Will Heath Evans Please Shut Up About Chip Kelly, Eagles Fans

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As a lifelong Philadelphia sports observer, there is one thing that bothers me more than anything: when outsiders stick their big, fat nose into our business and assume they know more than the people who live and die daily with our teams.

Take Heath Evans. Please.

Evans is an analyst for the NFL Network who routinely bashes the Philadelphia fan, and in particular, new Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Now I remember Evans vaguely. He lasted 11 years in the NFL apparently as a fullback, but I remember him being in the league about a half an hour. He was a grunt. A guy who carried the football infrequently and who mostly served as a plow blocker for the really talented players. The jolts from that assignment may explain his illogical arguments when it comes to Kelly and Eagles fans. And besides that, I’m quite sure that he is bitter that his position in the league has been all but phased out. There is no more need for a fullback in the NFL, what with these sophisticated alignments that put speedy guys in slots and motion. Read more »

Eight Great College Football Games to See (in Person) This Fall

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Football is under siege — from parents, doctors, academics, a Kennedy, even from Buzz Bissinger, the guy who wrote the definitive book on football, Friday Night Lights. This makes us sad. Football is a wonderful game perfectly suited to the American spirit, and we’d miss it if it went away. We love us some Eagles, but for true passion — from guys who aren’t making millions a year to take the field — you can’t beat college football. Here are eight upcoming games featuring local college teams that should offer lots of rivalry, fun and excitement, not to mention cheerleaders and marching bands. Catch as many as you can — while you can. Read more »

Missanelli: Chase Utley Fifth Best Player in Modern Phillies History

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Utley left town the other day as the fifth-best player in modern Phillies history.

Yep. Here’s what I’ve got, in this order: Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Utley. (I apologize to Dick Allen and Del Ennis, and the older Phillies who may have been candidates, Chuck Klein and Nap Lajoie. I have no frame of reference for Chuckie and Nap.)

I’m a baseball dude. I played the game for much of my life (and still play in an adult league, which explains my recent torn meniscus and micro-fracture surgery) and was an avid student of the art of hitting. For a period of five years, I thought Chase Utley was the best hitter I had ever seen. Yes, the best hitter I had ever seen. Utley had an amazing way of staying relaxed, then violently firing that short swing. He kept his bat path in the hitting zone for a loooong time — right on the plane of the incoming pitched ball — and hit every ball on sweet spot of his maple bat.

Utley was also the strangest player I have ever covered or seen in a locker room. Read more »

WATCH: The Phillies Gave Up Two Monster Homers This Week

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The trade of Chase Utley to the Dodgers is not the only downer for Phillies fans this week. The hot streak that started after the All-Star break is over; please excuse the arbitrary endpoints, but the team has lost 7 of 9. Pete Mackanin is now 21-26 as Phillies manager. All of your favorites from the 2007-2011 teams are now on other squads, retired or hitting below league average.

And this week, the Phillies have given up two huge homers. Read more »

First Prospect from Hamels Trade to Make Phillies Debut

Jerad Eickhoff | Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jerad Eickhoff | Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies will are about to put to the test one of the prospects they received in the Cole Hamels deal.

Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will make his Phillies debut tonight against the Miami Marlins.

Eickhoff came to the Phillies on July 31st, the MLB trade deadline, when the Hamels deal that was originally struck on July 29th was made official. Since then, he has a 2-1 record with a strong 2.49 ERA for the Triple-A IronPigs. He is ranked as the Phillies’ 15th-best prospect. Read more »

6 Stars Who Couldn’t (or Wouldn’t) Play in Philly

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While the Sixers and their team of All Star surgeons are optimistic that Joel Embiid will make a full recovery from his latest foot surgery, the fact remains that the talented center’s future with the team is murkier than ever. As he prepares to sit out his second straight season, he inches closer to joining a strange Philadelphia fraternity: high-profile athletes who, for one reason or another, crushed Philly fans’ high expectations after their — in some cases high-profile — acquisitions. Some of these athletes were felled by injury, others simply refused to play in the City of Brother Love, and one — we’re looking at you, Andrew Bynum, was hurt and seemed to have no interest in playing here. Here are six athletes who could not — or would not — play in Philly. Read more »

Chase Utley: The Perfect Philadelphia Athlete

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Chase Utley had doubled, knocking in a run. The National League still trailed in the 2014 All-Star Game, but the team had finally scored. Utley, on second, went into his trademark celebration: Hands on his hips, staring forward with a small smirk on his face. It’s as if Utley were a baseball-playing robot, thinking “my programming helped me achieve that positive baseball result” to himself.

The only other Philadelphia athlete in recent memory that attracted the kind of universal adulation as Chase Utley is Brian Dawkins. Utley appeared to be designed in a factory designed to produce the kind of athlete designed to appeal to every Philadelphia fan: He kept his head down and didn’t say much. He went 100 percent at every opportunity. The blue-collar fan stereotype is overblown, but there is a segment of the Philadelphia fanbase that likes guys who play hard and keep quiet. They can pretend it’s them out there, just doing a job.

Utley put up solid numbers every year. He had nice arms. He would show up at, like, the Morning Glory diner. He and his wife had a charity, anti-animal abuse, that everyone could agree with. His swing reminded people of Ted Williams. He tied a World Series record held by Reggie Jackson. Both of his famous quotes involve him dropping an F-bomb. How could anyone not like this guy? The only other Phillie possibly beloved as much as Utley was Richie Ashburn. Read more »

Surgeon on Sixer Joel Embiid’s Foot: “Bone’s Integrity Better Than Expected”

Joel Embiid looks on from the sidelines during the January 7, 2015 game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid looks on from the sidelines during the January 7, 2015 game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

On July 11th the Sixers announced that Joel Embiid would require a second surgery to repair the navicular bone in his right foot, an injury that was first discovered mere days before the 2014 draft, and one which caused Embiid to miss his entire rookie season.

The surgery, which included replacing the two existing screws in Embiid’s foot along with a bone grafting procedure intended to help strengthen the area and promote healing, was performed Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

“Visual inspection suggested good vascularity of the bone,” said Dr. Martin J. O’Malley, the surgeon who headed up the operation. “We were able to identify that bone’s integrity was even better than expected and has been put in a great position to support full recovery.” Read more »

Report: Chase Utley Traded to L.A. Dodgers

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The Phillies have agreed to a deal that sends Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. He reports the trade is not yet official, but has been agreed to by both teams. The Phillies are also sending $2 million to the Dodgers in the trade.

Utley was drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft and signed on July 29th of that year. He rocketed up the minor league system, skipping AA Reading altogether, and debuted with the big club in 2003. His first major league hit, on April 24th of that year, was a grand slam. Read more »

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