PhilSox Blog: February 2008


Mike and Mike and Oscar

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Most years, I'm the guy who looks forward to the Oscars. I'm a big fan of the movies. I don't get to go all that often, and when I do, it's usually something animated, what with three kids 10 and under. So for me not to have seen the movies nominated for Best Picture is nothing new. I came close this year. I was in line at the box office and was trying to decide between "I am Legend" and "No Country for Old Men". I chose the former, which was a good movie. Anyway, I didn't see the eventual winner, but more than that, I'd barely heard of any of the other nominees. Or the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, and so on. So, when the awards show came on, I skipped it. And when I got up in the morning and tuned into "Mike & Mike" on ESPN 2, I was glad I'd skipped the show, because that was almost all they talked about.

First, I suppose I should say that on Monday morning, it really wasn't Mike & Mike. It was more like "Eric & Mike". See, Mike Greenberg was out and Eric Kuselias was in his place. This happens a lot on that show. It should probably be called "Mike & Guest Host In The Morning". But I digress. Eric and Mike Golic spent roughly all of the time I had to pay attention talking about the Oscars. I know that Eric had never seen "Gladiator" and that Golic thought this was a sin. I got to hear Golic mangle the pronunciation of various winners, but that speaks more to the idea that a lot of no one's won. All the while, I'm wondering where the sports talk is. The situation continued with "The Thundering Herd" a bit later in the morning.

I thought that I was kind of in the minority as a guy who's an avid sports fan and a fan of the Oscars. Even if that is not the case, why would ESPN think that I want to hear about the Academy Awards when I tune into their station? I realize that February is a bit of a drag when you're in the sports talk field. Football is done. Baseball hasn't quite begun. It's pre-March Madness, and the only thing worth talking about where the NHL or NBA is concerned are the playoffs, and they're not for months. I'm no NASCAR fan. (Let me repeat that because I want it emphasized: I AM NO NASCAR FAN.) I would still rather hear tidbits about the "Redneck Merry-Go-Round" when I tune into ESPN. How about golf, even. Tiger's undefeated so far. Most folks are probably thinking, "How could anyone talk about Tiger more than they already do?" Well, here's the answer!

Let's limit the "movie talk" that we hear on Sports Center and the other ESPN shows to movies that are about sports. "61*", "3", hell even "The Bronx is Burning" would be allowable. Outside of that, let's stick to talking about the kinds of scores that have numbers, not notes.

BTW - This post officially sets a PhilSox record for most links in a post.

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Fake Flashback: 80 Phils vs. 80 Yanks - GAME 1

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Fun with SimMatch Baseball

Let your mind rush back to your childhood. It's a cool October. In a month our parents will collectively elect Ronald Reagan to his first term. The Phillies have taken the NL pennant from the Astros in typical "Cardiac Kid" fashion. But here's the switch. The Royals haven't beaten the Yanks 3-0 for the AL Championship. Instead, the Yankees prevail and now, with home field advantage, they take on the the Phils in the 1980 World Series!

Game 1 - Yankee Stadium

With two outs in the first, Michael jack Schmidt stepped to the plate. With a 1-1 count, Schmidt cranks a Tommy John fastball toward left field. The frozen rope shot barely clears the wall, giving Schmidt his first World Series homer and the Phillies a 1 run lead.

The lead was to be short lived, however. Will Randolph's double coupled with Reggie Jackson's walk gave the Bombers 1st and 2nd with one out. Oscar Gamble's lined one to left center for a single that scores Randolf and moves Jackson to 3rd. Bob Watson lines his own to center, scoring Jackson. Then, with runners at 1st and 2nd again, Graig Nettles launches a towering shot over the right field wall, clearing the bases and giving the Yankees a 5-1 lead at the end of the first, Bobby Brown having been caught stealing for the final out.

The bottom of the second sees Greg Luzinski score from third on a line drive single by Maddox. 5-2 Yanks, after 1 1/2.

Things settled down considerably for awhile. With the score still 5-2, the fifth inning saw Schmidt get to first on what could have been called a throwing error by Randolph after a slow roller. Schmidt was safe at first, but more importantly, Pete Rose scored from second, beating an excellent throw by Brown who charged in after the errant throw. Later in the frame, Schmidt scored from second on a left field shot by Lonnie Smith. McBride, on 2nd after a single of his own, ended up on 3rd after Smith's hit. A Luzinski sac-fly brought McBride home. The game was all tied after a 1-2-3 Yankee at bat that featured Jackson's second K of the game.

Several more 1-2-3 at bats brought both Phils and Yanks to the bottom of the 9th still tied at 5. With two outs, Rose found himself on second after his second double of the game. McBride, looking at a full count, lined a Ron Davis offering to left center. Rose was already eying home plate as soon as he left the 2nd base bag. Bobby Murcer made as good a throw from center as any Yankee fan could have hoped for, but in the end, Rose was too quick. He slid under the tag for the go-ahead run!

Tug McGraw came in to relieve Carlton for the bottom of the ninth. Things looked hopeful when he walked Cerone, but Brown grounded out to Manny Trillo on the first pitch of his at bat. The Phillies took game one with a score of 6-5.

Check back soon for Game 2 recaps!

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New Joba Rule: Nipple Rings = OK

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
"Baseball This Morning", featured on XM's MLB Home Plate Channell, reported today that Joba Chaimberlain showed up at spring training with both his nipples pierced.


This conjured up two competing images in my mind. The first was of the rip-chords on two badly packed parachutes. The second was this:

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10 Reasons Why the SI Swimsuit Issue Annoys Me

Monday, February 18, 2008
Realizing that I stand a chance of getting chastised by many, many of you guys out there, I hesitated at posting this at all. In the end, I had to do. But, as sort of a disclaimer, please accept the following: I still like women.

10. The calendar costs in the neighborhood of $15, and you don't get it, even if you have the expensive yearly subscription.

9. Celebrity guests. Will Ferrell. Great commedian. Not meant for swimsuit layouts.

8. They never take picture in places that I'd like to see these models. (I.E. my hometown.)

7. Half of the bikinis seen are not something you'd ever see at a beach. Lace? What in the world is lace on a swimsuit for, anyway?

6. Half of the bikinis are half bikinis! Again, topless gals are so few in my neck of the woods.

5. Sand. Sand, in general turns me off. Why? One word: Chaffing.

4. Body painting the swimsuits on. When the hell did this become cool? You know what you can't do to a model in a paint bikini? You can't touch her. You know what a model in a painted on swimsuit can't do? Swim!

3. Stupid poses. Not all, but many look like they're posing for the cover of cheap romance novels. Next year they'll probably have Fabio in Will Ferrell's place.

2. 99% of the models are under fed. This is not to say that they're not hot, but come on! Can't we get a model or two with some meat on their bones?

1. They post the prices of the swimsuits. First, who cares? My real issue is wondering what type of mathematically challenged, ego-maniacal twit would buy a bikini that cost that much? The girls would look every bit a hot in Wal-Mart swimsuits. The only one who'd suffer is the village idiot who establishes that $290 for 8 square inches of fabric is reasonable - he'd be out of a job.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Between Opening Day and the trophy ceremony after the final Word Series game (and probably even a few weeks afterward, I log onto at least once a day. Sometimes I'm there five of six times a day. But as the months of the Hot Stove begin and drag on, I visit less and less. This year, once the NFL playoffs began, I stopped almost totally. Today however, I went back looking for one particular piece of news. I found two, although one I knew anyway. The first tidbit, right on the main page reminded me that pitcher ans catchers report to Spring Training on Thursday. The other, the one I'd been waiting for, told me that now had its 2008 package ready for purchase.

These two small items have brought me more joy than I ever expect any Monday to hold, particularly a dreary and cold February Monday. My mind immediately transported away from thoughts of wind chill and snow forecasts to palm trees and Spring Training jerseys. The off season has whisked by in some ways and drug on in others. But the end is near. Spring is on the horizon and before we know it, opening day will be upon us.

First let me give my full endorsement to Premium. This will be my second season watching Red Sox games via the Internet, my first full one. While living in central PA gets me almost every Phillies game, it has historically offered me nothing much in terms of a way to follow my beloved Red Sox. Now, with, I can see every Sox game except those against the Yankers (which are every often on Fox or ESPN, anyway) and those where they might happen to play the Mets or the Pirates. You see, is subject to blackout restrictions and my house sits in an overlapping sector of Pittsburgh, Philly, and New York markets.

In the interest of fairness, let me outline the weak points of (as I see them) first. There's the blackout thing, of course. Now that upsets me much less since my lovely wife got me an XM Radio for Christmas. I'll get to hear the games that are blacked out. And honestly, how much does it suck to miss the Yanker games! The Sox play Philly this summer, and assuming I can't score tickets to one of those, they'll most likely be televised on the usual Phillies Comcast channel. Another drawback is the video quality. Don't get me wrong, with high speed Internet access and a decent monitor, the games on the PC or laptop are great. The video issue becomes a problem when I connect my laptop to the TV. You need to have an S-VIdeo jack to do this, but the games are no where near as clear as they are on broadcast or cable games.

Now on to the advantages! First and foremost is cost. With PRemium, I can watch every single Major League game. Using their Mosaic function, I can watch six at once if I want! It costs me $119 dollars for all the Spring Training games and every regular season games (minus the blackouts). Strangely enough, I couldn't find the exact price for MLB Extra Innings, the cable/satellite program that get you similar games, but if memory serves, it was about $250 last season from my cable provider. Extra Innings is also subject to the blackouts, plus I can't watch multiple games (that I know of). I get no Spring Training games with Extra Innings (again, that I am aware of) and it costs me more than double. What's more, with Extra Innings, I can only watch games at home. With, I can watch anywhere there is an Internet connection. In my home, with my laptop and wireless network, that means I can watch from the living room, bed room, or even out on my patio! The games that are blacked out I listen to on XM or on MLB Game Day, which gives me Internet access to the radio broadcast of either team! Hell, I can even sneak an afternoon game in at work on occasion. Let's see the Extra Innings guys pull that one off! When I do miss a game -- whether due to blackout, work, life, whatever -- I can watch the game, in its entirety later via! I can also watch highlights, condensed games (that show the all six outs and any scores within each inning), for every single game, whether or not it was blacked out! One more thing I can stack on top of all that? The Baseball's Best. I can watch entire games like Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS (just finished that one!) I got to relive the 5 run 8th and Ruthven in shutting down the Astros in the 10th to send the Schmidt, Rose, and the rest of those Phils to the Worlds Series!

I know that these days everyone has a thing for HD. Games on, whether on the monitor or on the television, are definitely not HD. For me, nothing is HD, so I don't miss it. Plus, the $130 dollars that I save makes up for the diminished quality. Not to mention the fact that I have a wife and three kids and for some reason that TV in the living room is seldom free.

So I sit, raring to go. Waiting first for some spring training games to whet my whistle. The for opening day and the beginning of another season.


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