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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Week-in-Review: Utley vs. Rollins, No Mayor’s Cup love, Not-so “Sweet Caroline,” more

          Alright, so technically it’s an 8-day Week-in-Review. I’m trying to gear back up to posting five days a week – while still writing something other than a sports blog on a regular basis – as the football season approaches. (Finally, the football season approaches!)

          Here we go:
·       Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet was the first I saw to report (on Twitter) that Chase Utley had taken “ground balls at third . . . to see if it would be option down road. Will do it again.”  Later, Leslie Gudel‏ tweeted that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “says he talks to Chase a lot about team’s future and Utley said ‘Can I play third base?’ Ruben ‘Can you?’, Utley ‘I don’t know can I?’” I’ll admit I have a “man crush” on Utley, but let’s be clear. Utley asks if he can change positions, going to a more difficult spot to field, to help fill a hole on the team. Jimmy Rollins mopes if he’s batting lower in the lineup, something the team would benefit from if it was done permanently. Figure it out.

·       As I was getting ready to post, Jimmy Rollins did it again. No he didn’t just pop-up. He popped-up and didn’t run. Again. And the Mets dropped the ball, but Mr. Cool only made it to first base instead of getting to second. Because he didn’t run. Again. At least this time Charlie Manuel benched him immediately. Like I said, figure it out.
·       I love the fact that the new ownership of the Sixers is doing everything it can to distance itself from the team’s former role as the redheaded stepchild of Ed Snider. With the new radio deal starting this fall for the Sixers and the Flyers on 97.5, I was curious if the Sixers would be bumped to The Fanatic’s AM outlet when the two teams played on the same night. Sixers’ CEO, Adam Aron, assured me via twitter that would not be the case, saying, “On Sixers/Flyers conflict dates, 76ers will air on 97.5 FM the Fanatic.” Later, I confirmed via e-mail with the Flyers a tweet from @phillyfanzone, and it turns out the hockey team will stay on FM on 93.3 WMMR when the two teams play on the same night. Aron didn’t respond to the secondary question of whether or not the play-by-play for Sixers games would sync with the TV broadcast for non-Comcast viewers. The Fanatic’s twitter account did not reply to the same question.

·       Consider this my annual complaint that the Temple vs. Villanova football game, the Mayor’s Cup, is relegated to ESPN 3 (online). Considering all of the other local programming that makes its way onto television, it’s just sad that not one station can air could really be a nice Philadelphia event. Channel 6 will be airing the fourth preseason game of the Eagles, which means absolutely nothing and probably won’t see a single recognizable starter play, but we can’t get the Mayor’s Cup televised.

·       Roger Goodell once promised to do something about the quality of the NFL preseason. This week Robert Griffith III, the rookie quarterback who will be starting for the Washington Redskins, didn’t play a snap in the team’s preseason finale. The Eagles-Jets game starts at 6:30 tonight. D’ya think they just want to get it over with? This year the regular season starts less than a week after almost all the teams are done with preseason. The teams even know these games don’t mean anything. I guess Roger was too busy screwing the Saints.

·       I like what Penn State is doing in trying to distance the university from the Joe Paterno era with some new traditions like putting players’ names on the uniforms. And I originally agreed with a Facebook friend who posted that PSU’s reported ban of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” – sung as a student tradition – during football games showed the school just doesn’t get it. Suggestions are that the song is out because of the “touching me, touching you” lyrics due to the Jerry Sandusky crimes. Yet, the more I thought about it, the less it seemed like a bad idea. It’s not just about the PSU kids singing it in the fun way intended for all those years. I think it’s about avoiding their football rivals from using it in the wrong way, which wouldn’t be good for anyone. Don’t think for a second college kids would (will?) be above using it in a mocking vain, either.

·       I don’t think I’ve ever written about the sport of cycling on this blog, but I have two thoughts on Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles. Having edited a middle to high school level biography on the guy in a former life – which I only mention to say I know a little bit about Armstrong – I’m not shocked. Something never sat right with me about his ability to return to cycling at elite levels as quickly as he did after his battles with cancer. But, unlike others, I don’t have a problem with the guy giving up the fight to prove his innocence. He’s not cycling anymore, the allegations have already done whatever they are going to do to his reputation, and the reality is that the charges have dogged him despite the fact that he’s never failed a drug test according to multiple reports. He has nothing to gain by continuing to fight.

·       Wide receiver Dez Bryant has agreed to adhere to a midnight curfew, not drink alcohol or go to strip clubs, and having a 24/7 security detail paid for by the team that drives him to and from team functions to remain with the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones has made a ton of money in his life, and I give him a lot of credit for that. But besides hiring Jimmy Johnson as his head coach when he first bought the team he hasn’t proven he knows much about football. It’s like he just wants to burn money at this point. (And, yes, I know he has it to burn.) Bryant’s a nice receiver; he’s not worth what has to cost some nice coin just to babysit the guy.

·       It’s utterly ridiculous that the baseball elite were allowed to make a so-called waiver trade that was nothing short of a blockbuster. If you don’t think the trade between the Dodgers and Red Sox has anything to do with MLB wanting new part owner Magic Johnson wanting to succeed, you’re not paying attention. Not one team had the guts to make a waiver claim on any of the guys just to scuttle the trade? It’s a disgrace.

·       Through three preseason games, the first team of the Jets doesn’t have a touchdown. In fact, no Jets who play offense have a touchdown. I know preseason games don’t mean anything, but that’s pathetic. I can’t wait to hear Buddy’s boy,  Ryan, tell everybody how they’re going to the Super Bowl.

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