Domonic Brown, Doc Halladay, and Roy Oswalt walk into a bar…

July 29, 2010
Randy Neil

alt

A few weeks ago, the Phillies seemed hopeless.  The team has lost 11 of 18 since July 1st.  They dropped 7 games back in the division, and their offensive rank in the NL had dropped from 2nd to 12th. 

Although the Phillies line-up was often reduced due to injuries, on July 22nd, Charlie Manuel said goodbye to hitting coach Milt Thompson in an attempt to shake up the ball club.  Greg Gross, the former hitting coach, replaced him, and it was met with immediate success.

In fact, as of now, success is a poor word.  It’s been perfection.  The Phillies have gone 7-0 since the replacement, and have had 4 games with 6 runs or more. 

Last night was one of those games, and I managed to make it down to Citizens Bank Park to catch what is now once again a beautiful team to watch.  

Due to Shane Victorino’s abdominal strain (on a routine pop up mind you,) the highly anticipated Domonic Brown was called up from Triple-A to make his debut for the Phillies last night, starting in right field.  Werth was moved to center, and they both batted in the 5th and 6th positions in the line-up.  

Before Brown’s named was even announced for the at-bat, the 45,000+ in attendance were standing in ovation for the debut.  There was a feeling in the air something special was happening and I was glad to witness from 20 rows back behind home plate. 

The prospect flourished in the minor leagues, and all the hype building up to last night made what happened even more special.  Domonic went 2-3, scoring an RBI double in his first at bat.  Overall, he had 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a sacrifice fly for the night.  Not too bad for your first game in the major leagues.  

It was also nice to see Roy Halladay finally pitch, and he was outstanding.  6 hits, 9 strike-outs, 1 earned run.  Doctor’s doing some surgery.

The Phillies finally have momentum carrying into the stretch, and with news of Roy Oswalt coming to town, things should only get better from here on out.

altEarlier this morning, news was released that the Astros and Phillies have come to an agreement for Roy Oswalt to come to Philadelphia.  The sad news is most likely J.A. Happ is going to Houston.  I’m not a big fan of this, but something of this magnitude was going to require a little sacrifice.  Another prospect being speculated in the trade is Triple-A 1st basemen Jonathan Singleton.  We’re pretty OK on the first basemen front, so I think I’ll be able to sleep at night.

None of the official names or figures are being released, and there are still possibilities of Joe Blanton being the pitcher to go (hopefully,) but according to the Phillies official website, a deal is “in-place” and it’s awaiting Oswalt’s OK.  This is going to happen, and it will probably happen by the end of the day.

The Phillies are getting back to their form, and a Halladay-Oswalt-Hamels starting rotation sounds pretty damn good to me.  The Phillies projected starting line-up has only been on the field 8 times this year.  With that number set to increase in the upcoming weeks, and a stronger starting pitching rotation, I’d expect to see the Braves’ 3.5 game lead in the division diminish.  

Do work, fellas.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a Cake Boy…

July 16, 2010
Randy Neil

alt

At midnight tonight, the agreement that EVERYONE wants to see happen, will probably not happen.  Manny Pacquiao’s camp set a deadline for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to agree to a fight that would probably be the biggest event in boxing, and they have until 12AM this evening.  

If anyone is unfamiliar, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the undefeated Welterweight/Lightweight/Featherweight Champion of the WBO, and had one of the most viewed PPV fights of all time (Mayweather/De La Hoya.) 

Manny Pacquiao is an amazing boxer (and now politician) holding Lightweight and Featherweight titles as well, with a (51-3-2) record, 38 knockouts.  He’s basically the only guy that Mayweather would be scared of, and he is scared.

Last year, when Pacquiao was still on the rise and moving up in weight classes, people were throwing around the idea of him fighting Mayweather, and that’s when this whole debacle began.  Mayweather first started ducking the idea with false claims that Pacquiao was using steroids and demanded blood tests.  Floyd put off the fight so much that people began questioning his motives so he quickly ‘retired’ to do WWE Wrestling skits.  Good job.

Later in 09′ talks started of Mayweather coming out of retirement to fight again.  Immediately the questions began again of who the fighter would be, and many speculated Manny Pacquiao.  Who was it?  SUGA’ Shane Mosley.  The much older, past his prime punching bag that no one thought was even in the same calibur as Mayweather.  The fight happened earlier this year, and who won?  Mayweather.  Big fucking surprise. 

Ok, so the fight was over.  The big “money-making” spectacle was over, and now the people who legitimatly cared about boxing started hounding Mayweather once again to fight Pacquiao.  This leads us to today, where Pacquiao’s camp gave a deadline to Mayweather and his entourage to sign a contract for a fight meant to take place November 13th at Cowboys Stadium.

Not only could this be the largest event in recent boxing history, most likely out-selling the hugely successful Mayweather/De La Hoya fight, but it would actually deliver and somewhat revive interest in boxing.  You have the two best pound for pound boxers in the sport fighting in the prime of their careers.  People have been hyping this fight for over two years now and Mayweather is not even acknowledging the fact that the two fighter’s are even negotiating a fight!  

altFloyd… you’re hurting an already dying sport, you’re hurting your reputation as a fighter, and you’re denying us all the luxury of finally watching you lose a fight that we all know your scared of.  This is why the MMA is surpassing boxing in leaps and bounds.  Dana White, the commissioner of the UFC would never allow this cake boy shit to happen in the public eye, so who is the commissioner of boxing?  Where’s that guy?  Get him to do something about saving this already tainted situation and sport.  

A lot of us like to speculate about the “what-ifs” in sports.  What if Mike Tyson fought Muhammad Ali?  What if Rocky Bolboa fought Mason Dixon? (see Rocky 6)  Sadly, this is probably going to fade into the obscurity of speculation, and boxing will forever be damaged from this.  We all know boxing is in the decline, and this could be the last hurrah before the sport fully dies. 

The countdown to midnight begins, and most likely nothing is going to happen or even be heard.  Sure Mayweather will end his career being undefeated, but his legacy will be ruined.  Your a cake boy Floyd.  A bonified, Streisand listenin’, dough packing cake boy. 


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US Soccer Signs Another Foreign Star

July 14, 2010
Randy Neil

altSo, it seems as though the Major League Soccer has become the grazing pasture when former international stars are put out to stud, so to speak.  Earlier today, Thierry Henry signed a contract with MLS’s New York Red Bulls after being cut from Barcelona for scoring a meager 4 goals last year. 

Henry has an incredibly impressive resume with Barcelona and his former club team Arsenal.  Aside from winning two Premier League Championships in 04′ and 07′, he also was awarded 6 different trophies in 2009 including the Champions League.  With the international French team, he won one World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  Whew.

Thierry Henry’s most recent endeavors have not been met with the same amount of success though, sadly.  The controversial ‘handball’ incident that prevented Ireland from being in the World Cup this year was pretty much all Henry’s fault, when he used his hand to guide the ball to his feet to score a goal.

His lackluster season with Barcelona also contributed to him being cut, so he has seeked refuge where it seems more and more players are finding these days, the MLS.  

Good for American soccer, good for him I suppose, so I look at it as a positive.  He’s still a great soccer player with a resume that can’t be taken lightly.  We still care about soccer in America right?

Thierry Henry is set to make his debut with the Red Bulls on July 22. 

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A Weekend in Recap

July 12, 2010
Randy Neil

altWow, it’s been a crazy weekend.  Lebronathon is coming to a close now that he has officially announced his new team and pissed everyone but Miamians off.  The World Cup Finals were played yesterday, Spain outdiving the Netherlands, and the MLB All-Star break has officially started.  

I’m not going to talk about Lebron, mostly due to the fact that everyone else already has, and I think my partner summed it up about as well as one could.  I will say this though:  Lebron, get your ass a speech coach man.  Your were mumbling and stumbling all over the place.  Even your big official announcement sentence had pauses and stutters.  That ain’t ballin’ son…. that ain’t ballin’ indeed. 

Aside from the media circus that was, the Phillies decided to host a circus of their own, having 3 extra-inning walk off wins, and a sweep of the Reds.  It’s a nice way to enter the All-Star break (47-40) as baseball takes a pause from the daily grind.

Baseball is like the long-term relationship where you are constantly guilty of taking the significant other for granted, but totally miss them when they’re gone.  Baseball seems like it’s always on, and makes for great background noise, but we all know if you had a chance, you’d bang football much more often.  They seem more exciting, but clearly won’t give you the long term love and support baseball does.  Football is just for sex, which is why I’ve patended a new sexual position called the ‘Jerry Jones.’ 

So, if the MLB was a relationship, then this is the fun vacation getaway.  The point where you and baseball try to spice up your marriage.  The Home-Run Derby starts tonight with some pretty good names, but sadly, no Phillies.  No Chase Utley to talk shit on LA fans.  Still, the show must go on, and if I had to pick a winner, I’d go with Hanley Ramirez.  He has the least amount of HRs going into the derby with 13, so my pick has pure logic behind it.  It’s NOT going to be Matt Holiday with 26 total homers.  NOT.

altSoccer, your foreign lover, is going to end it’s very sweet and sensual affair that only comes but once every four years.  The World Cup has ended, and your ultimate victor is Spain.  They only scored 8 goals the entire elimination round, which usually doesn’t add up to an exciting final, but they definately kept it interesting.  I was very surprised at how well these two teams actually matched up.  At first I thought Spain would just be a dominate force the entire match, and although they did handle possession better, the Netherlands had a pretty good defense for Spain’s attacks, and had a pretty good amount of shots on goal as well. 

Since I’m a FIFA 2010 whore for the PS3, I always go to the Match Facts.  Spain, although having more shots total, only had 4 shots on goal.  How many did the Netherlands have?  4.  During the match I remember my feelings changing from “Oh wow these teams are pretty evenly matched” to “Oh man this is totally going to turn into a game where someone is going to sneak a goal in the last minutes after an incredibly even power struggle, and I will feel unfulfilled.”  Boy was I right.  Spain ended up faking more injuries and eventually all the yellow cards caught up to the Dutch.  It was bland, it was expected, and I’m not feeling satisfied.  It’s almost funny to think that our style of soccer play (US) represents our media and sports expectations, in that it’s very hectic and nail-biting.  Maybe I’m just a piece of shit American and I can’t see the glory in this…

Either way, I’m about to Jerry Jones this bitch, so I gotta roll…. until next time…

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