There are certain things, as an outsider, you can pick up on when going into a different sports city. You in Boston? Don’t wear that Yankees cap. You in Chicago? You better pick Cubs or Sox, and stick to it. You in Los Angeles? Who are we kidding, if you’re in Los Angeles, picking the Clippers is only because you feel bad. Many cities across the country are similar. Don’t you dare go to Ann Arbor, MI and sport a red and grey Buckeye shirt. That is worse than treason. If you’re on tobacco road in North Carolina, you are either a Tar Heel or Blue Devil supporter. Not both, never both.
Philadelphia has these same set of rules and we, the loyal Philadelphia fan base, typically tend to enforce them ourselves. These rules may seem logical and brilliant. To others; however, they may seem irrational, stupid, and, to a select few, they might not even make any sense. Regardless of how you feel towards the rules for being a Philadelphia fan, they are there and are expected to be followed.
Here are just a few selections from the rulebook.
After listening to an hour and a half of pre-draft coverage then watching two and a half full hours of the 2011 NFL Draft, the moment of truth finally arrived when Roger Goodell strolled across the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York last night. “With the 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select……. Danny Watkins, Offensive Lineman, Baylor.” Who? But Bowers and Jimmy Smith are still on the board? Who did they pick? Are they trading him? Nope. You heard correctly, Danny Watkins is the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 First Round draft choice.
I didn’t know whether to boo or cheer last night. They need help on the O-line so I guess I couldn’t be mad, right? Wait, wait, wait, his birthday is November 6, 1984!? He is 26 years old already? What is going on?
This Saturday, the Flyers will take to the ice at the Wells Fargo Center to face the Boston Bruins in the first game of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals. The Flyers and Bruins had probably one of the most exciting playoff series in NHL history last year with the Flyers coming back to win four games in a row after starting the series losing three straight, being the first NHL team in over 20 years to accomplish such a feat. Although, this time things will be considerably different.
The Flyers finished off the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 on Tuesday night, in what proved to be a very frustrating series for Philly fans. The goalie carousel was turning and giving out headaches faster than Michael Leighton could let in soft goals. But a few strong performances by Brian Boucher proved to be the difference in the series. Sure, there was a lot of "whining" by both sides, there was one team getting away with "murder," and another getting away with "mass-murder" (good one Miller), but in the end, the better team, and the team that should have won, came out on top. Sabres netminder Ryan Miller had two Olympic-like performances, shutting out the Flyers twice, and he also blew 2 different 3-goal leads (haha). For the Flyers, Danny Briere's offensive performance has been tremendous. So far in the playoffs, he has 7 points, 6 goals and 1 assist. He was an unstoppable force on the ice while taking care of his former team.
The Sixers season came to an end last night with a 97-91 defeat in South beach. The Sixers gave the Miami Heat all they could handle (besides the debacle in game 2) and the 4-1 series does not indicate how close the Sixers came to hanging with the Heat. Late in games 1, 3, and 5 the 76ers had a chance to win; however, Philadelphia walks away with only one win in the series. So then, was the season a success? Absolutely. Doug Collins took a team that won only 27 games the previous season and helped craft them into a playoff team. The Sixers have seven players in their rotation aged 23 or younger. The Sixers are one or two players away from being a legitimate Eastern Conference threat (and those players could still come from within the organization as the core of young talent continues to develop). So then, here are the final grades for the team this season.
3 weeks in to the 2011 season, and the Phillies are sitting atop the NL East with a 12-6 record. There have been a number of factors that have contributed to this start. The high scoring (sometimes) offense, small-name players stepping up in clutch situations (John Mayberry, Pete Orr), and of course the ever popular starting pitching. One rotation man has stood out amongst all the rest: Roy Oswalt.
So far this spring Roy Oswalt is 3-0 through 4 starts. In each start hehas gone 6.0 innings. His totals on the season are: (24.0IP, 15 hits, 21 K's, 1.88era 0.88whip). There is not much more you can ask of a starting pitcher other than to give you at least six solid innings every night. In each of his starts, he has not given up more than 5 hits, has never allowed more than 2 runners to cross home, and has never walked more than two. Of course Oswalt is one of the four aces, but he is most certainly overshadowed by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Although, unlike Halladay and Lee, who don't get me wrong, both have had absolutely terrific starts so far this season, Oswalt has been the most consistent. His start last night in San Diego could be his best yet. Last night, Oswalt faced 21 batters through six innings, giving up 1 hit and walking just 2. He struck out seven, including a 14 pitch at-bat to Jorge Cantu in the fourth inning in which Cantu fouled off nine pitches before being finished off by a 80-mph slider. The Phils ended up winning the opener in San Diego 3-0, on a surprising 2 home run night.
Last night's losses by the Sixers and the Celtics solidified the playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls, Heat, Celtics and Magic will have first round home court advantage, while the Hawks, Knicks, Sixers and Pacers will begin the 2011 playoffs on the road. Here's an initial breakdown of each series and a prediction of the Eastern Conference:
Opening Day Ceremonies
It has been exactly one week since the Phillies started their 2011 season, and it has been a great start at that. The Phils have infamously over their history had some horrific starts, and with the loss of Utley for a while, the consensus amongst fans was not one of strong confidence. So far they have played 2 complete series against the Houston Astros and the New York Mets. They have won both of those series in impressive fashion. The main concern with the Phillies going into this season was offensive production. This first week has at least calmed my nerves about it, although it took until the late innings of game 1 to do so.
No outs. Top of the second inning. Men on second and third. Penn State (16-8) beating Illinois (9-11) in a Big Ten matchup 1-0 in a brisk, breezy day in State College, PA. Johnny Walker, pitcher for the Lions, delivered a 1-1 pitch to batter Davis Hendrickson. Hendrickson hit a one hopper to PSU first baseman Joey DeBernardis. DeBernadis fielded the ball cleanly and while moving up the first base line checked the runner at third. He then applied the tag to the Hendrickson who was running to first to record the out.
Suddenly, DeBernadis looked up and saw two Illini base runners standing at third base. He ran at third base and caused the runner from second to start retreating back to second base. Debernardis quickly fired to SS Michael Glantz who applied the tag to the runner to record the second out.
The runner on third, seeing DeBernardis make the throw to second base initially thought about scoring. However, he second guessed his decision to go home, and made a move back to third. Glantz realized this and fired a strike to PSU 3B Jordan Steranka who applied to tag for the third out.
The crowd (if you call +/- 400 people a crowd) erupted in cheers and ringing of cowbells.
The Lions went on to win the game 3-1 behind a complete game by P Johnny Walker.
Time to take a look at a team by team breakdown of the 2011 season and our own staff predictions at the end!