"Why pay today when you can pay six times as much twelve years from now!" -Mr. Met
There is not a person out there who doesn't wish that they were Bobby Bonilla right now. The former 6 time all-star, and world series champion with the Florida Marlins has been out of baseball for nearly ten years now; and he just hit the jackpot. Back in 2000, the Mets desperately needed to clear some cap room and they looked to Bonilla, who was not a favorite amongst the guys in the clubhouse. Starting this year, the New York Mets are going to pay Bonilla a salary of 1.2 million dollars a year for the next 25 years. Usually a player who is released from a team with an average under the Mendoza line and who consistently argues with his manager is not handed a check worth 30 million dollars. What do the Mets say to that? "Of course not!...Err, at least not for at least 12 years." Who do the Mets have to thank for this? None other than former GM Steve Phillips. Phillips was quoted on saying that it was a good decision for both parties. He must have known what a terrible GM he was by planning ahead and knowing that he would probably be fired within the decade. Bonilla agreed to be released by the Mets, although the team still owed him 5.9 million which remained on his contract that he signed in '99. So, he received a IOU with an 8% interest rate. With the interest, he is now owed in the area of 30 million. Starting in July, Bonilla will officially be placed back on the Mets payroll. That should be good for a team that is projected to lose close to half a billion dollars this year. Bonilla is sitting pretty, considering he is already being paid by MLB as well as the Baltimore Orioles in similar buy out deals.
"Why pay today when you can pay six times as much twelve years from now!" -Mr. Met
The Washington Nationals, annual MLB cellar dweller, have gotten the top two picks in each of the last two Major League Baseball Amateur Drafts. With those last two picks, the Nationals have drafted two of the most celebrated prospects in recent memory. In 2009, the Nationals selected San Diego State stud pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, and last year they selected 17 year old baseball prodigy, Bryce Harper.
Strasburg has already pitched in Philadelphia but Harper has yet to play in a Major League game. That is why this next little tidbit will irk some of Philadelphians. Harper, the proclaims “Chosen One” (that title for an 18 year old literally makes me nauseous), has been heckled in his Minor League career already.
As I sat down to unwind last night, I turned on Versus to find the greatest thing in all of sports: Game Seven. The Detroit Red Wings headed into wine country to take on the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks opened the series with three consecutive wins only to concede the next three victories to Detroit taking us to last night in the Shark Tank.
Still dealing with the Flyers early exit at the hands of Tim Thomas and his band of misfits, I tried to figure out if I really wanted to watch the game. I chose to watch for two main reasons: 1) I love hockey so any game will do and 2) It is Game Seven! Trying to explain Game 7 to someone who does not care about sports is like trying to describe the taste of an authentic cheese steak to a vegan. I do not think it can be done. I’ve tried before. I have gotten responses like “So what if they lose? Will it affect you?” or, my Kryptonite, “Don’t they start playing again in October no matter what?” How do you respond to these questions? Answer: You don’t. You simply chalk it up as a loss and proceed to the viewing area to take in God’s gift to the sports world: Game Seven.
Tonight, 3 Phillies made rehabilitation starts in Clearwater. The Threshers were guests to Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, and Roy Oswalt. Due to the Phillies being off tonight, this game held center stage and was even televised on CSN. THis gave Philly fans a chance not only to see their starts working their way back to being able to play in the big leagues again, but also a rare opportunity to see some of the organization's young talent.
Roy Oswalt started tonight and went 5.0 innings, gave up 3 runs, all earned, and struck out 5. This line is not as impressive, especially when facing a single A team like the Palm Beach Cardinals (affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals), but it was the work that Oswalt needed to get in and looks to return to the team soon.
The Flyers are set to host the 2012 Winter Classic on January 2nd, says a league source. The game will take place at Citizens Bank Park instead of Lincoln Financial Field because the Eagles are slated to take on the Washington Redskins on New Years Day. The NHL will not compete with the NFL on New Years Day which pushes the game back to the 2nd.
The Flyers will square off against the not-so-loved New York Rangers. This is the second Winter Classic in three years that the Flyers will play in and the second consecutive Classic to take place in Pennsylvania (the 2011 Winter Classic was hosted at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh).
Needless to say, this is a well deserved honor for the best and most intimidating fans in hockey.
The league is showing its love for the City of Brotherly Love. It certainly will be memorable, Flyers' fans.
The NFL lockout is an issue that stems from the Supreme Court’s decision in American Needle v. the National Football League. The owners and the players could not agree on a collective bargaining agreement by the 11:59pm deadline on March 11, 2011 which therefore announced that the NFL was in a lockout, not a strike. “A lockout is the ‘withholding of employment by an employer from its employees for the purpose of either resisting their demands or gaining a concession from them.’ In other words, a lockout is when an employer refuses to let workers work, and therefore get paid, as a form of leverage” (Feldman). The lockout would not have happened if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NFL but, for the players, the lockout is a much better alternative.
The reason for the lockout is that the owners and players cannot agree upon dividing up the $9 billion in annual revenue the NFL generates. Under the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the players receive close to sixty percent of the $9 billion and, now, the owners feel like they have conceded too much to the players. In addition to the dividing of revenue amongst the players and owners, the owners want to institute two more games into the regular season schedule without any additional player compensation. The players want more money if the league is going to increase the amount of games on the schedule by 12.5 percent and they feel that the addition of two more games is contradictory to what the league is preaching on player safety.
So the heartbreak has finally set in as more teams are punching their way through to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. Most Philadelphia Flyers fans know that this team, with all of the great young talent, should without question be there.
So what happened?
Last night was Jayson Werth's first official trip back to Philadelphia after leaving as a free agent this off-season and being signed to a ridiculous 126-million dollar contract by the Washington Nationals. A few weeks ago when the Phils went down to our nation's capital, Werth got a little taste of what was to come tonight, because lets be honest, no one from DC really goes to their games, and its completely overrun with Philly fans during any homestand they have against the Phils.
Werth made is first plate appearance in the top of the first. It was a mix of cheers and boos. But the boos were there, and there were a lot of them. Personally, i'd boo while clapping. Not fair? Let me explain myself then. First off, you have to cheer for the guy for the 2008 World Series. He was a vital part of that season and even the next in getting us back to the fall classic. But there should also be boos. The Phillies offered him a pretty sizable arbitration deal, and he passed on it. Then of course, the he went to the Nationals with the money they freed up with letting players like Adam Dunn go. Then the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, and needless to say, Jayson had a "oh s@#!" moment, realizing that he was a Washington National (pretty much an Expo), and decided to fire at Philly, saying that they could have had both him and Lee. Well you're right Jayson, remember that arbitration deal?
View from Section 207 in the 3rd Period
Stop me if you have heard this before. The Flyers are in a 2-0 hole in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. For the second consecutive year, the Flyers lost their first two games to the Boston Bruins. In 2010 and 2011, the Flyers dropped Game 2 by a score of 3-2 but last night’s contest was a little more deflating.
The Flyers jumped out to a quick two goal lead behind two goals from James van Riemsdyk, his sixth and seventh of the postseason. JVR’s sixth goal of the postseason came just 29 seconds into the game on a quirky little odd man rush. Nonetheless, the Flyers got on the board quickly and the Wells Fargo Center was jumpin’. Just about nine minutes later, van Riemsdyk notched his second of the night on a scrappy goal in front of Tim Thomas. The Flyers had a solid two goal lead and controlled the game.
The next stoppage of play after van Riemsdyk’s goal turned the tides in favor the Bruins for the next 30 minutes of play. A video montage of soldiers overseas with Flyers memorabilia was playing to Lee Greenwood’s rendition of “Proud to be an American” during the break and it seemed to strike a chord with the fans at the WFC. A loud, yet emotional, cheer followed the video. The man behind me exclaimed “Not the right time in the game for this. Bad timing” as soon as the video started playing.
I’ve seen better games out of the Flyers this season but, on the other hand, I have seen much worse than Game 1 yesterday. Look no further than March 6th on national television when the Flyers were blanked by the Rangers and allowed them to put a 7 spot on the board. So it could be worse.
There are some bright sides to take out of this game (believe it or not). The Flyers got three tallies on soon-to-be Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas. Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk continued on their torrid pace as they both had tallies in the Flyers victory. Briere notched his seventh goal of the playoffs while James van Riemsdyk checked in with his fifth. Flyers captain, Mike Richards, got his first of the playoffs on the PECO power play just after a Flyers 5 on 3 expired late in the third. Also, the Flyers penalty kill stepped up and killed off all five of the Bruins power plays which makes the Bruins 0 for 26 on the power play this postseason. And, a subtle note, the Flyers got their shots in on Bruins forward David Krejci as two different Flyers (Giroux and Meszaros) were penalized for slashing the Bruins center. Banging Krejci around early in the series will pay dividends as the series goes on.
The negatives consist of, just about, everything else that happened yesterday. The Flyers can virtually take the positives out of the game and throw away everything else. Just start over and not dwell on all of the mistakes they made yesterday. If they dwell on all of the mistakes from yesterday, they will not be ready to play come Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers are an extremely talented team that has the potential to go off offensively at any point in time. The Achilles heel for this team is their goaltending, and that has been well documented throughout the media. The Flyers do not need a goaltender that is going to go out there and win them a game. Goaltenders who win their teams games are the Ryan Millers, Henrik Lundqvists, and Pekke Rinnes of the NHL, not the Brian Bouchers or Michael Leightons. The Flyers just need their goaltenders to not lose them the game. That is all. Just stop the pucks that you are supposed to stop and compete. That is all the Flyers should be asking from their goaltenders. If the goalies are doing that and the Flyers are still losing games, then the blame should be placed on the five skaters in front of the goaltenders. It is still uncertain whether Boucher will be back in net at the start of Game 2 or whether rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod. Whoever gets the start must step up if the Flyers stand a chance to win the game.
But, ultimately, the Flyers should be able to throw away yesterday’s game and move on. Peter Laviolette seems to be able to get his teams to respond after losses like these. I expect a completely different squad tomorrow. It has been one game so I’m still standing by the Flyers in 6 prediction. Flyers 5-3 winners in Game 2. The puck drops at 7:35pm tomorrow at the Wells Fargo Center.