Archive: October, 2010
|Â© Scott Weiner|
|You lookin' at me?|
By now, you know all about how Germantown-ians booed â really booed â Mayor Nutter during yesterday's "Moving America Forward" rally. And how President Obama had a streaker to dash balls-out through the crowd. No respect I tell you. But did you know that Joe Biden does a good Robert DeNiro âyou looking at me?â impersonation (above) or that Dem rep Bob Brady (there, along with Joe Sestak, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., Gov. Rendell; and Mayor Nutter) looks solid in Phillies print (after the jump)? My man, photog Scott Weiner kept the proof. Loogout for more WHOWHATWHERE stuff when Ice and Ice Illustrated hit on Thursday.
|Â© Scott Weiner|
|Â© Scott Weiner|
|Bob Brady (top), The Roots (above)|
All but lost in last night's Cole Hamels domination/Reds sweeping/Oswalt troll-facing in the Phils NLDS-clinching 2-0 win was TBS announcer Brian Anderson using the most baffling idiom we'd ever heard. In the fourth inning, after Scott Rolen broke his 0-for-the series with a single, Anderson said:
"Rolen gets the skunk out of the box."
It is, honestly, a befuddling thing to say. Our drunken smartphone Googling produced unsatisfactory results, a bunch of stuff related to literally getting a skunk out of a humane trap. While I can imagine that finding oneself with a boxed skunk would indeed be an unpleasant situation, this struck me as far too on-the-nose an explanation for such a colorful euphemism. More extensive Google research today (adding quotes, expanding the search to "got the skunk out of the box") reveals that the saying gets heavy (but not exclusive, witness this account of the poor Lomira, Wis.,high school girls volleyball team whose victory over Omro was described as such by the Fond du Lac Reporter) usage on fishing message boards(!?). Which makes no sense to us (we don't fish).
Can anyone, anyone at all, help us with the etymology behind "got the skunk out of the box"? What on earth does it mean?
|Courtesy of Eric Ascalon|
|BEFORE (left) and AFTER (right)|
This August, we told you about the artist David Ascalon and what he called the "bastardization" of his public sculpture in Harrisburg:
In a lawsuit filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Ascalon says that the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg commissioned him to create a Holocaust memorial on public property (which is maintained by the Parks Dept.) that did not âprettify the landscapeâ but instead was âcommitted to developing a truth-telling monument.â
In other words, the death of 6 million Jews was horrifying, so let's make sure the memorial isn't all puppies and rainbows, eh?
Fast-forward to 2007, when Ascalon says he found that his name had âbeen completely excised and grinded off of the memorialâ without his permission and replaced with this: âRestored by David Grindle 2006.â
Additionally, Ascalon claims that Grindle switched out the serpent's Cor-ten material for stainless steel, which doesn't sound like that big of a deal, until you consider that stainless steel was supposed to represent the Jews' tenacity, not the er â¦ Nazis'.
âThe modification of the sculpture has changed it so that now the same shiny stainless steel that represents the enduring Jewish people is also used to depict the Nazi regime and atrocities of the Holocaust,â reads the lawsuit. âThis alteration is abhorrent.â
Eric Ascalon, David's son, called the Clog to update us on the case. He says that while his father and the Jewish Federation are nearing a satisfactory settlement, someone is holding them up: Grindle, who Ascalon sued as well. Apparently, Grindle's attorney filed a motion for sanctions under Rule 11, which is usually reserved for frivolous cases or instances in which the attorney harasses a defendant, against Ascalon's attorney himself.
"We think he's just trying to bully and intimindate us into dropping the case against his client," says Eric. âFrom an artists' rights perspective, this is fairly important because if the judge were to grant it, it would set a precedent that would essentially intimidate artists' attorneys from filing [Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA)] claims, because it puts them on the hook. And there haven't been many VARA cases out there. â¦ We don't want money for this. We just want the sculpture to go back to the way it was."
The Clog put a call out to Grindle. We'll keep you posted as learn more.
We tend to leave the meme spotting to the trained experts, but we just had to share this riff on the Cole Hamels fist-pump meme that 's sweeping the philsblogosphere.
Editor's note: This is the time of year that CP sports columnist E. James Beale lives for. He'll be posting maniacally on the Clog about the Phils' World Series run from now until the parade. Enjoy.
Growing up, the Beale nuclear family consisted of my mother, my father, my sister, and me. Two of us my dad and I â were 25-games-a-year baseball fans, die-hards who could tell you the Colorado Rockies farm system before it existed (side note: Derrick Gibson was going to be NICE). Two of us my sister and my mom were not.
For me, the main difference between the Philadelphia Phillies regular- and postseason campaigns is the type of questions non-fans ask me about the team. During the season, my sister may check-in to verify/chime in on something she read in the style section (âWhy is Cole adopting an African baby?! He needs to get out now tell him not be a Brad!â) and my mother may worry about their well-being (âJimmy looks tired: Tell him to sleep more. We kind-of-know his wife, you know.â) but more or less, when the conversation turns to the Home Team, they shrug and move on. In the postseason, though? Different story. They're superfans. Both of them.
Which means that right about now, for me as a commentator, they're my most valuable assets. This time of year, if I want to talk Phils with someone who knows what they're looking at, I'm having a 45 minute conversation about the merits of Ross Gload vs. Mike Sweeney pinch hitting in the 7th, or where Cholly should place Jimmy Rollins in the lineup. It's the type of stuff that fascinates me your classic insider baseball but doesn't exactly resonate with the cocktail-party set. The stuff from the fam? That can be gold. Case in point, an e-mail from the mother:
â¦ also, I skimmed the morning sports. In my first wave of paying semi-attention, I found out that the Reds were the Big Red Machine (did I get that right?) [and that in the 1970s] they were definitely the overdogs. Do people in other cities see the Phillies that way? Can Philadelphians ever?
A lifelong Philadelphian, my mother simply couldn't conceive that someone might believe the Phillies were actually good. It's absolutely true for years, the psyche of an entire city of sports fans was built on the premise that they were going to lose, a pendulum that has now swung but nothing someone in the thick of following a team could ever see.
Fans have been so focused on the lineup changes and the merits of Charlie Manuel's bullpen strategy that we've all missed the tree farm for the pine needles: Philadelphia is a powerhouse, the type of team that Queens can only dream of having, and who both of Atlanta's fans hate from afar. After years of imaging themselves lovable, Phillies fans may need to embrace a whole new identity the enemy.
The 81 Percent Theory
Back in the early 1990s, Jimmy Frazier and Eldon Synder published a paper entitled "The Underdog Concept in Sport." The crux of the paper was a simple hypothetical they posed to college students: Two teams, A and B, were meeting in a best-of-seven playoff series, and team A is âhighly favored.â Who are you pulling for? 81% took the dog.
While I don't have any hard numbers on the general public's rooting interest in the Phils' now-complete NLDS sweep over the Cincinnati Reds and their formally fearsome offense, I imagine that it wasn't exactly favorable to our Home Team. Next round, when the Phillies casually dispatch the Giants/Braves winner, it'll probably be the same. It makes sense armed with Roy, Roy and ColeRoy, the NLDS-record 11 hits allowed was hardly a fluke but it still comes as a shock: The Phillies, literally the losingest franchise in the history of professional sports, are, in fact, âthe overdog.â People see the Phils as the bad guys â not just because their fans are famous assholes who openly threaten to pour beer on your children for the sin of wearing the wrong colors, but now also because our city is actually nice at sports.
It's a new world, sports fans, get used to it.
Couple more notes
There is a second side to this âheavy favorite' angle, and I'm backing this one up with a study too. Back in January of this year two separate researchers Nathan Pettit and Robert Lount asked a separate group of undergrads a simple cognitive question: How many uses can you think of for a knife? Pettit and Lount told half their students that the scores would be compared with those of a more prestigious university, and the other were told they'd be compared to one generally considered worse. The first half outperformed the second, and the results weren't particularly close. If the students thought they were smarter, then functionally, they were and the exact same effect happened in reverse. If you're a fan of a team that everyone in the world believes in, this would be good news.
Turned on WIP this morning, thinking that the Phils might finally have won the station's and its callers' hearts. Nope they were bashing the Birds for not beating San Franciso badly enough. Oh, WIP.
Now that I'm done bashing WIP let me praise one of their employees I'm a fan of: Before Game 2 I was talking with Paul Jolovitz about the Phils' aces, and he brought up a good point: There isn't going to be one game this postseason where the Phils are expected to lose, save maybe a Lincecum game in San Fran (and if he's facing Halladay I have a hard time not believing that is a push). Does that guarantee them a championship? Of course not; baseball's short series lend themselves to bizarre outcomes, but lest we get it confused, this Phillies team is the favorite. (FWIW, the gambling odds bear this one out. According to Sportsbook the Phillies are currently even money to win the chip, and those odds were up before last night's win.)
I know all things Hamels are going to be beat to submission by the dailies today, so I'll just say this: When he's on and effective, he's really fun to watch. Not bad either.
The Best and Worst of Philadelphia fans were on display last night.
The fans were a huge part of this game. They distracted the away team with hankies, catcalls and boos that even Tyson Gillies would hear. They take genuine pride in getting in pitchers' heads, they understand and rise to a moment, and they really do care about wins and losses.
Also, they can be hilarious. In the bottom of the 7th inning Jay Bruce missed an easy fly ball, allowing two Phillies to score and turning the game around forever. In the top of the 8th Phillies fans started chanting âThank You, Jay Bruce,â loudly.
That said, what a short memory they have. Utley's second errors draws a round of âthis fucking guy"â from the Phillies' âfaithful.â We may be the best, but I've said it before and I'd be an asshole not to say it again: We're the worst too.
All the way back in October of 2007 the Philadelphia Phillies were a young, up-and-coming team with league-best power and an MVP first basemen. They had an exciting year, won the division from a hated rival, and then marched forward to the playoffs. There they threw two young starters (Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick) and a wily vet (Moyer), and were totally outclassed. They made stupid mistakes (caught stealing in every game) were unable to advance the few runners they got on base, and went home licking their wounds three short games later. Then, just one year later, they won one World Series, went to second, and appear well on their way to a third.
All of which is to say, don't fret young Reds. Sure you stunk this year (and don't get it confused, past tense is appropriate, this series is over), but not being ready for prime time happens, quite literally, to the best of us. It also happened to you.
Game Two: We Were There, Here Are 12 Things We Saw
1. Joe Morgan was in the house, either being a huge homer or doing actual homework in preparation for Fox's NLCS coverage. I'd be SHOCKED if it's the latter.
2. Re: all the early game âUtley's back at it againâ quips, I'd check a couple World Series' stat sheets before poo-poo ing Chase's 2009 postseason.
3. Chooch should and does get a ton of credit for calling excellent games, but he deserves to get some heat for last night's. Roy Oswalt's fastball had a ton of movement, and his slider looked bad.
4. I don't know if our pee cycles are perfectly aligned or if he's just got the bladder of a 4-year-old girl, but I could swear that Wheels is in the bathroom every time I go.
5. At this point in his career, Jimmy Rollins is a fine 7-hole hitter.
6. There were some faint âMVPâ chants for Ruiz after he limped to first after his HBP in the 6th. I know it sounds bizarre, but if you're the type of asshole who won't vote a pitcher MVP, they kinda make sense. This was his 22nd straight postseason game in which he reached safely.
7. Two points on Utley's phantom HBP. 1. You don't bail on a 101 MPH fastball up and in? You deserve first. 2. Kudos to Utley. Baserunners matter, and he was the tying run. His gamesmanship helped get in the heads of a team whose heads could obviously be gotten in.
8. One more on Utley: Postgame, Charlie talked about Utley's two errors, after non-answering for a couple minutes and mumbling something about how no one works harder Cholly got to the point, âI'm not benching him,â he said to laughs, then explained his motives, âI'm too old to fight.â
9. Come playoff time, CBP stays packed. After games are over, fans mill around, waiting for Harry to sing and taking in the scene. I don't think anyone expects something to happen, I just think they'd all rather be there.
10. Fun fact about Franciso's beaning (he took one off the dome): It didn't actually hit him, it drilled the brim of his helmet. Still, it was hard enough that his ears were ringing on the basepaths.
11. Dusty Baker on his team: âin my mind we outplayed them.â Dusty Baker's mind (#dustybakersmind) sounds like a hilarious internet meme.
12. J.C. Romero's eyebrows are something serious for the postseason. Dude looks like he went to the eyebrow waxer and told them to make him look like an evil anime character.
Here is a little inside baseball admittedly, the least appropriate use of that term ever: According to sources inside the Inquirer newsroom, one of the executives taken down in the Inquirer takeover was Jim Cohen, the now former sports editor.
Word is Cohen was let go sometime this morning, along with Bill Marimow and four other editors whose names have, to my knowledge, yet to surface. The move was not expected.
I am far from the guy to eulogize Cohen, but any idea that he was let go for performance reasons is flat wrong. His desk had a decree to modernize, branch-out over platforms and become more ânew-media friendly.â Cohen was both more conscious of, and better at this, than most. He brought in young writers, cut down game stories, beefed up notes, and pressed for video clips on the website (not the auto-tune, calm down). As for the Bleacher Report fiasco, he made it very, very clear that he had nothing to do with the deal, (EASILY the quickest he ever got back to one of my questions) which is obviously to his credit.
Long story short: This was about money, and thanks to a deal with the guild that grants all Inky reporters reprieve from layoffs for one year, Cohen was one of the few guys who the new management could ax.
This is bad news for everyone in media, but none more than the current Inky staff. There are more than a handful of writers who view the firing as an aggressive "fuck you" coming down from on high, and, I'm speculating here, but I wouldn't be shocked if the turnover at the sports didn't end here.
No word on who, if anyone, the paper is looking at to replace Cohen, but I'm told John Quinn, the current deputy sports editor, will take the chair in the interim. I've reached out to confirm, and will be back with more as it develops.
|Michael T. Regan|
The Roots are playing at President Obama's Move America Forward Rally this Sunday, at the park next to Robert Fulton Elementary School (60 E. Haines St.) at 3 p.m. The point of the event is to get people stoked on the always-forgotten midterm elections. The Clog reached ?uestlove over the phone, and we learned that he still believes in O and is not making any Phillies predictions this year, among other things.
City Paper: You're big into doing walk-on music for people on the Jimmy Fallon show. Are you doing walk-on music for Obama this Sunday?
?uestlove: (laughs) We weren't asked to. What's hard is we're known for doing mammoth three-hour shows, but somehow we have to figure out how to turn our mammoth three-hour show into a very effective 30-minute show on Sunday. Someone's gonna have to get a solo cut.
CP: If you could do walk-on music for the President, though, what would it be?
?uestlove: There could be Eric B. & Rakim's "Follow the Leader." If he were to ever come on the show, there's an old song by Chicago called "Take Me Back to Chicago." It would be too easy to do "Hail to the Chief."
CP: You were really excited about Obama during the '08 election. Are you still?
?uestlove: Absolutely, simply because I actually understand the political process. I understand that being the president of the United States doesn't mean that it's a kingdom. It's not totalitarianism; it's not like how it is over in Korea where one person has their say and that's the law. In order for the presidency to effectively work, you need the right Senators and representatives. And unfortunately, you have a lot of revisionist people who are trying to rewrite what the facts are, and kind of mislead the unfortunately uneducated and unknowing public.
It's not a shame that it's come to this. I think that, as President, he definitely should be a man of the people, so it's OK if that means that both he and The Roots have to take time out of our schedules to remind people of the importance of making sure the right figures are in Washington. Especially after seeing Waiting for Superman, I believe in a better education system. I believe our health care system must be restructured, especially coming from Philadelphia. The fact that many representatives have sort of let it be known that they will vote "no" on anything he brings on the table, even if it is helping the country, just out of spite those are people that you don't want running your country.
CP: Republicans have historically turned out more people than Democrats in midterm elections. How do you get liberals jazzed about them?
?uestlove: Yeah, that happened with Clinton's second term. We need to be just as if not more concerned with the results of this midterm election as we were in 2008. Young people, people who are not too informed, who they just see a newspaper headline here and there, and they're just quick to believe anything that's told to them those are the people we need to reach so that the smoke can clear. Obama's constantly gonna have his hands tied behind his back, trying to clean a frat house that keeps getting destroyed and disrespected by people that want to come and spill their beer. I always use that metaphorical idea of one man cleaning up a weekend frat house party before Mom and Dad gets home, with 16 hours left.
It's important that people know that the event we're doing on Sunday is free and the President is speaking. And you know, you gotta get it from the horse's mouth because it's paramount that we speak on November 2. It is absolutely, positively imperative that that happens.
CP: Let's end on a light note. Got any Phillies predictions?
?uestlove: Every time I get into this position, I always jinx it. I jinxed it last year I went very public with a bet with Jay-Z over who's going to take it, but I'm not going to get too excited about a perfect game as Game 1. I'm gonna take it one game at a time. I'm glad everyone's healthy. I'm very much in support. I have a Philadelphia Phillies base drum set tonight, so I'll be using that on the Fallon show for the next month to support my Phillies.
The last time you saw your 2010 Philadelphia Phillies, they were jumping together in a heap in the middle of Citizen's Bank Park, exuberantly tackling their star pitcher, smiling Christmas-morning grins. They'd just been part of the greatest postseason pitching performance in National League history (a claim that stood for all of 28 hours â¦ thanks, Tim Lincecum) and having notched the first of what everyone seems to believe will 11 wins this postseason; the home team was happier than A.J. Daulerio with a Croc pic. Maybe everyone was just excited for their sweet new watches, but it was still genuinely captivating to see a team this star-studded so obviously thrilled. For them, Game 1 of the NLDS was the high point of the season.
Conversely, the last time you saw the Reds they were sadly walking back to their clubhouse, their heads uniformly pointed towards their cleats. They spent an entire game waving uselessly at every pitch in Halladay's arsenal, unable to even manage one well-struck ball. Watching them try to hit against Doc was like watching Adrian Greenier act opposite anyone: They had just been JV'd by the Phils' Varsity, and they all knew it. After a season in which their young stars had come into their own, they had been manhandled by the yardstick they had to hold themselves up to. For the Reds, Game 1 was the low point of their season.
That means, of course, that for the Phils there is no place to go but down, and for the Reds nowhere to go but up. That isn't a particularly insightful observation â the entire world knows it. Coming into the series the Reds were a prohibitive underdog in the series â every single ESPN analyst picked them to lose, and both SI and the Sporting News predicted a Phillies sweep â and now, would-be experts everywhere have all but written them off completely: âIt's hard to see how anyone can be optimistic about the Reds' chances,â opined Cliff Corcoran. Right now, you have to lay $600 just to have the privilege of winning $100 on a Phillies' series win.
And, on paper, everyone is right: Game two shouldn't be close. The Phillies are starting Roy Oswalt, best known for sub-2 ERA since joining the Phils, his five Top-5 finishes in the Cy Young race, and his NLCS MVP, against the Reds' Bronson Arroyo, best known for his hair"styles," his cover band, and his failed drug test. That isn't the only mismatch: The Phils finished 24 games over .500 at home, compared to the Reds' 3 over record on the road, and much of the young Cincinnati lineup has never had to do it when it matters. This disparity obviously played out Monday, when likely league MVP Joey Votto and his teammates combined for a total of no hits against Doc.
However, the real world doesn't exist in popular opinion, games are still won and lost outside of a spreadsheet, and short five-game series can lend themselves to flukes. Tonight, the Reds, a team who will have bettered their previous performance the first time a seeing-eye single squirts through the infield, face a team that just celebrated literally had champagne brought into the clubhouse (not that Halladay had any that night â¦ he probably had stairs to run or something). The Reds have nothing to lose.
If the Phils win, so what? They were supposed to win. Not only are they prohibitive favorites, but if we are to believe the old adage, a series doesn't start until the road team wins a game, they'll have simply held serve. If the Reds win? Well, then the unbeatable Phillies just lost home field advantage, the egg-on-their-face Reds can play loose, and those Midwesterners out in whatever Podunk little state Cincinnati is in can put on their best Phillies-fan imitation and actually make an away game something to fret about.
So look, I'm not saying that if the Phillies drop game two suddenly they can't win they can, and probably will I'm just saying that if the Home Team wants to keep that unbeatable aura about them and stay out of a dogfight, well, early tonight is probably the time to do it.
Headed down to CBP now. Twitter during the game, game notes after â¦
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