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Friday, August 13, 2010

Phils Rally, Eagles Offer a Glimpse, Sixers Take Steps Backwards

I thought today would be a quick post with some early thoughts on the Eagles, and I’ll get to them in a minute. Try to contain yourselves. But I’m still coming off the high of actually being at last night’s amazing comeback by the Phillies, and the Sixers have made some news.

Phils Rally Passed Dodgers

About this time yesterday (as I type) I was wondering if I was even going to get to go to the Phillies game. In fact, watching the rain come down, I was wondering if I even wanted to go. With the Dodgers not returning to the east coast after the game for the rest of the season, I was dreading a potential long rain delay or two with another weak Joe Blanton pitching performance as the reward.

Blanton didn’t disappoint, but luckily neither did the Phillies’ bats or the weather. On a night where the heat finally seemed to be relenting, the Phillies thrilled what was left of the crowd by storming back from a 9-2 deficit.

To be honest, it looked like a rain delayed game that resumed after a couple of hours by the time the Dodgers tacked on three runs to add to their 4-run lead going into the inning. We had my nephew with us, and I have to admit we might have buckled if the Fightens’ hadn’t shown signs of life in the eighth. He was getting a bit crabby. (Ahhh, good to see my traits will live on in some ways.)

The Phils came to life in the bottom of the inning, matching the Dodgers 3-spot. Honestly, my main thought was that if they had only not given up the runs in the top of the inning we would have had an exciting ninth. Although Charlie Manuel coming out and GETTING A BALK CALL against Ronald Belisario to move Jason Werth into scoring position would have made it worth staying all by itself. When does a manager ever actually win an argument? My brother and I both thought he was just looking to get tossed.

The ninth was just incredible. The fans were had warmed up on Torre when he argued against the balk, and they carried it over to the relievers for the Dodgers, especially their closer, Jonathan Broxton, who never recorded an out. They even broke out the "beat LA" chant. When Ben Francisco’s grounder went through late-game replacement Casey Blake’s legs, the Phillies had the break every great comeback needs. I’m still a little hoarse from screaming like crazy, and even I had to get to my feet when Ruiz slammed the game-winner off the wall.

For me, it will be an all-timer in games I attended.

Sixers Raise Prices on “Good” Games

Phil Jasner confirmed what at least one caller to sports talk radio stated earlier in the week – the Philadelphia 76ers have raised single ticket prices on the home games versus the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. In other words, fans get to pay more on the two occasions that people will actually want to enter the Wells Fargo Center (or whatever the hell it’s called this week) to watch basketball. Of course, the Sixers have no intention of lowering prices when the drek of the NBA – well, the other drek that doesn’t play for the home team – comes to town.

This is just one more slap in the face to the fans. Just wait until they put the good games on pay-per-view television – as if that’s not what all television is now anyway. Yes, it’s wrong, it’s unfair, and we can all complain all day long.

Unfortunately, it’s a waste of time because we all know those two games are the only guaranteed sellouts on the schedule.

The one point that is worth making is that the Sixers have managed to put the brakes on the public relations momentum that they were just starting to build this summer. If management couldn’t foresee that, I’m not real confident about their ability to foresee their needs on the court.

Sixers hire Rod Thorn

Remember when the Sixers almost moved to New Jersey? Well, apparently the franchise never got over its love for The Garden State.

Ed Stefanski has done such a stellar job as general manager that the Sixers’ brass has decided to hire his former boss as his new boss. Rod Thorn is the new president of the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers. Thorn and Stefanski last worked together to build the New Jersey Nets team into what they are today.

That’s the Nets team that had a better chance of winning last year’s NBA Draft Lottery than the Sixers because they had a worse record.

I pay very little attention to the Flyers, but this is classic Ed Snider. He changes hockey coaches incessantly, but never fires the old one. He just finds jobs for them within the organization because he’s comfortable with them personally. It’s a joke, and so is this move.

Stefanski has been atrocious, so instead of actually firing him and getting a new general manager, the Sixers decide to hire more of the former Nets’ brain trust to work together. When does that sound like a good idea?

It’s the same old Ed Snider.

Finally, a Glimpse of the Eagles

The Eagles begin putting a weekly practice on television tonight, which is otherwise known as the NFL pre-season. There’s really nothing to say about it yet, but I’m practically giddy every time I realize I get to watch a regular, drop back quarterback on the Philadelphia Eagles as their regular starter for the first time in my adult life. I’m talking about a guy everyone fully expects to be here for years.

We basically went from Randall Cunningham to Donovan McNabb, with a few hopefuls and has-beens in between. Cunningham and McNabb were two of the flakiest damn guys I ever saw, insecure as hell and completely misused in the west coast style of offense.

Just hearing Kevin Kolb talk is a breath of fresh air. He just answers questions without a bunch of whack-job B.S. or the passive aggressive stuff McNabb offered.

It’s early, and talk about the offensive line and the defense scares me a little. But I’m excited about the Eagles for the first time in a few years. It’s not an official prediction yet, but I smell 10 wins this season.

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