Category Archives: Philadelphia Pro Sports

Left Field Lite: Minor League Travels Round Two

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Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium provides cheap eats and entertainment for the whole famiy. Photos by Tom Hagan, ’11

In the continuing travels of a father and son exploring the minor and independent league  stadiums  within an hour of Philadelphia,  this weekend’s decision brought me to Reading, PA, home of the Reading Phillies, the AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Continue reading

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Left Field Lite: Say Goodbye to the Beard?

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Jayson Werth could soon find himself on another team if the Phillies get the right deal

When you’re a defending NL Champion seven games out of first place, it’s time to make a trade.

Right now, Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the Phillies’ front office are looking to get some pitching, preferably someone who will be more than a rental player. As of today, the only two people who fit those guidelines are the Astros’ Roy Oswalt and the Diamondbacks’ Dan Haren. Both of these players are top of the line pitchers, which means the Phillies will once again have to sacrifice some of their top prospects in order add rotation strength.

What this means for fans, however, is that one of the Phils’ prominent players will be saying goodbye in the near future. The man I’m speaking of is outfielder Jayson Werth. Continue reading

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Left Field Lite: Don’t Call it a Comeback

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With his win on Sunday, Jamie Moyer tied Roy Halladay as the Phillies’ wins leader.

You know, for a little while there, things were a little scary for Phillies fans. While the Phillies offense has slumped in seasons past, this year anemic didn’t even begin to describe it. Normally the “June Swoon” comes during interleague play. This year, the Phils were slumping entering interleague play. Within a week, the Phillies dropped from being right behind the Braves in the standings to 5.5 games out of first place.

Well, with a solid win against the Blue Jays today, the Phillies look to be back on track, averaging 7 runs a game in their last 5 games, finding themselves now only 2.5 games back and closing in on an early July showdown with the Braves. But as the great LL Cool J once said in his song “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Continue reading

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Two days, four upsets, seven observations: The Stanley Cup playoffs so far

There really is nothing like playoff hockey: the intensity, the insanity, the towel-waving, whited-out crazed throngs of fans, the collective rise and fall of thousands of hopes and dreams with every hit, carom, and deflection. The difference in the playoff brand of hockey from its regular season counterpart is greater than the change that occurs in any of the other four major sports (with the possible exception of Major League Baseball, but that’s a numbers game of condensing the efforts of 162 games into a mere seven games where talent and ability are more likely to give way to sheer dumb luck).

The hits are harder. Every slap shot has just a little more gusto behind it. Every player is just a little more willing to sacrifice life and limb in the path of a slapper to get that much closer to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest happenings in sport, and it plays itself out over two shiner-filled, scraggly-bearded months.

With two days and seven games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs already in the books, I’ve got seven observations—one for each series underway—to whet your appetite for the quest for the most prestigious trophy in sports.

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Sens in Steal City

There’s something amiss about this year’s Pittsburgh Penguins. (Disclaimer: I am a Pens fan who’s watched 65 of their games this year; prepare for more detail than you ever could have wanted.) I thought Pens in six was a pretty safe bet over the Senators, who the boys from the Steel City quickly dispatched two years ago en route to their first of two straight Eastern Conference Championships.

This team just doesn’t have the mojo last year’s Cup winners did, and the first round matchup doesn’t help. If there’s one aspect where the Pens would have an advantage borne out of their experience, it’s their grit, hustle, and ability to pressure a team into mistakes. But Ottawa is one of the grittier teams in the playoffs, and their ability to forecheck effectively against the Pens and grind their attacks to a halt in the neutral zone is a testament to that. It helped that they got a lot of bounces to go their way (see goals 2-4), but they certainly earned the win.

It was to a team that on Wednesday looked like it lost that winning feeling (thank you, Righteous Brothers.) They weren’t able to impose their will, and even when they did, quickly relapsed and were answered by the gritty Sens. The Pens weren’t playing their puck possession, shooting gallery-type game (much to the benefit of a not-so-convincing Brian Elliott in goal). The pace resembled that of a college basketball game in that each team had runs of sustained pressure that may or may not have led to a goal. And like so many college games, the Pens spent so much energy in the fight back that they had to let up on the gas and didn’t have enough to finish the deal.

It’s been a constant theme for the Pens down the stretch. They managed to maintain contact with the top teams in the East, but it was an unconvincing 6-6-3 finish to the season. Three of those wins required overtime, the finish was made to look better thanks to 13 goals over two games against the Islanders, and a 2-0 home loss to the hapless Lightning and a 1-0 loss at a Thrashers team just playing out the string were interspersed in there. Continue reading

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Philly fan thrown up and out of game

If you’ve ever been sickened by Phillies fans, here’s another one that should earn this South Jersey resident a bronzed urinal from the Vet.

At Wednesday night’s Phils-Nationals game, Matthew Clemmens of Cherry Hill, NJ (oh, South Jersey!) was ejected and arrested for a very peculiar reason (and check out the photo tab for his mugshot; he kind of looks like Rosanne Barr after a hockey game). His friend had been ejected from Citizens Bank Park earlier, and deciding that revenge was a dish best served after it had already been digested, forced himself to vomit on a family of nearby spectators, including an 11-year-old girl.

But the joke proved to be on him, as the young girl’s father, Easton, Pa. police captain Michael Vangelo, took umbrage and punched the refunding Clemmens in the face before helping Philadelphia police arrest him. The newly black-eyed Clemmens still had a little guts left, literally, which he shared with the arresting officer.

He was charged with assault and harassment, and has also been recognized by the honor of a “Matthew Clemmens is a Douche” group on Facebook. No word on whether or not he also has ever booed Santa Claus or cheered at opposing players injuries.

– Matthew De George ’10

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10 things to watch for the upcoming MLB season

As I watch what actually has turned out to be an interesting season opener between the Yanks and the Sox (in the Michael Wilbon voice), I guess there’s no better time than the present to give you my 2010 MLB season preview. Here are 10 storylines to watch as America’s pastime opens 2010 in earnest tomorrow.

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Repeat?

It’s been another busy winter for the Yankees, though this time with a tighter grip on the purse strings. The 27-time World Champs signed former farmhand Nick Johnson as their DH and added journeyman Randy Winn to provide a capable outfielder off the bench. But the other additions came through trades. Curtis Granderson, fresh off a career-high 30 home runs with the Tigers (written as he takes Josh Beckett deep with two outs in the second inning), was brought in for pitchers Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, and top prospect Austin Jackson. The rotation was strengthened by the acquisition of Javier Vasquez (another former Yankee returning to the Bronx) for misfit Melky Cabrera. Vazquez and the reintroduction of Phil Hughes to the rotation stabilizes the back-end of one of the best starting fives in the AL, while Chan Ho Park and Joba Chamberlain’s return to the bullpen gives them depth there. Despite playing in baseball’s toughest division, the Yanks are still a front-runner to take home another World Series Title.

Phil me up again? Continue reading

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Breaking News: McNabb traded to Redskins

For all those pitchfork salesmen and torch purveyors in Philadelphia, get ready for a brisk Monday morning.

According to ESPN, the Eagles have done what the previously unthinkable by trading starting quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. Both sides are trying to finalize the deal, but the centerpiece coming back to the City of Brotherly Love is the Skins’ second-round pick, number 37 overall.

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The trade leaves the Eagles with only two quarterbacks on the roster in Kevin Kolb, who looks to be the heir apparent, and Michael Vick. The Redskins tendered an offer to free agent QB Jason Campbell, their starter for the four seasons, as well as picking up free agent Rex Grossman to complement Richard Bartel and Colt Brennan in camp.

More details to follow as they emerge.

– Matthew De George ’10

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