The Things I Think: How the Eagles Will Finish This Year

Plus: Random thoughts about Pat Burrell, the PGA and the Kendra Wilkinson-Hank Baskett marriage

Is it me, or has the autumn air crept upon us a little bit earlier this year? I know this by my tomato plants. I had a bountiful crop throughout July and normally it continues in August. Instead, my growing and ripening season has hit the wall like a Raul Ibanez slump and all I have now are a bunch of green tomatoes on a vine, susceptible to the sharp end of a bird’s beak.

As you can see, this will be a stream of consciousness blog, with me writing whatever comes into my head. All right, focus. I just wrote about autumn. Autumn means football. Football means the Eagles, whom I see as having an 8-8 season this year, despite how good the offense looked on its first two drives in the first pre-season game of the year against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that won’t make the playoffs. I think the following teams in the NFC are definitely better than the Birds, coming into this season: New Orleans, Minnesota, Green Bay, Dallas, Atlanta and the New York Giants.

The Eagles will finish ahead of the Washington Redskins, however. And all these dopey national pundits who thought we were crazy “underappreciating” Donovan McNabb will finally see that most of us were right about “5” all along. [SIGNUP]

I worry about Hank Baskett. He’s going to get cut from this year’s Eagles team and probably won’t hook on with anyone else because he’s about as mediocre as any NFL player can get, and so I ask: what happens to Hank’s marriage when the music stops? I don’t mean to undervalue the concept of “true love” as it pertains to Hank’s wife, former Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson. But this is a woman who wanted the high life so bad, she slept for years with a wrinkled, Viagra-addled has-been who convinced himself that wearing a gauche smoking jacket somehow was as powerful a tool as Superman’s blue suit and cape. Ugh. I’m quite sure that Baskett’s status as an NFL football player had nothing to do with Kendra’s attraction to him. On the flip side, you can find 10 girls a day in Rittenhouse Square hotter than Kendra Wilkinson. Put a bald cap on her and she looks like a little monkey. Think Hank got just a little swept away with celebrity pussy?

Isn’t it a wonderful time of the sports year, though? The Eagles start the regular season in a couple of weeks. And by then, the Phillies will have taken over first place in the National League Least with their full lineup in tow, poised for another run at the World Series. To that end, here’s your final playoff roster: the eight starters in the field (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ruiz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth), 11 pitchers (starters Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels, with Blanton and Kendrick moving to the bullpen for the playoffs; Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Contreras, Romero, Bastardo), and six bench players (Schneider, Valdez, Francisco, Gload, and Mike Sweeney and Domonic Brown). Dannys Baez and David Herndon can concentrate on some early tee times.

Pat Burrell coming back to play baseball in Philly? Jesus, you might have thought King Leonidas was coming back to Sparta. I never understood how a guy who for most of his career was a maddening disappointment, who dragged the fan base through extended hitting slumps — and that ridiculous “Burrell Curl,” where he would jut his ass back while facing a semi-inside pitch hoping to steal a “ball” call — left town as such a hero. I guess all you have to do these days for that status is get ONE hit in a World Series (granted, it was a big hit), then hop on a Budweiser wagon pulled by Clydesdales in a victory parade while you’re big ugly bulldog sits next to you, and you get worshipped forever. Is that the way it works? Christ, people in this town talk about Von Hayes being the ultimate stiff. Check his numbers against Burrell’s. Hayes’ are better in almost every category.

The Brett Favre drama continues! Now, he’s coming back to the Vikings to be their starting quarterback, a decision pushed along in no small measure by a visit to Favre in Mississippi by three of his Minnesota teammates. I have to laugh at the people who think football is such a team game, that Favre being dragged back is going to offend some of his teammates, especially the current Vikings quarterbacks Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. There’s only one thing that matters in football: winning. And the Vikings have a much better chance winning with Favre than those other two stiffs. Special treatment? George Orwell said that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. I’m pretty sure Orwell had the position of quarterback in mind when he wrote that. Do enlisted men in the military, who have to live in barracks and survive on mess hall chow and field rations, resent the officers in their dressed blues, tucking their napkins delicately in their necks before they sample the pate in the officers’ club? If they do, they go right to the brig. If I’m a Viking fan, I’m supposed to care about the feelings of Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels? I don’t think so.

A word to the idiots who dismiss golf as an elitist sport based on the institution of a two-stroke penalty to pro Dustin Johnson, a penalty that caused Johnson to miss out on a possible PGA Championship. You can’t ground your club in a bunker or a hazard because doing so would improve your lie and therefore make it easier for you to hit your shot. In other words, you’d be cheating. In the sand, you would make an indent mark behind the ball, which would create a clearer angle to the ball, making it easier to lift out of the bunker. If you don’t know anything about golf, and don’t play or respect the game, like that freakin’ Gonzo in the Inquirer, then don’t comment on it! Now, if you want to blame the PGA for not properly marshalling the course to prevent the gallery from walking everywhere, including IN the bunkers, or not putting up ropes around Dustin Johnson’s ball so people wouldn’t be able to stand there, fine. And maybe they could have helped a brutha out by reminding him, before he ventured into the sand, that the tamped down dirt WAS INDEED a bunker. But a penalty is a penalty. Also, I’ve got to think that the hand of God was involved when Johnson missed that par putt on 18 that would have given him the outright championship. Think about how then they would have had to pry the PGA Championship trophy from his cold, dead hands.

Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.