Monday, October 31

What's going on here fellas?

After coming out to that 28-0 start, I'll admit I wasn't too optimistic about where the game yesterday was going. A weak offensive start, a weak defensive start, and once again a lack of fresh play-calling left me thinking...what exactly did they practice this week after barely squeaking out a W last week against the Chargers?

We had a few moments of good play, both on offense and defense, but really the team didn't look much different than last week. All the passing (which was expected), with a few extra run plays thrown in for good measure, probably left the Broncos wondering when we were gonna pull out the trick plays. Less play-action, no real usage of Lamar Gordon, and amazingly enough it didn't even seem like we took enough advantage of Champ Bailey's injury.

So what's in store for the future? Everyone knows 5 is hurt and his mobility is hampered. He got hit so many times in the first couple drives that I thought he wouldn't finish the game. He did make a nice little 11 yard run, but it was nothing to write home about. We gave up over 200 yards on the ground, and while you had to see something big coming there, they let the Snake throw for over 300 yards, and didn't pick him once. I thought the Eagles might have another game like last week....slow offense, huge defense. So next week, let's see something huge so I don't have to listen to the football pundits badmouth Philly and the Eagles anymore. And please, can they score first this Sunday?

On to the Flyers. While they've continued to win games, they've also continued to have some of the worst third periods I've ever seen. Anyone catch that game against the Hurricanes the other night? They did us worse than they did New Orleans (is it in bad taste to say that? I know Katrina didn't score 5 3rd period goals). Just a horrific let-down. The Flyers have gotten into this trend of getting so many penalties in the final frame that Ken Hitchcock's gray hair is getting noticably grayer. In this new NHL, penalties, although clearly unavoidable since you get two minutes for having a bad skating stride, are the ULTIMATE ENEMY. You can see Esche get nervous when someone goes to the box, as if those new small pads of his make him just a little scared of those big guns from the point. But like I said last week, Hitch is too good of a coach to let these third period woes continue much longer. Not to mention we've still managed to win most of our games. And Forsberg? They don't call him the best player in the world for nothing.

Friday, October 28

Tap the Rockies

I haven't thought that we were going to lose a game in about three years, and I'm not about to start now. The last game that I was remotely concerned about was the Super Bowl, but I had been preparing to be terrified of Tom Brady for a couple seasons by then, so I was already in good shape. The Chargers could have concerned me as they did 60,000 other fans in the Linc last Sunday, but whenever we have two weeks to scout a club I develop a healthy level of confidence. And here we go, 1,732 miles west and 5,280 feet up into Mile High Stadium. So here are six reasons why I am not at all worried about this game.

1. Jaaaake!
What has two thumbs, a moustache, and absolutely can't be trusted to win a game on his own? This guy. Roscoe P. Coldchain really nailed it on 'I'm Not You': "ak, you put no fear in my heart." Every Jake Plummer start should be "Defibrillator Day" at Mile High. By the way, John Elway should go around punching anyone in the face that calls it Invesco.

2. King Andy
Maybe the only reason I haven't abandoned Andy yet is that I'm just as stubborn as he is. If Andy had been on the Titanic, you could dive down 12,500 feet and find his cold dead skeleton standing with its hands on its hips staring off the bow. And if you think we're running the ball more than 25 times Sunday you're crazier than a hooker in a health insurance agency.

3. The Run D/ Jim Johnson
You want to beat us with Jeb Putzier and Ashlie Lelie? You want Jake throwing the 30 balls? Well too bad, cause that's all you're getting. Jim Johnson laid down the blueprint last week, and he's about to unveil another masterpiece. The reason we can lose to a team like the cowboys is that they don't do anything especially well, so it's hard to key in on a strength and shut it down. Well, here comes a team that has run the same playbook going on six seasons. They know they want to run, you they know they want to run, and you know how they're going to run. Once we shut down Tatum and Mike Anderson, Jake can start connecting with his new favorite receivers, Jeremiah Trotter, Dhani Jones, Sheldon Brown, and Brian Dawkins.

4. The New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins
Face it. These are not good teams. I really like Nick Saban, I'm kind of a closet Tiki fan, and I'm coming around on Eli. But these are not franchises that fans are clammoring about. These are also the two teams that have beaten the Broncos this year. Well, this means Denver's got problems that they aren't gonna solve versus a powerhouse team. Sorry guys, try again next week.

5. Five!
Remember when Jordan came back for the Wizards, and tried to play his old game for a while? Well, he back rimmed a few breakaway dunks, missed 18 game winners in the All Star game (followed by a super dubious foul on Kobe that put him on the line down two to shoot three, where he promptly bricks his first (classic Kobe shenanigans) and hit the next two to send the game to OT. Anyway, Jordan soon realized that he wasn't the same player and evolved into the man affectionately known as "Floor Jordan." (Probably my favorite second nickname). Well, this is what's happening to Donnie as we speak. He's taking brutal 10 yard sacks, missing guys deep instead of his trademark groundballs, and slowly realizing that he's about as quick as the average D end and slightly more agile than most D tackles. But Five is still smarter than the average bear and will find a way to snatch a few more pic-a-nic baskets until he is able to get his off season maintenance program underway. So enjoy "Floor McNabb," he's all we've got.

6. Champ
Champ's good. Really good. In a league where CBs have to play with their hands in the pockets to stay out of a sea of yellow flags, he's probably the best around. But he is not a man on man shutdown corner, and if Ol' Shannahan leaves him out there on an island he's gonna find this out the hard way. But he'll try, and I'm really looking forward to the return of the deep ball era. Don't forget, every touchdown begins with T.O

Thursday, October 27

Gotta Have It: Eagles Luggage

It took me a couple minutes to get over the fact that they actually make this, then a few more thinking about the over/under on trips until it breaks (let the betting start at 4.5). Then I wondered about who might buy it, which is basically anyone who likes the Eagles (everyone), and anyone who doesn't have luggage (no one). When's the last time you saw someone traveling with a handful of clothes and toiletries and such? Those people just throw their stuff in a trash bag and take greyhound (I support this from deep within the cockles of my heart).

After about 30 minutes I was finally able to think about the significance of a piece of Eagles luggage. If it brings you the clock management skills of Andy Reid, you'd miss your flight by about 15 seconds every time. On the way, you would miss two cabs, one subway, and then throw a 5 yard pass to LJ Smith who would then be tackled immediately by two linebackers and a safety. I guess the moral is that you should just be happy it's not Herm Edwards brand luggage. You'd probably miss the plane by three and a half days and end up with Vinny Testaverde as your co-pilot.

Wednesday, October 26

Wednesday Fever

Reports are swirling that our favorite wounded Eagle, Donovan McNabb, has contracted the avian flu. Starting in East Asia, the flu has migrated west through Europe, south to Africa, and has finally settled in the United States. More to follow on this breaking story, as outside consultant Julie Zied contintues her tireless quest for the truth.

I'm So Sleeeeepy

Looks like I missed another great one last night. I guess the only thing left to do is pack up my stuff and move west. I haven't watched the second half of a Monday night football game in a month, and I've only seen the final out in one of the World Series games so far. Stark contrast to last season, when I got home from work at midnight, and only got to watch games that went into extras.

The point is, I have nothing to say about the game except that you should read Jayson Starks' ESPN column, because at least he watched the damn thing.

Tuesday, October 25

It's a W, folks.

10 is the magic number
To Jim Harbaugh and the special teams, who managed to turn the game around with a blocked field goal and TD runback, all while putting only 10 players on the field. Check the tape, its unreal. Let the record show that it was so quiet in the stadium before this play that you could have heard a worm fart. And it would have been hilarious.

Rick James Cold Blooded fact of the game

San Diego is playing with an ungodly schedule that includes four trips to the east coast and 10 games against 2004 playoff teams. Oh, and their last three games (Pittsburgh, at Oakland, at Philly) have all come against teams fresh off a bye week.

Yao Ming Play of the game
To Quentin Mikell's game breaking blocked kick. In the post-game press conference, Quentin relayed the information that in watching film they had found a weakness in the left side of the Chargers field goal unit, allowing them to pressure the outside, and get through untouched. This is the kind of thing NFL teams find out when they can spend two weeks scouting you.

Randall Cunningham stubborn player of the game
I love Five, but when is he gonna realize that he's not outrunning anyone? Get rid of the rock big fella. How many sacks must a fat man take, before he can sleep in the sand?

Jessica Alba Strip of the game
After Quentin broke the game open, Sheldon saved it with a righteous rip after Reche Caldwell had broken free in the secondary. Extra special considering the double safety blitz that left him as the last line of defense.

Michael Irvin Push-off of the game

To Reche Caldwell, who put the toasted Lito's bread on the first big play of the game. The first of many many many questionable calls by the zebra crew.

Jevon Kease Milk Carton Award
To Mike Lewis, whose name wouldn't have been called once Sunday if he hadn't gotten beat for 6 by Antonio Gates. Isn't this guy in a contract year? The NFL needs a symposium where Jerome James, Lamar Odom, Mark Blount, Adonal Foyle, Erick Dampier come in and lecture the players on the long and short term benefits of their situation. The best part would be the stunned silence followed by uproarious laughter from the basketball players when someone asks "But don't you play hard every year?"

This touchdown was brought to you by the Zebras in America award
How about those 35 penalty yards we picked up en route to our only offensive touchdown of the day? Nothing beats two flags for roughing the passer in three plays. I thought we subbed in Cooper Manning for a second there.

Marty Schottenheimer drive of the game
Run, run, run, blocked field goal. Martyball at its finest.

Thomas Edison Innovative Defensive Gamplan Award
To the Eagles, who broke out the old 4-4-4 defensive not once, but twice, followed by a ten man line on the blocked kick.

Right Place Right Time Award
To Darwin Walker, who somehow found his way 20 yards downfield to recover Sheldon's last minute strip. How a defensive tackle got there first I'll never figure.

And the Game Ball goes to:
Jim Johnson, whose gameplan will be the defensive blueprint used by every team until someone finds a better way to hold LaDanian to 7 yards on 17 carries.

Weird, wild stuff

Somehow lost in between the Chisox two miracle home runs was an unreal play when the Stros tied the game on a Jose Vizcaino single. Situation: Jeff Bagwell on third, Chris Burke on second. Runners move on the hit, but Burke hasn't gotten to third yet when Podsednik (+ arm) uncorked his throw home. Well, the throw was slightly off line, but somehow Burke comes charging, makes a pretty slide, and it's six-all. This all happenend minutes after I bet my buddy James he couldn't bowl 100 left-handed, followed by a gutter ball, then a strike. Remarkable turn of events, rendered irrelevant by a walk-off home run by Podsednik, who hadn't hit a dinger during the entire regular season.

Monday, October 24

Which brings me to my second point, kids...Don't do crack.

I recently found out that LaDanian asked Lawrence Taylor if he could have his nickname, and Taylor granted it to him. This was the only condition under which I would ever accept this travesty. I still think he should be LD (although a nickname demonstrating some actually creativity would be fantastic).Either way, after Sunday's game his name certainly wasn't anything close to TD.

On the subject of nicknames, here's a chance for Curious George to step in a yield a little presidential power. For a history of one thing that he is actually competent at, check out this great list of Bushy monikers.

Sheldon is the steak to Lito's sizzle.

Darwin may have been the missing piece the last few weeks. He was the stuffing in Jim Johnson's Blitzgiving holiday dinner.

Really weak showing by the 12th man. You could feel the nervous energy in the parking lot before the game, and although the crowd went wild before every time Drew Brees was under center, as soon as took the snap you could feel the air get sucked out of the building followed by a audible sigh of relief. This happened no less than 54 times, and it was brutal every time. It's tough watching your team pass 25 straight times, let leads slip away, and lose to the Cowboys. But there's only 8 home games a year, and the birds need everything we've got. Understand that I am not in any way condemning booing, which is absoultely has its place, but if you aren't booing, you gotta be cheering. It's the middle ground that kills me. This team doesn't owe you one damn thing, and if you take them for granted you need to give your ticket to someone who will get behind them.

The running game. Yeah; what running game. The way I see it, it's fine if you don't want to run the rock. I get the whole "our run is a short pass," and that's all well and good, but here's the thing: you can't do anything in the NFL for 4 straight seasons and be successful anymore. There are 5-10 coaches on every team who are paid to watch tape 18 hours a day, and nothing is getting by these dudes. And once one team figures out how to stop you, everyone knows. Remember our great gameplan from last years Conference championship? Half of our sets were straight from the Atlanta/Chiefs game when KC put them down by 46 points. Notice how the Colts can't complete a deep pass and Peyton has thrown a pick over half his games? Well the league picked up on what Belichick saw: rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage. The NFL is well known as a copycat league, but it also a league where innovators take home the trophy. And don't bother taking the Steelers here, they've run run run their way to exactly one conference title in the Cowher era. What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. But since Andy is too stubborn to change, let's just hope we have the horses to get through while we have a shot.

Once the fire alarm went off, which the Zebras took as seriously as the Chargers took Donnie's play fakes, this officially became the strangest game I have ever been to. My buddy Mike, who graciously took me to the game, noted that "a helicopter could land on the field and no one would notice." This was soon followed by the dude next to us calling "blocked kick, TD return," and promptly losing every part of his mind. Which was subsequently followed by a brutal replay where we knew we were in the right and couldn't do anything but wait to see if we'd get hosed.

Every coaches' favorite play: U Victory. Take a knee fellas.

Sunday, October 23

You can't be serious

Jermaine Dye gets on base on a questionable hit-by-pitch call (actually it very clearly hit his bat), and then Konerko hits a grand slam on the first pitch. Someone out there in the umpire's union must really want the Sox to win. Or maybe it's a south Florida anti-Castro consortium pulling some strings so that Fidel will feel extra bad about defectors Contreras and Hernandez. Either way the Astros got hosed.

That was a close one...

So they barely squeaked that one out, huh? After a big defeat to the Cowgirls, and the bye-week, I was ready for the Eagles to come out of the gate with foaming mouths, and fire spouting from their ears. The defense did just that, essentially locking down LT, and forcing the Chargers to throw the ball more often than usual. The line held up better than any previous effort, and we were able to put considerable pressure on Brees, albeit with much help from constant blitzing. They had him scared from the jump, and he made some hasty passes that aided the Eagles in forcing a few very necessary 3 and outs. On the downside, Lito gave up another big play in single coverage, for the 3rd game in a row. They forced the Eagles to blitz much more than we have seen this year, but it was largely effective, and they weren't able to capitalize on it with screens or quick passing.

Our offense, on the other hand, was stale and stagnant. Once again the defense bailed them out. Once again, they ran the same set of plays, with similar results. The Chargers defense, especially the linebackers, seemed to be able to hear the plays McNabb was calling in the huddle. No screens passes, certainly no running, and really just more of the same. It seems that after using the same offense for 4 or 5 seasons, other teams are finally able to effectively game-plan against the Eagles. Gloom and doom aside, the Birds still won, and they picked up a little momentum going into next week's big game in Denver. The Broncos defense has really stepped it up this year, and should provide a good challenge for the Eagles. Mabye Big Red will decide to change it up a least I hope so.

Thursday, October 20

quick note

Who ever thought of a bye-week in hockey? In case you didn't notice, the Flyers are currently enjoying one.
Secondly, who ever thought of the chances of the Eagles and the Flyers having one in the same week?

Gotta Have It:

This one is a little backwards, because I am actually against umbrellas, and vehemently against oversized umbrellas. So I don't actually want anyone to buy this, but it's worth knowing that something so ridiculous exists. If you do decide to pick one up, use it while you can, because once Josh Greene (my old college roomate) becomes president (or supreme overlord, etc.) anyone carrying an umbrella will be entitled to one free punch in the face.

What's That Smell

You smoked cigarettes in the locker room, and smelled like month-old cabbage stew. And we loved you for it. You were the best big-man flopper ever, and no one ever complained. Maybe I'm greedy and can't deal with the fact that you are not the swift young center that you were in 86' but you were the only Laker not named Shaq that I ever liked and man am I gonna miss you.

Doviđenja, Vlade.

Wednesday, October 19

Al's Coolin' Down

On October 17, at 4PM, one of the all-time greatest pair of deltoids put on his Knicks uniform (a suit and tie), for the last time. Allan Houston, known affectionately as H2O, will steal money no more. He will be well remebered for his silky jumper, but moreso for his uncanny ability to not get off a shot when down by 2 with under 15 seconds left.

Allan holds the current NBA record for most trips to the disabled list and is second to Grant Hill for 'most awkward failed comebacks.' The NBA's new amnesty clause was named after him, although looking back a more appropriate name would have been the "Even Isiah Can't Blow This One" rule.

His contract is survived by Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Penny Hardaway.

Tuesday, October 18


Does anyone hit a hung pitch harder than Albert Pujols (with the exception of Vlad)? As my interest in post-season baseball settles down to only watching when there's no better sporting event on, I'm drawn to pull for the Latino players. Now, the White Sox are my real darling team, with not one, but TWO Cuban players. Cubans, B! Not to mention a slew of Dominicans. But Pujols is just amazing. He hit that ball at least 900 feet.

So what I'm really getting at here is the necessity for an MLB player Olympic-style tournament, now that baseball has been removed from the Olympics and never allowed pro players anyways. I'd put my money on Cuba, that's for sure. And all you gringos would be paying me.

*Editor's sidenote: I do not accept peso or centavos for payment of bets.*

What About Us?

NBA season is here, so let's get to business and talk about the most important thing on every pro basketball player's mind: clothes! This would be even funnier if it wasn't true. Effective immediately, players are to don 'business casual' clothing, which anyone who went from college into the job world knows is about as comfortable as switching from silk boxers to tighty-whites covered in shards of fiberglass. These dudes wear sweatpants for a living, basically the greatest racket in the world. First they snatched away Vince Carter's ipod and made him go from pads to tampons, now it's jackets and slacks.

Pre-empting any back-talk, league commissioner David Stern issued this scorcher: "If they are really going to have a problem, they will have to make a decision about how they want to spend their adult life in terms of playing in the NBA or not." Stern's really got the iron fist routine in mid-season form. What's next, NFL players can't charter illegal sex cruises? Have some heart, guys. On the plus side, I'm a huge proponent of the ban on sunglasses indoors, or as I call it "The Kobe Bryant Rule."

Friday, October 14

It Looks Good on You Though

It's really, really about time they started selling these, just in time to complete your Jim Thorpe Halloween costume. 100% anything but leather helmet should protect you from inclement weather, and even that might be a stretch. The NFL shop is offering a free bowl of soup with every purchase, courtesy of Judge Elihu Smails.

Thursday, October 13

I'm a Sad Panda

I'm trying to be more positive. I'm trying to lose the sarcasm and the cynicism that strangles our generation. I'm trying not to be skeptical of things and people that would make me happier. I'm trying to be better. And that's why I haven't written anything about the Cowboys dismemberment of the Eagles last Sunday. No excuses, here I go.

I have a friend at work who is a Raiders fan. A couple weeks ago I said to him, 'it must be tough to love football, to wait all summer for training camp, get ready for the regular season, grab all your food, put on your jersey, and then watch someone kick your team right in the teeth.' This is how I felt Sunday. I wasn't even mad. I just felt let down.

Jump to post game. In his press conference, Andy Reid said: "They beat us in all phases of the game." All phases. We couldn't win one damn phase. Special teams, terrible. Offense, terrible. Defense, terrible. Break it down another level. Kick coverage, terrible. Kick return, terrible. O-Line, terrible. D-Line, terrible. Running game, terrible. Passing game, terrible. Run defense, terrible. Pass defense, abysmal. Truly a banner day for the Eagles.

It's okay to lose. We're going to lose some games, and I understand that. I'm ok with that. But it is never okay to be defeated. This team didn't just lose, they were overrun. When the Dallas Cowboys fly into Philadelphia for a Monday night showdown, they will do it as returning conquerors. The best thing I can take from the game: At least no one more than 4 light days away knows that it ever happened.

But this isn't the end of the road for the birds. There's something to be said for the fact that this loss was unexpected. We believe in this team, and they believe in themselves. Regardless of the fact that they may not care about the fans (debatable) and that fans have little to no impact on the game (probable, especially those of us who aren't at the game), we still care about them, and expect them to win. Games like this realize that this expectation may be bordering on demand. And the reason this game was so hard to swallow is that although I expect, rather than demand victory, the one thing I do demand effort. This is why we still talk about Lenny Dykstra and Charles Barkley, and why those of us who weren't laughing uncontrollably slaughtered Allen during the "we're talking about practice" era. They were hustle players, and even though they never brought home the hardware, we loved them. So when the Eagles came out flat on Sunday it was hard to accept them as our team. Who outside of L.A. can support a team coasting on rep?

8 Reasons to be hopeful:

1. Brian Dawkins
Of all the 53 players on the team, you know this goes the deepest with him. I like LaDanian as much as the next guy, so Drew Brees better be real careful feeding him that ball over the middle, because Dawk is out for blood.

2. Jeremiah Trotter
After Dawkins, Trot is the last guy on the team anyone not behind bulletproof glass would accuse of giving less than 100%

3. Andy Reid
Take a look at his moustache. You think this guy's worried? Give me a break.

4. Dr. Donovan McNabb
Maybe he's just doing the Jim Brown 'get up slowly' routine, just stretching it over a 3 month period. Maybe he should have had surgery 3 weeks ago.

5. Koy!
If you like neckbeards, that is. If not, at least his lack of size and talent provide contrast when he tosses to 81.

6. It's still football
And there's 12 weeks left! Even if we go 3-13, give me 10 reasons why you'd rather watch the Phils.

7. Bye Week
Catch up on some sleep, go to New York and refuse to call a hoagie a "hero," write a screenplay, do whatever. Consider it a vacation. It seems like a drag, but hey, give it a shot.

8. The Cowboys
Were you paying attention before? We get to play them again. At home. On Monday night. The spread might be 15. Andy Reid is going to watch this game tape more times than Ron Jeremy stuck in a bomb shelter with a copy of 'Weapons of Ass Destruction.'

Monday, October 10

WE ARE............#8

Just in case you weren't one of the 109,000+ on hand, or one of the millions who watched on national TV, but are one of the estimated dozen people who checks this site on a regular basis, you missed a good one Saturday night in Happy Valley as my Alma Mater (Whatever the words are, raise the song) defeated #6 ranked Ohio State 17 to 10 in a very physical and defensive game, vaulting the Lions to 8th in country. The play of the game was an interception by Anwar Phillips who saw grass on the field and played some ball as he returned the ball to the Ohio 2 setting up the game winning the 2nd quarter. Linebacker U made sure that was enough, holding the Suck Eyes scoreless in the 2nd Half. Led by Paul Posluszny with 14 tackles and a sack and Dan Connor with 12 tackles and a sack; PSU put on a defensive exhibition supported by a color coordinated crowd that never left it's feet (unless you were one of the unlucky ones the riot cops got a hold of) and stormed the field following the biggest win for the school i can remember. Next week at the big house is another test as Michigan, coming off a disappointing loss to Minnesota will be a "sore bear" says my dad. I agree and hope that the boys in blue (who will be wearing white next week) will bring the same effort on the road as they did at the greatest college game i have ever been to.

This just in

I know I'm not the first, but I would just like to reiterate that Ed Wade has been dismissed. Current top canditates for the job, according to leading British bookmakers:

3 to 1 --Ed Wade's brother
5 to 1 --David Bell
9 to 1 --Phillie Phanatic
15 to 1 --Kyle Korver
1,000,000 to 1 --all remaining candidates with any qualifications

Personally, I put my vote in for Ken Hitchcock. I bet he knows baseball, and I'm sure he'll have some free time this season.

Ding Dong

After eight looonnnng and brutal years, Ed Wade has finally been "relieved" of his duties by Phillies owner Dave Montgomery. This comes as relief to the city, which has been held captive by his determination to keep the Phillies out of the playoffs for the past the better part of a decade. For any of you unfamiliar with the impact crater that Ed Wade has left on the team, here is an example of his negotiation skills:

Ed: Mike Lieberthal, we would like to offer you a contract of 3 years, $10 millon.
Lieberthal: 4 years, $20 million
Ed: 5 years, $35 million
Lieberthal: Ok. (reluctantly)

Friday, October 7

Gotta Have It: Touchdown Jesus

With this baby on the tree, just think how sweet the presents under it have to be. This will undoubtedly be the funniest thing in my Christmas tree since my cat Spunky fell in three years ago. This ornament, however, should not be expected to perform any additional functions other than hanging from a branch, and if it is admired by a sufficent number of patrons, a Christmas bonus may be demanded. Purchase at your own risk.

What is this, the first hole I dug?

I would love to be a die-hard Phillies fan. Nothing short seeing Donnie hoist the Lombardi trophy would make me happier. I want to root for my team, to be there for the struggles, and march with them towards the World Series. I tell anyone who will listen that Chase is the future, and I pray for a strikeout when Lieberthal comes up with no outs and a man on first. I take the orange line to the stadium with my Marlon Byrd jersey, eat my Tony Luke's sandwich, and give them everything I’ve got. I watch games with my Dad and we try our very best to figure out what is going through Uncle Charlie’s head when he asks Corey Lidle to bunt over Todd Pratt. I want to get behind this team. But I can't. Because from Dave Montgomery to Dave Bell, this team does not want me, or you, or your granny as a fan. If they do, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

And that's Part 1 of why, come October, I put on my Pedro shirt (lent to Zach because right now he needs it more) and root for the Sox. Not to say I don't follow them through the season, but 1. One of these years the Phils will get it together, and I'll watch 85 games a season just in case; and 2. They aren't on TV enough in Philly.

Part two is my Dad, who grew up in the shadows of McCoy Stadium, boasting a hundred ways to sneak into the home of the Pawsox. Things briefly improved sportswise as my parents lived in California while the A's were dominant, and since my Dad strongly believes in supporting your home club he was able to squeeze a few wins out of that. But the pendulum always swings the other way, and my parents moved back east to inherit a quartet of the most hopeless teams around. So they're in my blood. A bit.

The last piece is the team. With the combination of Fenway's mystique, Big Papi's smile, Varitek's "C," Wally, and Manny being "happy to be back," the current Red Sox incarnation is impossibly lovable, even if they did make a few personnel errors over the past 10 months. This is a team that wants you to support them, to live and die with them. This is why Phillies fans are portrayed in the media as hard-luck losers, and Red Sox fans are a "nation."

Recapping the season, my biggest problem was the release of Cabrera. I never understood what was wrong with Orlando. He was like an old hooker: cheap, funny, and always there in the clutch. So, they bring in Renteria, who is promptly issued a glove with an eight-inch hole in the netting, and then puts together a beautiful 30-error, .720 OPS season (9 more errors and .6 more points than David Bell!).

Then they trade the slumping Mark Bellhorn, to the Yankees! I realize that Theo is trying to be progressive here, but have a heart, man. There are some things you just don't do. If he was reluctant to triple-A assignment, couldn't they have gotten Curt to make up some stories about times they had out in Pawtucket?

In between stints in McCoy and trips to the DL, Schilling has done everything to alienate himself from the city short of pissing on the Monster while wearing a Yankees cap this season, all under the guise of "you said you'd love me forever." Well, the love affair has ended, and it's a hacksaw to his shin type miracle to get him back in the good graces in my eyes at least.

Their bullpen has been about as safe as a perforated condom, highlighted by the season-long erosion and eventual shut-down of Keith Foulke. Now they're in the playoff run with four shaky starters and a group of five relievers that at best could be considered "shaky." I don't think there's one guy in the group that you'd feel happy with for more than three batters at a time. Making matters worse, because of their lack of bullpen depth, they can't take advantage of matchup problems, magnfied by the fact that they Mike Myers is their only lefty outside of David Wells.

Now they've got problems. Down 0-2 to a group of free fallers, they return home for two must win games on the arms of some old horses. And you know what? I'm absolutely certain they're gonna pull it out. The players have been there before, well, some of them. All the fans from last year's ALCS Game 4 morgue scene know what can happen with a little luck and a stolen base or two.

But it all comes back to #1 rule of why you shouldn't panic in the playoffs. Everyone in the playoffs, except the NL west, is a good team. Good teams win at home, especially when the chips are on the table. So big deal if the ChiSox took two in Comerica; they're walking into a brick wall in Fenway. From the second they get off the plane to the minute they reboard shaking their heads tied 2-all, the fans will be all over them. See, in the northeast, people don't take off work to go to the beach, or lay out in the park. It's cold and shitty all the time, so you don't waste your sick days in the summer. You save them for the playoffs, so you can lose your mind on a more complete level. These people live for this. Oh, and there's no way Papi makes it through the series without a 440-foot blast, so that'll be that. They've dug themselves deep, but this year the Sox know how to climb back out.

So I would love to be a Phillies fan, but when the mist is flying and the knuckleball is diving, the difference between a team built to win and one built to fall becomes more and more obvious. And if I'm wrong, at least the Yankess have to count on Wang, Chacon, Flash.

Thursday, October 6

Forsberg shoots, he passes.....yeah, he does everything

Man, that was a tough one. After coming out to face an early deficit, the Flyers really came together to put themselves in the lead. We had Forsberg to Gagne, Forsberg to Knuble, and at least two other perfect chances that Forsberg set up. I like the sound of that though, Forsberg to Gagne, actually just Forsberg to anyone, or anyone to Forsberg. Point is, their overly complicated powerplay aside, they looked great. The young guns looked great (Mike Richards first career NHL game, first career NHL goal), the defense looked good (Desjardins still calls the shots from two skates, instead of the four-bladed ice sled I expected), and Robert Esche made a few great saves and even got some help from the crossbar on a penalty shot.

Then the third period started. The orange and black looked just tired at first, but then they went on to show such qualities as confusion, laziness, and just plain dumbness. I couldn't tell if that third period collapse was actually awful, or if I was unconditioned to watching hockey, and forgotten that maybe the team that wants it more will win 75% of the time. It's not all bad news, as the Flyers are obviously a better team than the one that came out after the second intermission, but they do need some work. Luckily the best coach in the NHL still resides behind our bench, and I don't really have too many serious worries.

As for the new style of the game, I was slightly surprised by a few things. First of all, so many penalties. But unless they were giving someone a two minute break for self-reflection, there weren't many whistles at all. The game went by pretty quickly, and the lack of the two-line pass really opens up the neutral zone to quick attacks. It's weird to not see the clutching and grabbing that some critics thought were bringing the game down, but it will eventually benefit the game. At least after the players learn what's now become a penalty.

Hockey's back, thank God. Now all we need is Iverson to lace up the skates like I've always wanted and we'll be a lock-in for the Cup.

No no no no no no

Jeremy Giambi was announced today as the winner of the MLB Comback Player of the Year award. Giambi fought back from "injuries, an intestinal parasite and steroid allegations." Allegations! The dude was jucier than a florida orange. He admitted it in a press conference. What more do you want? If Ricky rushes for 1,000 yards this year, will he be the NFL comback player? This doesn't sound like somethig Tags would support. But since baseball is run by a man stupid enough to call an all-star game a tie, I guess you never know what to expect. Maybe next season Dwight Gooden will come back from cocaine to battle John Rocker in his comeback from racism. Should be a fight to the wire.

Tuesday, October 4

They Don't Call 'em Big for Nothing

The next man award
To Todd France, for stepping in and doing your job. Way to stay up after a brutal special teams start.

The 'Does it hurt when i do this' award
To Donnie, who resisting all common sense and playing through pain that would keep everyone of us under the covers for a month. It's his show.

The Return of the Invisible Man award
There's Jevon! Its been a long time buddy. Welcome back to the show.

The Delta Airlines award
To Sheldon Brown, who is getting ready to cash in on an overdue trip to Hawaii. He's the jam on Al Harris' toast.

The Raised in a Barn award
To the Chiefs, for dominating in the first half, but managing to leave the door wiiiide open for a heartbreaking, but inevitable Eagles comeback.

The Revolving Door Award
To Artis Hicks. I know he's hurting, but who isn't? The only chance we have this year is to keep Donnie off his butt. You can't get beat playing on the line, and you really can't get beat inside. Get it together or we're gonna be seeing a whole lot of Adrien Clarke.

The Andy Reid Cool Head Award
To Terrell, who couldn't do it on his own, but looked like Knute Rockne while sucking oxygen with his leather cold helmet on.

The Charlie Tuna Award
To Little John Smith, who continued his fish flop antics in heroic fashion on the one-yard line. One day, when I've got buddies down at the Elias Sports Bureau I'm going to find out if there's anyone who has ever had more fumbles caused by the turf. It's not possible. He did manage to catch a touchdown cleanly on the next play, but marred the incident with a terrible arrow shooting celebration.

And the game ball goes to
The O-Line, for the second straight game. I've always said that they were the ones responsible for our big-game collapses, and I insist that they get their due now that they're doing some real damage. 5 is top-2 on his own, but he's titanic with six seconds to throw.

Monday, October 3

The Search for Baseball in October

Once again the Phillies did their best and came up empty, confirming my assertion that they are built to lose down the stretch. They are shaping up as the baseball equivalent of the Minnesota Vikings. Also, here's hoping that Ryan Howard gets the ROY snub, just to keep him hungry. I can't see whats to be gained by handing him the hardware. Complacency is a killer, especially on a team with no one to keep him in line. I happen to think that he's above preening, but its not worth running the risk.

Also, mega kudos to Jimmy Rollins for putting together an unreal effort. Even though it looks pretty easy to stroll out onto the grass and jog around for nine innings, doing it day after day for six months will wear anyone down. A 36 game hitting streak is monstrous by any means, but every day through the strech is really something else. Completely superlative effort by #11, wasted by Ed Wade and co.

Saturday, October 1


"If it ends up where he can't function, then we'll shut him down." -Andy Reid, on Donovan's hernia.

From the beginning it has been clear that Andy and Five have been on the same page, maintaining the company line with a even-keeled disposition. They have always spoke in repetitive, mechanical tones, and that's fine. I like my coach and quarterback to be steady, to take the losses as well as the wins. But something struck me as odd about this comment, and it is starting to put their icy demeanor into greater perspective. "Can't function" and "shut down" are not phrases that we generally use to describe human beings. Andy is not just speaking mechanically here, he is literally referring to Donovan as a machine.

Is it so unreasonable to believe that Donovan is actually a cyborg, sent to dominate the NFC, and to one day capture the Lombardi trophy?

Q: What exactly is a cyborg?

A: The two working definitions of a cyborg, or "cybernetic organism" are: 1. A human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices; 2. A human being whose body has been taken over in whole or in part by electromechanical devices. For the purposes of this inquiry both definitions are fitting and useful.

Q: Cyborgs get injured?

A: This is not a perfected "Version 8.774," or anything of the sort. Recall from 'The Terminator' that it is not until 2028 that the machines become sufficiently advanced to do any sort of real damage. Even then, the machines could be killed, although weaponry greater than Chad Lavalais' helmet are necessary. Fortunately, Donovan's purpose is to win a Super Bowl, which should be significantly easier than eliminating the human race through mass warfare.

Q: If Donovan is a superior being, why has his completion ratio historically been so low?

A: If we take what we know about cyborg technology, we should not expect the scientific know-how at this juncture to produce a model in excess of Donovan's skills. Various -ologists might refer to him as a "Beta" model, or something along those lines.

Q: Might there be any other cyborgs in the league?

A: An excellent cyborg candidate can be found in the Arizona desert in Mr. Kurt Warner. His ascension from grocery store clerk to two-time league MVP in less than five years warrants further investigation. Similar to McNabb, he seems to be facing major malfunction, possibly because the Kurt Warner model was designed for use in a domed facility situated in the Middle-American plains, rather than the southwestern desert. A second candidate is Bill Belichick, whose ability to work 20 hour days for 10 months a year is also of interest, although he did show some human emotion last week when a Steelers' trainer tried to assist an injured Patriot, screaming "Get away from my [expletive] player."

Q: Could Donovan's name lend any information to the situation?

A: Research by Omega Impressions shows that Donovan's name may in fact be an acronym:
Digital operational neohuman optimized for violence and accurate nullification
Mechanical cybernetic Nullification and accurate battle being. This name faces us with a dilemma: If D.o.n.o.v.a.n. is an "accurate battle being," "optimized for accuracy," why did it take six years for him to finish a season with completion percentage above 60%? Perhaps human receivers Torrance Small, Na Brown, Dameane Douglas, Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell and James Thrash were not designed for "catching."

Q: I love Donavan McNabb, but I can't stand cyborgs. How do I reconcile my internal contradictions?

A: Perhaps you should take a closer look at the definition of a cyborg. Someone with a pacemaker can be considered a cyborg. Do you hate old people who don’t want to die? Do you hate Krusty the Clown? Relax. Have a coke and a smile.

Q: If Donavan is a cyborg, why does he love Campbell's chunky soup so much?

A: Cyborgs are still part human, and have to eat. And nothing hits a cyborg’s spot like delicious chunky soup. As you’ll notice in the commercials, even cyborgs have the common sense to heat up their soup prior to consumption.

Q: What sort of mechanical malfunction caused Donavan's breakdown during the end of the 4th quarter of last year's super bowl?

A: Andy has taken his traditional, tight-lipped stance on this issue, which leaves us searching elsewhere for answers. Following the example of Kurt Warner's temperature sensitivity, it is possible that Donovan was designed for cold-weather usage, explaining his ability to thrive in northern winter climates, and eventually leading to his late game collapse in the Florida evening heat. Off-season training regimens in the Arizona heat may be an attempt to break the cycle and improve all-weather performance.

Q: What about Donovan's daughter, Alexis?

As Donovan is a cyborg, rather than a fully assimilated android, he can live and reproduce just as any other human with chillingly supreme execution and accuracy.

Q: As an Eagles fan, what does this mean to me?

A: Actually, very little. If nothing else, take solace in the fact that you have a superior being running your team, even if he is a prototype. If you're still upset, take a look around the league, and see if you like anything you see.

Q: What does tomorrow hold for D.o.n.o.v.a.n.?

A: It looks as if in the year 2154 Donovan will be reconstructed in order to break the monotony of the game of football, which by then will be played by "uninspired robots." The transition to boring robotic football should be seamless for Cowboys fans and in general anyone who has watched Drew Bledsoe over the past 8 years.