The Best Thing That Happened This Week

October 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) yells at Dallas Cowboys fans before the game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

We were resigned to the Sixers. Hey, it’s a long-term plan, right? And we’d sort of come around on the Phillies. (Maybe Ryan Howard can make a comeback. Maybe you can build a team on Carlos Ruiz’s 36-year-old knees!) But then this week, we bade farewell to Trent and Cary and Shady and hello to Kiko, and it became dazzlingly clear that our lives were about to change. With no Sixers, Phillies or Eagles worth watching, we’ll all turn off our flat-screens and head outside this spring, summer and fall. We’ll play catch with our kids! We’ll plant tomatoes in the backyard! We’ll reconnect with our neighbors across porches and fences! We’ll have so much more free time! Damn, maybe we’ll even go check out the Union! We hear Chester’s pretty this time of year.

The Sixers Are Good at Math. The Phillies Aren’t.

sixers phillies
We already know that the Sixers stink. We expect that the Phillies — barring a miracle — will do the same during their forthcoming season. But it turns out they stink in vastly different ways.

The Sixers stink in a very futuristic way, you see, while the Phillies stink in retro fashion.

ESPN did an analysis of all teams in the major professional sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — then ranked how committed each is to using advanced metrics (mathematical analysis of everything about a sport that can be quantified) to improve the team on the field.

The Sixers ranked first. The Phillies: Dead last.
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The Best Thing That Happened This Week

COLE-HAMELS-Lynne-sladky-ap-940x540

Okay, we know this team doesn’t look like much on paper. (Chad Billingsley? Really?) You know what, though? Neither did the Sixers back in October, and look how much fun they’ve turned out to be! This Phillies team could surprise you. (Ben Revere!) Actually, if it does anything at all, it will surprise everybody. (Domonic Brown!) And how perfectly Philly would that be? A city that’s home to the patron saint of underdogs (Adrian!”) should never (Aaron Harang!), never (Darren Ruf!), never (Jesse Biddle!) say die until the umpire signals the last out. Ryan Howard, just picture every line drive you hit landing in Cataldi’s big fat mouth.

Ben Davis Is New Phillies’ Color Commentator

Ben Davis will be the Phillies’ new color commentator, Comcast SportsNet announced today.

The Malvern Prep graduate was a major leaguer from 1998 to 2004 with the Padres, Mariners and White Sox. He played until 2010 in the minor leagues, and has been a pre- and post-game analyst on CSN for Phillies games for the last four years. He’s also a regular commentator on 94 WIP. Read more »

David Montgomery Out as Phillies President

Philadelphia Phillies new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. center, is flanked by outgoing GM Pat Gillick, left, and club president Dave Montgomery, right, duirng a news conference in Philadelphia Monday November 3, 2008. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

Philadelphia Phillies new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. center, is flanked by outgoing GM Pat Gillick, left, and club president Dave Montgomery, right, duirng a news conference in Philadelphia Monday November 3, 2008. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

The Phillies announced today that David Montgomery has returned to the team as chairman. Pat Gillick, who had been interim president in Montgomery’s absence, will now assume the job full-time. Montgomery took a leave of absence this summer while recovering from cancer surgery. Bill Giles moves from chairman to chairman emeritus.

Although Gillick has had the interim removed from his designation as Phillies president, the team says he is only staying on as president “in the short term.”

“I am fortunate to be healthy enough now to resume some of my previous responsibilities,” Montgomery said in a statement. “I am very appreciative that Pat Gillick is willing and available to remain as the club’s President.”

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Werth, Utley Compete to be “Face of MLB”

It’s been awhile since Jayson Werth and his beautiful, beautiful beard belonged to Philadelphia — his was one high-priced contract for a World Series vet that Ruben Amaro Jr. managed to avoid signing the last few years. Still, he was part of that ’08 championship team, and even if he plays for a division rival — the Washington Nationals — there’s some lingering love for him here.

So it feels like the folks at MLB.com were being a bit mean, perhaps, by pitting Werth against still-here Chase Utley in the first round of its “Face of the MLB” contest:

face of mlb
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Where and When Will the Phillies Trade Cole Hamels?

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

They call it the hot stove league. “They” meaning “baseball media and fans.” As Wikipedia helpfully notes in delightfully awkward prose, “The phrase does not denote an actual league, but instead calls up images of baseball fans gathering around a hot stove during the cold winter months, discussing their favorite baseball teams and players.”

And fans in Philadelphia are dealing with chilly temperatures by gathering around the hot stove and talking about Cole Hamels. Phillies fans with weak hearts may want to stop reading now if they don’t already know: The Phillies are trying to trade Hamels.

In a report on CSN Philly, longtime Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury says they are in “staredowns” with several clubs, naming the Cardinals, Padres, Rangers and Red Sox. He adds he doesn’t expect the trade to come soon, saying it will be delayed until the “warmer months.”

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Jeffrey Lurie Enters Competition for Philadelphia’s Worst Sports Owner

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia has a sports team ownership problem.

It took last week’s Eagles front office fiasco to get me thinking about this. And the Eagles are the one viable team in this town right now.

Jeffrey Lurie has now owned the Eagles for 20 years. Not only is there no championship of which to speak, but now I’m very leery of the direction this owner provides towards that end. When confronted with in-house bickering of his lieutenants, Lurie caved like a pre-fab house in a stiff wind. His anointing of Chip Kelly as the main architect of the franchise and demotion of Howie Roseman from general manager to vice president of shoulder pads, or some such thing, was not exactly generalship. It was a panic move from a weak leader.
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