Monthly Archives: August 2009

Toronto’s ace ice cold

What kind of an ace is Roy Halladay? With a 144-73 career record, a lifetime ERA of 3.47, and only being 32 years of age, it’s hard to find many—if any—more qualified pitchers to build a staff around (and keep in mind these stats come on a team that has to the Yankees and the Red Sox a combined 38 times each season).

By June 7, Halladay was on track to have a career year.  His complete-game shutout of Kansas City that day ran his record to 10-1, and dropped his ERA to a tidy 2.52.

On July 6, Halladay’s season was turned upside-down.  Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi announced that day that he would listen to offers for the 11-year veteran.  Even the typically cool-under-pressure Halladay was not able to pitch out of the off-the-field jam his GM put him in. Continue reading

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How Tweet it is

It’s a story that has gotten hardly any play in the American media, but I defy you to say it’s not one of the cooler stories you will ever see.

This article on Velonews makes it impossible not to absolutely love Lance Armstrong and everything he stands for.

Here’s the long and short of it: Lance, in Ireland, posted a message on his Twitter account that read “Good morning Dublin. Who wants to ride this afternoon? I do. 5:30 p.m. at the roundabout of Fountain Road and Chesterfield Avenue. See you there.” When the time to ride rolled around, a surprised Armstrong was joined by over 1,000 fans on his two-hour training ride around the well-known Kyber Pass, requiring the Irish police to shut down the six kilometer circuit the throng rode along.

It’s a remarkable story from a remarkable athlete. In a time when athletes are increasingly unabailable to the fans who shell out thousands of dollars to cheer them on, and for an athlete whose greatness has earned the utmost of that privacy, it’s an amazing and refreshing act.

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Small Vick-tories for Eagles

All eyes in the Philadelphia sporting world were turned to Lincoln Financial Field tonight to see Michael Vick’s debut in an Eagles’ jersey. It was an abbreviated appearance in his first time under center in two years, but there were brief moments that may give Eagles’ fans renewed hope.

Vick received an overwhelmingly warm reception from the largely late-arriving crowd at the Linc. And fans didn’t have to wait long to see him on the field, as he was in the backfield on the second play from scrimmage, tossing a four-yard shuttle pass to LeSean McCoy out of the Wildcat package.

Here’s a rundown of each of Vick’s trips onto the field:

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Cole Hamels Spotted in Western Pennsylvania

After Brad Lidge gave his all-too familiar “there goes the game” stare to the outfield last night, Phillies fans feared dropping two straight to the last place Pirates with the struggling Cole Hamels on the mound for the Fightins’. Since his gem against Dan Haren in Arizona, Hamels has struggled with both location and emotion on the mound, seeming more like the Phils’ fifth starter instead of World Series MVP. However, something must have reminded Cole of Chase Field tonight, as he pitched another gem tonight helping the Phillies beat the Bucs in 10 innings by a score of 4 to 1.

Hamels pitched eight shutout innings, walking two while striking out seven over 123 pitches. If not for a Ryan Madson blown save in the ninth, he would have also notched his eighth win on the year. This Cole Hamels looked like the man who led off each of the Phillies’ playoff series with a winning effort during the 2008 World Series Championship. While he sometimes struggled with command, Hamels came back from tough spots to hold the Pirates’ offense at bay all night long. Continue reading

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In a New York State of Mind

With the New York Mets struggling through an injury-plagued season, the highlight of the four game Phillies-Mets series was not the rivalry between the two teams, but Pedro Martinez’s return to Queens after his four-year stint with the Mets. After his pre-game press conference on Friday, everyone’s eyes looked to Sunday afternoon, when Pedro would pitch against his former team.

Pedro settled into a pattern through the first four innings of his outing. In the first and third innings, struggled with the first few batters. In each of those innings, he gave up a leadoff home run (both to Angel Pagan) and then a base hit, leading to two earned runs in each situation. In the following inning (the second and fourth), he settled down, throwing good pitches to get out without giving up a run.

In the fifth and sixth innings, Pedro looked more like he did in his previous starts, keeping the Mets’ offense scoreless. In the end, Martinez earned the win by throwing 6 innings, allowing four runs while walking one and striking out five as the Phillies scratched out a 9-6 victory. Continue reading

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Paulus breaking down a whole new defense

The beleaguered Syracuse Orange football program reached a whole new level of desperation on Monday when they named Greg Paulus it’s starting quarterback for the 2009 campaign.  While any college program would roll out the red carpet for a signal-caller who completed 66 percent of his passes, 43 touchdowns, and a state-record 3,677 yards as a high school senior, few would do so for a player four years removed from their last competitive drop back.

Clearly Syracuse needed to try something.  After the failure of Greg Robinson, who went 10-37 with a 3-25 conference record in his four-year tenure, newly-appointed head coach Doug Marrone’s hands were virtually tied.  How do you not start the city’s prodigal son?  The prized recruit Syracuse lost to Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program would have to start on his abysmal hometown team.

While Paulus under center may be the best way to bolster attendance figures and put the program back in the national spotlight regardless of their win total or competitive level, is it plausible to think he can adequately lead a Divison I football team? Continue reading

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Oh, the Problems of a Crowded Staff…

In last night’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies saw something that had not happened since Steve Carlton relieved Bert Blyleven in 1987: one 200-game winning pitcher relieving another. After his first start at Citizens Bank Park ended because of a 66-minute rain delay, Pedro Martinez was replaced by Jamie Moyer, who was replaced by Pedro in the starting rotation two weeks earlier. In his first relief stint since 1996, Moyer pitched six scoreless innings, giving up only two hits while striking out five, leaving the field to a standing ovation from the fans who had stuck out through the delay.

An outing like this only adds more questions to the already confusing task of sorting out the Phils’ staff. Continue reading

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