Broad Street Believers 2009

The picture of inningsin san francisco and cliff lees debut couldnt with solo homer jayson werth 11:40 PM: The Phillies and Giants are currently through 5 inningsin San Francisco, and Cliff Lees debut couldnt be going any better. Lee hasnt given up a hit yet and has walked one. When he loses the no-no you can blame it on me and this post. Lee greeted his first batter with a good morning, good afternoon, and good night strike out. He then induced two groundballs back to the mound, and he was off and running. His cutter has been awesome, and he just pounds the strike zone relentlessly. He also had a nice opposite-field single, so its all gone great for him tonight.

Ben Francisco has also had a very nice night. Hes hit the ball hard all three times up, but has only had one hit, a double, to show for it. Despite the new guys efforts, the Phils lead just 1-0 on a solo homer by Jayson Werth.

11:50 PM: Just as I thought, it didnt take long for this post to put an end to the no-hitter. Juan Uribe blooped a double down the right-field line, but Lee left him stranded there, thanks in part to painting a cutter on the inside corner against a righty for about the fourth time in the game. I like how the Giants have these fat guys on their team. Pablo Sandoval is probably the fattest third-baseman youll ever see, and Uribe is about the fattest middle infielder.

11:54 PM: In the 7th inning of a 1-run game and a runner on 1st, Bruce Bochy is electing NOT to bring in a lefty to face Utley, Howard, and Ibanez. Im very happy about this.

11:57 PM: After a walk to Utley, Bochy apparently remembered that hes supposed to be managing this game and hes bringing in the left-handed Jeremy Affeldt. Francisco hit the ball hardagain in his at-bat this inning, but he keepshitting it right at the fielders.

12:09 AM: Well, it seems like Bochy just doesnt have much confidence in his bullpen, and its not hard to see why based on this inning. Affeldt hit Howard to load the bases, then walked Ibanez to make it 2-0. Then Bochy, apparently impressed by howAffeldt handled the two lefties, lefthim in to face Werth, and Werth singled to put the Phils up 4-0.

12:25 AM: After the long top of the 7th, Lee looked out of whack to start the bottomhalf of theinning. He threw 7 straight balls before settling down and getting 3 straight outs. This guys pretty awesome.

12:29 AM: Lee leads off the 8th with a double off the wall! Like I said, this guys pretty awesome. He moved to third on a Rollins single, then Francisco brought him home with a sac fly. 5-0 Phils.

12:39 AM: Aaron Rowand leads off the 8th with a double for his 1,000th career hit. Congrats to Aaron, whos one of the good guys in the game. Edgar Renteria then laid down a bunt, and Lee made a very athletic play to get him at first. Lee is really doing it all tonight. Rowand then scored on a sac fly. 5-1 Phils.

12:58 AM: Cliff Lee goes the distance in his debut, as the Phils win 5-1. Phillie fans, you have a new workhorse in the rotation. Lees line: 9 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 6 Ks. He also added two hits and scored a run. Not too shabby. The Cliff Lee era is off to a good start!

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Broad Street Believers 2009

This line, as odd as it may seem considering his situation every year, hasbeen uttered multiple times by Yankees GM Brian Cashman, in response to various questions ranging from Are you worriedabout how your team is playing heading into the playoffs? to How much do you concern yourself with winning the division if you have already clinched at least awild card? Just get in the tournament, is his line. And, that is what the Phillies, with a win or a Braves loss, will do tonight.

The picture of decades baseball champions and year plusthe cleveland indians with name byung hyun kim. Are they peaking at the right time (or however the cliche goes)? No, most certainly not. Are they the best team in the National League? Maybe, but probably not. Are they sound in the areas deemed most important to postseason success? Definitely not, at least when talking about the bullpen. But, are they in the tournament? Yes. And, with what the baseball playoffs have become over the past decade or so, Cashman is right when he says the only thing that matters is getting into the tournament.

Let us look back at this decades baseball champions and see what Cashman is talking about:

2016 Yankees:When you think about it, you probably think, like I did,what a great team that was. They had wonthree of the prior four championships, and featured a core ofthe games elite players. But, what if I told that they only won 87 games, and thatevery other playoff team that year plusthe Cleveland Indians, who didnt make it, won three more games than the Yanks?There was also a lot of talk about just how awful the Yanks were playing heading into the playoffs. And, they got in the tournament and won.

2016 Diamondbacks: This was a very good team, but certainly not the favorites (winning fewer games than both the Astros and Cardinals)and, most definitely, not without their question marks. They had acquired Schilling in midseason and after the top two pitchers, they really had no one. And, need I remind you of the name Byung-Hyun Kim? Yes, he was their closer. But, they got into the tournament.

2016 Angels: A wild-card team that was led by David Eckstein and those stupid Rally Monkeys. Not exactly a recipe for over-confident fans, huh? Oh, and you might say, Yeah, well they did have a dominant closer in Francisco Rodriguez. And, you would be righthe was dominant in the playoffs. But, entering the 2016 playoffs, he had ZERO career saves, and was only 20 years old. But, they got into the tournament.

2016 Marlins: Another wild-card team that finished ten games behind the Braves in the NL East. Yes, they were playing great ball in the second half, but do you think anyone on September 30, 2016, would say You know who Im picking to win it all? The Marlins. Probably no one other than the 14 die-hard Marlins fans. And, maybe Brian Cashman, who realizes that its all about getting into the tournament.

2016 Red Sox: They had not won in 86 years (in case you forgot) and lost the division to the Yankeesa division title they probably should have won, but limped through September and ended up asthe wild card. But, they got in.

2016 White Sox: Here is where is starts to get even better. The White Sox took the lead of the AL Central in late-April and never looked backsort of. They did lead for almost the entire season, but if you dont recall, they almost choked away the division to the Indians in the final month. They had a questionable closer, no momentum, and no pedigree. But, what did they do? They got in the tournament.

The picture of decades baseball champions and year plusthe cleveland indians with name byung hyun kim. 2006 Cardinals: This might be the absolute best example of the point Ive been trying to make for far too long here. The Cardinals won 83 games in the regular season. They

BARELY held on to a division and avoided the worst collapse of all-time, as all the sports writers dubbed it as it was happening. They were also called the worst playoff team ever. Oh, and their closer? It was Jason Isringhausen up until mid-September when he blew his 10th save and was replaced as the closer. The Cards turned to a rookie starter to be their closer (Adam Wainwright, meet JA Happ) and the rest is history (including a nasty, nasty curveball that Mets fans probably remember all too well). They got in the tournament, and despite all their warts and baggage, they won it all.

2007 Red Sox: Probably the best (or one of the best) team in the league, but they didnt exactly finish strong either. Plus, they had a closer, who was astarter in the minors,in only his second season as a closer. But, they got in the tournament.

2008 Phillies: It is great to think of all of this happening to these other teams. The White Sox and Red Sox breaking their long streaks of ineptitude. The Cardinals winning 83 games, but somehow winning the title. The D-Backs winning their first. The Marlins winning their second (having NEVER won the division). But, that is just stuff that happens somewhere else. Not in Philadelphia, right? Wrong. Last year, for those who dont know, the Phillies won the World Series. And, trust me, they were not the favorites going into the playoffs. But, what they did was exactly what they are about to do this yearTHEY GOT IN THE TOURNAMENT.

The picture of decades baseball champions and year plusthe cleveland indians with name byung hyun kim. So, let us not worry ourselves with closers or slumping offenses or breaking-down starting pitchers. Let us not worry about 1964 or Mitch Williams or anything like that. Let us celebrate the next Phillies victory as if they accomplished EXACTLY what they needed to accomplish through the 162-game season. They, like seven other teams will, won the regular season. There are 8 winners and 22 losers, and with one more win, the Phillies will assure themselves a place as one of those winners. They will, simply put, get in the tournament.

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Broad Street Believers 2009

On the day before the calendar flips to March, its a good time for anon-college basketball post before BSB goes all-hoops, all-the-time, for the next month. Eagles news has been coming in bunches the last 24 hours as free agency got underway, and just now I flipped on the TV and found a Phillies spring training game on the MLB Network. I amloving the MLB Network so far, and it could be even better once the season starts.

Notes from the Phils game so far, which is against the Rays, coincidentally:

-The $54 Million Man, Ryan Howard, hit a two-run homer in the first, and that was followed up immediately with a homer by newly acquired outfielder John Mayberry, who is attempting to make the team.

The picture of anon college basketball post and month eagles news with phillies spring training game. -Kyle Kendrick has been named the favorite for the 5th spot in the rotation, and he looked solid in his outing today. Apparently hes working on a change-up and has been working a little with Cole Hamels on the pitch. Seems like a good idea. The Phils released Adam Eaton yesterday, which also seems like a solid idea.

-Apparently Miguel Cairo is now a Phillie. Hopefully hes just competing for aroster spot. He has a home run and a double, but a quick glance at his statistics shows that he hasnt homered in a game that counted since 2016, when he tallied all of 2 for the Mets. Big-time prospect Jason Donald just knocked himin with an RBI single.

-Shane Victorino has been added to Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, which Im happy about. The Flyin Hawaiian gives me a reason to watch the WBC.

And now turning to the football team:

-It just became official in the last few minutes that Brian Dawkins is gone to the Broncos. This is pretty devastating news The picture of anon college basketball post and month eagles news with phillies spring training game. for all Eagle fans, and well have to wait and see what news comes out about it before putting too much blame on the Eagle front office. Theres no doubt that Dawkins has lost a step and, at 35, is fairly ancient for an NFL defensive back. But you have to think that he was worth more to the Eagles, for his leadership and for what he means to the fan base, than to any other team, and if the Broncos thought he was worth a 2-year deal, why didnt the Eagles get a deal done? I have to imagine that Dawkins has been feeling slighted by the team, but hes too classy to come out and say it. Maybe now that he has a new deal with Denver, the truth will come out. More on this later

-The two other notable moves from yesterday were the Eagles signing of OT Stacey Andrews, brother of Shawn, and the departure of Correll Buckhalter, also to Denver. Im ok with both of these moves. Andrews, like his brother, is coming off an injury, but it looks as though he will take over at right tackle, and Jon Runyans days are probably over. Im almost happy about Buckhalter leaving. Dont get me wrong, I think hes a solid player and I have a lot of respect for the way hes overcome injuries, but hes 30 years old and has had THREE major knee injuries. I dont like the idea of committing money to a guy like that and, also, if Buckhalter is gone, it makes it more likely that the team will go out and get another, possibly more bruising, running back to pair with Westbrook.

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Broad Street Believers 2009

Monday night was a great night of sports watching for me, as I watched three games, one in person and two on TV, and all three were good wins for Philly sports fans. I was in North Philly for the 7PM tip-off of 19th-ranked Temples rout of Bowling Green. Then Iwas back at my parents house in the suburbs to see the Bears knock offthe Vikings, keeping the Eagles hopes of a first-round bye alive, and the Sixers pick up a nice win in Portland.

The picture of philly sports fans and temples rout bowling with players mcnabb westbrook jackson. The Bears-Vikings game was the best of the bunch and, ironically since it was the only game that didnt involve a Philly team, it was the game I was rooting for the most. The Eagles lost to the Raiders in mid-October and they were just 5-4 in mid-November. Theyve had their three best offensive players (McNabb, Westbrook, Jackson) each miss at least one game due to injury. The offensive line and linebacking corps have been patched together with whatever they could find (Jeremiah Trotter? Winston Justice? Moise Fokou?) all season. And yet, despite it all, theyre now just one win away from a first-round bye and a home playoff game in the divisional round.

The Birds have won six in arow, and with the recent slides of the Saints and Vikings,they might be playing the best football of any team in the NFC. A note of caution: if the Eagles lose to Dallas,then theymay have gone the whole season without beating a teamwith a winning record, as their best wins right now are against the 8-7 Giants and Broncos.

That being said,the offensehas looked so good that its hard to imagine they couldntkeep that going against higher quality opponents. Well see on Sunday, as the Cowboys have surrendered the fewest points of any team in the NFC. If the Eagles are going to take the coveted 2-seed, then theyll have to earn it by going into Dallas and picking up what would be their most impressive win of the season. If they can do that, we have a title contender on our hands, if not its most likely wait till next year. Another note of caution: center Jamaal Jackson is done for the year with an ACL tear. It looks like the plan is to move Nick Cole to center and insert Max Jean-Gillies at right guard. Hopefully this isnt the one offensive line issue that will finally ruin the unit.

If anyone missed the Vikings-Bears game,the second-half (and overtime) was a classic. The picture of philly sports fans and temples rout bowling with players mcnabb westbrook jackson. As much as I dont like Brett Favre, hewill always be interesting to watch. All of the off-season hoopla that surrounded him and Jay Cutler just added to the spectacle of them playing gun-slinger against each other in a tight game.Favre led the Vikings back from a 23-6 deficit to tie it at 23. Cutler and the Bears answered quickly, 30-23. Favre still had 5 minutes to work with, and he got it done with 16 ticks left, on a perfect pass to Sidney Rice, tied at 30. It went backand forth in the OT before Cutler ended it with a long strike for the game-ending score, 36-30.

That game-winner was set-up by an Adrian Peterson fumble. On Saturday night, me and Bry debated who is the best back in the league, Peterson or Chris Johnson. He said Johnson, I said Peterson. But if Peterson keeps fumbling, Im not so sure. He also needs to stay healthy. I think its a push right now and its something to watch in 2016.

The picture of philly sports fans and temples rout bowling with players mcnabb westbrook jackson. The Sixers somewhat shockingly went into Portland and beat the excellent Blazers, 104-93. Nights like these are the reason I wantedIverson to come back. It felt like old times, sitting on my parents couch, watching AI drive by defenders to the rim, or pull up and knock down an 18-footer. He scored 19 on 7-11 shooting, in his return after missing four games with an injury. And yes, in the old days you wouldve had to tie one arm behind his back to get him to only shoot 11 times, but flashes of the old AI were there. And speaking of flashes of old times, Elton Brand scored 25 points with 9 boards. I wont suggest that this game is a sign of anything, buthaving Lou Williams, Iverson, and Iguodala playing together worked well in this one. The Sixers were definitely able to take advantage of the Blazers missing their centers, Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, as they drove to the basket repeatedly without fear of a shot-blocker waiting for them. And, of course, itprobably didnt hurt that Willie Green missed the game with an ankle injury!

Finally, those nationally-ranked Temple Owls got off to a slow start but turned it on tooverpower and blowaway Bowling Green, 64-39. The Owl defense has been great. The talented trio of Ryan Brooks, Lavoy Allen, and Juan Fernandez will lead this team to the tournament for the thirdstraight season. Im not sure how theyll fareagainst Kansas on Saturday, but this bunch will be a tough out all season, and certainly in March.

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