This, straight from Temple’s Board of Trustrees.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Cole Hamels stare? You know the one — that withering look he’s known to give on occasion when the home plate umpire’s being stingy with strike calls, or an outfielder makes a bonehead play. I felt that same chill as Cole looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not talking about the kids.”
It’s tempting to look at the various missteps taken by the Eagles in Sunday’s highly imperfect win over Arizona and worry that their recent prosperity could be in jeopardy. Doing that would be a mistake. It’s true that almost giving away a 24-7 lead and needing a couple generous calls by the officials to maintain order are not the best ways to continue an assault on the post-season. But the end result, a three-point victory that maintained a tie with Dallas atop the NFC Island of Misfit Toys Division, is all that matters.
At this time of year, there is no need to earn style points. It’s about winning. Just ask Chicago, which dropped an overtime decision to Minnesota and hurt its NFC North title chances, about that. Or New England, which won’t care one bit that it snuck past lowly Houston to maintain a grip on the second AFC playoff seed. After Sunday’s triumph over Arizona, the Eagles are now 7-5, and that’s what counts.
That was quite a smile Carlos Ruiz was sporting during the celebratory press conference that announced his re-signing with the Phillies. He should have been grinning. Any time a soon-to-be 35-year-old catcher can get $26 million for three years, especially after sporting a pedestrian .268 average, a mediocre .320 on base percentage and an uninspiring .688 OPS, it’s reason for big happiness.
Phillies fans, at least those who pay attention to performance over sentiment, were not lapping up the bubbly. Committing to Chooch for three more years, particularly at his advanced age, is hardly good news for supporters of a team that seems to think 35 is the new 25.
Millennials, you are killing me.
I know, I know; we celebrate you on the December cover of the magazine. We get to read inside about how you’re remaking the city on your way to taking over the world. But can we stop for a minute and talk about this past weekend at Princeton, please?
There was a bonfire at Princeton last night — the time-honored ritual bonfire celebrating the victories of the football team over archrivals Harvard and Yale. (Sorry, Penn.) How time-honored? Real time-honored. Way back in 1893, the New York Times reported that “the whole college turned out en masse” to construct this bonfire in “the grandest celebration Princeton has ever seen.” But the oh-so-traditional bonfire did not, this year, include the customary ignition of an effigy of John Harvard (though students found smaller ways to include him in the blaze). Why no Harvard effigy? Because, student government social chair Carla Javier told the Daily Princetonian last week, the effigy “represents a human,” and, as the paper went on to note, “various students expressed their distaste for the burning of a human-like figure.”
Oh, the humanity. Read more »
My guilty pleasure is sports talk radio. Professional sports has always been an escape from reality and a way to relieve some of its pressures. Sports talk radio is just a way of extending the escape.
I turned on 97.5, The Fanatic, just in time to hear a discussion about the great debate of the day. Forget healthcare.gov, immigration reform and the NSA, Nick Foles versus Michael Vick is topic A. I turned the volume up and got ready for the entertaining rants from Nick from Passyunk and Manayunk Mickey.
The debate ended before it started when talk show host Tony Bruno said, “I’m not going to take a position on who should be the quarterback for this team because apparently that is a controversial topic in this town.” Wait a minute! Isn’t faux-controversy the foundation of sports talk radio’s existence? But Bruno was talking about a real-life controversial topic, not the sports controversy.
The Sixers lost Monday night. They shot an embarrassing 55 percent from the foul line; Tony Wroten missed six straight free throws. “As hard as I try not to, it is in my head, I work so hard and they trust me to make free throws,” the career 62 percent free throw shooter said. Evan Turner got a technical foul for arguing with an official with 2:54 left and the Sixers down six. “I saw two of my teammates get their lips split,” the team’s leading scorer said. The Sixers’ loss to the Mavericks was so expected the Dallas Morning News headlined its game recap “Dallas Mavericks avoid embarrassing loss to Philadelphia 76ers,” though perhaps that was for for SEO purposes.
All good, right? The Sixers could have won Monday night. They led by four at halftime and were down three with just under four minutes left. But, as you probably know, the loss has a silver lining. The team traded away its All-Star at the end of last season and signed young players in the hopes of competing in the future. The Sixers are supposed to be bad this year.
Here’s the problem: The Sixers are 5-7. After Monday night’s loss, they were still in first place in the Atlantic Division. First place! For a team that was supposed to be losing.
A year ago, most football fans couldn’t pick Riley Cooper out of a lineup. In July, he made national headlines after he was caught on video using the mother of all racial slurs, the “n word.” Since then, Cooper has transformed from borderline practice-squad player to an essential weapon in Chip Kelly’s offensive arsenal.
About the offensive part — some fans seem to think it’s time to move past his vulgar choice of words and simply be thankful Nick Foles likes throwing to this guy. But just as the Cooper controversy seemed to fade away, that word kept making headlines in the sports world. Exiled Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito used it as a tool in his seemingly bottomless toolbox of harassment against teammate Jonathan Martin. Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes dropped it on Twitter after being ejected from a game. (The tweet has since been deleted.)
Sunday was a good day for the only two purely college-to-pro coaches in the NFL. Both Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano and the Eagles’ Chip Kelly notched wins, and though it remains unlikely the Bucs’ boss will survive the season, Kelly continues to grow in his role with the Home Team. No one can predict whether he will ever win a Super Bowl, but Kelly has shown the ability to grow into the job and has the Birds in a great position, even if that spot is first place in the NFC Island of Misfit Toys Division.
It’s impossible to give Kelly all A’s on his report card, since his decision Sunday to go into the four corners early in the final quarter allowed Washington to sneak back into the game. He has yet to grasp the nuances of clock management, something that was never much of a concern while he was at Oregon and blowing out most opponents.
One would imagine Kelly will develop a better touch in that regard as he spends more time in the NFL and has to protect leads in close games. When it comes to the more important stuff, however, he has improved considerably since the beginning of the season.
What a difference a month makes. The last time we checked in with the Philadelphia Flyers they were setting records for offensive ineptness. Now the team is riding high after a three-game winning streak, including a statement effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
So what has happened? And how has it happened so quickly?