It’s pretty widely known that Philly sports fans are the toughest of the tough. I’m one of them so I know. Lotta losing seasons. Lotta falling short. Just five championships sprinkled about my nearly 51 years. One title a decade isn’t often. I wasn’t yet 10 when the Broad Street Bullies ruled the ice twice. The Phils won in ’80 on my birthday. Moses led the Sixers to the promised land in ’83. J-Roll, The Big Piece and Lights-Out-Lidge took care of business in ’08 (and shoulda won another in ’09). That’s it. Still waiting for the Birds to get it right just once in my lifetime. I saw a t-shirt recently that read “I’m not angry. I’m from Philly.” Perfect. Athletes come and go. Very few walk on water in Philly. Erving. Clarke. Schmidt. But the ovation Chase Utley received last night as a visiting Dodger, not to mention the 2 curtain calls after his 2 HRs (one a grand slam in a blowout win) never made me prouder to be a Philly fan despite the heat my hometown receives for being, dare I say, brutal. Last night’s applause from the Philly faithful was as rare as it gets. Utley may be older now. But he can still play. Never much of a talker, he speaks with his bat. His short, compact stroke is a thing of beauty and his hard-nosed style of play endeared him to a city whose baseball team has lost more games than any other. In history, that is. Mets fans hate him. As a postseason berth nears, I assume Dodgers fans don’t. But while Eagles fans once threw snowballs at Santa Claus, Phillies fans showed some class and threw Chase Utley, a class act himself, some Brotherly Love.
-Kranny, http://www.wornbutnotforgotten.net #chaseutley #theman #phillyfaithful #brotherlylove
“Freak.” Not exactly an endearing word most of the time. But then there’s Michael Phelps, 23-time Gold medalist, who helps put the word “freak” in a positive light. Over 4 Summer Olympics, Phelps has remained the dominant force in the pool despite youngsters, comers and hotshots all looking to unseat him. He’d have none of that. Physically, we’ll never see a human specimen like him ever again. An amazingly long torso. A massive, expansive back. And a wingspan that’s just plain ridiculous. Again, I say “freak” endearingly. A Baltimore boy through and through and now a dad, this summer’s stage has provided one heckuva ride off into the sunset. His Ravens stopped a preseason game to watch him race. His Orioles invite him to batting practice. Must be nice to be the Charm City’s favorite son. Must be nice to be Michael Phelps.
Or is it Broadway vs Hollywood? Perhaps Skyscrapers vs Palm Trees? Whatever the case, for the first time since the Yankees played the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series, a championship round in any sport featuring teams from NY and LA will face-off tonight, literally, as the Rangers play the Kings in hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings look strong and are going for their 2nd Cup in 3 years after ousting a team going for their 3rd Cup in 4 years – the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers are the unquestioned underdogs after upending the Flyers, Pens & Habs to reach their first Finals in 20 years. Weird things happen in hockey, especially in the playoffs. The favorite often doesn’t come out on top. That said, Henrik Lundqvist will have to stand on his head in goal to keep the Blueshirts in this series. I say a Quick end. Kings in 5.
Sick in the head – figuratively and literally. That’s my feeling on former pro football players suing their league over concussions. Did they really have no clue that constant blows to the head night cause serious issues one way or another later in life?!!! That would be like me suing the advertsing industry I once was a part of because no one told me that clients would kill my best ideas causing me emotional distress. Puh-lease!!! I love football as much as many of you. But these guys could have chosen any field as their profession. They picked the glamour of the gridiron. Deal.
The beauty of the MLB Playoffs is that every pitch, out, hit or error is magnified to the fullest. Starters get spot duty as relievers and benchwarmers often become heroes. Some say baseball is boring. Maybe so during a 162-game season when there’s seemingly always another game. But not in the postseason when it’s do or die. For the Dodgers, Red Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Cardinals and Pirates who are still alive, thanks for playing under the microscope.
You may have seen the movie or read the book “Moneyball” (the book’s always better and is in this case too), but here are the Oakland A’s once again winning with a bunch of players you’ve never heard of earning salaries half that of other team’s players. Billy Beane’s baseball business model – hence the uber term “cybermetrics” – may be argued by some. But what can’t be argued are the current results on the field. Low budget. Lotta wins. That’s the A’s way.
Let’s see. He got his coach fired. He got his GM fired. He alienated a fan-base. He’s yanked around potential suitors. Say what you want about LeBron’s exit from Cleveland. I’d argue that “Superman’s” departure from Orlando is worse. It’s not right, Dwight.
… a beautiful thing to watch. Old-school isn’t flashy. Old-school is making your teammates better. Old-school is being soft-spoken. Old-school is deflecting the credit. Old-school is rare. Old-school is going about your business and staying out of the headlines. Old-school is rising to the occasion. Old-school is using the backboard. Old-school is 4 titles gunning for 5. Old-school is The Big Fundamental. Old school is #21. Old-school is Tim Duncan.
No sooner did the Lakers fall to the Thunder in 5 games, it seemed as though a camera and microphone were in the face of the key members of the losing team in an instant wanting commentary on their playoff dismissal and answers to future team plans not later, but now. They had just been whipped by a younger, faster, more athletic team and barely had time to wipe the sweat off their brow before Craig Sager is asking pointed questions about “where they go from here”. Obviously the networks pay guys like Sager and Jim Gray to ask the tough questions in tough spots. But I’ve got to give credit to those Lakers who were interviwed instantly after the loss by Sager and others for not lashing out or even clocking a reporter who’s all over them about what their team needs to do next year when they haven’t even completely digested their exit yet. Both Kobe and Kupchack denied the “window has closed” darts being thrown their way in rather short sound bites. Metta World Peace gave credit to the victors. And Immature Andrew was at least humble while also sharing that he “doesn’t care” where he plays next. That said, I was impressed that they all kept their composure while being drilled about their playoff ouster in immediate fashion by reporters preying for a scoop.
Spring has sprung (although there really wasn’t a winter). The NHL Playoffs are barely a week old. And fisticuffs are back in a rather large way. Mayhem is usually left to the Allstate guy these days. But Old-Time Hockey has raised it’s ugly, or perhaps to some, beautiful head and is a reminder that no title comes easy when Lord Stanley’s Cup is at stake. Flyers vs Pens you knew would turn foul. But when stars like Crosby and Giroux go at it, it’s worth taking note. Ya think that the Kings vs Canucks game 4 will be a feisty one? Especially with an #8 seed looking to sweep a #1 seed. Hey, Vancity – let it get rough on the ice, not on the streets, OK? Last week I posted that the road to hockey’s championship is more often than not the survival of the fittest. This season, may the fist-ist survive.