Sources say he's defensively responsible and totes adorbs. (Seen at Happily Ever After on Pine Street)
Oh, man, and there's actual breaking Flyers news going on right now: Pronger's taking questions. Watch it live here.
If you hated the Sixers Hip-Hop, you'll hate what the Sixers are proposing to replace what Dan Stamm aptly calls “the Rat-King-like mascot” even more.
(From this week's Million Stories section)
Philadelphia is, if nothing else, a city of dreamers. And of fish. And of those whose dreams revolve around fish.
Last weekend the city celebrated Shadfest, an event with two humble purposes: having a great time at Penn Treaty Park and honoring the great shad fish, once pivotal to the region, now all but gone from the Delaware's raunchy waters. In just three years, the offbeat festival has become a Philly institution.
And dreams, it seems, beget more dreams. Among the tables at Shadfest was one manned by Len Albright and Jason Strohl, two men with a single mission: to organize a striped bass fishing derby.
In an epic, 1,000-word press release they sent out recently, they explained that striped bass annually swim up the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers to spawn before returning to the sea. But Philly has no organized contest to fish for them.
On May 1, the first Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby will begin (go to phillystripedbassderby.com for info). A catch-and-release contest, the derby, as its organizers see it, is about something even bigger than a really big fish : "We kind of saw it as a way for people to make a connection to Philly's rivers," says Albright. "The striped bass is a really beautiful fish, so we thought it would be a good starting point."
They're reaching out to as diverse a crowd as they can — "There's a huge Cambodian community that fishes down by the airport," Albright notes. "A lot of people fish the rivers but they don't get a chance to meet each other."
"It's only recently that the rivers were clean enough for bass and shad and herring to come up them again," adds Albright. "And with all this fracking, you know, the rivers are under threat again. Any way to draw attention to them is really important."
Here's a picture of former Flyer Sami Kapanen playing hockey alone in a post-Apocalyptic Philadelphia
|click on the pic to see it in full, zoomable glory.|
Here's the (Google Translated) explanation:
When Sami Kapanen (# 24) had announced the closure of his career as a player in May 2010, I approached him ideallani to make a unique portrait of respect for his long career. The idea was to make the traditional portrait of a different image, which reflects a Sam's colorful career stages, as well as statistics on cities and teams, where the Sami had played during his career. The original was my idea to do a little "Mad Max "-style picture of a tornado has torn through the urban scene. Jere Hietala image goalie Jani Hurmeesta haaksirikkoontuneiden ship in the middle was also a big source of ideas for the entire project. Sami's idea was inspired by him, and gave me carte blanche to go to the portrait. I asked the partner to the table frame makers frame makers Jari Salli, which did not have long to persuade this wonderful project that.
You get the gist. If you read Finnish, click here to learn about the many stages of brainstorming and computer imagsing it took to bring this thing into existence.
The sports world is exploding over news that Cliff Lee has struck a deal to return to the Phillies, and forÂ fewer years (reportedly five with a vesting option for a sixth) and less guaranteed money than was being offered by either the Yankees and the Rangers.
And for the record, ESPN's resident Philly homer Jayson Stark predicted this on Twitter 8 hours before it happened, after SI's Jon Heyman tipped everyone off to the "mystery team" still in the running.
Ruben Amaro, in one bold stroke, has just guaranteed himself a lifetime of free drinks in this town.
Relatedly, to clear salary, Joe BlantonÂ could be on the move, meaning the Phils' 2011 rotation could line up something like:
- Kendrick/Worley/Jamie Moyer's disembodied arm, because at this point, who really cares who takes the ball on the fifth day?
As we tipped you to last night on the CPFacebook, your humble correspondent biked home last night on the newly repaved Spruce Street (it and Pine, the sites of the much ballyhooed/grumbled-over east-west bike lanes, had been stripped last week). The line repainting was still in progress, but the bike lanes which were billed as something of a temporary test when they were laid just over a year ago, were being repainted as well.
Though the original plan called for both streets to be repaved in the spring (and boy did they need it), and the determination about scrapping the lanes or making them permanent to be made then, the process got pushed back.
In our conversation with deputy mayor for transportation and utilities Rina Cutler for her Big Vision Issue nod, she confirmed that, yes, at long last the streets were being repaves, and the lanes were, indeed, to be made permanent.
While the image of The Big Piece (no relation) watching strike three and the Phillies 2010 season cross the plate will be the bitter, indelible image most of Phightins Nation carries with them from this star-crossed season, it shouldn't be.
Dave Cameron over at Fan Graphs the best baseball analysis site going these days has an excellent post up today addressing what I've been engaging in way too many Facebook and Twitter arguments about: "The Phillies lost in spite of Ryan Howard's performance, not becauseof it."
âHere's Ryan Howard, who does not yet have an RBI in the series.â
You could count on one hand the number of times the Fox crew said his name and failed to mention his series RBI total. So, when Howard took strike three on a nasty slider from Brian Wilson in the ninth inning, the narrative was confirmed, and Ryan Howard has now become the reason the Phillies lost the series.
There's only one problem â besides Jayson Werth, he was the only guy who did anything offensively against the Giants.
Howard led the team in batting average, on base percentage, and extra base hits in the NLCS. And yet, because he didn't knock in a run, Fox decided that he was struggling at the plate. Usage of the statistic like this is why the sabermetric community has spent so much time working to explain its faults â if it was put in context, it's not the worst proxy for offensive prowess, but too often it is used to tell a story that is simply not true.
Essentially, contrary to popular opinion, Howard although he did have a few high-profile whiffs with runners on (but tell me who on the team didn't) was actually one of just two Phillies (along with Jayson Werth) to show up at the plate. Howard's gaudy .318/.400/.500 line (7 for 22 with 3 walks and 4 doubles) suggest that Howard was far from a zero. That no RsBI thing everyone keeps bringing up is, yes, a function of him not coming through in the clutch, but also a function of his teammates not being on base all that much ahead of him.
It will be popular to pin this season's shortcomings on The Big Man a bull's-eye comes with the big contract but it will also be wrong.
There are a lot of guys in that clubhouse who should be taking a hard look in the mirror:
- Shane Victorino for choking with the bases loaded and ahead in the count against a rookie.
- Ben Francisco for, with a runner on third and one out, swinging from his heels when just putting the ball in play probably plates a run.
- Charlie Manuel for not recognizing the depressed run environment of the series and thus not having his players prepared for the situational hitting that could have eked out an extra run here or there.
- Sam Perlozzo for not sending Rollins home on Ryan Howard's Game 6 double.
- Chase Utley for some of the sloppiest fielding we've seen from him in some time.
- Jimmy Rollins and the entire coaching staff for not recognizing that a lefty pitcher intentionally walking a righty with a runner on third would be as big a gimme steal of home as you could ask for.
- Charlie Manuel for trusting Jose Contreras to pitch the seventh inning only sometimes.
- and so on.
There's a lot of blame to go around and some of it should go to Howard but definitely not all of it, and nowhere near what the growing consensus seems to be heaping on.
There was a flurry a excitement on my Twitter this morning over Ruben Amaro's comments that, in the words of the Daily News, âthe Phillies want Jayson Werth to return and have enough money to re-sign him.â Which would be fine by me.
Except, if you read between the lines, Amaro is telling you that this isn't going to happen:
Amaro said the Phillies want Jayson Werth to return and have enough money to re-sign him, but said that will âdepend on what the ask isâ and âhow it will affect other things.â
âJayson had a good year. It wasn't an extraordinary year,â Amaro said. âHe had a tough time with men in scoring position. It wasn't as productive a year as he had in the past. If he is not with us, there are players that we can acquire and or we have in our own organization that can help us be as consistent.â
Allow me to translate: âWerth is good, sure, but he's not that good, and he's going to want waaaaaay too much money. We'll try, you know, a bit, but he's not worth giving away the store. So when this shit goes south and he ends up on the Red Sox, blame him, not me.â
Not saying whether letting Jayson go is a good idea or not, just that that's what's gonna happen.
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.â Pancho Villa's last words.
As the San Francisco Giants jumped up and down on the same mound that Brad Lidge collapsed onto after recording the final out the 2008 World Series, the Phillies quietly sulked back a clubhouse without champagne, and complained.
âIf you are going to make the call, make the call,â Ryan Howard said bluntly, just moments after he left a bat on his shoulder and let home plate umpire Tom Hallion decide his season. Hallion had made the call, of course, and the call ended the Phils season.
After making his name on proclamations like âjust get me to the plate, boys,â and the pinch-hit walk-off grand slam, the 30-year-old, $125 million first basemen, took a big step towards soiling it when the third strike of his 30th K in his last 56 postseason at bats passed him looking (and according to both FoxTRAX and PitchFX it was a strike), and finished a series where he didn't produce a single run.
It was a fitting end. Now, for the first time since 2007 the Philadelphia Phillies' season is over before the World Series kicked off, and you can't say the Home Team didn't deserve it. They put up just 3 runs a game, and for an entire NLCS were legitimately worse than a West Coast team led by two waiver wire pickups and the two fattest third basemen since Bobby Bonilla. In a series featuring names like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and future Red Sock Jayson Werth, it was Juan Uribe who had the biggest hits, Cody Ross who won the MVP, and Matt Cain who had, without hyperbole, infinitely more RBIs than Ryan Howard. The Phillies earned their offseason.
The loss was a team effort, at least from the offense. Chase had as many bad defensive plays as base hits, and Raul Ibanez's .226 postseason average was actually the second best among regulars. Shane Victorino summed up the series best: With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Shane jumped on Madison Bumgarner's second pitch for a weak ground ball out. This was the type of big situation that a poised, experienced team like the Phils is supposed to come through in. Instead they reached at a bad pitch early in the count against a rookie.
As the last few innings wound down the Phils turned to full-fledged âwait for the long ball mode,â and after the game Brad Lidge told reporters that he was âshockedâ at the outcome, and âfelt like we had the best team in baseball this year, and it just didn't work out.â If their play was any indication, Lidge spoke for the team. They didn't execute when they needed to, and looked like they thought that they'd get to the World Series simply for showing up a birthright, instead of a Red Badge. Problem is, it isn't the team that Brad Lidge believes is the best who gets the Commissioner's Trophy, it's the team who wins the games, and for at least this year, that team wasn't the Phils.
- Now that he's done with the Phillies, I wonder if Cody Ross is going to realize he's Cody Ross
- Freddy Sanchez will forever be the 2006 batting champion. If that isn't enough to tell you we need some new stats, I don't know what to say.
- Peace, Werth. Enjoy Boston.
- Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the World Series
- I had plenty of notes to on the âfightâ that was started when Jonathan Sanchez summed up his night in the word he shouted at Utley, but I think I'll scrap them all for now. Not in the mood for jokes, and the fact that the benches cleared over that was certainly a joke. I will say this tough, I'm disappointed HLHIII and Pat Burrell didn't find each other in the midst.
- This one was more about the Phils than it was the Giants, but credit where it is due: the Giants pen pitched a hell of a series, Tim Lincecum showed a lot going to the pen on one-day rest, and Buster Posey isn't even a little bit of a fluke.
- Finally, the upshot: It would be hard to argue that the Giants didn't find some holes while the Phils found gloves. The baseball playoffs can be a crapshoot, and the best team doesn't always win. That can work against your favorite team (2010) or for them (2008). Heading into next year, your Home Team could be doing a lot worse. They will be the oldest team in the majors (again), but they'll have frontline pitching and in a league where frontline pitching matters, and a lineup that should still be seen as competent, if no longer dominant. They should be good enough to get back to the playoffs, and, as both the Phils and the Giants proved this year, anything can happen when they get there.
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