What’s Next, Jawn Morgan? You As Jason Kelce? Gritty?
Plus, the temporary I-95 roadway is expected to open this weekend.
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On His Latest Philadelphia Billboard, John Morgan (a.k.a. Jawn Morgan) Fancies Himself a Phillies Player
In the rest of the country — or at least the rest of the country where he has law offices — he’s known as John Morgan. But here in Philadelphia, the Florida-based personal injury attorney is known as Jawn Morgan thanks to a billboard campaign that got Philadelphians talking (and earned him a Worst of Philly award) last year. And now, Morgan is inserting himself into yet another Philadelphia institution: the Phillies.
I couldn’t help but notice his latest Philadelphia billboard campaign as I drove back from the Jersey Shore over the weekend, on a billboard placed close to the stadiums along I-76. And this morning, as I made my way through West Philadelphia, I spotted the one seen here, along 63rd Street. Yes, that is John Morgan wearing a Phillies uniform, presumably with the permission of the Phillies, given that the fine-ish print on the billboard reads: PROUD SPONSOR OF THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES.
“I’ve been staring at his face on the SEPTA bus that runs down our block,” one of my colleagues lamented this morning. “Though they seem to have taken some liberties with his, uh, jawline.”
It’s true: John Morgan does seem a bit more youthful on this particular billboard. Maybe it’s Photoshop. Or maybe it’s just the hat. Who knows what magic you can work when your advertising budget is $180 million? Yes, $180 million, as he told me in this interview last year.
So what’s next, John Morgan? You as Jason Kelce once the Eagles go into pre-season? A play on Gritty during Flyers season? William Penn atop City Hall?
I await your next move.
An I-95 Collapse Update
Believe it or not, the backfill work on the temporary roadway is expected to be completed today. And the latest prediction is that you’ll be able to drive that section of I-95 (the temporary version, anyway) this weekend! Thank God Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro got involved. Had we been left with our lame-duck mayor to resolve this thing, who knows when we’d get back on the road?
“Based on the tremendous progress these crews made over the weekend and the time it takes to complete the remaining steps, I can now say that we will have I-95 back open this weekend,” said Shapiro on Tuesday afternoon. “We have worked around the clock to get this done, and we’ve completed each phase safely and ahead of schedule. That’s all due to the incredible coordination with our local, state, and federal partners – and thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Philadelphia Building Trades who are making this happen.”
Speaking of Jim Kenney
The Inquirer ran one of a bazillion I-95 updates on Friday. And I have to say, this tidbit from that update will certainly go down in history as a true Jim Kenney Moment from the whole I-95 thing: “Mayor Jim Kenney said his phone kept ringing with a 202 area code earlier this week and he kept ignoring it, thinking it was spam. A staffer said, ‘Please answer, the president’s calling you.'”
Hope You Like the Smell of Chlorine!
What Are You Doing This Week?
Tonight, it’s Tchaikovsky and fireworks with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann. And this week presents your last chance to catch Twelfth Night at the Wilma and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Arden. Those, and a bunch of other great ideas for what to do this week, in this handy post.
Where Are You Eating this Week?
If you’re free tonight, you certainly can’t get more adventurous than this $125-per-person dinner on South Street. Otherwise, maybe you’d like to see if the latest Amada is worth the hype. Bulgogi beef birria sounds good as well!
By the Numbers
70 percent: Police stops accounted for by Black Philadelphians, despite the fact that Black Philadelphians make up less than 40 percent of the city’s population, according to a new report from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
4: Months that Rittenhouse Square’s $25 million Bankroll was open before announcing major cutbacks, including furloughs of many employees.
0: Days without rain in the forecast this weekend.
And from the Mighty-Mighty Sports Desk …
Hope you had a great long weekend! Here’s a quick roundup of the weekend’s sports news. In Thursday’s concluding game in the Phils’ four-game series with the Diamondbacks, with Aaron Nola on the mound, our guys jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second with hits from just about everybody on AZ starter Ryne Nelson, including a solo (of course) homer by Bryson Stott. The Phils picked up another in the third, but AZ went ahead with a three-run homer. Never fear; after committing the error that led to the D’backs flurry, Kyle Schwarber smacked a homer to put the Phils in the lead. Gregory Soto came in to relieve in the seventh, followed by Seranthony and Craig Kimbrel, who held onto that lead. Final: 5-4 Phils. Three out of four out there!
THE PHILLIES ARE BACK OVER .500‼️ pic.twitter.com/uSx5vNfBtu
— Justin Lever ❤️⚾️ (@JustinLever3) June 15, 2023
On Friday night in Oakland, Schwarber started things off right by hitting a first-pitch (solo) homer out of the park off J.P. Sears. In the second, J.T. Realmuto did the same. Taijuan Walker, starting against the A’s and their abysmal 19-52 record, began the bottom of the third by giving up three singles and a run, but Alec Bohm got it back and then some with a (mirabile dictu!!) two-run homer in the top of the fourth. In the sixth, Walker gave up a double and a steal of third by Esteury Ruiz but got out of the jam with a strikeout plus a terrific catch by Cristian Pache.
The A’s DFA’d Cristian Pache BTW pic.twitter.com/6xIUxe2urP
— Barstool Baseball (@StoolBaseball) June 17, 2023
Walker stayed in through the eighth without further damage. Castellanos and Harper led off the ninth with singles, and Nick scored on a throwing error by reliever Chad Smith. Another misplay, by Seth Brown on a Bohm fly ball, scored Harper, too: 6-1. Ooh, wild pitch! “The A’s are all of a sudden throwing the ball all over the place,” Tom McCarthy said dryly. Andrew Vasquez polished it off with a one-two-three ninth, and that was that.
On Saturday afternoon, it was Cristopher Sánchez pitching for the Phils and James Kaprielian for the A’s. Sánchez was going strong until a single by Esteury Ruiz deflected off his hand in the fourth: ouch! He came out in the fifth for Matt Strahm, who gave up a singleton homer to Carlos Perez. After singles by Turner and Bohm in the sixth, Kaprielian came out for Sam Moll, who struck Harper out and walked Realmuto on purpose. That loaded the bases for Stott, who tied it up with an infield hit.
Two singles off Yunior Marte in the seventh brought in Soto, who got the side out. Jose Alvarado came in for the eighth, and he got the job done. The Phils couldn’t get anything going in the ninth, and the A’s did against Kimbrel, with a single and an error by Josh Harrison, but couldn’t finish the job. Extra inning time! In the top of the 11th, the Phils finally got a run. One run. Could Vasquez hold the line? Nah. The A’s tied it. The Phils got one in the 12th, on a Schwarber single. Could Jeff Hoffman hold the line? Yes! A big 3-2 Phils win.
On Sunday, the conclusion of the Athletics series, I … missed the game. Hey, it was Father’s Day! Here are two heartwarming Dad Day videos to make up for it. First, here’s Nick Castellanos with his son Liam:
This video of Nick Castellanos and his son Liam is so awesome pic.twitter.com/xf7vLdeJwu
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 18, 2023
And the Philadelphia Union put together this Father’s Day tribute:
— X – Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 18, 2023
I did watch the late replay of the eighth and ninth innings, and they alone were a game’s-worth of excitement, with the Phils squeaking through with a 3-2 win — their sixth in a row. Zack Wheeler went six scoreless innings for the latest in a series of strong starts, and Yunior Marte had a scoreless ninth to nail the win. The Phils are back in action tonight with the start of a home stand against the NL East-leading Braves; first pitch at 6:40.
All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.