Category: Uncategorized

The Stretch Run


Cliff Lee, A True Winner

The deal with Cliff Lee is making Reuben Amaro look more and more like a genius as the season wears on.  Lee, while he has had a few cold spells has in the latter half of the season looked almost unhittable much of the time.  Not only that, he has also shown tremendous prowess with his bat.  Lee has been the final piece to add to a Philadelphia rotation that should put fear into the hearts of opposing managers going into the postseason.  Perhaps the best part of this story though is the fact that here is a player who gave up money in order to play for a team he really wanted to play for.  How many players do that today?  My hat is off to Cliff Lee, and I hope that he ends the season with a ring.

Hello world!

I have been a Philadelphia sports fan for what seems like forever, closely following both the Phillies and the Eagles even as they languished in last place as doormats of their respective leagues.  Names such as Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn and Jim Bunning are etched in my memory as well as a few less known names such as Art Mahaffey, Chris Short, Dick Farrell, Solly Hemus,Willie Jones, Alex Gonzales, Johnny Callison, Don Demeter, Greg Luzinski, etc.  Eagles players such as Wilbur Montgomery, Sonny Jurgenson, Ricky Waters, Reggie White, Harold Carmichael and Pete Retzlaff are a few Eagles from different eras that also come to mind.  However, as I look at today’s Philadelphia sports scene, there is one major difference that jumps out at me. Today Philadelphia has owners of the current franchises that are truly committed to winning and are willing to pay for it.Witness the way the Phillies and the Eagles have anted up to bring in high quality talent.  I believe the Flyers and the 76’ers are also committed to that same philosophy although I believe the front offices of the Eagles and the Phillies are a bit more astute with their moves.  Certainly, following Philadelphia sports has become more interesting in recent years.  For those harshly critical of the FO’s of these teams, take a long look back into their history and enjoy the present.

New Threesome Sinks Giants

Last night three players who were not with the San Francisco Giants in what may well be a preview of this year’s NL championship series.  Cliff Lee, who was with the Rangers last year and who perhaps has a little bit of payback in mind for the Giants, shut the Giants out in a complete game win, once again showing the dominant form that gave him a 0.24 ERA in the month of June.  He was backed up by solo home runs by Hunter Pence and John Mayberry in the second inning.  Hunter Pence has demonstrated why the Phillies were willing to give up four prospects, including their two top prospects, to bring him over from Houston to fill the void left by the departure of Jayson Werth.  Pence is batting .360 as a Phillie while showing good power.  Having him batting behind Ryan Howard seems to have also rejuvenated Howard’s game.  Meanwhile, John Mayberry has made a serious push to demonstrate that he truly belongs on this roster.  If the Phillies can continue their torrid pace of late,  October could be very interesting for Philadelphia fans.

A Matter of Principle

How much does DeSean Jackson mean to the Philadelphia offense?  Certainly he makes the offense more dangerous by stretching the field and bringing a double team much of the time allowing other receivers to receive single coverage.  Not to mention the threat he is to go the distance any time he touches the ball. I think that any of the people in the Eagles Front Office would say that he is an invaluable piece to their plans, so why is there no contract?  I believe it comes down to a matter of principle.  DeSean Jackson is still under contract for the coming year, so the team has every right to expect him to be in camp just like every other player on the roster.  I truly believe that the team will negotiate a new contract, compensating him well after he arrives at camp because they do value DeSean’s contributions; and I don’t believe they want to see him hit the market as a free agent.  However, the team does not want to set a precedent by allowing one individual to hold them hostage to his demands much like another wide receiver tried to do some years ago.  Hopefully wisdom on both sides will prevail and DeSean Jackson will soon rejoin the fold and be rewarded commensurate with what he brings to the table.

Revamped Eagles Team Demonstrates Desire of Front Office

Wow!  Who would have expected at the end of last season the drastic changes the Eagles would make on this team!  Two new standout coaches along with several other new coaches with some being moved to other positions look to make the Eagles a much stronger team.  Then came a couple of predictable moves: the Philip Hunt, Sinorice Moss signings and finally the Kevin Kolb trade.  However, in trading Kevin Kolb, I believe the Eagles got a great deal.  Not that I don’t think Kolb will help the Cardinals.  I really believe he will help make the Cardinals into a very real threat for a long time; however, looking at the value for value trade, Philadelphia received a former number one draft choice and Pro Bowl player plus a second round draft choice in 2012 for a second round draft choice who would only sit as a backup on the Eagles and whom the Eagles only had rights for one year.  I believe this deal made sense for both teams although I did not expect both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round choice.  Then came two totally unexpected signings: Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins sandwiched around Jason Babin.  Asomugha came as a total surprise as I did not expect the Eagles to even enter the chase after the acquisition of Rodgers-Cromartie; however, this gives the Eagles greater flexibility in game planning as well as giving them possibly the two best corners in the league.  Cullen Jenkins could be a major acquisition, adding interior pressure on quarterbacks and stabilizing the interior line as well as giving some of the lighter defensive ends an occasional rest.  Babin back with Washburn could be extremely important as the perfect counterpart to Trent Cole.  Do the Eagles have weak spots?  Yes their linebacking crew is extremely young and largely untried as are their safeties.  However, the talent is there, and there is still cap room to bring someone in if it is deemed necessary.  There are two other areas of concern:  getting Desean Jackson and Danny Watkins in camp under contract and having two rookie kickers on the team.  The Eagles Front Office has shown though that they truly want to produce a Super Bowl winner.

A Few Wishes

As I ponder the remainder of the summer and the coming fall, I have a few wishes that come to mind.  First, I wish lots of luck and success to Roy Oswalt, Doc Halladay and Cliff Lee.  This is not to say that I do not care about the rest of the Phillies, but I think of these guys who all gave up something to become a part of a winner.  Roy Oswalt sees the window of success rapidly closing on his career, and I wish him the best.  For Doc Halladay whose work ethic is such a topic of discussion, I wish him the fruits of his labors; and for Cliff Lee who turned down more lucrative offers, I wish him success in winning a Series here in Philadelphia.
I also have a special wish for the Eagles Andy Reid.  Of all the truly great figures in Philadelphia sports history, none has taken more abuse than Andy Reid.  Time and again he is addressed with scorn by the fans as “the Fat Man.”  Many of these fans emphatically declare that the Eagles will never win a championship with him at the helm.  I would remind these fans to take a long look back to see when the Eagles ever had the type of success as they have under Andy Reid.  Sad to say, I do believe time is running out for Andy here in Philadelphia if the Eagles do not win a championship soon; however, I happen to be a firm believer in Reid and a strong supporter.  Has he made mistakes along the way?  Yes, but then again, what coach has not.  All one has to do is to listen carefully to what other coaches and players around the league have to say about Andy Reid, and he gets a good measure of the man as a coach and a man.  Yet he continues to get badmouthed by press and fans alike.  My wish for Andy is a great season and a championship.  Thank you Andy!