Monthly Archives: November 2017

Time for the Inevitable

If you have looked through any of my Flyers pieces, I would hope that you would have retracted information that helped you remember how strongly I support Ron Hextall running this team in his smart looking glasses. I understand this year, and even past this year isn’t going to go as smoothly as we all hope and dream it will. We aren’t paying any free agents, we aren’t trading for any proven veterans, and we are relying on the majority of team growth to come in house. In the NHL, that’s the right way to do it, but no doubt one of the tougher ways to go about building your hockey team. In the past, we would make a trade to shake up the lineup and send a message, but for far too long, management abused this tactic and left us empty on the farm, having to survive with scraps and whatever the good, not contending great nucleus could give us. What else can we do to right the ship? It’s obvious you idiot, we fire Dave Hakstol!

Last year, I was almost too patient. I knew making the playoffs would have been like finding a date with a solid 8. As a solid 4, I’m sure it’s possible to land that, but I know a lot of things need to happen for things to go right. This year, the Flyers aren’t as ugly. They are younger, and stronger at every position. I understand there is going to a rough patch here and there, but I don’t want my head coach to justify them by counting how many points we got when we lost.

I am the one who’s supposed to be counting points, not you Dave. I don’t want my hockey coach telling his players it’s okay to lose in overtime, I want him making threats on his life.

Last year, I let Hakstol sitting Konecny for several games slide. This year, he still hasn’t figured out how to use his players effectively. Sam Morin has only played one game. He has put Brandon Manning and Valtteri Filppula on the ice at the same time in overtime. Knowing we were playing a fast paced team in Pittsburgh, Hakstol decided to sit Jordan Weal, and add Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise to the lineup. Our top guys do their job, but once their duty is done, there is no spark throughout the rest of the lineup and we have blown wayyy too many third period leads. By the time the game is in overtime, forget it. It’s like watching Remember the Titans, only in the end we completely forget about the titans and we lose.

If Dave Hakstol is going to continue to sit some of the better, younger players instead of helping them see through their slumps, fail to succeed in challenging calls, and fail to put the best guys on the ice, I don’t want him. I haven’t seen any signs of him changing, so it’s time to approach the inevitable and let him go.

Written by Mike Cloran

State of the Union Address on the Philadelphia Eagles

As someone who pretends to have their finger on the pulse of Eagles Nation, I have to say the past few years have been a roller coaster. Between the Dream Team, Chip “Please Fire Me” Kelly, and the seemingly rocky drafts, the fanbase’s heartbeat has felt like that coked up geriatric Miami coach’s. Today, I can confidently state it actually still feels like that, but in a way that is somehow good.

I vaguely remember a story, either from a middle school field trip or a half-watched National Treasure rerun on AMC, about Ben Franklin and whether the sun he saw was rising or setting. Everyone not named Skip Bayless knows in their bones that we’re on the way up. What I’m here to tell you isn’t just that it’s rising, it’s that no matter where you look it should be melting your goddamn face off.

On the side of the ball that wins championships, we have a different young guy step up in our secondary weekly and a linebacking corps that consistently outperforms through injuries. Any of our D-Linemen could hitch a wagon with an Irish Catholic family in it to their backs and walk the Oregon Trail, and they’re all signed until The Rock takes office in 2020.

When my pants aren’t moving at the thought of Cox or Graham sending Eli on his personalized short bus to retirement, it’s because I’m occupied with our receiver depth-chart looking more like a Belmont Stakes lineup than what last year seemed like a half dozen Vince Papaple knockoffs. As tremendously disappointing as Peters going down was, its shown the quality of an offensive line that’s still a top 10 unit. There were some gripes about a lack of identity at running back… and then Papa Howie goes shopping and gets us a Pro-Bowl caliber back for 8 new footballs and a value pack of athletic tape from Modells. We have so many guys running the ball when we’re closing out games that Michael Nutter could get a few carries and I wouldn’t notice.

All of the above is overshadowed by the six foot four inch god-fearing angel otherwise known as Carson Wentz. In a way, he’s everything our previous signal callers weren’t. Where Bradford couldn’t drive the ball down the field, Wentz will fearlessly throw it over that mountain range you’re pointing to. Where Foles stumbled around the pocket like a drunk arthritic sloth, this guy is making missed sacks look like a Harry Houdini highlight reel. And where I can’t think of a reason but am sure that Mark Sanchez is going to hell, Carson Wentz has unquestioned line cutting privileges at the pearly gates. Barely a year removed from his first NFL start in the middle of what we thought was a rebuild and he’s a handful of downfield dimes away from having the keys to the city.

When the Birds are winning, there’s a certain air around Philly on the weekends. So go to the games, get kicked out of Xfinity Live, and fall asleep on the SEPTA line you somehow made it back to. Get your free Dunkin’ coffee on Monday and sit on the toilet for 20 minutes. Maybe even secure the receipts for those dress shirts your Aunt Denise bought you on Black Friday for those job interviews you don’t have, because they “might not fit” and plane tickets to Minneapolis on February 4th aren’t getting any cheaper.

Written by John Renzi

College Basketball Preview

College Basketball is right around the corner and nobody really will give a shit until March hits. If you aren’t one of those people and love watching from day 1, thank god. You probably aren’t reading this though. Anyways, November 10th we get to start another journey of the craziest sports league out there. As they say “College Basketball: Where the unexpected becomes the ordinary”. So I can’t wait to see what we have in store and on the shelves this year. Who makes the jump this season? Who takes the dump this season? Go ahead and take a look.

Top 25:

  1. Duke– Five potential All-Americans on the floor for Duke this year. All about if Coach K can get them to gel together. Should be fun until they need to substitute.
  2. Arizona– Returning potential Wooden Award winner Allonzo Trier, along with maybe the best recruiting class this year, this should be the year Sean Miller gets his first Final Four appearance.
  3. Wichita State– Led by head coach Gregg Marshall, and returning everybody, Wichita State looks to own the state of Kansas in college basketball this year.
  4. Kansas– Devonte Graham looks to have a major breakout year and give Kansas their 156th Big 12 Championship.
  5. Villanova– With the loss of Hart and Jenkins, Villanova looks to Jay Wright to develop his senior-less team (besides the white bench dudes).
  6. Michigan State– As Tom Izzo actually tried to get Bridges out of college, he for some reason chose to stay which I love. Obviously a dumb decision, but he might just want to enjoy the college basketball (best league) days.
  7. Saint Mary’s– If you liked basketball in the 1930’s, this team is for you. Emmett Narr and Jock Landale attempt to run the West this year and bring back Delly’s Gaels.
  8. Cincinnati– Bringing in the best transfer in college basketball, Cane Broome, Cincy expects to make a jump and bring entertainment to the offensive side.
  9. North Carolina– Maybe if Joel Berry never lost in 2k, I would have them ranked a little higher. Expect Roy to throw his jacket a couple times this year as it will be difficult to find his team this year. 
  10. Notre Dame– Big Bonzie in the frontcourt will cause bad matchups for opposing teams. Watch out for the Irish.
  11. West Virginia– Press Virginia brings back their backcourt and that’s all they need with Huggins in charge.
  12. USC– I really wanted to rank this team higher as they bring in a Duke transfer (Thornton) this year and return stars Metu, Melton, and McLaughlin but I like them right where they are.
  13. Florida– Injuries in the frontcourt may slow down Florida this year but fired up Mike White coaching will keep this team on the radar.
  14. Oklahoma– Oklahoma brings in the 23rd (best) recruit this year in Trae Young as he will make the splash this year. Potentially the best shooter we will see on a college basketball floor… ever.
  15. Kentucky– Calipari will struggle with this team as he didn’t land six top ten recruits this year.
  16. Seton Hall– Returning three star players, Seton Hall will be really good this year. Not much else to say.
  17. Virginia– With the best coach in college basketball, no way this team falls out of the top 25. Expect a Kyle Guy breakout season.
  18. SMU– Bringing in high-scoring transfer McMurray, SMU looks to repeat being a good team season after season in the American conference.
  19. Northwestern– Bryant McIntosh will steal the show this year and bring them to their 2nd tourney appearance.
  20. Minnesota– With the non-cheating Pitino coaching, Minnesota brings back a solid portion of the team this season and looks to make a leap.
  21. Gonzaga– They don’t have the best looking team this year but it just doesn’t feel right if Gonzaga wasn’t good. Expect Tillie and Hachimura to breakout this year.
  22. Purdue– The big Haas looks to tower over all big men this season and fill in for Biggie Swanigan.
  23. Texas A&M– Robert Williams returning makes this team worth watching this year.
  24. Xavier– Bluiett looks to make his name and get buckets for the Musketeers this year
  25. Miami– Larranaga looks to hype up his great, great grandchildren this year and make another tourney push.

Still good: TCU, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, Missouri, Baylor

Teams to watch out for: Rhode Island, Temple, Marquette, Alabama, St. Bonaventure

Not there year: Louisville, UCLA, Michigan

Deep Sleepers: Oakland, Middle Tennessee, UT Arlington, Harvard

 

All-American Teams

All-American First Team: Allonzo Trier (Arizona), Devonte Graham (Kansas), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s)

All-American Second Team: Trae Young (Oklahoma), Joel Berry (North Carolina), Grayson Allen (Duke), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Robert Williams (Texas A&M)

All-American Third Team: Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Landry Shamet (Wichita State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Marvin Bagley (Duke), Michael Porter (Missouri)

 

All-Conference Teams

ACC First Team: Joel Berry* (UNC), Kyle Guy (Virginia), Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Marvin Bagley (Duke)

Pac 12 First Team: Jordan McLaughlin (USC), Allonzo Trier* (Arizona), DeAnthony Melton (USC), Reid Travis (Stanford), DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)

Big 12 First Team: Devonte Graham* (Kansas), Trae Young (Oklahoma), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Vladimir Brodziansky (TCU), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas)

Big 10 First Team: Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern), Anthony Cowan (Maryland), Miles Bridges* (Michigan State), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) Isaac Haas (Purdue)

Big East First Team: Jalen Brunson* (Villanova), Marcus Howard (Marquette), Kelan Martin (Butler), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)

American First Team: Cane Broome (Cincinnati), Landry Shamet* (Wichita State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Obi Enechionyia (Temple), Tacko Fall (UCF)

Atlantic 10 First Team: Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure), Shavar Newkirk (Saint Joe’s), E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island), Justin Tillman (VCU), Peyton Aldridge* (Davidson)

SEC First Team: Chris Chiozza (Florida), Colin Sexton (Alabama), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Michael Porter (Missouri), Robert Williams* (Texas A&M)

Mid-Major First Team: Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Giddy Potts (Middle Tennessee), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s), Mike Daum (South Dakota State)

Wooden Award Winner: Allonzo Trier

Coach of the Year: Gregg Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Pat Cloran

Remembering the Doc

It’s so weird feeling pain about a man you never knew, but the truth is Roy Halladay meant more to us than we could have possibly thought. Seeing the news on twitter today just flat out sucked. Just like Cory Lidle, Roy Halladay died in a plane just after getting his pilots license. Cole Hamels was a great Phillie, but Roy Halladay is without a doubt the most dominant pitcher I have ever seen. Other than the 2008 World Series, Roy Halladay accounted for just about every other important milestone attached to the Phillies in the best era of baseball we probably ever had. The Four Aces..I mean he was the clear #1 on one of the best pitching staffs of all time.

As sports fans, we like talented players, but we love guys with swagger, confidence, and grit. The Doc had that, and it was almost a guaranteed dub when he walked out onto the mound.

I mentioned grit, and yeah…this dude is first ballot in the grit hall of fame. Even when the guy started to decline in his mid thirties, you could just tell he was doing absolutely everything he could to try and contribute. In that rough 2013 season, he scratched and crawled his way back to the mound after shoulder surgeries and a tough battle with the flu, even pitching one day when he had a fever high enough worthy of hospitalization. He left no stone untouched with whatever he did. Throughout his entire career he kept in contact with a sports psychologist, and he worked out a lot.

“I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said “No I just finished my workout” I knew right then- he was the real deal”  – Chase Utley

I’ll never forget where I was for both his perfect game and the no hitter against the Reds in the playoffs. The perfect game came out of nowhere. I was hosting a viewing party for game 1 of the 2010 Cup Finals in my backyard and just remember my dad coming outside and giving me updates by the inning. By the time it was the 6th, it became a constant back and forth of both games. Even though the Flyers lost, it was one of the nights I will always remember vividly.

The worst part about all of this is the family. I mean everything you hear about him as a father, friend, coach, and human being just make this so much harder. I just hope his family knows Roy lived life as close to perfect that you can live it. I mean even right now, and tonight, he’s bringing back so many good times and goosebumps to Philadelphia fans who are watching his highlights over and over again on social media and the news. He is one of the best baseball players to wear the pinstripes, and the Docs legend will live on.

R.I.P Doc.

Written by Mike Cloran