“Wentz” Did It Go Wrong?

17-0…17-24

*sighs*

For those who are unaware, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost to the Washington Football team. In rather embarrassing fashion might I add, squandering a 17-0 lead. Last year it was the Eagles who came out of the tunnel after halftime and rode hot handed DJAX to a eventual comeback of their own. This year, the Eagles came out hot, and lost all steam once Jack Driscoll was removed from the game.

The negatives of this game are abundant, and positives are few and far between, but, there are a few;

Jack Driscoll- The rookie tackle had a few hiccups, none resulting in anything catastrophic and all fixable mistakes. He’s a bright spot simply because once Mailatta was forced to replace him, the drop off was VERY evident. Overall, at this point Jack Driscoll is no Lane, true. I think more importantly we know he’ll be at worst servicable down the road, pending his injury diagnosis.

Defensive Line- Realistically Washington didn’t light us up offensively, Haskins took advantage of numerous short field situations. A product of our either a interception or failed 4th down conversion. The defense held up and players like Josh Sweat and Malik Jackson made some big plays, this is huge to see as they are key contributors going forward.

Wentz and DJAX are OK- As trivial as it sounds, we have to be happy two of our “projected” key contributors stood healthy. We have to assume they will move on to week 2 eager to erase the memory of the week 1 loss.

Rams are next….Let’s just say if this offensive line isn’t in tact by then, Aaron Donald may have a field day.

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What Will Winning A Championship During A Pandemic Look Like?

Today sports return to Philadelphia (sorry Union). The Philadelphia Phillies are set to play a regular-season MLB game for the first time since September of last year, the Philadelphia 76ers have an exhibition game against the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Flyers are just around the corner. With the start of sports getting back to play, so come the high expectations that are placed on these teams. With the 76ers, they are hoping to turn around a mediocre regular season performance, the Flyers are looking to keep their hot pace going, and of course, the Phillies are expected to make the playoffs with the new 16 team format. 

Very possibly, Philadelphia could have all four major sports teams play a playoff game in the calendar year. Which is pretty impressive because it’s only happened four times since all four teams have been playing. The latest time was back in 2011 (2009,1981,1978 where the other years for those interested) when the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, the 76ers lost to the Heat, the Eagles lost Green Bay, and the Flyers fell to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup. So if you have a basic understanding of how math works, the more teams in the playoffs mean the likely chance that one of those teams can win the championship. So with that knowledge, it made me ponder what does a championship look like during a pandemic?

A lot of the joy that comes from watching your team winning a championship is celebrating with other fans, and joining together to celebrate. Although, considering that the MLB world series concludes at the end of October, and both the NBA and NHL championships before that, what will that mean for a parade? For fans, the parade is the crown of winning the championship (a close second is being able to brag to your friends that support other teams that they suck). Of course, we have no idea what the coronavirus’s impact could be at that time, but with Philadelphia officials already banning fans from the Eagles stadium for the upcoming season, it feels unlikely that a parade could work. With that out of the picture, how can fans express their joy? One big Zoom call? 

I understand I’m getting ahead of myself, and just as easily as these teams can make the playoffs, all of them could be swept out of the first round. Although, strangely it feels exactly what a Philadelphia sports team would do. The one year when fans can’t attend, they go on and win a championship. 

Continuing the idea of what the fan experience would be, I don’t know how much more changes past not having a parade. Of course, I’m not oblivious to some of the fans that will argue “It’s my American right to stand inches away from strangers, in cold weather, while I only get a glimpse of the team”. Parade or not, I think fans will still have the same communal experience as they can throw it in the faces of the losing team online. I’m sure the championship memorabilia will still come (although delayed because come on it’s a pandemic, cut some slack!) and you can wear it next season when hopefully fans can enter the stadiums once again. 

In terms of the value that the championship will have, shouldn’t change. Now I’m fully prepared to make the opposite argument if the Mets, Yankees, Penguins, or any team from Boston wins. With the setup of the season for baseball, it’s simply just more meaningful games. The NBA and NHL will have slightly different setups but will still have the same elements of a normal post-season. Again, this season will always have an asterisk next to it, but so do dozens of other championships that fans don’t remember. All that matters is that the team that wins, won. 

“Now I’m fully prepared to make the opposite argument if the Mets, Yankees, Penguins, or any team from Boston wins.”

Lastly, if you haven’t been paying attention (which I don’t blame you), please take this last advice, look at Liverpool. Yes, the soccer team from England. Liverpool recently won the Premier League, and this was the club’s first title in 30 years. Just like Philadelphia sports fans, their first instinct when their team won is to celebrate with other fans. Fans were gathering around the Mersey Ferry terminal, which resulted in their mayor Joe Anderson asking fans to go back home. Now, I think you know what happens next. Until that point, the Liverpool area totaled 544 coronavirus deaths, on June 25th that number jumped to 1,677. Since then, of course, fans have stayed home, but the impact was done. I understand just like you, that if one of our teams won a championship it would be very disappointing not to celebrate with all of our other fans to rejoice in victory. Again, this all may mean nothing for Philadelphia fans but someone team will win, and we must understand the importance of keeping people safe. 

Will Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper Finally be on the same team?

All the news around the baseball media has gone crazy in the past week. The Mookie Betts trade with the Twins and Dodgers was crazy. Although that trade might not go through because the twins opted out because one guy didn’t have a physical.

Anyways Kris Bryant is now the new talk, now that Betts has been “traded.” There are many teams pursuing Bryant as of now. The main ones are the Phillies, Nationals, and Yankees. The Mets are also in there but these are the main three as of now.

Kris Bryant is likely to trade to a team. Per Jon Heyman, he thought right after Betts was traded Bryant would be traded either that night or the next. Now though, sources are saying the cubs are going to keep Bryant until the trade deadline.

To me this shows how cocky the Cubs management team can be. They think the have the best player, just because everyone wants him. But Arenado is still out there looking to be traded. There are two hot 3B.

Personally, as a Phillies fan I think we need one to make the playoffs. I’d give up Bohm because he really can’t field he can only hit. So if we give up Bohm, Segura, and a bit of cash we are golden.

I say this because Josh Harrison can take over at 2nd, who I think is a better 2nd basemen than segura. Then At 3B we can have Bryant there to make our hitting and feilding just that much better.

This could be a reunion for the century here if Bryant and Harper reunite. Harper and Bryant have played ball together since they were kids! Now they both kept moving to the next level and now they are in the majors.

Let’s hope they reunite!

Thanks for reading my article! You guys have no clue how stoked I am to be writing every week! Follow me on Instagram @philliesphan.01 Get me to 400 followers! And remember it’s a great day to be a Phillies phan!

Phillies nearing 2020 Spring Training

Phillies are 20 days away from spring training. Are they ready though?

The Phillies have signed many players and lots of veterans to minor league deals but, who will be brought up to the big league roster?

In my opinion the guys that will make the roster right away will be Josh Harrison and Logan Forsythe. Forsythe was signed yesterday to a minor league deal. I think him and Harrison could definitely lead to depth in the infield. Possibly, Forsythe could definitely play 3rd base.

The Phillies are planning on playing the starters in the first game for a while. After that though they will only play a few innings to get warmed up.

Alec Bohm will be playing in spring training but he won’t make it to the MLB roster right away. He will most likely be brought up in June.

Well thanks for reading! Stay tuned weekly posts! Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Rip Kobe 🌹💛, and It’s a great day to be a Phillies phan!

-Philliesphan.01 on Instagram

Phillies Ace? Nola or Wheeler?

As we all know by now Aaron Nola has been the Ace of the Phillies for many seasons now. Nola had a better than average season especially for being a philles pitcher. He had a WAR of 3.9, W/L was 12/7, and his ERA was 3.87. Now do not get me wrong this is a pretty good season as a pitcher. His first game in the 2019 season he popped off! But after the Phillies sign Wheeler to a 5 year deal will Nola still be the ace?

Wheeler had a season about the same as Nola. Although according to stats Nola did better. Just barley though. He had a WAR of 4.1, W/L 11/8, and an ERA of 3.96. Overall Wheeler had a pretty good season. Will he be the new ace of the Phillies though is the question?

I think this is the year Nola gets his rest. I think Nola will still have a good season, but man Wheeler I think will have an outstanding season. If I had to say it now, which I am, Wheeler is going to win NL Cy young or become one of the top contenders. Thats my Very BOLD prediction for the Phillies 2020 mlb season! And Remember its a great day to be a Phillies phan!

If it came down to me picking who the ace will be I’m going to go with Wheeler. Hold up let me explain. I think it will be Wheeler because he want to be the best he can on his new team, the Phillies. He wants them to grow on him like they grew on Nola. I also think this because now that Nola knows he has a reliable pitcher by his side he can not take all the blame and stress. the stress and blame can be shared by both of them now by wanting to be the best.

I hope you guys all enjoyed this blog! This is my first one and there will be many more to come! Be ready because every Sunday there will be a new blog! You can also check out my instagram @philliesphan.01 for daily Phillies and MLB news! (300 followers)

Who do you think will be the better pitcher/Ace for the Phillies in 2020? Comment below!

Hurley Happenings: Astros Scandal, what it means for MLB

When looking at what to write about this week, I wanted to write something about baseball. As I was pondering what topic to discuss, the MLB Commissioner’s office dropped the hammer on the Houston Astros, which provides the perfect topic for this week’s Hurley Happenings. 

Before I get into the history of how this cheating scandal happened, let’s outline the punishments the Houston Astros received Monday afternoon. 

General Manager Jeff Luhnow received 1 year suspension(fired by Astros)

Manager AJ Hinch received 1 year suspension(fired by Astros)

2020 and 2021 first and second round picks stripped

$5 million fine for the Astros, the most that can be fined under the MLB constitution. 

So what in the world did the Astros do to deserve this amount of punishments? Since at least 2017, the Astros have been using technology in Minute Maid Park to steal the signs of the opposing pitchers. The team used a camera in centerfield to send video to a monitor in the hallway between the dugout and the clubhouse. Then, a “low-level staffer” would bang on a trash can loud enough for the hitter at the plate to hear, which signaled that an off-speed pitch was coming. 

The question remains, what does all of this mean? Teams regularly do their best to try and steal signs, which is often why a pitcher will step off the mound and meet with the catcher to ensure their signs are safe. Teams accept this as a cat and mouse between pitchers, catchers, and batter and baserunners, but the situation with the Astros is different. Using technology, that the visiting team does not have access to, is an entirely different ballgame.(Pun intended

Baseball is a game of tradition and a game of honor and a “code” that guys learn from a young age. Kids learn to protect their team, and most importantly to protect the integrity of the game. Those who jeopardize this integrity and honor, don’t often last long in the game. The Astros arguably cheated their way into two World Series appearances, and their former bench Coach Alex Cora seems to have cheated the Boston Red Sox to a 2018 World Series championship as well. This scandal has rocked the baseball world and its followers to their core. 

With all of this context in mind, do the punishments match the crime? I don’t exactly think so. In their memo regarding the punishments, the MLB stated that the scandal was primarily “player driven” in its nature. Yet, the only people punished were the Astros GM and their manager. Not a single player was punished, even though Jose Altuve won his only MVP in 2017, and in order for the scandal to have actually occurred was for AT LEAST all the position players to know the system while they are up to bat. But the MLB did not punish any players, including now NY Mets manager Carlos Beltran who was on the team at the time. 

I absolutely understand the difficulty of the situation. With over 25 position players alone who played for the Astros the whole year, it is hard to determine who to punish and to what degree. Absolutely. But for the MLB, it seems the Astros have won. The owner Jim Crane only loses $5 million, which to a team that is valued at $1.8 billion, is loose change. They lost their manager and GM, but with that roster, they shouldn’t have a hard time finding someone effective to take their places. They keep their World Series title, they keep their team, and they keep their roster fully intact. I have no outside arbitrary decision on what the punishments should have been, but if you are a fan of baseball the punishments should be a little disappointing. 

No matter your opinion on the subject, one thing is clear. The Astros cheated, and the league needs to be on the lookout for similar procedures across the league. As technology evolves, so will the way teams cheat, or try to gain a “competitive advantage.” And as these things evolve, the way Major League Baseball regulates and reduces cheating must also change. What happens with the Red Sox and what happens with sign stealing in the future? That remains to be seen.

MJ Hurley is an all-sports writer for the Philadelphia Chronicle. 

Follow MJ on Twitter and Instagram at @mjhurley47.