|Photo | Michael T. Regan|
No. 5 was traded. Long live No. 5.
As curious as this seemingly sudden but talked-up-for-weeks-(or-years) move is trading one of the most successful QBs of the decade within the division for good-but-not-great picks what's even more curious is the timing.
Yes, perhaps the Eagles operate in their own little bubble and pay no heed to what's going on in the rest of the world, sporting or otherwise, local or otherwise. But it was suggested to me last night by a friend who knows people who know people who would know, that the fact that this trade happened the night before the Phillies open their 2010 quest to return to the World Series for the third straight year may not be coincidental at all. Seems fair to assume that no matter what the Phils do in the first week of the season, this McNabb thing's gonna steal some of the shine time they Phils'll be getting from papers in Philly or DC (where the Phils open their season today), to say nothing of sports talk radio (which is talking about this very issue right now). Apparently, the source was surprised the trade didn't go down the night before the home opener.
My initial thought: No way the Eagles would try to upstage the Phils. My second thought: The Eagles have lost a HUGE chunk of sporting mindshare in this city in recent years and they're one deep Flyers post-season run away from being the No. 3 team in town.
What do you think?
|Photos | Patrick Rapa|
|The ref on the left appears to be disrobing. I don't recall that happening.|
I usually catch one lacrosse game a year. Last night the Philadelphia Wings destroyed the Boston Blazers. First they outscored em, then they pounded em into the carpet. Funny thing about lacrosse fights. They're a little rarer than hockey fights, but, with no ice to slip on and refs less than eager to jump in, they go a lot longer. A couple of the battles at the Wachovia Center lasted for several minutes, and didn't so much end as exhaust themselves. There was blood, and the requisite Philly bloodlust. Good times.
|The Wings wore pink helmets because it was Breast Health Awareness Night.|
- This will be the Phillies first season with opening-day starter/bona-fide ace Roy Halladay. Do you remember who the Phils' OD starter was the last three years? Yup, Brett F. Myers. Barring injury (knocks on wood), this'll be the first time since the Schilling years that the Phils have had a hands-down No. 1 starter. And he'll be followed by a guy in Cole Hamels with the potential to be a No. 1a.
- Legit contact hitter Placido Polanco will be batting second and will ostensibly add "productive outs" to the lineup's repertoire.
- Moving Shane Victorino to the bottom of the order provides something like a secondary lead-off hitter to the bottom of the lineup.
- The additions of Danys Baez and Jose Contreras to the bullpen provide depth and experience (though quality is not a given).
- The competition for the fifth spot in the rotation is between a 47-year-old who spent much of the offseason in the hospital and a 25-year-old with a high hit rate and a low strike-out rate
- The first lefty out of the bullpen until/if J.C. Romero is healthy (other than Moyer if he doesn't win the fifth starter job) is Antonio Bastardo, who is talented and has an awesome name, but is very very raw.
- Brad Lidge remains the biggest X factor on the team.
- Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are all a 365 days further into their "peak" years than they were last spring.
- Ruben Amaro's propensity lock up with guaranteed contracts players he doesn't need to lock up and for more money than the market's calling for (Brian Schneider, Juan Castro, Ross Gload, Ibáñez, Polanco) may have cost the Phillies the opportunity to go into 2010 with Hallady, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in the top three spots in the rotation.
- The Mets remain a mess, or, if you'd rather, the Mets remain the Mets.
- The Braves will start 20-year-old super prospect Jason Heyward in their outfield this season and have added former Phillie/Phillies punching bag Billy Wagner to close
- The Marlins young pitching is always terrifying.
- The Cardinals inked mid-season aquisition Matt Holliday and... Brad Penny
- The Yankees have bolstered their 2009 juggernaut by adding OBP machine/walking injury Nick Johnson, 20/20 threat Curtis Granderson and starting pitcher Javier Vazquez (who, it should be noted, has already flamed out as a Yankee once).
- The Red Sox have added perpetual enigma Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro to their lineup and Angels ace John Lackey to hold down the No. 3 spot in the rotation
- The Mariners now have what could be the best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee in addition to adding Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and Casey Kotchman.
|Photo | Philadelphia Union|
Not going to pretend to analyze last night's match between the brand-new Philadelphia Union (in their franchise debut) and second-year Seattle Sounders FC on what is apparently called the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field in Seattle.
The game ended 2-nil, and with Philadelphia playing a man down thanks to Toni Ståhl's red card (the Union collected five in all!). From what my novice soccer-watching eyes told me, Philly a team that is, as reinforced ad nauseam by the announcers, very, very young played sloppy (granted, the field was soaked by a steady rain), and the score was only as close as it was thanks to a few blown chances by the Sounders.
Still, it was all kind of mesmerizing, and more than a little fascinating to watch this new crop of pro athletes repping the 215 (is Chester in the 215?), including:
- A guy named just "Fred"
- Congolese first-round (first overall) pick Danny Mwanga
- 17-year-old (first round, 7th overall) American Jack McInerney who allegedly has a "nose for goal."
- Frenchman and Sounders cast-off Sébastien Le Toux (pictured)
- Finnish card-collector, the aforementioned Ståhl
- Chris Seitz, our goalkeeper, who we traded for with Real Salt Lake (who'd "loaned" him to two USL teams last year)
- Cagey Venezuelan veteran and three-time MLS Cup winner Alejandro Moreno
The Union open their home schedule on April 10, not in Chester but at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly. Tickets are still available and some are in a section with the following warning/enticement: "**THIS SECTION WILL BE STANDING/SINGING ENTIRE MATCH**"
Soccer is so weird.
See what I did there? Chester Philadelphia's entry in Major League Soccer, The Union, kick's off the league's schedule tonight in Seattle against Sounders FC and will be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Are you watching? Are you pumped? Did you know that the players' union almost went on strike last week? (And did you know that the MLS Players Union head is named Bob Foose, which reminds us of foosball, which amuses us to no end?)
I know what you're thinking, but just because Isaiah Thompson wrote a cover story questioning the financing of the team's fancy new Chester stadium (PPL Park!) doesn't mean we can't get excited by The Beautiful Game. Home opener's on April 10 against DC United at Lincoln Financial Field. Are you going? Anyone know of bars having soccer specials?
|Your 2010 Philadelphia Union|
|Photo | Courtesy of Biking Buck|
Critical Mass is fun and all, but it's kinda intense. This is a nice alternative:
Courteous Mass is an effort to change the tone of recent debates about bicycling and bicyclists in
. Bicyclists who join this ride are asked obey the rules of the road. Courteous Mass provides an opportunity for all bicyclists to demonstrate that sharing the road is a two way street requiring action on the part of all road users. Philadelphia
The first (as far as we know?) Philadelphia Courteous Mass will take place on Sat., April 10 at 10 a.m., meeting where Locust Street crosses the Schuylkill River Trail. RSVP here, and bring your helmets and hand signals.
You know, I always thought the dudes at the700Level were too wordy (and too enthusiastic) to keep doing it low-profit style forever. But I was a little surprised to hear they'd entered a cushy financial arrangement with Comcast SportsNet. I mean, buying NBC is fairly Comcastic. But a local sports blog? Didn't see it coming. Quoth Michael Klein of the Inky:
Comcast SportsNet yesterday said it had acquired the five-year-old site and hired founder Enrico Campitelli Jr. and awarded contracts to contributors Matt "Matt P" Pesotski, Andrew Kulp, and Andrew Unterberger.
Of course I'm a little wary, but the bloggers did make this reassuring claim in their announcement post:
The700Level.com will retain editorial independence, while tapping into the unique access, technology, and resources of Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia.
A little corp-speaky but okay. Take the money. Use the highlight reels. (And, if you can, find out why my remote is so slow.)
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the sharp and diligent folks charged with getting elected officials in Philly and the surrounding 8 counties (in PA and NJ) on the same page on planning matters, is asking for input on cycling issues. Their Shifting Gears: Regional Bicycle Outreach and Priority Setting project is looking for feedback from cyclists and non-cyclists in the form of a short survey.
Shifting Gears is an outreach program by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to help determine bicycle issues and priorities for our region. Shifting Gears seeks the input from bicyclists and non-bicyclists like you through an online survey at www.dvrpc.org/shiftinggears.
The online survey only takes about 5-10 minutes and asks questions about bicycle use, facilities, policy, and information on what would best enhance the cycling environment.
Please go to www.dvrpc.org/shiftinggears and tell us what is on your mind. If you already took the survey, then forward this email to a friend, or five friends, do not keep it to yourself. Bicyclists of any level, as well as non-bicyclists are invited to participate.
Swing on over to dvrpc.org/shiftinggears and weigh in.
Matrix Fights, organized by the Migliarese Brothers of Balance Studios and Jimmy Binns Jr., will host its first card this Saturday night. Headlining: Daddis Fight Camp muay thai trainer Matt Makowski who takes on Levon Maynard of Virginia Beach, VA. But the late addition of Brock Lesners training partner Cole Konrad to the card raises the stakes significantly.
This event is important for a couple of reasons, aside from the fact that any quality fight within city limits maintains Phillys momentum towards a valid local MMA scene. It has the unique distinction of pulling a real fight venue The Arena, formally the New Alhambra, which regularly host boxing and muay thai matches as well as pro-wrestling (which we degrade in high-brow manor with an italicized pro). The card will garner national and possibly international attention because of Konrad's addition to the lineup. The No. 1 unsigned MMA prospect is a lock (baring a spectacular chumping or doping conviction) to move on to more notable promotions (Bellator and Dream have been mentioned). Hell be fighting Brazilian jiu jitsu purple belt Joel Wyatt. This will give Matrix some claim as a local launching pad, although Konrad is neither local he fights out of Minnesota, and this is his second fight he made his pro debut in North Dakota in January. Regardless, developing new talent for higher profile promotions is something many local organizers claim as their role in this still murky middle-world of local MMA. If Brock Lesner shows up to the event, as he did at Konrads debut, you can bet Matrix will be on the national radar, representing Philadelphia MMA.
Matrix doesnt have their distinction yet and still needs to put the show together with professional execution. The risk of having all their attention hobbled by low-rent antics or wise-guy shenanigans- something the local scene has been conspicuously absent of- is still very real.
The event offers some generous pre and post-fight activities. The weighins and press conference will be a free event tonight at Zee Bar, Front and Spring Garden Streets, from 7 to 9 p.m. And the after party will get a little blue at Delilahs, next to Zee Bar at Front and Spring Garden Streets, Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.(show your Matrix ticket for free admission).
The fights go down at The Arena, 7 West Ritner Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; fights start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the door, $35-$40.
Here is the full card, with links to the fighters official MixedMartialArts.com statistics:
Matt Makowski vs Levon Maynard
Joel Wyatt vs Cole Konrad
Aaron Meisner vs Francios Ambang
Will Martinez, Jr. vs Mitch Lyons
Julio Rosario vs Steven Baker
Aaron Hicks vs Jimmy Cerra
Luis Vasquez vs Nah-Shon Burrell
Daniel Matala vs Michael Piekarski
Joe Difranco vs Ryan Gunning
Matthew Friedeborn vs Mike Manion
|Save the Pits|
|Hate 'em or love 'em, you have to admit: Aww.|
When the Philadelphia Eagles gave Michael Vick his job back last year, we all kinda wondered: Would this, in some strange way, help the animal rights cause? It's an impossible thing to quantify, of course, but having someone to hate often brings people together â and the dialogue around dog-fighting sure seems to have increased in Philly in the past few months.
There is at least one concrete animal-rights benefit that's taken place: In August, in direct response to Vick's signing, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) launched the 2nd Chance Dog Campaign. It ended last Sunday, and, according to the SPCA, raised $116,234 â slightly more than its $100,00 goal â and gave 832 pit bulls and pit bull mixes homes or put them "in foster care, with rescue groups or with new adoptive families."
Erm, thanks, Vick?
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