a.k.a. Mitch Williams Jr. in the bottom of the tenth. Well, after two strikeouts to start the bottom of the ninth off, Lidge allows the Marlins to load the bases with a double by Jorge Cantu and two walks. As all Phillies fans hearts were poudning, up stepped Cody Ross to the plate. Lidge had Ross on a 2-2 count, but left a pitch way up in the zone. After it made contact with Ross's bat, it looked like it was going to be a walk off salami. Fortunately, it went foul left. Following, Lidge struck out Ross and thus the game was over. Phillies won 6-4 in comeback fashion AGAIN!

Every single one of the Phillies eight wins this year have been come from behind wins. I'm not joking. The team is currently 8-8 and those eight W's had the Phillies down at one point. Unbelievable. But hey, it doesn't matter how they win. As long as they win, it's all good.

So You Thought The 76ers Were A Fluke?

Think again. This team may have finished .500 in the regular season. They may have only won like one game out of their final eight. But, they come to play no matter what and they are a scrappy bunch of players.

Last night in Game 3 at home, they defeated the Orlando Magic 96-94 to take a 2-1 series lead in the best of seven series. At one point, they had an 18 point lead, but unfortunately gave it up. It was pretty disturbing and pissed me off immensely.

Yet, with the game tied at 94 and seconds the final seconds winding down, Thaddeus Young made an impressive layup over Dwight Howard to go up two. Rashard Lewis missed a last second heave from half court and the 76ers came out with the W.

Andre Iguodala continues to play well in these playoffs, especially compared to last year's postseason. But now the key is to win tomorrow night in Game 4. The 76ers HAVE to win Game 4. Even though they are up 2-1, Game 4 IS A MUST WIN. The reason for that is, we do not want to go back to Orlando for a fifth game with the series tied and the Magic having momentum. We need to kick the Magic while they're down. The 76ers cannot become complacement. Remember last year? After the Game 3 win and the decent first half of Game 4, the 76ers fell apart for the rest of the series until getting eliminated in the sixth game. Hopefully the 76ers improve this time around.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reminiscing "The Streak"

Brad Lidge had not blown a save since September of 2007. He went I believe 47 straight regular season games and seven post season games without one. Some were impressive one-two-three innings. Others were nail biters that left you covering your eyes hoping that something bad wouldn't happen. And since this streak is so impressive, it's tough to remember every single save. However, there are some that definitely come to mind.

1. His save at Houston last year 5/22—It was the first time he pitched against his old team and the Astros fans gave him a less than friendly greeting when he came in for the save. Lidge was a little antsy in this appearence and thus had trouble finding the strike zone. Yet, he only let up one hit and when he got the final out, Wheels said: "Man is he pumped! Haha!"

2. A save at Atlanta last year 6/6—The game went to extra innings and the Phils took a two run lead in the tenth. In the bottom half of the inning, the Braves threatened and actually cut the lead to one. But, when the tieing run attempted to score for the Braves, Shane Victorino rocketed a bullet to the plate and Chris Coste made the tag. Lidge's save was in tact and he was once again PUMPED. He also gave Victorino his thanks. Take note, this is when Lidge was still relatively new to the team. So it's not like a blown save would have been anything reallly to get depressed over. Not like it was the other night when he actually blew one.

3. A save at St. Louis on a Sunday night game last year 8/3—This was one of Lidge's "load the bases in the ninth and scare the shit out of everyone saves." Well, he had a two run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, let up a run, loaded the bases as mentioned, but struck out two with them loaded to get the save. I was hiding behind my couch for this one. There was one other game I did that for and you'll read about that one shortly.

4. Another save at Atlanta last year 9/16—Alright, this is when the division is really on the line. The Phils need wins badly because it's crunch time in September. Well, in this game at Atlanta the Phils are up 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth and Lidge walks the bases loaded. I don't know exactly how the outs went because I don't really remember. But, he somehow got the save and did it well enough so our pants stayed dry and we didn't piss ourselves. It also helped that the Phillies took the lead for first place after winning this game.

5. A save at home versus Washington last year 9/27—This was the crescendo of saves for the regular season. The Phils had a 4-2 lead going into the top of the ninth and a win would clinch them the division. Lidge came in 40 out of 40 so far in save opportunities. If I recall, he got the first out easily. But then, he started to slip a little bit. I guess it was a mixture of adrenaline and nerves. He let up one run to make it 4-3, then loaded the bases with just that one out. This is where I was hiding behind my couch again. Well, with the bases loaded, one out and a 1-1 pitch to Ryan Zimmerman, a ground was hit up the middle, Jimmy Rollins made a great defensive stop, flipped it to Chase Utley for out number two and then Utley rocketed it to Ryan Howard for the third out. I remember distinctly seeing the play develop and thinking "Oh my God."

Now, as it happened (and take note everything happened so fast, like in a couple of seconds) and after it happened I started to run over to my recently late father who I was watching the game with. I was thinking to myself, "I'm going to jump on his back." I knew I would probably be in for it because my dad didn't really like me being physical with him because he thought he would get hurt and it would prevent him from working. But I thought, "The hell with it. I'm going to jump on his back." So after it happened I ran over to him screaming and jumped on his back. Well...he wasn't too happy...haha. He gave me one of his growling looks and then asked what I was doing. I said, "DAD THE PHILS WON THE DIVISION. THE PHILS WON THE DIVISION!" very happily. Well, he turned around, smiled and then said "Oh...I thought that was only the second out." HAHAHAHA. Ah... great father/son moment. I knew I would be in for it, but not for that. Haha. It's a great story though.

6. Save at home verus Milwaukee last year 10/1—So Cole Hamels was cruising in Game 1 of the NLDS with a 3-0 lead after eight innings. Well in the ninth Charlie Manuel brings in Lidge to close it out. Lidge's last playoff appearence was the debacle he had in 2005 with the Astros. Nobody knew where his head would be, especially after his scary late September. True to everybodys' fears, Lidge was shakey, let up a run and let runners on base with a chance to tie the game or go ahead. But, staying true to his season form, he found a way to get out of it and struck out the third out for the save.

7. Save at home versus Tampa Bay last year 10/29—This was the save of all saves. If you look at it from just a baseball standpoint, it doesn't add up to the "scariness" of some of the other ones. But, this was the save fans were waiting for. It was the save 28 years and 25 years in the making. Relevant to Philadelphia's nature, Lidge got the first batter out, but then let up a single to Dioner Navarro. Then, Fernando Perez came in to pinch run and stole second. So, with the score at 4-3 Phillies, the tieing run was on second with one out. Fortunately, Lidge got the next batter Ben Zobrist to line out to Jayson Werth in right. It was scary line out because it looked like it was going to be a base hit, which would have scored Perez. Can you imagine if Lidge's first blown save in his streak would have been the one he was trying to get to win the World Series? That would have sucked. Anyway, with two outs up stepped pinch hitter Eric Hinske. The first pitch Lidge threw was fouled down the first base line. The second pitch he threw Hinske tried to check swing but was called for a swinging strike. It was close and there was a possiblity he didn't go. But who cares because we got it our way and that's all that matters. Then, the third pitch to Hinske was one of Lidge's nasty sliders. Hinske struck out swining and the Phillies were World Champs. It was the ultimate save for a great season—"The Perfect Season."

Yet, that was last year and this is this year. It's great to remember, but we can't live in the past. It's time to get another one and for that to happen (Knock On Wood) Lidge needs to be in the same form he was last year—an almost unbeatable closer. Will he blow another save? Maybe, even possibly. But let's hope it doesn't deter the Phillies from doing what they have to do. Although the streak is over, Lidge is still the man in my eye.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Phillies Drop Two Straight To The Brewers

Unfortunately, the Phillies bats just didn't click the past two days after scoring 11 runs Tuesday night. Last night, the Phillies lost 3-1, even though Joe Blanton pitched well and today, they lost 6-1.

But, the storyline on today's game was Philly native and Conestoga High School product Dave Bush almost throwing a no hitter for the Brewers. But, who was the one who faltered the no hit bid?

The man, the myth, the legend—Matt Flippin' Stairs! Haha. This guy rules. Opposing teams should just stick a golf tee in the dirt at home plate, put a baseball there and see if he hits one out. The reason—when Matt Stairs hits a homer it is like he is teeing up on a golf ball. Unbelievalbe. He hit one way out off of the foul pole today in the eighth inning, which as mentioned ended Bush's no hitter.

Another storyline on today's game is Cole Hamels left early in the fourth inning. This is the more seroius storyline because he got hit by a screaming line drive from Prince Fielder on his throwing shoulder. In the previous at bat, he gave up a two run homer to Ryan Braun, but other than that he was crusing with six strikeouts through the first three innings. The early diagnosis on Hamels is a shoulder contusion, also known as a bruise. So, it sounds like it should be alright, but don't be too sure. You never know what can happen.

The Phillies are in Florida this weekend to take on the first place Marlins. I am really looking forward to this series.

And...WE GOT A GAME 6!

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT BOYS!

Way to show some adversity tonight and shut out those stinking Penguins 3-0. Marty Biron was stellar. It's like him and Marc-Andre Fleury switched positions from Games 4 to 5. Fleury was great in Game 4, while Marty was great tonight.

And even though the Flyers still did not score on the power play (UGH!), Mike Knuble did get one past Fleury tonight, which is a good thing to see. Another great thing about tonight was the continued emergence of Claude Giroux. Every game I'm liking this kid more and more, especially after the way he screwed up in Game 2. It's always great to see a guy rebound.

Now, what the Flyers need to do is play the same way they did tonight Saturday. Let's make something clear though: THEY HAVE NO MOMENTUM! Let's review what has happened in the Flyers/Penguins recent playoff history when the Flyers have "momentum."

After the Game 4 victory last year in the Eastern Conference Finals to cut the series lead to 3-1, the Flyers had "momentum." What happened? They got romped 6-0 in Game 5 to be eliminated.

After the Game 3 victory this year, the Flyers had "momentum." What happened? They got shelled at home 3-1 in a game where the physicality was done.

So, even though the Flyers had an impressive win tonight, they have NO MOMENTUM. They're still down in the series and still playing catchup. Win Game 6 and we can talk about "momentum." But let's be honest with ourselves and look at Game 6 like this:

-Our backs are still against the wall because these Penguins are very capable of winning on the road. Let's take advantage of having our home crowd behind us because our fans are THE BEST in the NHL. Let's play physical. Let's knock these guys around and let's get a win and get on a plane ride back to the other side of this state.

LET'S GO FLYERS! CROSBY SUCKS!

Gotta Box Out!

That's why the 76ers lost Game 2 96-87. I can think of at least five times or so the Sixers didn't box out and let the Magic get second chance points. Orlando got 14 offensive rebounds in that game. And as hard as Theo Ratliff played and as much as I am a fan of him, I counted like two or three times where he left Dwight Howard to dry and block a layup and then Howard got a put back dunk. I know Theo knows better than that. He has been in the league for a long time.

You know, the 76ers shot better from the floor than the Magic. The key really was second chance points and not stopping rookie Courtney Lee. Our boys did a decent job on Howard, a good job on the three point shooters of Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, but a poor job on the rookie Lee. There is no reason why this guy should have dropped 24 points in only his second playoff game.

As far as the 76ers offensive production goes, Andre Miller scored too many points (believe it or not). Thirty points is way too much for him because he needs to take less shots and distribute the ball more. Andre Iguodala played well, but just in the second half. He only had one of his 21 points in the first half. Lastly, Samuel Dalambert has to calm down and stop acting the way he is. He only played nine minutes last night and that's because he was acting up.

Well, all in all, the series is tied at one game a piece now with two games at home on the slate. And if there is one bright point in this series so far, it's that last year the 76ers won Game 1, but got annihilated in Game 2. The second game was close this year. Don't count the 76ers out yet. If they keep defending the way they do, with improving on covering Lee and doing better on preventing second chances, there is no reason why they can't compete or beat this team (Knock On Wood).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Game We Somehow Skipped Posting About

Oddly enough, it was the game Brad Lidge's save streak ended this past Saturday night. Yeah, the man is not invincible (unfortunately).

Everybody, including himself, kept saying it's bound to happen sometime. I just don't think any of us knew it was come in April for his fourth save opportunity of the season. With a 5-4 lead in the ninth, he gave up four runs and the Phils loss 8-5 to the Padres.

To start off the top of the ninth inning, Lidge gave up a lead-off double on a hit that in my opinion should have stayed a single. Shane Victorino somehow kicked the ball or he did something to the ball and allowed the runner to reach second. Oddly, I think Victorino was not charge with an error. Then, Lidge got his first out of the inning, but the runner advanced to third.

That is when the team decided to play the defense back and concede a run, especially with contact hitter Brian Giles at the plate. Lidge almost struck Giles out, but the veteran outfielder hit one down the first base line to Ryan Howard and was out as Howard tossed it to Lidge who covered the bag. The game was tied and there's Lidge's first blown save since September 2007. Then, the crowd gave him a nice little ovation.

At this point you would figure Lidge would get out of the inning and the Phils would win it in the ninth (hopefully), but two more runners got on base and then he gave up a three run home run. Charlie Manuel came out to get Lidge and then he got any even bigger standing ovation. Usually in moments like that, the reliever gets booed. But, it was nice to see the fans commenmorate Lidge for his impressive streak.

Hopefully, this won't get to his head and he will be able to be the Lidge he was last season.

Hey Brad, everybody is human and messes up once and a while. It's OK buddy.

More to come on the incredible streak later on.

Phils Rout The Brewers Behind A Good Pitching Performance From Moyer

Finally, a starting pitcher did a decent job. The Phils brought out the bats and the starting pitcher showed in the 11-4 win at home over Milwaukee last night.

The game was flowing rather smoothly until Mother Nature decided to take a lengthy piss. So, the 7 p.m. game didn't end until after 11. Still, it was a fun night to watch baseball and a rather bright spot to a freaking annoying evening of Flyers hockey.

There is not really any analysis that needs to be done for this game. The team played well and hopefully can get a good streak going of wins so they can catch the Marlins in the division. Currently, the Philies are 6-6, in second place and four games behind the Fish.

Man That Was Frustrating

Not to mention, when the Flyers scored there only goal in their 3-1 loss to the Pens last night, someone who lives down my hall decided to come over to my room and start banging on my door, shouting at me to be quiet while I was cheering loudly. That really pissed me off.

Back to the game though, I have been hearing and seeing a lot of different things about this game.

A) Some people think the Flyers played better.
-I can see that with them having 46 shots on net compared to Pittsburgh's 26, but the Flyers were 0-8 on the power play. They were freaking stopped EIGHT times on the man advantage. That's inexcusable no matter how good Marc-Andre Fleury was.

B) On that note, Marc-Andre Fleury was the factor in this game.
-Duh. The guy only made 45 saves and a lot of them were rather impressive.

C) The first goal scored by Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby should not have been allowed.

Video was found on the700level.com and of course YouTube.
Wrong! I know everyone hates Crosby. I hate him too. He's definitely overrated and a pansie, but still, the contact was incidental and the puck crossed the goal line legally. He didn't bat it in. It just bounced off of his shoulder. Also, the posts came out of the ice after the goal was scored. Besides, he barely made any contact with Marty Biron anyway. He didn't prevent or deny Biron from making any type of save.

Is the goal annoying? Yes, and that is not just because it's against the Flyers. It was pretty annoying, but legit as well.

The fact of the matter is "B," Fleury, was the key in this game. Also, another point I haven't really heard and something that I personally feel, the physicality the Flyers showed in Game 3 was pretty much non-existent in this game. There weren't a lot of scurmishes and the only real physical action was the two hits Mike Richards put on the Pens. They were sweet. But the rest of the team failed to show that tough nature.

If you want to blame the refs, go ahead, but that's not the right way to look at this game. The truth is, the Flyers really put themsevles in a hole and this started before the playoffs.

They backed in, gettin ghte fifth spot when they had no business relinquishing the fourth (I know we see how important home ice is in this series). Furthermore, they didn't show up in Game 1 and they choked in Game 2.

I'm not giving up on this team. If they win Game 5, they can surely build up some hype around Game 6, but the key is winning Game 5 first. Last night in a pre-game interview with Chris Simpson of the Versus Network, Simon Gagne was already bringing up Game 5 and the Penguin fans. Think about Game 4 first Simon. That comes before Game 5 and you guys NEEDED that last night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Game 3

After losses in games 1 and 2 in Pittsburgh, the Flyers were saying all the right things as the attention and the action shifted to the Wachovia Center for game 3. It was clear from start the Flyers were determined to play a much more physical and disciplined game than the previous 2. 

Over the course of the season the Flyers have had a very balanced team, not just scoring attack. The Flyers have combination of skilled young guys and savvy veterans and the luxury of being 3 lines deep; In game 3 the Flyers were able to perfectly display their team dynamic.

The scoring got started by the Flyers regular season goals and points leader, Jeff Carter. Carter received a nice drop pass from fellow line mate Joffery Lupul, completely froze a Pittsburgh defender and goaltender Marc Andre- Flurry and buried a beautiful backhand goal.

The Flyers scored their second goal by captain Mike Richards sniping awkward side angle shot to put the Flyers up 2-0.

The Penguins were certainly not going to go away easily as Evgini Malkin scored on a defensive miscue with 11 seconds  remaining in the 1st period. The Penguins continued where they left off in the second period tieing the score at 2-2 less than a minute into the period.

After the loss in game 2 its possible that no one felt worse about it than rookie Claude Giroux. With the score tied at 2 and a feeling of momentum changing, Giroux came to the rescue. Giroux gave the  Flyers a 3-2 lead after getting a perfect rebound pass from Danny Briere. Then after a terrible holding call against Richards Giroux out hustled a Penguin to a puck in the corner of the Penguins zone then out skated 3 Penguins and made a pass that not many people can make to Simon Gagne to score a shorthanded goal and to give the Flyers a 4-2 lead.

To put the "nail in the coffin" the honors were done by another rookie, Jared Ross who scored his first NHL goal to put the Flyers up 5-2. Penguins would score again, of course on the powerplay, and of course it was Malkin, however the Flyers would add a empty net goal by Simon Gagne to double up the Penguins 6-3. Also not to be over shadowed was the terrific defensive effort by Kimmo Timonen. 

Yesterday certainly was a joyous day in Philadelphia, however if the Flyers do not come with the same intensity on Tuesday as they did yesterday their chances of making it out of the first round will be significantly hurt. 

Yesterday Was Amazing

I hate using that word—amazing because it makes something out to be more incredible than anything else or it makes someone out to be more outstanding than anybody else.

Well, yesterday was amazing and the700level.com sums April 19, 2009 up in the perfect video highlight. 



Now it's on all three of these teams to keep it up. Yesterday was great, but it will be looked down upon if positive things don't result from it.

More Re-Cap Of "The Tri-fecta Of April 19, 2009"

Holy Adam Eaton's Arm (a.k.a. S***), what a day. What a day! What a day! What a day!

Whether or not you were as fortunate as I was to witness all three games  or if you had the opportunity to at least see one, you would understand that Sunday was absolutely phenomenal. 

Mike said it best in a text message he sent to me earlier: "Best day in philadelphia sports since october 29 2008" Even though he did not include the Phillies Parade in that text, he couldn't be more right.

First, the Phillies after being down 4-0 again because Chan Ho Suck stunk up the place, they came back like THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO DO and won 5-4 on a Raul Ibanez walk-0ff two run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Now, since I'm in Ithaca, I watch the Phillies games on my computer on MLB.TV. So, I had the Phillies game on the same time as the Flyers game on my television.

As far as the Orange and Black go...OH MY GOODNESS! That is by far the best game I have seen them play all season. They came out with intensity. They came out with a chip on their shoulder. They took no prisoners. Not to mention, the fans were top notch. Even though at this point we should stop bringing it up, I think the importance of getting home ice advantage before the playoffs started was pretty important. None the less, the Orange and Black need to take each game, minute and possession one at a time to tie this series up and go back to Pittsburgh with a lot of momentum.

So, after Ibanez hit that homer (which I went so nuts for that one of my neighbors had to tell me to be quiet), the Flyers dominated their way to a Game 3 victory. Very exciting.

Then came the 76ers—the team that it seems like I'm the only one who believes in them. They stuck with the favored Magic in the first half, but fell way behind in the third quarter. They were down by as many as 13 points. Now, this team may not be the most talented 76ers team of all-time. They may be extremely streaky shooters. But, they have heart and in a town that prides itself on scrappiness and determination, the Philadelphia 76ers surely have that and they proved it in a Game 1 upset victory. Quite frankly though, they stole that game. They have to play much better and consistent to win Game 2.

Still, how about Andre Iguodala at the end of the game. I got sooooo mad when he missed those free throws that I texted a friend of mind who was watching the game and said: "Did i mention i hate iguo-f*** up?"

Well, Iguodala came through in the end with a nice jumper. Even though Iguodala hit the game winning shot with 2.2 seconds left in the game, I think the story was my man Donyell Marshall. The guy may be as old as Jamie Moyer (well...no professional athlete is as old as Jamie Moyer), but dog gonnit he can shoot. DOWNTOWN DONNY is what we should start calling this guy. Give him the ball so he can load up, fire and drain those threes.

Oh man April 19, 2009 was a great day in Philadelphia sports. I think we can all agree this past week has been extremely painful. Watching and listening to Phillies game are not the same. And even though the pain will stick forever, Sunday's success numbed it down a little bit. I'm sure HK was smiling from above, making one heck of a call for Ibanez and giddy about the fact the Flyers and 76ers won too, making Philly fans extremely happy.

Sunday was the one year anniversary of the sad and unexpected passing of John "Johnny Marz" Marzano. As Johnny Marz always said, he was a BIG Philadelphia sports fan. You know he had a big grin on his face Sunday.

So, mark it down in your journals, calendars, notebooks or whatever. And the reason is, Sunday, April 19, 2009 will always go down as a TRI-FECTA for out beloved teams that sport the first name of PHILADELPHIA.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

3-3! A Perfect Day in Philadelphia Sports

Quite possibly the best day since October 29, 2008.

Let's review:

- The Phillies win on a Raul Ibanez walk-off HR
- The Flyers play a physical 60 minutes of hockey to pull within one game of the Penguins
- The Sixers (!!!) win on a unbelievable shot from Andre Iguodala with 2.2 seconds to play, taking a 1-0 series lead on the Orlando Magic. This came after being down 18 points in the 3rd quarter!

And, just for good measure...

- The Eagles introduce their new acquisition, tackle Jason Peters
- The Mets lose!

THE PHILLIES:

Despite the early season struggles of the pitching staff (Park had a solid second start), the middle of the order is as great as advertised. Through 11 games, Chase Utley (.366, 4 HR, 11 RBI), Ryan Howard (.341, 9 RBI) and Raul Ibanez (.386, 5 HR, 10 RBI) are on fire. Even better, a slumping Jimmy Rollins came off the bench to pull the Phillies within one run on a home run to right field. In addition, J.A. Happ pitched three scoreless innings in relief.

THE FLYERS:

After taking an early 2-0 lead, the Flyers were on the verge of giving away the game and, thus, their playoff hopes. The Penguins scored a quick pair of goals in the opening minutes of the 2nd period, draining the energy from the Wachovia Center. Then, in a matter of minutes, the Flyers flipped the switch. The trio of Danny Briere, Darroll Powe and Claude Giroux charged down ice and executed a beautiful array of passes to take a one-goal lead on Giroux's goal. Minutes later, Simon Gagne scored a brilliant shorthanded goal from in close on net. After taking a 5-2 lead on Jared Ross' first NHL goal, the Flyers coasted to a 6-2 win. Series: 2-1 Penguins

THE SIXERS:

Visiting the 3rd seeded Orlando Magic, the 76ers came out early and garnered a two point lead after one quarter. They were aggressive and were shooting the ball with ease. Although their shooting cooled in the 2nd quarter, they went to the locker rooms down only four, 50-46. You had to feel pretty good about their chances. You let Dwight Howard score 18 in the first half and you are still in the game? Not too bad.

In the third quarter, however, the Magic took over. Powered by rookie Courtney Lee and Howard, Orlando built a 79-61 lead. The game was over... right? Ripping off 8 straight points, the Sixers would eventually tie the game at 91 with about 4 minutes to play. After Iggy missed two free throws with a chance to take the lead, Donyell Marshall drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 98-98- giving Andre a chance at redemption. And, this time, he didn't miss.

Catching the in-bounds pass at half court, Iggy turned towards the basket and barreled forward. Stepping back from a pesky defender, he hung in the air and contorted his body in an impossible form. The shot was high and arching and... in.

The Sixers win! Key stat? 3-pointers: Sixers 7, Magic 5

SIXERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

More on this later.

Poll Results For Week of 4/12/09

The question was which team are you following the most closely now.

76ers: 0 votes
Flyers: 3 votes
Phillies: 1 vote
All Three Teams Equally: 0 votes

Me personally, all three teams equally in their own way. I am a "four for four" guy and whether a team's season just began or is at risk of concluding, I'm going to follow each. That's why Friday night I had the Flyers on television and the Phillies on the computer with MLB.TV at the same time, with the TV on the top of my dresser and my computer sitting in one of my dresser drawers. 

But, I understand why the Flyers got the most votes. It's a shame the 76ers aren't getting any love. Honestly, I feel they have just as good a shot at this point to beat the Magic as the Flyers do on coming back against the Penguins after being down 2-0.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eagles Land a Big Man

What does a team do with 12 draft picks? Answer. You trade them for exactly what you need. With questions surrounding the Eagles offensive line, along with other things, the Eagles went out and got the guy that they wanted and needed. According to a source the Eagles parlayed 1 of their 1st round picks (28th) a 4th round pick in '09 and 6th round in the 2010 draft for one of the premiere left tackles in all of football, Jason Peters.

Jason Peters stands 6'4 328 pounds, and the Eagles after masterfully working their salary cap (1/2 sarcastic, 1/2 serious) Peters will be making his weight worth of gold. The Eagles preliminary terms would pay $53 million over 4 years and all in all Peters will make $60 million over the next 6 years. 

The addition of Peters is a great move, but the Eagles are not finished. Perhaps a similar trade to Arizona or Cleveland for Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards. A few other lose ends that need to be addressed in the draft at the very least is running back and a tight end. 

Phillies

On Friday night the Phillies honored Harry Kalas, but not with their play. The Phils got off to a hot start platting 5 runs in the first inning; Which should be plenty of run support with Cole Hamles on the hill right? Wrong. At least for last night anyway. 

The Padres just hung around all night and steadily chipped away at the Phillies lead. The Phils took a 7-1 lead into the 5th before a Scott Hairston 2-run homerun cut the lead to 7-3. Then in the 6th a Nick Hundely homer cut the lead to 7-5.

In the 8th the bridge to Lidge totally collapsed as Ryan Madson allowed 3 runs and essentially sealing the fate of the Phils as they failed to to score again.

The final result of a really bad game for the Phillies was 8-7 come from way behind loss. Yes, San Diego is playing well right now and yes, it is only one game and yes, sometimes you do have games like this and yes, we just did a very similar game against the Braves where we came out on the other side. However a game like that should not happen if your a championship contender especially when your ace is pitching. 

Flyers-Pens

The Flyers are underway in their round 1 playoff series against their cross state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. You might be able to argue the point that we here at Southbroad have been purposely neglecting this post because just in case you haven't been watching the series its been, in a 2 words, not good.

In game 1 the Flyers completely failed to match the intensity of Penguins from the opening drop. The Flyers got out shot, out skated, out hit, and straight up out played. One problem that the Flyers have had so far and specifically in game 1 is their inability to stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers took 12 penalties and put the Penguins on the powerplay 8 times. When all was said and done in game 1 the Flyers fell to the Penguins 4-1 hoping to get the split in game 2.

With some scrappy action coming at the end of game 1 this resulted in the suspension of forward Dan Carcillo and the fining of head coach John Stevens. The Flyers seemed to be motivated by this, matching the intensity of the Penguins in game 2. The Flyers struck first in the first period by, who seems to be enemy no.1 in Pittsburgh, Scott Hartnell. The Penguins evened the score on an odd man rush goal by Bill Guerin on a nice pass from Evgeni Malkin.
The Flyers scored early in the 3rd, Darroll Powe recieved a beautiful pass from Claude Giroux and snapped a screamer stick side on Marc Andre-Flurry. 

In game 2 the Flyers were able to stay out of the penalty box...for 55 minutes. Refs were definitely "lettin' 'em play" in game 2... for 55 minutes. The Flyers had a 2-1 lead late in 3rd (worth mentioning, if not for a great save on Jeff Carter the score would have been 3-1.) when a ticky tack hooking call was made of Jeff Carter. The Flyers, unfortunately, were not able to live to tell about it. The Penguins knotted the game at 2-2 with about 4 minutes left in the 3rd period.

Overtime started at a furious pace with the Pens and Flyers exchanging shots and rushes. Then the refs took the game into their hands. Mike Knuble was tagged with a questionable cross-checking call. The penalty was called when Knuble was set in front of the net trying to clear space, slightly extended his arms and apparently knocked over the 6'2 220 pound Brooks Orpik, who delivered 14 hits during the game. As if the Knuble penalty wasn't enough for the Flyers a bad rookie mistake was made by Claude Giroux when he got called for a slash. The 2 man advantage would prove deadly, as the crafty veteran Bill Guerin top shelved the game winner on Marty Biron. Just like that the Flyers fell into a 2-0 deficit on the series with a 3-2 loss.      

Going into game 3 the Flyers have somethings to be concerned about. Obviously their incapability of staying out of the box especially in crucial situations. Another area of concern is generating offense. The Flyers seem to be playing defense a lot, credit the Pittsburgh defense for stifling the Flyers offense but the Flyers need more sustained offense. The Flyers got out shot 33-27 in game 1 and 49-40 in game 2. Which leads me to my final concern. To say the Marty Biron has not been good might be a little harsh so what I will say is that Biron is not playing as good as the Flyers need him to be. 

Game 3 will be Sunday afternoon on NBC at 3 p.m. Hopefully being in their own beds' will help the Flyers dig out of the heck of a hole they've got their selves into. 

The Harry Tribute Video Played At CBP

Here it is, found originally at the700level.com and of course, YouTube.



And this HIGH HOPES video was found the same way.

Harry Kalas More Than Just A Broadcaster

He was our friend and everyone's friend.

I don't know how many of you got a chance to see the tribute video they played of him before last night's ball game or even if you only got to see a little bit of it like me, but for those who did, remember when he was recording a voice mail message for one of the fans?

Well, that fan just happens to be our Fran, one of the contributors at "South Broad Street." I noticed it right away because I remember seeing a facebook picture of Harry doing that and once I saw it in the video, it clicked. That is how special Harry was. He would do anything for anybody.

And when I saw that video, especially when I recognized someone who I know personally like Fran, it brought a tear to my eye because as I said, Harry touched people from one end of town to the other, one end of the country to the other and one end of the world to the other.

He will never be "Outta Here" because his vibrant spirit is still with us today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For Once The Bullpen Crapped Themselves

Joe Blanton actually didn't do that bad. After letting up a three run homer in the first, he settled down. The Phils cut the score to 3-2, but then the bullpen let up home run after home run. The final score was 8-2 Washington and the Nationals got their first win of the year. After seven straight losses, they were definitely due.

The Phils host the Padres tonight for game one of four. Cole Hamels gets the start and is looking to rebound after an awful first start against the Rockies last Friday.

And while the game remains important, it won't be the story of the night. The story will be revolved around how the Phillies are paying tribute to the late great Harry Kalas starting tonight and then tomorrow and then for the rest of the season and seasons to come.

Once again, Thank You H for a lifetime of memories.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HK To Be Honored Immensely By The Phillies

The Phillies are planning on doing a lot to tribute the man behind the mic for 39 years, Harry Kalas.

Firstly, the Phillies are going to wear black "HK" circular patches on their jerseys. The patches are over the players' hearts.

Also:
-For the entire stretch of the next Phillies homestand, starting Friday versus the Padres, Harry's signature will be on the field. Also for the homestand, a black drape will hang outside the Phillies broadcast booths (radio and television) and the Phillies flag in Ashburn Alley will be hung at half-mast.
-The television broadcast booth at CBP will be named The Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth, "That ball's outtta here!"
-Before Friday's game, each of Harry's three sons—Todd, Brad and Kane—will throw out the ceremonial first ball.
-Kane will sing the National Anthem as well. Before he sings, there will be a moment of silence.
-A video of Harry's career will be on PhanaVision before Friday's game.
-During the seventh inning stretch of Friday's game, a video of H singing "High Hopes" and fans are encourage to sing along.
-During the first half-inng of Friday's game, the telecast on Comcast Network Philadelphia (Formally known as CN8) will be silent with no broadcasters in honor of HK.
-Through the rest of the season, a billboard honoring Harry will be on the outfield wall.
-Throughout the 2009 season, after every Phillies home run hit at CBP, a clip of Harry saying "Outtta Here!" will be played over the PA system along with the rining of the big Liberty Bell

Furthermore, in more information released today
:
-The public memorial ceremony Saturday at the ballpark will be from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Harry's casket will be behind home plate and fans will have a chance to walk by it and pay their respects. Then, they will be led to their seats because once everyone has walked by, a ceremony for Harry will proceed. Former and current players, coaches, broadcasters, front office people and friend and family will be in attendance to pay their respects to HK. Not to mention, each fan in attendance will get a commenmorative Harry Kalas photo and a poem written by him in 2002 to the fans.

I'll tell ya what, in this very sad and tragic time, the Phillies are really stepping up and remembering HK. I couldn't have expected anything less.

Last Night Looked Promising...

...if you are a really wide eye optimist. After a 4-1 ass whooping by the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Flyers looked totally out-manned. Can they take Game 2 and gain momentum in this series? Absolutely. But, the turnovers, lack of winning face offs, the damn penalty minutes, etc just hurt the Orange and Black extremely.

It was painful to watch. I am hoping tomorrow night is better.

76ers Ease/Back/Who Knows There Way Into The Sixth Seed

I say back/lucked into that spot. Either way, after an 111-104 loss to the Raptors on Sunday, an 100-98 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday and an 111-110 overtime win against Cleveland yesterday, the 76ers have clinched the sixth seed in the East and will play the third seeded Orlando Magic.

Avery Johnson of ESPN thinks the 76ers have the best chance of any underdog to upset a team in the first round of the East or West. While I'm surprised that he thinks the Sixers have the best chance to do that (especially after being 40-35 and finishing 41-41), I do think they can win this series.

The Magic are banged up a little right now. Rashard Lewis has been dealing with injury, Jameer Nelson has been out since the middle of the season, Hedo Turkoglu just got hurt a little, as well as J.J. Reddick. This series is not 100 percent losable. The key of course is, as in any series where you don't have home court/field/ice advantage, to take at least one of the first two games on the road. The series starts Sunday evening. Let's see if the 76ers take care of business.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Win One For HK"

Just as Larry Andersen said it during the broadcast yesterday.

It's still surreal of what happened yesterday afternoon. It's hard to fathom. And as previously mentioned, the game didn't matter. 

But, for Harry Kalas the Phils pulled out a 9-8 victory over the Nationals to go to 4-3 on the year. It was an ugly game with both starting pitchers (Jamie Moyer for the Phils) not doing great. The Nationals made a lot of errors and Brad Lidge made it scary at the end, letting up a two-run home run to put the Phils lead from three to one.

Yet, in the end, the Phillies won the game and we all know Harry The K was watching from above with Whitey and enjoying the win. 

Posts about how the Phillies will pay tribute to Harry will come later. I'm sure that whatever is done will honor him to the fullest extent. He earned it and deserves it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Just Had A Thought

Literally, I just thought this for the first time. Do not be mistaken, this is a terrible day. Very devastating.

But, hey guess what? Harry right now is having a cigar and catching up with his best friend—Richie "Whitey" Ashburn.


We miss you H. This is really tough.

H


Whether or not we will list the scores or talk about the games in still to be decided. Because quite frankly, they don't matter.

Today, we lost an icon. Today, we lost a legend. Today, we lost a voice. Today, we lost a wonderful man. Harry Kalas, the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1971, sadly passed away unexpectedly at the age of 73. Reasons for his sudden death are unknown.

While in the broadcast booth at Nationals Park preparing for today's game, Harry out of no where collapsed to ground and was rushed to the hospital around 12:30. He was announced dead at 1:20.

Personally, Harry was my favorite broadcaster in Philly as he probably was to most people. That is not a knock to Marc Zumoff, Merrill Reese, Jim Jackson, etc, but Harry was the man. And even though I was too young to really hear them first hand, Harry and Richie Ashburn were a gem together and arguably the best broadcasting duo of all time.

As far as Harry as an individual is concerned, he brought Phillies baseball into our homes every night, whether it was on the television or radio. He introduced us to "LONG DRIVE WATCH THAT BABY WAYYY OUTTA HERE!" and "SWING AND MISS STRUCK HIM OUTTTTT!."

Last here he credited Chase Utley by saying "Chase Utley YOU ARE THE MAN!" No H, you are the man and you will be greatly missed. While there are no "at leasts" during situations like these, I'm glad you got to call your World Series clincher last year in October. I know how much 1980 hurt for you not to call it, but you paid your dues and got your calling. Thank You for bringing Phillies baseball into our homes since 1971. Thank You for being dedicated and sticking with it for all of these years. There will never be another broadcaster like you and there will never be another Harry The K.

Rest in peace my friend.

We will have more on Harry Kalas, this Philadelphia icon, throughout the coming days. But for now, I would like to hear your fondest Harry moment. And it doesn't have to be the World Series. For me there are so many that I can't pick just one to choose. That just shows what a wonderful man we lost today.

I still can't believe it.

Harry with his sons in the booth.

Poll Results For The Week Of 4/5/09

The question was where do you think the 76ers will finish in the Eastern Conference Seedings.

4th Seed: 0 votes
5th Seed: 1 vote
6th Seed: 3 votes

It looks like with the schedule they have left and how they are currently playing, they might not even finish sixth.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Flyers Disappoint Me

They played hard, but in the end, they still lost 4-3 when they NEEDED to win or at least get a point today. 

The Orange and Black had a 3-2 lead going into the third at HOME against the Rangers, but New York scored two in the third period. One of those was scored by one of the biggest jackasses on the face of the earth—Sean Avery.

Anyway boys, have fun in Pittsburgh for the first two games of the playoffs. Someone explain to me how the Penguins who at one point after the All-Star Break were 10th in the standings and now they're fourth, IN FRONT OF US! Sheesh this pisses me off. 

And if it doesn't piss you off get your pulse and "fandom level" checked out. 

MATT FLIPPIN' STAIRS!

It wasn't the playoffs. Heck, we even got to listen to Harry (Thank Goodness). But still it was exciting and exhilarating. In the top of the ninth, with a man on base a five foot nine inch 41-year-old Canadian by the name of Matt Stairs stepped into the batters box facing Huston Street of the Colorado Rockies.

The score was 5-5. It was a come from behind 5-5 as the Phils were down 4-0 after the first inning. It wasn't a good day for starter Chan Ho Park. But, it was a great day for Stairs.
Remember the home run in the NLCS last season? Remember how Stairs took note to mention after that homer that when he's in the batter's box he's thinking one thing—home run. Well, that stood true today. Stairs teed up on a fastball right down the middle to deep right-center field and put the Phils up 7-5 almost exactly as he did in the playoffs last season. That was the final score. Brad Lidge got his second save of the season (Knock On Wood).

Now, the Phightins' are 3-3 and head to Washington to play the 0-6 Nationals. We'll see what happens. Hopefully they don't give the Nats their first win of 2009.

Being The 6th Seed In The East Might Not Be That Bad

I know I've been stressing that it is crucial to finish at least fifth in the Eastern Conference seedings for the 76ers. However, with the Orlando Magic definitely being third, that might not be that bad of a match-up for the Sixers. 

How come?

Right now Rashard Lewis is dealing with an injury, along with Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Reddick. The Magic are banged up for sure. Yet, the 76ers have lost four straight and the Bulls are crawling behind them for that sixth spot. They HAVE to beat the Raptors today. THEY HAVE TO. The reason is while it's OK to finish sixth, it's NOT OK to finish seventh. Then, they will have to play Boston and we do not want that in the first round.

Reiterating my opinion—ideally, we want the 76ers to finish fifth so they can avoid Boston or Orlando in the first round. But, finishing sixth is not extremely bad. It's manageable. Finishing seventh is a tough one and they cannot let that happen. If they finish seventh, it will most likely also mean they finished the season weak (even though they're finishing weak right now). But when I say that it means they would finish the season weak, I mean losing all of the final three
games. 

Phils Minus Chooch Win Second Game Of The Year

Yesterday is what you want to see as a Phillies fan. They got down early 2-0 after Brett Myers let off a two run home run. Then, they caught up to take the lead 3-2 on a Ryan Howard bases loaded clearing double. Following, Myers gave up another home run to make it 3-3, but then Jayson Werth smacked a two-run triple to put the Phils up 5-3. Myers let up his third homer of the game and sixth of the season to make it 5-4, but then the Phils controlled the rest of the game to win 8-4. Brad Lidge was solid in the ninth inning even though it was not a save opportunity. 

They won without Carlos Ruiz, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained oblique. Lou Marson was called up from Lehigh Valley to take his place for the time being. 

On the game though, there are some positives and some negatives. The positives are the Phillies hit off of a very promising pitcher in Jorge De La Rosa. Another positive is Myers stayed within himself even though he gave up some long balls. That's where the negative comes in though. Myers is giving up way too many long balls. You can say it's early in the season blah blah blah. OK. In two starts and 13 innings of work, he has given up six home runs. Sure, they have come in two of the biggest hitters parks in the league, Citizens Bank Park and Coors Field, but it would be nice if Myers could improve that area of his game a bit. 

None the less, the Phils won and are 2-3 right now. Let's hope Chan Ho Park can help them get to .500 with a series win over the Rockies in Colorado this afternoon.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

76ers Fell To Cleveland Last Night

Big shocker...yeah right!

A 102-92 loss to Cleveland at home is not a surprise. However, it's a shame this team can't compete with the best. That is why it is crucial to get the fifth seed. But, this losing streak is not helping their chances and being down game to Miami with only three to go (one against Boston and another against Cleveland) makes this scenario of getting No. 5 even slimmer.

In reality, they really need Thaddeus Young back, badly. He is a key scorer on this team. Also, what is with the 76ers and going in a rut after clinching a playoff spot the past two seasons? They did the same thing last year after clinching and they're doing it again. What are they doing? Saving everything for the playoffs? Have fun playing Orlando or Boston. Seriously though, don't they want to finish above .500 for once? Don't they want to have a winning record? At 40-39 right now and with their schedule, don't be surprised if they finish .500 or below. Gosh the bottom of the Eastern Conference is sad.

Flyers Defeat The Islanders and Have A Rematch Of Last Year's East Finals

You know, a part of me wants to be happy over this 3-2 win. But then again, another part of me is like—YO, this is against the putrid Islanders. 

None the less, they will definitely play the Penguins in the first round. However, nothing is totally set in stone yet. Why? While it is definite they will play Pittsburgh, whether or not they get the fourth seed is unknown. The Pens are done in the regular season. They have played 82 games and accumulated 99 points. The Flyers have played 81 games and have wrapped up 99 points. Yet, if they lose tomorrow in regulation to the Rangers, they will be the fifth seed and Pittsburgh will be the fourth. I'm sure none of us want that to happen. We want this series to start in Philly.

So, the Orange and Black have to get at least a point tomorrow when they play the Rangers at the Wachovia Center. Without question it will be a playoff-like atmosphere because this game does mean a lot. 

Truthfully, tomorrow's game will be a great telling card if this team is going to make a run in the post-season. I'm sorry to all you positive people, but today didn't mean jack squat. The Islanders suck. They provide no test for the Flyers. The Rangers will. If the Flyers lose (in regulation or not), I will not feel good about them going into the post-season. If they win tomorrow, I will feel great because they would've won a clutch game.

We'll see what happens.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let's Review My Day With The Phils

After I was done what I was doing this Friday, I rushed back to my dorm room to watch the Phillies and Cole Hamels play the Rockies on MLB.TV. I got back in the top of the third inning with the Phils up 1-0. I ran into Josh, one of the contributers here, on the way  back to my dorm, and he told me that Hamels looked good so far. 

Well, thus start the bottom of the third and Big H gets rocked. The Phils go down 5-1. In the top of the fourth, they get one of those runs back in large part to Jayson Werth, who had three out of the five Phillies hits on the day. I thought, OK, the Phils are going to chop away at this thing being down 5-2. 

I was wrong. The bottom of the fourth came around and Hamels let up two more runs and only lasted two outs. As much as I am a fan of the guy, I kept pleading to Charlie through my computer screen to take him out. Eventually he did. Once J.A. Happ came in and ended the inning, this long week started to kick in and I dropped to the floor (yes, the floor) to take a nap. I guess the hard realization of getting smoked 7-2 made me choose the floor rather than my bed or futon. Anyway, I take a nap at 7-2. I wake up and it's 10-2 after eight innings.

Yikes.

Well, J-Werth hit a homer in the top of the ninth, but then the inning quickly came to an end after that. Jason Marquis dominated the Phils, and the Rockies bullpen did so as well. The bats have not been shipped out of Philly yet. Why? The reason is a 10-3 loss to the Rockies.

You want to know how much of a loser I am? Once this game turns into an archive on MLB.TV in a few hours, I'm most likely going to spend my Friday night watching some of the scoreless innings I missed. 

LET'S GO PHILLIES! WOO!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Night Of Gutless Efforts

First, the Flyers took on one of their division rivals, the New York Rangers, in a game that if the Rangers won they make the playoffs. Well, the Rangers won 2-1. Now, the Orange and Black have two games left, one against the Islanders Saturday in Long Island and the Rangers Sunday at the Wachovia Center. They are currently fourth in the conference with 97 points and the Hurricanes and Penguins have 97 points too, but with only one game left each.

If the Flyers do not take care of business this weekend, they could drop to as low as the sixth seed and have to face the Devils in the first round. Well, without question this weekend is the biggest of the year so far for the Orange and Black. Win and they are fourth. Lose and you have the chance of being in a hole. The Devils aren't last year's Capitols. They're not frauds. They're legit with one heck of a goalie. 

Now, onto the 76ers. What is with these ends to the seasons? Why do when the 76ers clinch a playoff spot they decide to stop playing hard for the remainder of the regular season? Like the Flyers, the Sixers lost tonight to a less superior team trying to make the playoffs just like the Rangers were. They lost Chicago (who didn't clinch with its win tonight but put themselves in better position to do so) on the road 113-99, putting their record at 40-38 with four games to play. Currently, they are sixth in the East and a game behind the Heat for that all important fifth spot. 

News Flash: the 76ers remaining regular season schedule is not easy. Three out of the four games are against two of the top three teams in the East (two against Cleveland and one against Boston) and the other one is at Toronto (a game they SHOULD win but will probably have problems in because it's on the road). 

So, all in all, our indoor teams are either saving their best stuff for the playoffs or really crapping their pants right now. You can call me negative all you want. Whether both teams played hard in a losing effort or not, there is nothing positive anyone can take from tonight. Both teams are struggling down the stretch and are in real trouble of putting themselves in bad positions for the post-season. 

Call me negative. Call me a downer. Well, it's time to wake-up and realize this is not like the Phillies who have 159 more games remaining on their regular season schedule. The Flyers have two and the 76ers (who if you're quitting on them you should be a shamed of yourself) have four. It's crunch time now and there is no room to screw around.