|photo by Patrick Rapa
|Let's Go Flyers
- The Inky's Phil Sheridan has a decent piece on what he's calling the Redemption Line: Hartnell-Briere-Leino. (Related: There's this article which chalks up Hartnell's tough season to undisclosed off-ice personal issues.)
- The Flyers are "oozing confidence," apparently. Oozing it.
- This stupid article says Laviolette and Pronger are full of one-liners and quips, then fails to come up with examples. It's stupid. Don't click on it. (And what is this "fanfeedr" thing, some sort of traffic-stealing spambot situation? Don't click on that either.)
- Will stellar Stanley Cup final signal NHL's rebirth? Dumb headline, but a decent piece. Quotes Drew Lazor's BFF Keith Primeau.
- Why Lappy's going with the smaller helmet/face shield configuration. You could tell that first one he had made it impossible to find the puck near his skates. Also: His brain is healed so why would he need "extra" protection?
- History Will Be Made: Giroux edition. (Also, hockey's so weird/awesome in dead-silent ice-level slow-mo.)
- Oskars Bartulis will stay in the line-up. Anybody read Latvian? And: rumor is Carcillo-out, JVR-in. I have no link for this because I'm making it up.
- Is it just me, or do the Flyers look like prison road crew sewer-dwelling disaster survivors in those huge, overly elasticized hoodies?
- Bored, The Chicago Tribune caught up with Terry Murray for a comment on the Finals. Terry likes the Flyers.
- Which "goal song" is better? Eh. I'll take the one not in the beer commercial, I guess, but I've long since resolved myself to the fact that, besides "Welcome to the Jungle," I'll never agree with my fellow hockey fans when it comes to music.
- Hey look! It's time once again for some idiot from someplace else to say stupid things about Philly. Sigh. Nobody cares. You're a cliché.
- The Flyers and Hawks are in the Finals, which is a great reason for TSN.com's columnists to talk about the Senators and Maple Leafs. Oh, Canada.
- Flyers Win! Black Hawks lose! Ville Leino is awesome. Scott Hartnell, too! And Giroux! I'm freaking out go flyers. Okay. Settling down. Watch all the highlights here.
- It was really loud at the Wachovia Center, apparently; click on that link to see an event/decibel correlation.
- Were you at the game? ?uestlove was, and he approves.
- What's the deal with that Rednex Rebellion hat Mike Richards is always wearing in the post-game interview? I don't know. They're a clothing company.
- Great recap/analysis at the700level.
- Philly.com has a slideshow showing, among other things, the Flyers' pre-game ritual of kicking a soccerball around in the depths of the Wach. (Warning: An advertisement starts yelling at you about a truck when you go to the page.)
- Conshy Bakery says they have a Flyers-related magic tomato pie. They have a picture of it; looks like they put cheese on their tomato pie. I do not approve.
|It's not pronounced like that, but that's cool.|
It is now three weeks since the Phillies were caught using binoculars in the bullpen, and since the game in question the Phillies have lost 10 of 18. No, it's not an incredibly miserable stretch, but what's been especially suspicious is the way they've lost (and won) recently. Following a four-game win streak in which they pummeled the Brewers and the Pirates, the offense shriveled up like Jose Canseco's junk, scoring 12 runs in nine games against the Red Sox, Mets and Marlins. That the Phillies needed an unearned run to avoid making Roy Halladay the next Harvey Haddix speaks volumes.
There are three theories bubbling among people who comment on web sites that we find interesting:
1) The Phillies WERE stealing signs and now, absent the crutch of knowing what pitch was coming, are forced to actually guess.
2) The Phillies were the first team in decades to face two knuckleball pitchers in a row (in Boston's Tim Wakefield and New York's R.A. Dickey), and that flutterball double-dip has screwed up the team.
3) Losing Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco at the top of the lineup is finally catching up to the team.
What say you, interwebs reader?
- Joe Biden got himself a Flyers Jersey, with #2 on the back. Word is this is a vice presidentthing, not a poop joke. (Dan Gross, Daily News)
- In keeping with the "everybody wants us to lose" mentality we strive for, here's a little piece on the U.S. government's attempts to contain the Flyers. It's satire but it's also really real, you know? (Philly Gameday)
- 700level's got a smart thinkpiece on the "he can take it, he's a hockey player" mentality, particularly when it comes to Ian Laperriere who's lost teeth, blood, looks and brains for the Flyers this year. (700level)
- Finals tickets is totally a buyer beware situation. (Inky)
This amazing/insane Mike Richards goal from last night's clincher against the Canadians kinda sums up the Flyers' remarkable run in the playoffs so far. It's all about brute force, smarts, self-sacrifice, stretching your limits, getting a little lucky, staying aware, being the first guy to the puck and just plain wanting it more. Once you watch the video, check out this photo. Look at the faces of the people on the other side of the glass. Stanley Cup Finals. I mean, seriously.
Yes, the World Cup's still 20 days away, but we're getting more and more stoked.
And now that Philly Chester's a legit soccer town, you don't even have to feel like a poseur when you pretend you know what a yellow card is or how penalty time is calculated.
Yes, this vid's a Nike spot, but see if you can watch it and not get pumped for a little FIFA action.
I couldnt get to the 3rd Annual Utley All-Star Animals Casino Night that Jen and Chase threw the other night at the Electric Factory with the venues host Larry Magid. I was busy adopting a greyhound that we named Django. Yay me. Yay Django.
That said, over 450 attendees hung with Phillies Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Brian Schneider. There were a few non-ballers at the Factory, too, such as Larry and Mickey Magid, 76ers top dogs Billy King and wife Melanie, U.S. Olympic speed skater Allison Baver and Stephen Starr all who helped raise $284,000 for the Etana Fund to Stop Cruelty Against Animals.
Though the silent auction was packed with cool packages such as a dinner in your home with chef Matthew Levin, a Kings of Leon Experience at the Borgata, a hang with violinist Joshua Bell when he plays with the Philly Orchestra and player-designed plaster dogs decorated by members of the Phillies, my favorite item came during the live auction a walk-on movie role in the next Farrelly Brothers movie, Walter The Farting Dog that garnered $9,500.00. (The nights PR peeps Cashman & Associates said the buyer wanted to remain private.) If your neighbor says hes doing a dog flick, call me.
We're adopting a dog, too, said Electric Factorys Larry Magid the day after the affair. Love greyhounds. They're cool. Magids up to a few other cool things this week booking Hole and Phil Collins at the Factory for June, bringing in a press flack. Look for more Magid and Django in Icepack on Thursday.
North Philly native Anthony Morrison, 26, is one of the best 145-pound Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters in the world. He fights for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), a 10-year-old company that, in the past 18 months, has surged in front of a sea of competing MMA promotions. This Saturday is WEC 48, the brand's inaugural Pay-Per-View event the first (and possibly only) chance to galvanize its emergence. Morrison is on the undercard, meaning he will only be televised if 1) he fights his ass off and 2) some quick knockouts on the main card free up time in the broadcast.
So I why is Morrison important?
This event should succeed, as WEC is pulling out everything in its arsenal. The real question is if the company can maintain its momentum. That is where Morrison comes in. He's one of many young contenders trying to distinguish himself of course, they need to win, to do that but they also need to become a draw. Basically, a fighter needs to have aggression and style that makes the fans call for more. Those who draw attention keep fighting and keep the promotion going.
Morrison still lives and trains in North Philly, save for excursions out of state to work with other camps. We caught up to Cheesesteak while wrapping up a training session in Georgia earlier this week.
Charles Cieri: Before we go through your rise to prominence, can you talk about "dojo crashing" back in the day?
Anthony Morrison: Funds was low. I used to go to a gym and see the free week pass [promotional trial offer]. I knew if I beat people up straight of the gate, they would be like "sign the contact" and I knew I didnt have anything to pay them with. After a while, people seen my passion and some gyms would let me train and say, "pay us when you can."
CC: Now that everyone knows not to get lippy with that new white belt at their gym. How did you get started on the path?
AM: Because of my stature I was a real small kid I was automatically a target for bullies and I used to tear them apart. After awhile, I started proclaiming myself the bully of bulliers. I had a little mean streak in me. Maybe its my Napoleon complex. If you came up picking for me, I didnt turn down no fights.
CC: When did the fighting start getting structured?
AM: I was 14, 15 ... I saw boxing and thought I could do it. I wrestled in high school and that was a good passion for me. I had three older brothers and, not thinking we were training by roughing each other up, [but] it was being bred into me. I started putting it all together in 2002. One day I was watching UFC 39, and I thought, "I can do that it's wrestling and boxing." I started training at my friend's house. We would move everything out of the living room and me and him would just go over what I already knew and put together what I saw on TV. Within two months of [competing], I beat two guys in one night that had way more MMA training. I was [training] out my friends living room and ran up my record to 5-0 until I ran up against a guy with more experience. As far as wrestling and boxing, no one could take me, but it was a guy with the jiu-jitsu. Thats when I realized jiu-jitsu is a big factor.
CC: Let's skip ahead a bit. Did things keep rolling, or were there bumps?
AM: Hell yeah, man. I messed up my back real bad and got pressured into a fight where I ended up losing because of the injury. I said, Im sick of this. If I had a job with benefits, they wouldve fixed me up with time off and I would have went back to work. It sucked. I stopped fighting for a while and worked two full-time jobs in Plymouth Meeting, 16 hours a day. I would go to Target and work 8 hours, and cross the street and work overnight at Lowe's. I wasnt training at all, but every lunch break I would go over to the Barnes and Nobles and look at fight magazines and see friends I used to train with, and it was motivation. One day, I got tired of it. I ran 6 miles and my lungs were burning. There was a burning desire telling me it was time to compete again to put all my chips in, And that's what I did.
CC: How do you end up on WEC's radar?
AM: I knew they where eyeing me because I was fighting prospects that were looking to get in there. I fought Jeff Lentz, and he is a tough guy out of New Jersey who trains with [UFC 155-pound contender] Kurt Pellegrino. I knew [Lentz] was on the tear, undefeated with wins in a variety of different ways. Then a month before, he knocked someone out in 16 seconds. I was like, "Damn, this guys a fucking beast! Then I went in and demolished him. Then, two weeks latter, for me to go out to Colorado, unacclimated and destroy a guy out there ... I was like, two prospects back to back, plus a lot of people I defeated in a long run they got to have me in their eyes.
CC: Your first fight in the WEC was a tough assignment: Mike Brown, in his first fight after losing his belt. How did you change your game after your debut loss?
AM: The biggest thing I wanted to work on was my life outside the cage. [A] lot of things werent right. Any fighter will tell you if things arent right outside the ring, they wont go right inside. You got to be 100 percent. I focused and dedicated a lot of time to my family and catching up. I got all that together.
CC: I have talked to fighters in the past, specifically BJ Penn and Kurt Pellegrino, who both like you have young kids. They described a need to separate themselves from their kids for a period of time before they fight, because the kids make them too happy and take away their anger. Do you find that to be the case?
AM: I isolate from the distractions, but my family isnt one of them. I train in Philly, and the two fights that got me here, I trained for them in Philly. I just isolate myself from my friends, playing around and the streets.
CC: Lastly, in the Brown fight you were introduced as fighting out of Virginia. You were yelling North Philly into the camera, but still, youre going to sort that announcer out for this fight, right?
AM: When I go back home, it's Philadelphia, and I got a lot of shit from my friends for that. I take pride in where Im from and this time he will most definitely be saying "from Philadelphia." [Morrison gives love to his coaches, Fred Jenkins at ABC Gym in North Philly and Brad Daddis at Daddis Fight Camps in South Philly.]
WEC 48 will be broadcast live on Pay-Per-View this Saturday, April 24, at 10 p.m. ($45 charge). Spike TV will be showing two undercards at 9 p.m.: Alex Karalexis v. Anthony Pettis in the 155-pound division and Leonard Garcia v. Chan Sung Jung in the 145-pound division. The Par-Per-View will also be shown at The Fox and Hound at 15th and Spruce. As of press time, they were not sure if they would charge a $5 cover or show the fights for free.
So apparently Philadelphia Union's home opener against the D.C. United at the Linc on Saturday was amazing except for two things.
1. Joe Biden kicked the first ball or faked the first shin trauma or whatever you do to ceremonially start a soccer game. Yay for you, Joe. But thousands of fans were stuck outside due to heightened security, waiting in line to be metal detected, and chant "BULLSHIT" while missing the start of the game. Eye-witnesses figure at least half of the paying fans missed the first goal in team history. Rumor is that the team or somebody asked Biden to leave soon after the game started. Once the VP was out of the building they didn't just relax security, they threw open the gates, letting everybody in without even checking tickets. Of course, there were post-game apologies.
2. There was that ultimately meaningless goal (Philly still won) when Union goalie Chris Seitz appeared to just plain give the goal to D.C.'s Jaime Moreno to shoot into the net. Just like magically give it to him with nobody else around. Moreno kinda half-heartedly shot it into the gaping goal and then, as per soccer tradition, joined his teammates to jump around acting like they'd just done something really amazing and prolonged hug-worthy. Embarrassing for them. And for Seitz, because the goalie is the only one who can use his hands, so he should be the most competent guy out there. Picture a chimp taking on a flamingo. Anyway, the league now says, in retrospect, it's plainly obvious that Seitz was interfered with and the goal shouldn't have been allowed. Still funny though. Let's watch:
After a long, boring pre-season, the Phils kick off their 2010 NL title defense today, in Washington DC, at 1:05, with Roy Halladay on the mound.
I'll be listening here at my desk on 1210 AM and following along on the GameChannel live tracker.
Where are you watching/listening?
RELATED >> Baseball book give-away on Critical Mass: Win Randy Miller's Harry the K and Mark Kurlansky's The Eastern Stars: How Baseball changed the Dominican town of San Pedro de Macoris.
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