Monday, November 17, 2008

The Philadelphia Eagles Stink

While the title of this post may not come as a surprise to you, it is shocking to me. After a 13-13 tie (that's right folks: TIE) to the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals, there is no question that this team is mediocre, and far from a team that should be even thinking of the "P" word, let alone the Super Bowl. Heck, if this was a college team, they'd be playing in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. I picked this team to win twelve games. Now all I want is one more win.

Special News Bulletin: The NFL only plays one overtime, then the game is ruled a tie. According to Andy Reid, most NFL players don't know this. Donovan McNabb sure doesn't. He thought he would have another quarter to try to give the Eagles the win. Now, Reid is sticking up for McNabb by saying that most players don't know this rule. Really, that's why everyone watching the game (including those clowns on Fox) knew the game would end in a tie. Get in the game McNabb. But I guess it was too late. I mean after laughing off three interceptions, this may have been the smartest thing McNabb did all day: Come up with an excuse.

McNabb and Andy Reid need to take a hike. Andy Reid looks like he couldn't care less about the outcome of a game this season. What does he think this is a side job? He can't call a play to save his life. He barely gives the ball to the most talented man on the field, Brian Westbrook. He lets trusty, old McNabb air it all game. This may be an understatement, but it isn't working. McNabb is playing worse every game. But he laughs twice as much each game also. Throw an interception, laugh it off. The scene was repeated an uncomfortable amount of times yesterday. If you throw three interceptions, can you at least put your head down.

Attention Andy Reid: You only get three time outs a half. This timeouts you like to use early in the half are not redeemed later in the half. There is a limit. Don't use a timeout when there was a stoppage in play a few seconds before.

The Eagles play down (or up, occasionally) to the team that they are playing. They hang 31 points on the tough Giants D, only to put up 13 against the weak Cincinnati Bengals. I truly think that if the Eagles played Temple University, it would be a competitive game (that is, only if Kevin Kolb is playing).

Say goodbye to the Eagles playoff hopes. It was stupid to even have hopes for this pitiful team in the first place.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Best Parade Ever

The title of this post says it all. The Philadelphia Phillies championship parade this afternoon was spectacular. I was not down at the Bank, but I was on Broad Street near the beginning of the parade. I was in the front row because I got there around 9:15, and the parade didn't start until noon.

The amount of Phillies fans there was simply amazing. It seemed like everyone either took off work or school because there were tons of kids there. When I got there, there were already thousands of people around City Hall, but I was able to find a good spot when I walked down Broad a little bit.

This was the first championship parade I was ever at, so I didn't know what it would be like. The players came by on high floats, waving and cheering along with the fans. Jayson Werth was going absolutely crazy when the float stopped at my intersection. He was squirting beer all over the crowd, including a lot on me since I was in the front row. Pat Burrell had his big dog, Elvis, sitting right next to him in the parade.

When the players arrived, there was deafening noise. The fans had been cheering all day up to that point. They cheered for passing cars, police officers, fake-Rockies, and even a man on stilts with a Phillies flag. They didn't even shut off Broad Street until the beginning of the parade, so cars full of fans were honking all day.

I got home around 3:00, just in time to see the players arrive at Lincoln Finacial Field and the Bank. That's right, they filled both stadiums with fans for a big celebration at the end of the parade.

The parade was a great experience for me and all Phillie fans there. But like Cole Hamels said, I could go for a few more parades up Broad Street before it's all said and done.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phillies Are the World Champions

The Philadelphia Phillies are now the best baseball team in the world! I have been waiting a long time to say that! The Phillies beat the Rays 4-3 in the decisive Game 5. The game started from the bottom of the sixth and went back and forth until Pedro Feliz drove in the game-winning run in the seventh.

The Phillies have culminated this year with the sweetest of prizes. The players have dreamt of this since the first smell of spring. No, actually the players have dreamt of this since they first saw a World Series game on T.V.

But let's not beat around the bush, this win was for the fans. I went down to Cottman Avenue and partied in the street all night long. Cottman Ave. is that place on they always show on T.V. with the massive and crazy crowds, just in case you aren't familiar with the area.

We are the Champions! We are the Champions! No time for losers (Mets)! 'Cause we are the Champions.... of the World!

I can't tell you how much this championship means to the city of Philadelphia. More than the nonsports fan could even contemplate. I, along with other Phils fans, am so happy they could finally win it last night.

I will be attending the parade tomorrow afternoon on Broad Street. I will write about that tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away (And Bud Selig Can Follow)

The rest of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series will be played tomorrow night. The Phillies are up in the series 3-1 (just in case you weren't paying attention). The game tomorrow will be picked up from the bottom of the sixth with the game tied, 2-2.

Bud Selig really screwed this one up. First, he lets the game start, even with a severe threat of rain. Then, he lets them play until the Rays tie the score in the top of the sixth. He will deny that he waited until the score was tied. But Major League Baseball is more likely to distribute free steroids to all its players before it will end a World Series in a five inning game. You can't tell me that they wouldn't have kept playing had the Phillies held the lead.

The conditions from the fourth inning on were unbearable for the players. Jimmy Rollins misjudged a fly ball because he couldn't look up into the rain. The field was flooded out, and the Rays gained a cheap run because of it. They should have let the Phillies bat in the bottom of the inning to see how the Rays would have fielded in that situation.

But let's get back to public enemy number one: ol' Buddy Selig. He tried to manipulate the score of the game by making the Phillies come back onto the flooded field for another inning, just so the Rays could tie it up. If this was a government, I think the word "corrupt" would be the best to describe it. Does he think the fans are dumb enough to believe that he didn't want that game tied. Maybe that crap works in Tampa Bay, but not in Philly. It is always bad when you hear the commissioner speak. You know something has gone wrong, whether it be steroids or a possible lockout. The difference this time was that the commissioner caused his own problem.

But let's talk about the less than half a game that will be played tomorrow night. The Phillies could wrap it up tomorrow at home, and I think they can do it. I think they need to jump on the Rays 'pen early tomorrow. The Rays bullpen is tough late, but vulnerable early (just like Scott Kazmir). Joe Maddon has no idea how to manage a pitching staff. He uses pitchers like Andy Reid uses timeouts: Use a lot early, have no more for the end. He tires out his pitchers by warming them up, and then using them on only one batter. He is not opposed to use seven batters in an inning, as he did early in the series.

I think the Phils should start Ryan Madson or J.C. Romero tomorrow night. Please no J.D. Durbin! The man gives up a homer every time out. It's not that he gives up a lot of runs, just a couple big ones.

So rain, rain go away!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Going Back to Philly


Two games into the 2008 World Series, the Phillies are not looking good. They are 1 for 28 with runners in scoring position, the worst in Fall Classic history. They lost last night 4-2, when James Shields completely shut down the Phillies pathetic offense.


The Phillies are in a good position, however. They went into to Tropicana Field and took one of two games. The Rays are a terrific at home, so it was important to take a game there. Even with the cow bells ringing, Cole Hamels was still dominant on the hill in Game 1.


Speaking of the cow bells, I wonder why the Rays organization has to give them out to make noise. Up here in Philly, we don't need loud and annoying giveaways to make the Bank rock with the intensity of a low grade earthquake. We'll take care of the loud and annoying part ourselves.


The Phillies bats have been silent (although I don't think it has anything to do with the cow bells). If the Phillies hope to win another game in this series, they have to hit with runners in scoring position. Had any other pitcher on the face of the Earth had pitched Game 1 except for Cole Hamels, the Phillies would be down 2-0 in the series.


If I was Charle Manuel, I would alter the pitching rotation in this way (starting from Game 1): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Hamels, Moyer, Myers, Hamels. I think this rotation would make perfect sense. You have your best pitcher Hamels on the mound for three games if the series extends to seven games. Cole would pitch Games 1,4, and 7. Frankly, I wouldn't want Jamie Moyer pitching Game 7 because he has been horrible in the playoffs. Manuel has already said that excluding Moyer from the rotation was not an option, and I agree with him. I wouldn't want him to pitch with the series on the line, however.


Charlie Manuel would never consider this rotation because he is too stubborn to change anything about his team. I know what he's going to say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I agree with him, but Hamels has been sensational and he should pitch in as many games as his arm allows him. Manuel has babied Hamels all year by never pitching him on short rest. But come on! I know he is only 24, but this is the World Series and he is your best player. Get him out on the field as much as possible.


Now, let's talk about the hitting (or lack their of). The Phillies bats need to wake up in a hurry. Maybe the madness that will be the stands in Citizens Bank Park will wake them from their slump. Charlie Manuel needs to go around the clubhouse and pinch every player and tell him,"Yes, you're in the World Series, but that doesn't mean you play any different than April and May."


I think all the hitters are trying to do too much. Shane Victorino looked like he was trying to hit one through the roof every time. Ryan Howard (upper right) feels he should be hitting homers every other at-bat. They need to calm down and just try to make contact, not hit one out of the stadium. Howard also needs to get his head out of the clouds (or domes) in the field. One time, that may cost the Phils a run.


I will stay with my prediction of Phillies in 6. They need to win at least two games at the Bank before returning to the Trop for that to happen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It Will be the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays wrapped up the American League Championship Series last night, with a 3-1 win in Game 7. They will be taking on our-beloved Phils in the World Series. The Red Sox, after being down 3-1 in the series, won two consecutive games to force this decisive seventh game.

I didn't know who to root for last night. I thought both teams had good pitching and good hittting. I knew both would be a tough test for the Phils. I wanted to root for the Rays, because I didn't want the Red Sox to win three straight games coming into the World Series. But the Rays have really been hitting the ball (mostly out of the park), so I'm a little nervous.

It will be a tough series for sure for the Phillies. Cole Hamels needs to come out strong in Game 1 on Wednesday. I will do a comprehensive preview on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bring On the World Series!

The Phillies are National League Champions for the first time since 1993! I've been waiting all night to sat those exact words. The Phillies put the Dodgers down easily last night, with a final score of 5-1. Cole Hamels pitched beautifully, only giving up the homer to Man Ram. The Phillies will be facing either the Red Sox or the Rays on baseball's biggest stage.

The Phillies are finally reaping the benefits of all their hard work throughout the season. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a homer, and the Philies never turned back after that. But let's not talk about the game. If you want to see a box score, you can go to ESPN.com or look in your local newspaper.

The Phillies have a great chance to break Philadelphia's sports' championship drought (or curse, if you prefer). Everybody is going nuts in Philly, and I can tell you that for a fact. I can't wait to hear the roar of Citizens Bank Park when the Phils host the World Series. I wish I had a ticket.

It looks like the Phillies will be facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. The Rays currently lead the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS 3-1.

The Phillies have taken this team by storm. I have to say that before the Phillies made the playoffs last season, Philly was a football town. If the Eagles were playing, nobody even thought about checking the Phillies score. But now, since that magical playoff birth last season, Philadelphia has turned Phillies Red. Now that the Phillies are in the World Series, Phillie fan support is at its peak. The Eagles? There not even playing this week. The Phillies will take center stage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One More Win

With just hours left until the Phillies face off against the Dodgers in Game 5, I am excited for a World Series celebration later tonight. Cole Hamels' left pitching arm will decide whether the Phillies clinch tonight. The Phillies are up 3 games to 1 in the series, and they can wrap it up tonight. Hamels is by far the Phillies best pitcher, and he has shown it this postseason.

This is the Phillies best chance to make it to the World Series. Their ace is on the mound, and they are coming off an emotional late-inning win in Game 4. They have all the momentum coming into this game at Dodger Stadium tonight. The first pitch will be at 8:22 pm EST.

I think the Phillies will wrap up the Series tonight. As I've said, all factors point in their favor.

My Prediction for Game 5: Phillies 4, Dodgers 1
Cole Hamels will pitch a beauty, going eight solid innings and only giving up a lone run. Brad Lidge will come in to close the game in the ninth. The Phillies offense is somewhat quiet, but they do enough to get the win and earn spot in the 2008 World Series.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CRAZY Game


The Tampa Bay Rays won Game 2 of the ALCS early this morning. I stayed up and watched all 11 innings of madness from Tropicana Field. It was a big win by the Rays to even the series at one. The teams will be off tonight and will pick up the action at Fenway on Monday.


This game had everything. Home runs, wild pitches, extra innings. Very exciting game, and finish. There was seven dingers in the game (four for the Red Sox and three for the Rays). Dustin Pedroia came up big for the Red Sox knocking two over the fence.


Third basemen Evan Longoria had a huge game, going three for five with a homer and three RBIs. The Rays knew they had to win this game and B.J. Upton finally did in the bottom of the 11th. Upton hit a shallow fly ball to right field, and that was enough to sacrifice the man home.


It seemed as if every time one team took the lead during the game, the other team would equalize on their next at-bat. Just a see-saw game that came down to a sacrifice fly in the 11th.


Go Phils!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flyers Preview

The Philadelphia Flyers will kick off the hockey season tonight at the Wachovia Center. The New York Rangers will be visiting them starting at 7:00 pm EST. The Flyers are looking to make the playoffs for the second straight year, and I think they have the talent to do it.

The Flyers will be trotting out almost the same team as last year's squad. One big addition is a healthy Simon Gagne, which they didn't have most of last season. Gagne scored 40+ goals in the 06-07 and the 05-06 seasons. Don't expect him to equal that total, even if he stays healthy. Mainly because those seasons came when Gagne was paired up Peter Forsberg, the best passer in the NHL.

Gagne will probably appear on a line with center Daniel Briere. Briere had a good first year for the Flyers last season. Look for him and Gagne to combine for a lot of goals this season.

Mike Richards has taken over the captaincy, and he is also the best player. Richards had a monster season last year, racking up 75 points. Richards should rebound nicely from that breakout campaigne.

Martin Biron will still be the goalie. Biron was named the number one goalie before last season. The Flyers gave him a chance and he showed he could dominate, especially in the playoffs.

The Flyers only concern seems to be the defense. The offense if stacked with 20+ goal-scorers, but the defense is unproven. Kimmo Timmonen is one of the most underrated defensemen in the game. He was the Flyers go-to defensemen last season, shutting down the other team's biggest stars. Braydon Coburn seems poised for a breakout season, after playing well last year. Coburn, with his smooth skating ability and size, could emerge as a top defensemen. Randy Jones is a solid defensemen also, but injured. The Flyers picked up veteran Steve Eminger to add some depth to the position.

If, when watching the game tonight, you feel something is missing, don't be surprised. Derian Hatcher won't be in the lineup tonight. Hatcher delivers bone-crunching hits almost shiftly. I think he gets into the other team's head. Like Ray Lewis on the Ravens, he instills fear in other team. They think twice before skating into his zone. I think he will be sorely missed.

I can't believe it's hockey season already. I feel like the NFL season just started (ended?) for the Eagles, and here we are talking about hockey. But I do like hockey, and with the Phillies having all these breaks, I'll need something to watch. I'm finding increasingly difficult to find anything good on TV. Between the first and second rounds of the MLB postseason, there was hardly any good sports on TV. Hopefully, the Flyers can fill that void.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Can't Dodge Brett Myers


Throughout the game, you could hear the Phillie Phaithful chanting "Beat L-A" every chance they got. They Phillies complied, putting the Dodgers down 8-5. Brett Myers (above) was the star of this one. But it wasn't his pitching (which was mediocre) that won him cheers from the fans, and the win. It was the piece of lumber he carried around that won the game for the Phillies. Myers was a remarkable 3 for 3 in the ball game, knocking in three runs.


Brett Myers didn't pitch all that well, giving up five runs in five innings. Myers knocked in three very important runs at the beginning of the ballgame. The Phillies so called "big bats" were horrible in the game. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell combined for nine strikeouts. The bottom of the order, especially Carlos Ruiz and Brett Myers, picked up the pace. Ruiz was 2 for 4 with one RBI.


The other hero of the game for the Phillies was Shane Victorino. Victorino was 2 for 5 with four runs batted in. Victorino has been the definition of clutch in this postseason. In the seventh inning, with two runners on, Victorino saved the game for the Phillies by making a remarkable catch against the wall in deep centerfield. Victorino leaped as high as he could and saved extra bases and at least two runs. Victorino is batting .318 with 9 RBIs in the postseason.


Ryan Howard looked atrocious at the plate in this game. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Howard has been as impatient and undisciplined as two year old with a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. The Dodgers threw all curve balls to him tonight and he chased them low almost every single time. Here is a rule of thumb: If you see a curve ball before you have two strikes, don't swing! 90% of all the curve balls were low!


I know this may sound crazy, but if I was Charlie Manuel, I would strip Brad Lidge of the closer roll. I would implement Ryan Madson instead. I know Lidge hasn't blown a save all season, but he has been allowing too many hits and walking too many batters. I think his arm is a little tired from the regular season because his fastball is not as fast as it usually is. He also had no control tonight. He walked Manny Ramirez to lead off the ninth. He got an out, then walked another batter. He can't do that! The Dodgers could have tied the game with a simple swing of the bat. Madson has been masterful lately, and struck out the side in the eighth inning of tonight's game.


The Phillies should be very pleased with their two wins. They are now guaranteed to come back to Philly for at least one game (after three in LA.) Manny Ramirez did homer tonight, but it proved to be moot. I would be happy if the Phillies took one game of the three at the Coliseum. Of course, I'd be thrilled to wrap up the series there too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The 5 Things the Phillies Need To Do To Beat LA


1. Take Manny out of the game

Ramirez is arguably the best postseason hitter of all time. Here's something that's not debatable: Manny has 26 postseason home runs, the most by any player in the playoff history. Charlie Manuel knows Manny's tendencies, so maybe the Phils might not have to walk him as much. The Phillies pitching staff must make sure that no runners are in scoring position when Manny is due up. He is their only player with real good power and you can't let him be the one to knock in their runs.


2. Utley needs to hit

For the Phillies to be successful, Chase Utley (above) needs to fill that hole in his bat. Utley is batted .133 against the Brewers with four strikeouts. He is a big part of the reason why the Phillies haven't been producing with runners on. When Rollins or Werth gets on for him, he needs to be able to provide a base knock.


3. Be patient, Ryan

Ryan Howard must not get frustrated. He will not get many pitches to hit. That does not mean he should chase balls out of the zone. I know you're a good hitter Ryan, but for the good of the team, take the walk. We all saw what happened the other night, when the Brewers walked you to get to Burrell. A walk is as good as a single.


4. Don't be intimidated by Dodger pitching

Everyone is raving about how good the Dodger pitching is. Well, I ain't buyin' it. You have to remember that they pitch in the spacious LA Coliseum. Some of those deep flies at the Coliseum will turn into four-baggers in the Bank. I'm surprised more people aren't bringing this up.


5. Take the home games

I know the Phils have home field advantage, but I'm not so sure it works in their favor. They play two games here, then three in California, then finish the final two games at the Bank. If the Phillies loss both games (or even go 1-1) the Dodgers will have a chance to wrap it up at home. So their is a big emphasis on winning these home games.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baseball's Final Four

The League Championship Series will start tomorrow, with the Dodgers taking the on the Phillies. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox will be taking on division rival Tampa Bay. Here is a preview of both series:


Red Sox vs. Rays


Boston Red Sox

This is a very intriguing series between two very good teams from the AL East. Boston pitching depth is probably unmatched in the majors, but Tampa's is a close second. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester are two of the most dominating pitchers in the game. Josh Beckett isn't 100% but he will start at least one game in this series.


Boston's lineup has a great mix of veteran players and blossoming stars. Everyone knows Big Papi (above) is their power hitter, but he is suffering from a wrist injury. He hasn't been hitting all that well. Jason Bay has been a great run producer since coming from Pittsburgh. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia batted .326 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs. That .326 average was good for second in the American League. He should be the AL MVP. The rest of the lineup is stacked.


One major loss for the Red Sox is veteran third basemen Mike Lowell. Lowell was last year's World Series MVP, and a real leader. Lowell is certain that he will not play in any remaining playoff games.


Tampa Bay Rays

I have to confess that I thought the Rays would crumble in the second half. They sure showed me. The Rays young pitchers have really pitched well in big games this season (and in the playoffs). James Shields pitched well during the season, and had a nice outing against the White Sox last week. Scott Kazmir didn't have his best season this year, but he still a feared lefty.


The Rays seem to have great teamwork in a sport that significantly lacks real teamwork. Their young (and loaded-with-talent) players score runs with ease. Evan Longoria is a all-around player at third base. He homered in his first two postseason at-bats. Not bad for a rookie. Carlos Pena is the only player on the Rays with 100+ RBIs. He also knocked 31 balls over the fence during the season.


My Prediction: Rays in 7


Phillies vs. Dodgers


Philadelphia Phillies

Everyone knows about the Phillies prolific offense. I don't think I need to give you the stats of guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell. But a lot of the Phils' role players have been stepping up in the postseason. Shane Victorino has been terrific in October, knocking in five runs in four games. Jayson Werth has been a player that has created opportunities. His speed and timely hitting helped carry the Phils to the playoffs.


The starting pitching for the Phillies has been rather inconsistent. Cole Hamels is the team's ace. And he pitched a gem in the Game 1 of the NLCS, throwing eight shutout innings. Brett Myers looked very good in Game 2, but he has a tendency to blow up. Jamie Moyer pitched poorly in Game 3, but he usually is money. The Phillies bullpen is shaky if the starters don't go at least six innings.


Los Angeles Dodgers

Manny Ramirez is absolutely dominant in the playoffs. The Phils cannot pitch to him. He hit two homers in the Cub debacle. He has 26 dingers in the playoffs in his career. The Dodgers power ends with Manny. Andre Eithier is second on the team in homers with a parsley 20 (Note: Eithier would be fifth on the Phillies). Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Russell Martin are the fuel that drives the Dodger offense.


The Dodger pitching isn't all that great either. Manager Joe Torre will start Dereck Lowe, who was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA during the regular season. Chad Billingsley is the team's best starter, going 16-10 with a 3.12 earned run average.


My Prediction: Phillies in 6



Comment on your predictions



Monday, October 6, 2008

Are the Eagles Done?

The Eagles are now sitting at two wins and three losses. That's hard to believe considering how well they played in the first two weeks. But a close, heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys, a terrible loss to the Bears, and a Washington victory changed all that. The Eagles look all but alive in the rugged NFC East.

This week's 23-17 loss is just another example of the fact that Eagles NFC empire is crumbling. I have to confess that I didn't watch too much of the game, because the Phillies were playing in a far more important game. I did catch some of it, and it wasn't pretty. The Eagles jumped ahead to a 14-0 lead early in the game, and I thought it was over. The Eagles looked dominant early on. How foolish am I? Expecting the Eagles to hold a commanding lead? Stupid!

Some more bad news has just come out of Eagle Land. Brian Westbrook has two broken ribs. That's the nail in the coffin for me. Westbrook is the only guy who keeps this team in playoff talk, and now he's racking up injuries like traffic tickets.

There needs to be a change. Andy Reid's crap is getting old, and the fact that his team keeps choking in games doesn't help him. Eagles fans either think Reid is a wonderful strategist (there are some crazy people out there) or a bumbling buffoon. I think it's safe to say that more people side with the latter.

Donovan McNabb seems to play worse as the season goes on. I think he has one, maybe two, years left as the starting quarterback. He seems to choke after the first quarter. If he continues to do that, he shouldn't be back next year.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

LA, Here We Come!

Pat "The Bat" Burrell powered the Phillies to a 6-2 win in today's game. The Phillies will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Burrell smacked two homers in the game, including a three-run bomb in the third inning, which gave the Phillies a fairly comfortable lead early in the game. Starter Joe Blanton looked like C.C. Sabathia, pitching six innings and only allowing a solo shot from Prince Fielder.

Jimmy Rollins got things started early for the Phillies, homering on the sixth pitch of the game from Jeff Suppan. Rollins pulled a nice line drive over the right field fence to silence the crowd in the first inning. Jayson Werth also homered for the Phils.

Going into this game, I thought the Phillies would lose. Joe Blanton isn't exactly the definition of a solid starter, and the Phillies offense has been asleep through the first three games. I thought it would come down to a game five showdown between Cole Hamels and C.C. But Joe Blanton brought his "A" game and the Phillies offense finally unloaded on the Brew Crew.

The Phillies will be playing the Dodgers in the NLCS, which starts on Thursday. The Phils will have home field advantage because they finished with a better record that the Dodgers. Truly, I don't think the Dodgers are a very talented team. The Cubs killed themselves in that series. The Dodgers just got lucky that they were playing the cursed Cubs.

The Phillies really need to unload on the Dodger starters early because their bullpen is pretty good. Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley are their best starters. Lowe is old but clutch in the playoffs, and Billingsley is young and inexperienced. Jonothan Broxton and Takashi Saito form a good one-two pitch in the 'pen. The Phillies swept these guys in Citizens Bank Park the last time they met.

The Phillies better not pitch to Manny Ramirez. He is by far the most dangerous hitter LA has, and is very good in the playoffs. He hit two home runs in three games against good Cubs' pitching.

I like the Phillies to win this series in six games. That's my prediction.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Not Going to Be Easy


The Phillies will play game four tomorrow afternoon. They have just finished losing to the Brewers 4-1 at Miller Park. The Phillies offense looked absolutely weak, scoring only one run against contact-pitcher Dave Bush and an average bullpen at best.


Jamie Moyer had a rough opening inning, giving up two runs. He then settled down to throw three shutout innings. Moyer threw 90+ pitches through four innings and was taken out as a result.


The Phillies offense looked powerless against the Brewer pitching. Let's look at this statistic. The Phillies had nine hits, which resulted in only one run. The Brewers had two more hits than the Phillies, and they scored four runs. The Brewers hit with runners on, and the Phillies struggled mightily when it really counted.


Let's take this time to talk about the dreadful ninth inning. The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs to start the ninth. Pedro Feliz came up to the dish, and grounded to third. Third baseman Bill Hall threw to the second baseman Craig Counsell, who relayed it to first for the double play. Shane Victorino took out Craig Counsell when he ran to second. Victorino basically bulldozed through him, and the umps called interference. They disallowed Howard's run and also pulled back Dobbs to second. Ruiz followed by grounding back to the pitcher for the final out of the game.


Like Jimmy Rollins said, it wouldn't be the Philly way if it came easily. And tomorrow will be a tough game as well. Joe Blanton (above) will be on the mound for the Phils, and countering him will be Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan. Blanton has been all over the place this season, and nobody knows what to expect from him. He could pitch beautifully, but he is more likely to blow up around the fourth or fifth inning.


Come on Phils, couldn't you make it easy just this once.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eagles Face Tough Test This Week


The NFL season is going on? I thought October was for baseball. The Eagles will have a very important game this Sunday against the pesky Washington Redskins. No, this game is not as important as any game the Phillies will play in the near future, but the Eagles are 2-2 and would love to get a divisional win against the 'Skins this season.

Some good news for the Eagles is that Brian Westbrook (above) will most likely play this week. Westbrook participated fully in team workouts today. He will give the Eagles a big lift in this game. If Westbrook would have played last week, the Eagles would have scored when they were in the red zone, and they would have beaten the Bears.

The Redskins are coming off a BIG win over the Cowboys. Jason Campbell looked great, and is clearly maturing each week. The Eagles will have to be careful with him, because he can definitely throw the deep ball.

The Eagles defense has looked very good through the first four games. They are third in the NFL in total defense, and first in rushing D. The young linebackers (Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither, and Chris Gocong) look like they have been playing together for years. The Eagles D-line has really pressured the passer so far.

The Eagles really have to avoid the stupid mistakes that caused them to lose their last two games. Desean Jackson really has to get his act together. I do think Andy Reid is putting to0 much pressure on him to carry the offense. But who was he going to trust to carry the offense? Westbrook wasn't playing, and I'm not exactly comfortable with Lorenzo Booker being the main playmaker. But it's not like Jackson is dropping passes. He is fumbling the ball and making mental mistakes, and it HAS to stop.

Donovan McNabb really has to avoid throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball on key drives. Sometimes it looks like the Eagles are going to take over the game, but then McNabb throws a pick or coughs up the ball.

My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 17

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Victorino Powers the Phillies to a Victory in Game 2




Game two between the Phillies and Brewers has just ended 5-2 in favor of the Phils. Brett Myers pitched very well, giving up a slim two runs through seven strong innings. But Brett's bat may have had a bigger impact on the final score. Myers drew a walk from C.C. Sabathia in the second inning to put two runners on for Jimmy Rollins. Myers did a nice job of fighting off Sabathia. Rollins then walked. Victorino followed him up with a grand slam to give the Phillies 5-2.

C.C. Sabathia choked in this game. It's as simple as that. He gave up five runs in three and 2/3 innings. I know it was tough on Sabathia's arm to pitch four consecutive starts on short rest. But C.C. hasn't done well in the playoffs throughout his career. He has a 7.17 ERA in the postseason.

The Flying Hawaiian was the hero in this game, however. He drove in four of the Phillies five runs with a grand slam in the second inning. Victorino (upper left) sent a mythical blast over the wall in left field. Nobody in the park thought it was going over the fence when he hit it, but that line drive homer just kept carrying until it left the field of play.

Victorino batted second in tonight's game. In game one and during the latter part of the season, Victorino batted in the bottom of the order. But in tonight's game Charlie Manuel decided to switch Victorino with the struggling Jayson Werth, and boy did it pay off! He homered, and also doubled... twice.

Myers was the warrior in this game. He fought threw a jam in first inning when he loaded the bases with one out. He then walked in a run, but that was the only run he gave up in that inning. He got Corey Hart to ground in to a fortuitous double play to get out of the inning.

The Phillies now have a good chance to go to the NLCS, and there is no reason they shouldn't. Old reliable Jamie Moyer (16-7) will be going against unreliable Dave Bush (9-10). The Phillies have a real good opportunity to sweep these Brewers on Saturday night at Miller Park. If they could do that, their pitchers would get some much needed rest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Phils Take Game 1




The Phillies have just finished finishing off the Brewers, 3-1. Cole Hamels pitched a beauty of a game, allowing no runs through eight innings. He should have pitched the ninth, but Manuel took him out in favor of closer Brad Lidge. Lidge seems unable to pitch an inning without a ton of drama (there were runners on second and third with two outs). In my opinion, Hamels should have been left in.

Hamels was pitching superbly, giving up only two hits. He had only thrown 101 pitches through eight innings. What Uncle Charlie should have done was keep Hamels in but keep Lidge loose just in case Cole slipped. Lidge threw 30+ pitches and now will not be able to pitch tomorrow night.

But I don't know what the situation was. Maybe Hamels told Charlie he didn't want to pitch the ninth? I think Hamels has to tell Charlie that he needs to complete the game. Tell Charlie he will handle the rest.

The Phillies' offense looked incredibly weak against a average young pitcher (Yovani Gallardo) and a mediocre Brew Crew 'pen. Chase Utley's line drive in the third was dropped by center fielder Mike Cameron to drive in two runs. Gallardo walked in a run later in the inning.

Game 2 of the NLDS for the Phils will be tomorrow night. Brett Myers will be facing pitching- lord C.C. Sabathia. I think the "C.C." stands for "constant complete" for the complete games Sabathia throws practically weekly. Tomorrow will be a tough test.

Thome Comes Through




The Chicago White Sox will being playing baseball in October. Last night they beat the Minnesota Twins, 1-0. They won the one game playoff to make the playoffs. John Danks (White Sox) and Nick Blackburn (Twins) both pitched incredibly for young pitchers in this important game. The deciding run came in the 7th inning, when former Phillie Jim Thome launched into the haze in deep center. He was the hero for the heroic White Sox.

Ken Griffey Junior also made a nice play when he threw out Micheal Cuddyer from center field. Cuddyer would have been the first run of the game, but Junior made a very nice throw to nail him at the plate.

The White Sox will now be facing the AL East Division-winning Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lidge Wins Award but Burrell Hurting




Congratulations to Phillies closer Brad Lidge. He has won the 2008 Comeback Player of the Year Award. He deserved to, what with him being perfect and all. He has 41 saves in as many opportunities. You can't do better if your a closer (shut up K-Rod). he has done exactly what the Phillies have asked him to do: Not blow a save in the red pinstripes.

There is some alarming news for Phillies fans, however. Pat Burrell left practice early today, complaining of back pain. He reportedly took one batting practice swing, and the pain ensued. This is horrible news. Burrell is one of the Phils' top RBI machines, and he might not be able to go tomorrow afternoon in the first game against the Brewers. The Phillies' training staff will check in on his back tomorrow before the came, and see if he can go.

Here are some reactions to Lidge's Comeback Player of the Year Award from the Blogosphere:

Sports Fountainhead: Lidge Wins NL Comeback Player of the Year

The 700 Level: Brad Lidge Comeback Player of the Year

Baseball Digest Daily: Lee, Lidge 2008 Comeback Players

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Phillies 5 Keys to the Series




This will be a tough series for the Phillies. The Milwaukee Brewers are a talented team that definitely has the capability of beating the Phils. Here are five things the Phillies must do if they want to advance to the Championship Series (not in order of importance):

1. Take advantage of the Brewers weaker pitchers
This is an obvious one. The Phillies need to jump on whoever (Yovani Gallardo) starts for the Brew Crew in game one. Because the most dominant pitcher in baseball, C.C. Sabathia (upper left), will be awaiting the Phillies in game two. I know people say his arm is tired because he has been working on short rest, but let's not take a chance.

2. Hit with runners in scoring position
Another obvious one, but something the Phillies failed to do against the Rockies last postseason. They need their big bats (Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell) to drive in runs in the clutch. Rollins and Utley need to get on base to allow them to do that, however.

3.Cole needs to be on his game in game one and beyond
Hamels has been a little unpredictable this season, so he needs to be deadly consistent. As I said, a victory in game one is vital. Hamels needs to be at his best to shut down a powerful Brewers offense that includes Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.

4. Keep the Brewer hitters guessing
Hamels, Myers, and Moyer need to mix up the pitches against the Brewers powerful hitters. You have to throw changeup 3-2. Start off the at bat with a curveball. I don't care. Just don't let the Brewers know what's coming because, with most of the lineup, one swing of the bat can change the game.

5. Get the ball to Lidge
The bullpen needs to try its best to get to Lidge in the ninth unscathed. People will say "Lidge isn't perfect." Well, yes he is (make that 41 for 41). Use only the reliable relief pitchers like Madson and Romero.


Honorable Mentions

Don't use Rudy Seanez
For obvious reasons.

Use Matt Stairs
Because every useless fly ball he hits looks like a homer (I've never seen somebody swing so hard.) He could bring the Phillie fans back into the game if the Brewers start winning.

Win three out of the five games

If you can translate this, I will be amazed.





Eagles Suffer Loss

Watching the Eagles in the last two games was complete torture. McNabb didn't look good on Sunday night against a old and injured Bears D. That scared me and many other devout followers of the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed 25 passes out of 41 attempts.

The Eagles didn't deserve to win the game last night. They deserved to lose 24-20 to a mediocre Chicago team (and that's exactly what they did). They missed multiple chances to score a touchdown when they were in the red zone. They had first and goal from the one or two yard line, and they still didn't score that long-awaited touchdown. Sickening.

They made many mistakes. Desean Jackson had another "rookie moment" when he dropped a punt. He also didn't go after a punt (he let it bounce), and that pinned the Eagles deep into their own territory. He has been returning punts since his time at Cal, but he looks like he never even understood how to.

David Akers missed two kicks as well. When Akers was at his best, he would have nailed those two kicks and the Eagles would have won the game. I wouldn't trust Akers with a kick over 35 yards out, let a lone a long field goal to win an important playoff game.

That was a glimpse at what the Eagles offense is without the savior Brian Westbrook. They had no running game with Buckhalter. Without him, they literally had no running game because of a strange lack of ball carrier.

I am sorry to say that this team does not look like a playoff team. They make too many mistakes (usually at vital points in the game). They looked especially terrible in this game.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mets Collapse to Say Goodbye to Shea



The New York Mets have just eliminated themselves from playoff contention, in the last game at Shea Stadium no less! The Milwaukee Brewers will be the NL Wild Card team, not the Mets. The Phils will take on the Brewers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Mets have again failed to make the postseason. Boy, would I hate to be a Mets' fan right now! All signs pointed to the Mets making the playoffs somehow, but that was not to be. Their bullpen was their demise yet again, giving up two key Marlin homers. The Marlins won 4-2.

So the Phillies will be taking on the Brew Crew. I would rather have them take on the Dodgers, but the Brewers aren't that much better. One advantage the Phillies will have is Cole Hamels. Hamels will be able to start game one, while the Brewers ace (C.C. Sabathia) will not be able to pitch game one. No way he would pitch on two games rest.

The Phillies and Brewers both have powerful lineups. I think the Phillies may have a slight edge in this category. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are great hitters but they are streaky. Ryan Howard is streaking too. But to the Phillies delight, he is on a extremely hot streak. Don't forget about Chase Utley, J-Roll, and the surprising Jayson Werth.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hull City?



This is my first article on the Premier League (English soccer) this season but I will start writing many more. In case you didn't know, I follow the Premier League club Arsenal. I watched their debacle on television this morning on Fox Soccer Channel and it was downright disgusting for any fan of Arsenal.

First-place Arsenal was taking on a Hull City club fresh from promotion. Many experts had Arsenal beating Hull City by at least three goals, some said six wouldn't be out of range. The game was at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal has only lost one game since moving into the Emirates.

2-1 Hull City. That was the final score. Premier league titan Arsenal going down to Hull City. Hull City had been surprising, sprinting out to seventh place. They drew Liverpool at home as well. Do we have a sleeper on our hands?

Arsenal had so many chances to score late in the game. Kolo Toure and Robbie Van Persie both blew chances in the final minutes to seal the victory for Hull. Nobody had even scored against Arsenal at the Emirates this season. Yet Hull City goes and scores two goals without a second thought and get the three points.

I've seen Arsenal play this kind of game before, but not against so weak an opponent. Sometimes it seems as if Arsenal is lulled to sleep by its own play, thinking they will win the game easily. But then an underdog goes in and takes the game from right under their noses without them even stirring.

I hadn't even heard that much at all about Hull City since I've been following soccer. But I'm sure not going to forget them now.

NL East Champs!!!!!

The Phillies have just won their second consecutive NL East Title with their win earlier today. The Phillies will welcome October baseball once again. I was happy (but not surprised that the Phillies jumped out to an early lead. But the end of the game, now that was nerve racking!

Brad Lidge, thank god you got that final double play ball. I thought that ball was going to squirt through the middle and the National were going to take away the Phillies moment of glory. Jimmy Rollins stopped all that with his athletic play and toss to Utley, who then majestically threw the ball to the September hero Ryan Howard. And if he doesn't win his second MVP Award.

I had been checking the Mets-Marlins score all afternoon on ESPN.com, and I had been disappointed by the Mets victory. But that's all moot now. The Fightins' are IN.

Yes, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Pat the Bat, J-Roll and all the rest, you can now dream of a Fall Classic because I know everyone in Philly will. You must do better than you did in Colorado one year ago. A sweep equals failure.

Phillie fans (including me will not tolerate an early playoff exit. Last year we were just happy to still be playing but this year we want success in the postseason.

Let's Go Phils!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The End of the Millen "Error"

The Detroit Lions have finally fired team president Matt Millen. Millen made the Lions one of the most futile teams in American sports. He spent seven years ruining the Lions. The Lions are 31-84 during Millen's tenure.

Millen was criticized as one of the worst drafters in the NFL. For some reason, he believed that drafting talented receivers in the opening rounds would help his team succeed. You would think that a team of the Lions (lack of) caliber would draft a quarterback that they could build a winning team with. Millen drafted wideout Charles Rodgers with the second overall pick in the 2003 Draft. He then went on to pick Roy Williams in '04 and Calvin Johnson in '07.

The Detroit fans started to get restless (to say the lest) with Millen. Hundreds of fans brought signs to the games saying "Fire Millen." And with good reason, because the best record the Lions had with Millen was 5-11.

But still Millen stayed and lost, stayed and lost, and stayed and lost. If I were a Lions' fan, I would've questioned the sanity of the owner William Clay Ford. The Lions turned into one of the most notorious bottom-feeders in professional sports. They were on level with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, and the Tampa Bay Rays (until this season).

This may be the first step in the bettering of the Detroit Lions. No, they won't be good the rest of this season, or next season. or probably the next season after that. But they can't get much worst.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium






Tonight will be the last baseball game at Yankee Stadium. It is a sad day for baseball and its fans. I don't care if you hate the Yankees, like them, or just plain don't care about them. This stadium is arguably the most historic in the country (possibly the world). I had the pleasure of visiting Yankee Stadium just last month. It was my first (and last) time there. The pictures in this post are pictures I took at Yankee stadium.




Yankee Stadium was constructed in 1923 and redone in 1973. I'm not going to give you a entire history of the Stadium, but I will mention some things. The Eagles even had a great moment at the Stadium. They clinched the 1960 NFL Championship on Chuck Bendarik's layout of Frank Gifford at Yankee Stadium.







When you think of the kind of players that competed there, you'll be amazed. Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter have all called it home. I know that people say that it is not even the same stadium because of the rendition in 1973, but I don't believe that it is that different. I saw that home plate was moved like ten feet, but that doesn't matter.

If you've ever been to Yankee Stadium, you know why they are closing it down. The playing field is beautiful, but the inside is cramped and falling apart. When I visited the Stadium, I was stuck in the hallway inside the stadium for almost an hour. There is absolutely no parking there either. Another question that comes into people's mind is, "Why don't they just keep it there and let the Yankees move across the street?" Well, that also has to do with the parking. The Steinbrenners are going to turn it into a parking area.


Everyone who has ever visited Yankee Stadium will miss the majesty of it. Just the fact that you are watching a game on the same place that Babe Ruth and the other greats played is amazing. I love how the park is right in the middle of the Bronx. That's one thing I don't like about the Philadelphia sports complexes. They are away from everything in a desert of concrete, barren parking areas.


Goodbye and Goodnight Yankee Stadium. All Will Miss You.











Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jackson Better Learn

I'm sorry I haven't wrote about the Cowboy game but I just didn't have a chance earlier this week. Plus, I wanted to let it sink in for a few days before I wrote about it. It was one of the most exciting Eagles games in the last two seasons. The Eagles did look good in the game. McNabb just made a simple mistake on that fumble on a hand off to Westbrook.

But I didn't write this article to give a report of the game, I wanted to talk about Desean Jackson's touchdown blunder. People say, "It's just a rookie mistake." No, it's not a rookie mistake. If I was a rookie in the NFL, and in only my second game, I would make sure I got across that goal line before I even thought about celebrating. I don't see any other rookies making mistakes like that.

I was so infuriated by Jackson's antics that I might have benched him for the rest of the game if I was Andy Reid. I know he is their best receiver, but he has to learn that stupid moves like that will not be tolerated in the NFL (this isn't UCLA). Get that cocky smirk off your face Jackson, start playing the game like a professional, not a selfish child like a certain Cowboy wideout.

If I was Andy Reid I would have Jackson come into practice on Tuesday at 4:00am and tell him to sprint the entire field ten times. That might get the cockiness out of his thick cranium.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Phillies Alive in Both Races


"I want October!"

The Phillies have put themselves in good position to sweep the Brewers. They beat them in the first game of the double header 7-3, and are currently beating them 5-0 in the fourth inning. Here are the current standings: the Mets are have a 1.5 games lead on the Phillies in the division, and the Brewers have a 1 game lead in the wild card. If the Phillies were to win these game (knock on wood), they would be tied for the lead in the wild card and be just a game out in the division. Here we come Mets.


The Mets did lose today, a great sign for the Phillies. It seems as if everything is coming together for the Fightin' Phils. Ryan Howard is on fire, along with Jimmy Rollins. Cole Hamels pitched well the other night. Even Joe Blanton pitched well today.


Bring on October!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monday Night Showdown

The Eagles are taking a nice trip to Dallas to visit the Cowboys (Cowgirls if you prefer). I know it's only week two and the games don't mean too much, but the Eagles would be in good shape if they can come up with a win late Monday night in Dallas. This will be a tough and hard-fought game, as all games between these two teams are.

I find it funny that the Cowboys obnoxiously call themselves 'America's team'. Their top wideout is a psychopath (T. Booooo). Pacman Jones is a criminal, and so is Tank (full of guns) Johnson. Yes, because that really represents America. Cowboy fans may say the Eagles aren't the cleanest team in the world, but then again we don't call ourselves America's team.

All the papers in Philly are talking about what could have happened had T.O. stuck around. I'm just plain tired of it. He left Philly in 2006 and people are still talking about it like it happened last season. The amazing part about it is that Donavan McNabb is still entertaining the question. If I was McNabb I would give a dull Andy Reid answer. Something like, "We're only talking about this season."

There's a lot of hype surrounding this game (mostly because it's on ESPN, and you know what happens when they get a hold of something). But the question is who will win the game (oh yeah, there's a game going on in the middle of all this hype)? I'm nervous. I say the game is wide open, and which ever team that comes out better from the locker room will win. But that's like saying whoever wins will score more points. And, although I'll be rooting for the Eagles, I think it's a tossup.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Eagles Crush Rams




Everybody thought the Eagles were going to win. Oddly enough, they did win, blowing out the hapless St. Louis Rams 38-3. Donavan McNabb was outstanding, throwing for 361 yards and three touchdowns. But let's not waste time giving stats. If you want stats look at ESPN.com for the box score. Let's talk about Desean Jackson.

The birth of a star. Well, maybe not, but Desean Jackson (upper left) did have a great debut. He had over a hundred yards receiving. He had some AMAZING catches. I think he will emerge as the Eagles top wideout in the coming games. I know that Andy Reid doesn't believe in rookie wideouts, but he won't be able to deny Jackson.

McNabb wasn't to shabby either. He usually starts out the season very sharp. One thing I think Andy Reid does well is prepare his team for the season. The defense looked great, allowing only three points. Asante Samuel had a great debut as an Eagle. This team looks great.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

NFL Preview

Here is how the NFL season will shake out in my point of view (records next to team names):
Playoff teams in bold

NFC

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 11-5
3. New York Giants 10-6
4. Washington Redskins 8-8

NFC North

1.Minnesota Vikings 11-5
2.Green Bay Packers 9-7
3.Detroit Lions 6-10
4.Chicago Bears 5-11

NFC South

1.New Orleans Saints 12-4
2.Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
3.Carolina Panthers 8-8
4.Atlanta Falcons 3-13

NFC West

1.Seattle Seahawks 10-6
2.San Francisco 49ers 7-9
3.St. Louis Rams 4-12
4.Arizona Cardinals 4-12

AFC

AFC East

1. New England Patriots 13-3
2. New York Jets 10-6
3. Buffalo Bills 7-9
4. Dolphins 13-3

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6
2. Cleveland Browns 10-6
3. Cincinnati Bengals 6-10
4. Baltimore Ravens 3-13

AFC South

1. Jacksonville Jaguars 11-5
2. Indianapolis Colts 10-6
3. Tennessee Titans 6-10
4. Houston Texans 5-11

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos 12-4
2. San Diego Chargers 11-5
3. Kansas City Chiefs 5-11
4. Oakland Raiders 4-12


AFC Champion: Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC Champion: Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl Champion: Philadelphia Eagles

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NFC South Preview

Here are my predictions for the AFC South. For NFC East and AFC East predictions, scroll down.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints



2007 record: 7-9

Projected record: 12-4

Team overview: The New Orleans Saints should have a good team. Then again, they should have had a good season last year two. Drew Brees is a great pocket passer. They have two good backs in Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. They need Bush (upper left) to have a breakout season. Marques Colston is a great target for Brees. Jeremy Shockey is a nice addition at tight end.

The Saints greatly improved their defense, which was ranked 26th in the league last season. Scott Fujita was a tackling machine last season, recording 95 tackles. Jonathan Vilma is a good middle linebacker. The Saints hope rookie Sedrick Ellis can make a (positive) impact on the defensive line. Randall Gay should help a pass defense that was ranked 30th last year.


2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2007 record: 9-7

Projected record: 10-6

Team overview: Jeff Garcia led the Buccs to a playoff birth last year, and he very well might repeat his performance this year. Garcia is a proven winner. Even if he gets injured, the Buccs still have Luke McCown and Brian Griese. The Buccs are stacked at running back, with Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn, and Micheal Bennett.

The Buccs defense is as nasty as ever. Ronde Barber is still a great D-back. Their linebackers may be unmatched. Derrick Brooks recorded over 100 tackles last season and is at the top of his game. Barrett Ruud had 114 tackles last season.


3. Carolina Panthers

2007 record: 7-9

Projected record: 8-8

Team overview: I think Jake Delhomme is going to have a good year. But DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart are too inexperienced at running back. The Panthers will miss Steve Smith in two of those first three games he's suspended for. The toughies are at San Diego and at Minnesota. Although, Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett are still decent receivers. The offensive line is questionable.

Coach John Fox better hope that Julius Peppers can return to form. John Beason is a good linebacker. The rest of the defense is suspect.


4. Atlanta Falcons

2007 record: 4-12

Projected record: 3-13

Team overview: The Falcons will start rookie Matt Ryan at quarterback. Starting a rookie at quarterback, no matter who it is, isn't good. Their best backup is Chris Redman, another bad sign. They have unproven Micheal Turner at running back. Roddy White is an average wideout.

Keith Brooking and Lawyer Milloy are their only proven defensive players. 'Nough said.

AFC East Preview

Here are my prediction for the AFC East:

AFC East

1.New England Patriots

2007 record: 16-0

Projected record: 13-3


Team overview: The Patriots still have a very good team. They should easily win this division. Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the league. Randy Moss is the best wide receiver. Wes Welker lead the league in receptions last season. What more do I have to say. The Patriots offensive line may be the best in the league.


Their defense is aging quickly however. Tedy Bruschi is not the player he once was. Rodney Harrison is still one of the most feared safeties in the league, but how much longer can he still perform at a top level. Mike Vrabel is a tackling machine. Look for him to do the same this season.







2. New York Jets

2007 record: 4-12


Projected record: 10-6




Team overview: This team really struggled last season, but I think they can turn it around. Brett Farve (above) will play consistent enough if he can stay healthy. Running back Thomas Jones had a disappointing season last year, but he will better with the new-look offensive line. The Jets added Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca and Daimen Woody to the O-line. Lavernues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are good wide receivers.


The Jets also upgraded their defensive line. Calvin Pace (6 1/2 sacks last season) and Kris Jenkins (2 1/2 sacks) will get to the quarterback in a hurry. Free safety Kerry Rhodes will emerge as a top defensive back this season.



3. Buffalo Bills

2007 record: 7-9


Projected record: 7-9


Team overview: The Bills would be a playoff team if they had a decent quarterback. But since they're going with Trent Edwards, they'll finish below .500. The rest of the offense is pretty good. Marshawn Lynch had a breakout rookie season, and should carry the offense this season. Lee Evans is their only good wideout.

The Bills acquired linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who is excellent rushing the passer. The Bills overall defense is average.



4. Miami Dolphins


2007 record: 1-15


Projected record: 3-13


Team overview: The Dolphins lost their two top players (Jason Taylor and Zack Thomas), so how are they going to get two more wins than last year. Well, they definitely get an upgrade at quarterback with Chad Pennington. They have a good 1-2 punch at running back, with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. If both those injury-prone go down early, the Dolphins will be lucky to win a game. Ted Ginn is their top wideout, that is NOT a good thing.


Joey Porter is their only proven defensive player. The rest of the defense is a bit shaky, to say the least.

Monday, September 1, 2008

NFC East Preview


Over the next couple of days I will preview each division in the NFL. I have predicted EVERY NFL game this season and have projected each team's record. Today, I will preview the NFC East division.


NFC East


1. Philadelphia Eagles


Last season's record: 8-8


Projected record: 12-4


Team overview: 12-4 may be a bit too high for our Eagles, but I think we can pull it off. The NFC East is by far the toughest division in the East. Donovan McNabb is healthy and ready to unload on opposing defenses. Brian Westbrook is arguably the best running back east of the Mississippi. The wide receiving core is below average, but every other aspect of the team is above. The defense is excellent. I think the young linebackers will mature into fine young players this season. Brian Dawkins (upper right) can be dominant if he can stay healthy. Their cornerback depth is unmatched. Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel, and Lito Shepard will give the opposing offense headaches.



2. Dallas Cowboys


Last season's record: 13-3


Projected record: 11-5


Team overview: The Dallas Cowboys won this division last season and will likely contend for a Super Bowl again this season. Tony Romo is a solid quarterback, but can struggle in big games (or be distracted by Jessica Simpson). T.O. is a top wideout and Jason Witten is a good tight end. Marion Barber is set to have a big season, and rookie Felix Jones will help him carry that load. Dallas' defense is as stingy as ever with the pick up of Zach Thomas. He will join DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, and Terrence Newman on the defensive side of the ball. Why won't the Cowboys finish as well as they did in 2007. I think it's because they have too many distractions. I mean c'mon, T.O., Pacman, Tank Johnson, Jessica Simpson, owner Jerry Jones' constant pressure. That doesn't mean they won't make the playoffs.


3. New York Giants


Last season's record: 10-6


Projected record this season: 10-6


Team overview: Most people are underestimating the defending Super Bowl champs. I think they will do as well as the did last season even without key players like Osi Umenyiora, Jeremy Shockey, and Micheal Strahan. Eli Manning will mature as a quarterback and will not throw as many interceptions. Brandon Jacobs isn't a top back, but he is still very good. He plays a bruising style of football, which causes him to get injured a lot. Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and company make up a fine receiving core. The Giants did the right right thing in trading Shockey, but Eli will miss his big body darting across the field. On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Tuck is their best pass rusher. He recorded an even 10 sacks last season. The defense will suffer because Umenyiora and Strahan are missing.


4. Washington Redskins


Last season's record: 9-7


Projected record: 8-8


Team overview: In most divisions, 8-8 would put you near the top. But in the NFC East, it nets you last place. I think Jason Campbell will have a good season, but he is clearly not a top quarterback. Clinton Portis will excel if he can stay healthy. Sanatana Moss is a decent receiver, but I believe he is overrated. Chris Cooley is an underrated tight end, however. Their defense is good but was devastated at hearing that Jason Taylor may miss some time with an injury.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Phillies Back in Second

After last night's thrilling win, you'd think the Phillies would be inspired to best the Mets yet again. But no, the game has just ended in a 6-3 defeat of the Phils, to put them back in second place in the NL East by a mere half a game.

Lasts night's 13 inning marathon was a great game to be a Phillie fan. The Mets absolutely pounded Jamie Moyer and jumped out to a seven run lead. But then Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins cracked a pair of homers to chip a way at the lead. The agony on the Mets fans' faces said it all. They had seen this game many times before. They knew that no lead was safe with that train wreck they call a bullpen.

Tonight, it was the Phillies bullpen who coughed up a lead. Mind you, it wasn't a seven run lead, but a one run lead. Who does Uncle Charlie put in to protect that lead? None other than Rudy Seanez. As soon as I saw him warming up in the pen, I yelled at the T.V., "Please, anybody but him!" And that's when the Mets tied the ballgame. Lidge gave up the other three runs in the eighth.

GO HOME METS FANS. That's what most Phillie fans were saying at the end of this game. The T.V. camera kept showing all these Mets fans scattered all over the park, leading cheers and taunting the Phils. We, Phillies fans, don't really care if Mets fans come to our stadium. Hey, it's a free country. But we don't want you cheering (or starting cheers), standing, clapping, or really make any sudden movements. We don't want to know your there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Major League Baseball Will Use Instant Replay

Major League Baseball will use instant replay starting this Thursday. It will only be used on close home run balls. Bud Selig will officially announce it later today.

This has been a controversial issue in baseball for the better part of the season. I think it is a good idea. At first, I had mixed feelings about it. But since it's only going to be used to determine home runs, I'm O.K. with it.

Only rarely does an umpire misjudge a home run ball. It's probably happened only three or four times this season, and I don't remember any happening in a clutch situation. But Major League Baseball would rather be safe than sorry because it could decide whether a team makes the playoffs as the season winds down.

I don't think instant replay should be used to determine anything besides a home run, however. No, replay should not be used to check whether a player caught the ball or not. No, replay should not be used to judge whether a player is safe or out. And (obviously) replay shouldn't call balls and strikes. I think if replay was implemented to check those things, the human (otherwise known as umpire) element would be taken from the game.

What I don't understand is why this is suddenly happening in the middle of the season. It would be more sensible to start replay in the playoffs or next season. I guess Major League Baseball doesn't want fans (or more importantly owners) blaming them if their team gets eliminated from the playoffs on a controversial home run call. You know, Major League Baseball has been dwindling its thumbs on this issue for years.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

U.S. Basketball Redeems Itself

The U.S. men's basketball team has finally done it. They beat Spain in a surprisingly exciting game. Dwayne Wade was the leading scorer for the Americans, collecting 27 points off the bench. Kobe Byrant also scored 20 points for Team USA.

No, I didn't stay up 'till 2:30am to watch the game. I watched the replay this morning, and I was surprised by how close the game was. The final score was 118-107, but the game was closer than that.

Spain was within two as late as the fourth quarter, but the United States just overpowered them in the end. I bet the whole U.S. men's basketball team is relived that the could capture the gold in Beijing, after getting the bronze in Athens.

This team has really surprised me. No, I wasn't surprised that they won the gold. I was surprised by the amount of teamwork they exhibited. This wasn't the typical U.S. basketball team. Each player had a role and each player focused on fulfilling that role. The typical U.S. basketball is full of star players trying to be the hero.

It was almost like a home game for the Americans. the Chinese were supporting the U.S. team, mostly because they were amazed by the NBA stars. Another reason might have been the controversial picture that was taken of the Spanish basketball team. All the players posed for a picture, in which they stretched out their eyes, trying to make fun of Asians.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fantasy Football

     Last night I participated in a fantasy football draft with some of my buddies.  I want you to rate my team on a scale of 1-10.  Alright, here's my team:

Starters (in order of round):
RB  Marshawn Lynch  (1st round pick- 10th overall)

RB  Frank Gore  (2nd round pick- 11th overall)

QB  Tony Romo  (forgive me Eagles) (3rd round pick- 30th overall)

WR  Chad Johnson  (4th round- 31st overall)

RB  Micheal Turner  (5th round pick- 50th overall)

WR  Roy Williams  (6th round pick- 51st overall)

TE  Tony Gonzalez  (7th round pick- 70th overall)

Defense-  Seattle  (12th round pick- 111 overall)

Kicker-  Shaun Suisham  (15th round pick- 150th overall)

Bench:

WR Calvin Johnson  (8th round- 71st overall)
WR Chris Chambers  (9th round- 90th overall)
RB  Kevin Smith  (10th round- 91st overall)
RB  Felix Jones  (11th round- 11oth overall)
QB  Jake Delhomme  (13th round- 130th overall)
TE  Todd Heap  (14th round- 131st overall)

     I think I have a pretty good team.  My bench is not great, especially not the two rookie running backs (Smith and Jones).  But maybe one of those guys will be this year's Marshawn Lynch.  So, I want to know what YOU think of my team.  Rank it 1-10.
 
 

Jackson Delights

     DeSean Jackson is certainly making a good first impression on Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles' coaches.  The Eagles' beat the Tom Brady-less Patriots 27-17 last night and the star (and surprise) of the game was Jackson.  The Eagles' rookie receiver returned a punt 77 yards for a score.  

     Don't tell DeSean Jackson that he's only going to make a impact on the Eagles as a returner this season.  The man's also a fine receiver.  He caught four passes for 67 yards and he only played half the game.  Jackson was just blowing past the Patriots first team defense with blinding speed.

     I have high expectations for Jackson.  But then again, so do most Eagles fans.  Jackson looks like he can be a great return man.  Critics say Jackson is too small to become a real impact receiver (Jackson's listed at 6-0 but he is about two-to-three inches smaller that that.)  You know what I say to that: Watch the man run.  Jackson won't need to make catches over defensive backs, because he'll be able to get open on his own.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Myers Looking Good


     Yes, Brett Myers was in Triple A not too long ago.  Yes, he was the worst Phillies pitcher in the first half of the season (sorry, Adam Eaton).  But now Myers (right) has the second best ERA since the All-Star break.  The first in ERA since the All-Star break, the one and only C.C. Sabathia.

     I went to the game on Wednesday night and Myers pitched a beauty of a game.  A complete game shutout.  Yeah, it was against the dreadful Nationals, but it's much better than the Myers of April or May.

     "Defense, who needs defense."  That was the motto of Wednesday night's game.  Two of the errors were simply horrible.  Pat Burrell completely misjudged a fly ball to left field and the ball flew over the befuddled outfielder.  The other one was committed the Nationals.  Shortstop Ronnie Belliard went back in shallow left to field a fly ball, only to see the ball bounce right off his glove.  Another horrendous defense play (that wasn't ruled an error) was a botched underhand flip by the defensive challenged Ryan Howard.  Howard was completly off target with a flip to the pitcher Myers (the man couldn't hit the Green Monster with a throw from 20 yards away.)

     Alright let's get back to Brett (second half wonder) Myers.  I think it was Shane Victorino who said that having Myers pitching well was the same as getting a good pitcher at the trade deadline.  I couldn't disagree more.  Myers was expected to be a quality player at the start of the season and only to find out that he was completely ineffective.  So, really, he has been a disappointment and, frankly, the Phillies would be sitting on first place right now had Myers pitched even average at the beginning.

     But Myers should (if he keeps pitching well)  win the Comeback Player of the Year Award.  Myers has a minuscule 1.93 ERA along with three wins and only one loss since the All-Star Game.  Opposing batters are batting .200 against him in the same time period.  Amazing turnaround.   

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flyers Interested in Sundin?

A recent rumor has the Flyers interested in veteran center Mats Sundin. Well, GM Paul Holmgren made things clear when he said this on the Flyers' website, "If he decides to play, then we're interested." Holmgren also said that it would be hard to fit Sundin under the salary cap, and that the Flyers wouldn't let a part of their promising future go to aquire Sundin.

Mats Sundin is a great player, and probably a future hall-of-famer. He is getting old however (37), and he has not made a decision on whether he should come back for a fourteenth NHL season. Sundin had 32 goals last season to go along with 46 assists. For his career, Sundin has 555 goals.

A report on a a Toronto radio station said that the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers would be Sundin's first choices on where to play next season.

If Sundin does come to Philly, it would be the first time he played for an NHL team located in the U.S. I hope the Flyers can lock up Sundin to give them another proven player. Most of their players are young and it would be good to have a veteran leader like Sundin in the locker room.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Remembering Why We Love the Olympics

As the Beijing Olympics roll on, I think it would be appropriate to remember why everyone is so interested. It's not about Micheal Phelps (or his gold medals) or the Redeem Team. One of the reasons is because it brings the world together. But that's not the only reason.

Why are people watching the Olympics? Most people think there is a easy answer to this questions. Simply, because it's the Olympics. Well that's not a good enough answer. Nobody watches Micheal Phelps in the World Championships. And even after these Olympics, nobody will watch him in any competition until London. Track and field does get better ratings than swimming outside the Olympics, but the ratings go through the roof for the Olympics.

So why do people watch these events that would mean nothing to them three out of every four years. Not many people care about gymnastics or swimming or track and field or team handball. I think people feel that they can relate to it. Anybody can run. You can live in the farthest reaches of the world and still have the dream of being a sprinter.

I could walk down to the public pool right now and swim. It seems so easy (when in reality, swimming that fast is hard). The rules are so simple. First one to touch the wall wins or first one to cross the line first. It makes baseball seem complicated.

That makes me think of the extreme pressure put on these athletes, especially if they're from the host nation. You have the weight of your country on you. And if you make one error (how many times have you heard on NBC, "that little hop on the landing will bring a three-tenths point deduction") you have failed. You train you whole life for one race or one floor exercise. And if you have one bad showing, you are viewed as a disappointment. Even if you win gold, nobody will care about you until the next Olympiad (if you good enough to qualify.)

So think about that when you watch the Olympics tonight.................