Bring the Eagles Training Camp Back to Lehigh!

Kicker David Akers signs autographs at camp in 2008. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

I feel sorry for the younger generation of Eagles fans — and not just because our beloved team hasn’t won a playoff game in nearly a decade. The July humidity has me feeling nostalgic for when the sun and the Eagles’ fortunes were bright. The two places my mind tends to wander when reminiscing about halcyon childhood summers: the Shore (duh), and Eagles training camp in Bethlehem, where the team got into game shape for 17 glorious Augusts from 1996 through 2012. Read more »

Phillies to Host Inaugural “Pride Night”

MLB pride logo.

MLB pride logo.

The Philadelphia Phillies will have an LGBT-themed night on their official calendar for the first time on Monday, August 29th.

Gay Community Night, an unofficial pride-themed event backed largely by the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP), had been held during a Phillies game for the past 13 years but could not be listed on the team’s calendar because it was being hosted by an outside entity. Now under the direct support of the Phillies, the event will feature a scoreboard recognizing the community during the second and sixth innings, a rainbow flag flying under the American flag throughout the evening, and performances by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. This is progress for the National Baseball League, which currently has fewer than 10 teams hosting official LGBT-themed nights. Read more »

Philly Could Actually Win a Sports Championship on Friday

Philadelphia Soul players celebrate a touchdown at a recent game. (Photo by Todd Bauders, Contrast Photography)

Philadelphia Soul players celebrate a touchdown at a recent game. (Photo by Todd Bauders, Contrast Photography)

It has been quite a dry spell for Philadelphia professional sports franchises since the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. We haven’t had a champion team since. (Well, assuming you don’t count the 2016 champion Philadelphia Spinners Ultimate — as in Frisbee — team, which we most certainly do not.) But that could all change on Friday night when the Philadelphia Soul take on the Arizona Rattlers. Read more »

An Axe-Throwing Club Is Coming to Kensington

A near-bullseye throw at Urban Axes

My almost bullseye at the future site of Urban Axes in Kensington.

I must look stupid.

I have this fear a lot, but this time I’m sure of it: My left foot is forward, and my weight is all on my back foot. My hands are in front of me, and I’m trying to remember to keep my wrists at a 90-degree angle. Oh, and I’m holding a 1.5-pound axe. I pull my hands back behind my head, thrust them forward and release.

Thunk. The axe handle hits the wooden board 10 feet in front of me, then bounces harmlessly to the floor. “Maybe you actually need to move up,” my instructor says. “And keep those wrists straight!” Despite my errors, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

I’m at Urban Axes, the new axe-throwing space in Kensington a few blocks from the York-Dauphin El stop in the former Sazz Vintage warehouse. My instructor is Lily Cope, the former executive director at Cook who took a job as “axe master general” at Urban Axes earlier this year.

Four friends — two in Philly, two in Toronto — founded Urban Axes and plan to open in late July or early August, if the place gets through zoning. (It needs to switch from industrial to commercial zoning.) When it gets going, Urban Axes will hold private events and run leagues. Through it all, an Urban Axes team member will offer tips and make sure everything is running smoothly and safely.

Axe-throwing has no doubt been done in the woods for centuries, but the sport version of it traces its roots to Toronto. As Cope tells it, the founders were inspired by the dozen or so axe-throwing clubs in the Canadian city. They played the sport up north and decided Philadelphia would be the best spot for what they say is the first one in the United States. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Insulted at Padres Game

San Diego Gay Men Chorus (Screenshot)

San Diego Gay Men Chorus (screenshot)

The members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus claim they were insulted with homophobic slurs while trying to perform the National Anthem.

Saturday night “turned into a nightmare” for the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, according to a recent statement from the organization. The Padres, which sponsors an annual “Out at the Park” event geared toward LGBTQ patrons, invited the chorus to perform the National Anthem. However, once the 100 volunteer gay vocalists reached the field, their microphones were turned off and a recording of a female voice was played. The chorus also claims its members were subjected to homophobic slurs as they left the podium. “No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over,” the chorus remarked in a public statement on Saturday night. “No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands.” Read more »

Pro Baseball Player Sean Murphy, Fishtown Native, Dead at 27

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

The Oakland Athletics announced today that Sean Murphy, a 27-year-old minor leaguer with the franchise, was found dead yesterday in Arizona. Murphy, a native of Philadelphia, was 27.

“The A’s are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sean Murphy,” A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

According to Philadelphia Baseball Review, Murphy was a native of Thompson Street in Fishtown. Like his older brother Pat, Murphy was a sports star at Northeast Catholic High School. The Spirit profiled the family just last week. Read more »

PHOTOS: Stonewall Sports Kickball Kick-Off Celebration

Mayor Jim Kenney, State Rep. Brian Sims, and Nellie Fitzpatrick photographed with members of Stonewall Sport's Kickball Team. Photography by Hugh E. Dillon.

Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Brian Sims, and Nellie Fitzpatrick photographed with members of Stonewall Sport’s Kickball Team. Photography by Hugh E. Dillon.

Stonewall Sports Philadelphia opened its kickball season on Saturday, April 10th, at Marconi Park in South Philadelphia. The organization is one of the largest LGBTQ sports organizations in the city, having grown from 100 to more than 1,000 players in recent years. This kickoff event featured an appearance from Mayor Jim Kenney, and Trish Dressel — the widow of Gloria Casarez, Philly’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs — was on hand to throw out the first pitch. Read more »

Phillies Bring Back Kentucky Bluegrass to Infield

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The Phillies are bringing Kentucky bluegrass back to their infield — the same type of turf they played on during the earliest years of Citizens Bank Park, including the 2008 World (Bleeping) Series championship.

The club had replaced the turf with Bermuda grass before the 2012 season, since Bermuda can take the punishment of hot summers and 80-plus games a little better. But players didn’t like it much.

The Wall Street Journal this week named the Phillies’ turf switch one of the changes to look for across the league this 2016 season: Read more »

Recording of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game to be Preserved by Library of Congress

Wilt Chamberlain

Photo | Malcolm Emmons- USA TODAY Sports

A recording of the fourth-quarter of Wilt Chamberlain’s famous 100-point game will be preserved by the Library of Congress, the institution announced today.

The recording is one of 25 announced for inclusion on the National Recording Registry. Other entries include Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

The Library of Congress described the 100-point game recording this way: Read more »

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