THE IDES OF MARCH

February comes to a close today as we head into the month of March. The term “Ides of March” used to represent the middle of the month on the Roman Calendar. It was a festive day and dedicated to the “God Mars” and a Military Parade was usually held. In modern day history, the term refers to the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of Senate Conspirators in 44 B.C.

In today’s society, The Ides of March marks the end of February and the transition from winter to spring. The Ides of March can truly share many meanings for many different people and many different cultures. In today’s American culture, the term can refer to many things, but mostly relates to the change of season, going from the long cold winter to the refreshing season of Spring.

My own version of the Ides of March can be summed up by sports and music etymology. First of all, this year does not have a 29th day of February meaning there is no leap year. March marks the luminous sound of balls pounding leather, bats cracking at the sound of a ball being rocketed from home plate, the smell of fresh cut grass, the chants of “Hot Dogs Here”, the sounds of fans shouting (either cheering or booing), the sight of young kids as they try to get their favorite player’s (heroes) autograph or picture, the sight of a manager scolding one of his young players for making a mistake in hopes that the player will learn from this mistake. The Ides of March marks spring training Baseball, the start of another new Season and everyone is at square one.

March also marks the beginning of the NFL combine, the rigorous tests on college football stars with the hopes of getting drafted by some NFL team, it is the hopes and dreams of young college players just waiting for the chance to display their physical skills for the entire NFL to see, it marks the numerous General Manager Meetings, Free Agency begins, Teams are finalizing their coaching staffs and making player personnel decisions based on where the team finished last season, it is the prelude to the NFL Draft which comes in April.

The Ides of March means the beginning of the sprint towards the playoffs in both basketball and hockey. Teams are jockeying for position and are making roster moves and trades to either help them now or better their future, they are gearing up for the most spirited grind in sports, coaches on the hot seat, players changing jerseys, veterans slowing down, rookies become stars, the spotlight is on in full force on both of these sports. Only one team will win the prize and March is where it all begins to come to a Climax.

The Ides of March represents the sprint to the finish line for High School Seniors. It marks the race towards the Senior Prom, Senior Trips, and finally High School Graduation. It also marks the start of many college hopefuls visiting different colleges In hopes of finding the one that best fits their needs. It also is the time where testing is done to qualify students strengths and weaknesses.

The Ides of March also marks the true beginning if the new Music/Movie Season as the Grammys and Oscars have been completed and now we look forward to all of the new material that will come about in 2013. Bands are working in new albums. Recording studios are scouring the local clubs and bars to find that next great talent. Tours begin to kick off as fans wait in line for days to purchase tickets. New Movie Releases are pouring out weekly, each week trying to outdo the last. Actors and Actresses are either coming to their end or are on the rise.

The Ides of March is a very fun time in my opinion. The change of season is always welcome and going from the winter weather to the spring and summer months is just a mile away. As we come to the end of another February, let us ponder how our new year has began so far. For many if us this year has started off terrible. Well, there is good news. March is here and it’s time for change. There is hope to turn things around. You have to want to change. You have to have the will to change. March should bring a welcome opportunity to embrace this change and come full circle.

As I conclude this blog, I believe it is very important for people to realize that this time of the year is where you can make or break the choices you will make for the upcoming year. Enjoy the change of weather. Spring and Summer Sun should lead us to happier days. They say that the Sun can “pull you out of depression”. So as the Ides of March approach, praise God that you are alive and well and that you wake up everyday to a new day. Be thankful for what you do have not envious of what you don’t have. Remain positive and always move forward. The Ides of March are here…Embrace

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EARLY MLB PREDICTIONS

This is my early predictions and thoughts on the 2013 MLB Baseball Season and a breakdown of how players will finish in different categories. First of all…we will start with the Power Rankings on Offense going into Spring Training. My Top 10 Hitting Teams in MLB are as follows:
1) Anaheim Angels- The Angels lineup is stacked with the top 4 being Mike Trout, Erick Aybar, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton.
2) Detroit Tigers- Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will produce a lot of runs.
3) Toronto Blue Jays- With the addition of Jose Reyes the Blue Jays instantly jump ahead in this list. Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista pack some punch too.
4) Washington Nationals- The addition of Denard Span will mean the addition of more runs.
5) New York Yankees- This is the lowest ranking for the Yankees lineup going into a season in forever.
6) Cincinnati Reds- Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and now a legitimate lead off threat Sin Soo Choo.
7) Saint Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals offense is potent every year even with the departure of Pujols. Carlos Beltran looks to better his comeback after a great 2012.
8) Atlanta Braves- BJ Upton, Jonathan Upton, Jayson Heyward, Martin Prado, Dan Uggla, Brian McCann. This team very well could be the number 1 Lineup.
9) Milwaukee Brewers
10) Texas Rangers
Honorable Mention (If Healthy and Up to par) Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks.

My Top 10 Pitching Staffs are as follows:
1) Detroit Tigers- Justin Verlander, Max Sherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez…Top 4 Man rotation in Baseball.
2) Los Angeles Dodgers- Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Zach Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lily, and Aaron Harang. Wow!
3) Washington Nationals- Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren, ??. Awesome Top 4.
4) Philadelphia Phillies- Roy Halladay, Cole Hammels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick. Of course this is a big if…but if Halladay can stay healthy and be dominant once again the Phillies could jump to Number 1!
5) Tampa Bay Devil Rays- David Price and Jeremy Hellickson right there with the Top 1/2 Punch.
6) Cincinnati Reds- Johnny Cueto, Matt Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo.
7) Toronto Blue Jays- RA Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Bueherle give them a formidable Top 3.
8) San Francisco Giants- The Giants could be anywhere from 8th to 1st. This will depend on Tim Lincecum.
9) Atlanta Braves
10) Oakland Athletics
Honorable Mention- New York Yankees, Anaheim Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Ok…now to my playoff picks.
National League East- The Washington Nationals will win their second division in a row.
National League Central- Cincinnati Reds- The Reds deserved a better fate last year and will be back.
National League West- Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Card- Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants
National League Champs- Philadelphia Phillies

American League East-Toronto Blue Jays
American League Central-Detroit Tigers
American League West-Los Angeles Angels
Wild Card-Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics

No you are not seeing things! The New York Tankees and Boston No Sox will not make the playoffs this season.

NL CY Young- Clayton Kershaw
NL MVP- Brandon Phillips
NL Rookie of Year-Zack Wheeler
Comeback Player of Year-Roy Halladay

AL CY Young- Justin Verlander
AL MVP- Justin Verlander
AL Rookie of Year-Mike Olt

NL HR- Ryan Howard
NL AVG- BJ Upton
NL SB- Ben Revere
NL RBI- Ryan Braun
ERA- Roy Halladay
Wins- Clayton Kershaw
K’s- Clayton Kershaw
SVS- Jonathan Papplebon

AL HR- Josh Hamilton
AL RBI- Miguel Cabrera
AL AVG- Miguel Cabrera
AL SB- Jose Reyes
AL Wins- Justin Verlander
AL ERA- Justin Verlander
AL K’s- Justin Verlander
AL SVS-Andrew Bailey

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GOTTA LOVE SPRING TRAINING

Fresh cut grass…warm sun rays…Arizona and Florida heat…the sweet smell of cotton candy and the crunch of peanut shells…”Hot Dogs Here,” the pop of balls hitting leather gloves…the Crack of bats hitting the white round ball…the red laces flying through the warm crisp air…the sight of players doing exercises, stretching, running drills…the sound of coaches yelling orders to the players…the laughter and cracking jokes from the players…star studded talent…long shot rookies and free agents…the epiphany that strikes us between the eyes every year at this time.

That’s right baseball fans, Spring Training has arrived. Spring Training is to Baseball as Training Camp is to Football. All of the offseason transactions and team news comes to the forefront. Every team is even at this point. All of these teams believe that they have a shot to win it all. Of course, this is where the long journey begins. Players coming back from injury. Other players trying to come back from down seasons. Teams trying to return to the playoffs for consecutive teams as well as teams trying to make it back to the top.

The San Francisco Giants are the defending champions. And the Giants won this World Series despite a down season from Tim Lincecum. The Detroit Tigers are the toast of the American League. Justin Verlander is ready for another CY Young run. The Yankees as always are dealing with drama and controversy. The Washington Nationals are dealing with their first taste of high expectations. The Phillies are trying to make one last run with the core that continues to age. The Mets are hoping that all of the youngsters can put it together and win some ball games. The Atlanta Braves are ready to go to the next level. The Saint Louis Cardinals are looking to get back on top despite Chris Carpenter being on the injury list. The Blue Jays are hoping that their offseason deals turn golden. Just like every year…there are so many plots and sub plots as we head into another season of Major League Baseball.

Spring Training is a time for hope. It is a time to bond and make friendships. It is a time for veterans to work with youth and show them what it takes and how it is done. It’s a time where managers can play around with lineups to form the best possible offensive threat. It’s a time where pitchers build up their stamina for another long haul. Spring Training is a time for fans to get close to their favorite players. It’s a time for kids to get to meet their idols. It’s a time for baseball players and fans alike to get back into the Baseball Routine. Don’t forget, after this long spring there is 162 game sprint to the finish line. May the best team win.

As another Spring Training approaches, you cannot help but wonder which teams will play up to their talent, which teams will have disappointing seasons, which teams will rise from the ashes and surprise everyone, and which teams will falter due to season defeating injuries. Yes that horrible scary word injuries. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game and every year the injury bug hits a new team. Injuries do not discriminate. Injuries do not play favorites. Last year was no exception. The Phillies struggled as their ace Roy Halladay endured an injury plagued season. The Cardinals struggled with numerous player injuries. The list goes on and on. But sometimes teams must put these injuries behind them and ride the hot arm or bat of that surprise ace in the hole.

As this 2013 Season begins…there are always different story lines and question marks. There are also analysts who predict how the season will progress. In my next piece, I will give my early picks for how this season will round out, teams that will make the playoffs, players that will lead their league in various categories, etc. It should be fun. And even though I am a Phillies fan, I promise to be unbiased in my elections. Till next time, enjoy the best time of the year folks…spring training.

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PHILLIES 2008-PRESENT

It’s hard to believe that Five Years have passed since the Philadelphia Phillies shocked the country and this city and win their second World Series, and their first since 1980. I remember what I was doing the moment that Harry Kallas and Chris Wheeler called that last pitch strikeout by Brad Lidge on Pinch Hitter Chris Hinske and the slow motion charge of Carlos Ruiz and Brad Lidge, Ruiz jumping into the outstretched arms of Lidge, the rest of the team mobbing the mound, Ryan Howard knocking over Chase Utley, Shane Victorino in an all out sprint jumping into the pile of players. These are just a few of the many memories that the 2008 Phillies provided for its fans in an unprecedented World Series Win.

The 2008 version of the Phillies was much different than the 2013 team. The only offensive players that remain are Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz. Cole Hammels is the lone pitcher that remains. Count that…Five Players…I repeat Five Players from that World Series Championship Team. Wow! My have things changed. However, those Five Players that do remain are the Five Core players that this Franchise was built around so in hindsight, they still have the core in tact.

After the Phillies won in 2008, Ruben Amaro made some unbelievable trades and acquisitions which certainly should have brought this team many more championships. That never happened…in 2009 the Phillies made it to the World Series once again, only to lose to the New York Yankees. This was after Amaro traded for former CY Young Winner Cliff Lee down the stretch, and also adding Pedro Martinez before the playoffs. The Starting Rotation of Cole Hammels, Cliff Lee, Martinez and Blanton could not get the job done. Neither could the Phillies offense.

In the offseason, in mid December, Amaro made one of the most controversial yet bold moves by trading Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, while acquiring maybe the best pitcher in Baseball Roy Halladay. Amaro traded away its best pitching Prospects in Kyle Drabek and some other fine talent. No one seemed to care at this time as the Phillies had their Ace and Hammels and were poised for yet another run to the Big Dance. After struggling down the stretch, Amaro made another huge splash by trading AJ Happ, one of their aspiring starting pitchers to the Houston Astros for Roy Oswalt. The Phillies looked to again be the favorites only to lose to the eventual World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants.

Well…that offseason an even more dramatic roster move was made. The Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a long term contract, which gave the Phillies “4 Aces” in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels, and Roy Oswalt, and a great number 3 starter in Joe Blanton. It’s safe to say that the Phillies were huge favorites to make it back to the World Series and win. There have not been too many pitching staffs in history that could rival these names. However, Although Roy Halladay won another CY Young, Cliff Lee struggled and Roy Oswalt was hurt most of the year, which made him expendable. Once again, the Phillies were stunned by the upstart Saint Louis Cardinals who won the World Series. To add insult to injury, Ryan Howard tore his Achilles’ tendon running to first base in the last play of the game in that NLCS. He would be out part of the 2012 season.

The Phillies failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 2012 since 2007. This team had a tremendous run. They had so much talent, but unfortunately names on paper does not guarantee a World Series. Last Season…Roy Halladay had an injury plagued season while Cole Hammels had his best year as a pro. Although Cliff Lee had a horrible record, he became only the second pitcher to lose more than 10 games and have a sub 3.25 ERA. He also was in the league leaders in Ks, Innings, Complete Games and WHIP. Ok…so much has changed since tbs Phillies won the 2008 World Series.

Lets take a quick look at that roster that won the Trophy. Starting Pitchers were Cole Hammels, Brett Myers, Jaime Moyer, Joe Blanton, and AJ Happ. The Bullpen consisted of Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyere, JC Romero, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. Brad Lidge was a perfect 48 for 48 Saves in the regular season and 5 for 5 in the post season. That feat may never be duplicated. Ok, on Offense the Phillies were stacked with power…lineup was Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz, and Carlos Ruiz.

In that World Series, bench players made huge contribution. Starters made huge plays. Pat Burrel led off Game 5 part 2 with a Double. Eric Bruntlett replaced Burrell, was moved to third on a sacrifice by Shane Victorino and then scored on a single by Pedro Feliz in the top of the ninth. Then, Brad Lidge made the save after allowing two base runners. Game 4 was the blowout where Ryan Howard hit two monster blasts and Joe Blanton even hit a home run. Game 3 was the long rain delay, Eric Bruntlett gets hit by a pitch in the Bottom of the Ninth and scored on a seeing eye single by Ruiz. Game 2 was a loss and Game 1 was a tremendous win for Cole Hammels who went 8 and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell went back to back. That team had heart. That team had energy. Matt Stairs pinch hit home run in the Dodgers Series. Brett Myers 3 for 3 in a game 2 thriller. That was an awesome ride.

Now lets fast forward to 2013. Tube lineup will still have Rollins, Utley, Howard and Ruiz. But that’s it. Only Four. The Starting Pitching if healthy will trump that staff in 2008 on paper. However, will they be able to execute. We will soon find out as pitchers and catchers report this week. The Phillies will have a totally new lineup with Michael Young, Delmon Young, and Ben Revere. And Johnathan Papplebon replaces Brad Lidge as the closer. As mentioned…this team is far removed from the one that won it all. However, this team still has its Top 5 Core in tact. They could surprise everyone this year if healthy. Looking forward to it!

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MLB CRACKDOWN

The latest report has named Ryan Braun and four other players as being involved in the performance enhancing drugs investigation. Earlier this month it was found that Alex Rodriguez was involved in the same investigation.

Major League Baseball must do more to protect the sanctity of the game. A 50 game Suspension is not enough of a punishment for these cheaters and scum bags. Bud Selig is a Pussy. He needs to garner enough support to propose tougher sanctions against players that test positive for these drugs.

Bud Selig acts like he has reformed the game, but the fact remains that star players and no name players alike continue to take a risk and use these performance enhancers. The league should propose a mandatory one year suspension for any player that tests positive for any type of illegal substances for a first time. If a player gets caught a second time they should be banished from the league for life. Tougher punishments would definitely lead to less violations.

Alex Rodriguez should be ashamed of himself. Ryan Braun should agree to sit out a season since last year he tested positive and somehow got off on a technicality. He would have served a fifty game suspension. Baseball is still America’s Past Time. However, just like in the gun control debate, these drugs definitely diminish the game and causes bad perception and publicity.

This league has drug it’s feet for too long now. CMoN Bud, this is ruining the game. There not going to get off so easy any more. Pass more stringent penalties and I would wager to bet that these occurrences will lessen. Last night, Todd Helton was pulled over for a DUI over the weekend. These players are so blessed to be in a Career that they enjoy and make extreme amounts of money to do so. If that was you and I…We would be in jail or prison.

I would bet that there are more players that don’t get caught using the drugs than the ones that do. MLB, you need to put more money into drug testing and awareness throughout the league. These players are ruining the game and are making it hard to enjoy as fans. These players need a one year suspension and twenty lashes. Ok, just kidding about the lashes. Anyways, Bud Selig the league is mocking you and your authority. Have some back bone and do something!

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AROD: Asshole Robbed Others Dignity

Well, well, well. What do you know. All of our suspicions have come to fruition. Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera were the latest names to come out in the Performance Enhancing Substance Scandal. This is very sad and embarrassing, especially since Alex has denied ever using any type of substances. I remember when AROD was just a young kid coming up in the Texas Rangers ball club, there was another former player who has been linked to steroids and HGH. Rafael Palmeiro, I remember watching some of his home runs and wondering how he got so much strength.

Of course, this is just another black eye for the New York Yankees who always seem to be linked to trouble. The latest news on AROD brings up the subject of Performance Enhancing Drugs and how it has really put a black cloud over Major League Baseball. I understand the argument that some analysts and fans alike use, that this was just a product of the game during this time period. BULLSHIT!! There are plenty of MLB players who chose not to use these substances and they became fine all around ball players.

I can remember back as a young baseball fan, watching the likes of Mike Schmidt, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Barry Bonds (Pre Steroid), and many others like them. Then we look back at the legends of the game: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimagio, Ted Williams, Rod Carew, the list goes on And on. We can even go into the pitching realms: Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carleton, CY Young…and then the more modern ones Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, on and on.

These players who have chose to use drugs to better their performance have ruined the game. They should be ashamed of themselves. And what makes it ten times worse is that they all lied about it. At least if they told the truth, maybe just maybe we could find it in our hearts to forgive them. We are weeks alway from pitchers and catchers reporting to camp and this news comes out. The Yankees are seeking a way out of his contract…to void the remainder and rightfully so.

As a huge Baseball Fan, I am disgusted by the amount of players that dabbled in this practice. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemmens, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco just to name a few. And now AROD. Or should we call him ADRONE! Yes he is a drone. What a pathetic waste of talent and a LIAR. He should be kicked out of Baseball. This league has no place for players like this that decide to cheat. This is our National Past time folks. AROD is a nobody in my book now!

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MISCELANEOUS

Ok…so it’s been awhile. Had some personal issues to attend to but I am back with a vengeance. Today I will cover a wide variety of topics. First off, I would personally like to give my condolences to the entire Saint Louis Cardinals Extended Family for losing one of the true Baseball Legends that were still alive. Yesterday, Stan Musial died at the ripe old age of 92. Well, many of us will not even see 75 so that is quite an accomplishment in itself. Musial in my mind has to be in the top 3 MLB players of all time list and he was an offensive legend. Stan Musial was probably the best all around hitter with both power and tenacity to ever play the game. RIP Stan…You were a true legend and gentleman.

Yesterday also marked the return of the NHL from its extended labor strike. There were quite a few key markee match ups including the Pittsburgh Penguins opening on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, the game did not disappoint as it was a well played game considering the long layoff…it took the Flyers two periods to really break off the rust. I must admit, I was totally shocked with the amount of support and fans that showed up all over the league yesterday, especially in Philly. There was. 10,000 people alone in the XFINITY Entertainment Lounge. With a shortened 48 game season, it should be interesting which teams will ultimately make the playoffs. By judging the games from Saturday, the playoffs are already here in spirit. This should make for some very exciting games and story lines. Stay Tuned.

Well, I worked all day and have not even turned on the TV…I had heard that Atlanta had an early lead on the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Well, my original picks for the Superbowl did not even make it to this round so at this point anything is possible. I was going to take the 49ers, but I feel that Atlanta has the edge at home. Also, I think they are out to prove that their season was not a fluke. The AFC Championship tonight…The Patriots are favored to beat the Baltimore Ravens. I’m going out on a limb to say that Ray Lewis will have one last hurrah and stun the Patriots faithful.

Speaking of Football, the Eagles did finally get a head coach this week by signing Chip Kelly. We will visit this topic many times in the near future but my only early opinion is that the Philadelphia Fan Base is out of control for some of the statements that they have made. C’MON give the guy a chance! Lets see what he can do?

On the music scene, Anthrax announced a new release of an EP this spring featuring cover songs from bands of the 60’s and 70’s. Anthrax also announced that they will be doing the Among the Living Anniversary Tour, following the footsteps of its other Big Four members. They are actually scheduled to play a show in AC so I’m sure that I will try and make it again. Also in other big news, Metallica announced that they will be doing the Orion Festival once again this summer. Should be AWESOME!

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Heavy Metal, but I am far from proclaiming myself Eddie Trunk or anywhere close to his knowledge of music. I would even venture to say that my best friend Aaron knows much more about music than me. Well, while using Pandora I actually heard a tune from Stryper…who??? Yes Stryper! I totally forgot how good this band was and them I did some research and realized that they released an album in 2011 called “The Covering” in which they covered some classics from such bands as Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, the Scorpions and a few others! The album is SICK and I would recommend it to any fan of metal or hard rock. These guys are way underrated in my mind. Michael Sweet is a Musical genius. Look for his new autobiography due out this spring along with a Greatest Hits Remaster album followed by a Brand New Studio Album! Awesome News! Can’t wait…so looking forward to this. Anyways, I was researching Christian Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Bands and I came across a band named Pillar. Let me tell you, heard some of their material and was absolutely impressed. More music news to follow, so many exciting stories including Def Leppard doing Hysteria as a Week Long Guest in Las Vegas. Wow! Wish I could be there for that.

Finally, I thought it necessary to bring up the fact that I think I had posted back when the school shootings occurred in Connecticut, that the one major problem of our government during these crises…is failure to act! Well, here we are a month has went by and still morning on the part of our government. Not even one BILL! I mean…geez they owe it to these families to do something. And the other horrible thing about these tragedies is that after time they are forgotten. This crime cannot and should not be forgotten and the Government must take action in the Gun Control and Mental Health realms. Well…thanks for letting me vent lol. Anyways…it’s good to be back…thanks again to my loyal fans!

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PHILLIES TALK

Hello…Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy 2013. So anyways, this is my first post of the New Year and I’m gonna go a different direction. We have been talking Eagles for months and there really is not much going on in the Music World Today. So I thought we would take a break and talk some Phillies Baseball. Yeah that’s right…the team that won 4 Division Championships in a Row! Yes, last year was a bitter disappointment, but 2013 could bring another way. With a healthy Halladay, a vintage Lee, and a Homegrown Hammels, the Phillies still arguably have the best Trio of Starting Pitchers in Baseball. Last year, the Phillies dropped off dramatically on the offensive side of the ball and never got in sync. Placido Polonco has given his heart to this team, as he was traded away years ago when Utley was brought up and then resigned 3 years ago as the Phillies 3rd Baseman. He is not the same player that he was with Detroit, Phillies, and Cardinals. Polonco when he is on his game is one of the toughest players in the league. However, his back has been a sore spot every year and continues to plague him. Going into the offseason, the Phillies knew that they had to address the 3rd Base Position and also the Outfield. Well, they did a very decent job in the offseason by signing Jeff Young at 3rd and Ben Revere a prospect on the rise to replace Shane Victorino who is no longer with the team. They also made a few other signings including Mike Adams to Set up Papplebon. The other outfield positions will be a platoon of Domenic Brown, Lance Nix, John Mayberry, and Tyson Gillies. That is unless they make another signing. I truly believe 2013 will be another good season for the Phillies. For starters, even though Michael Young is approaching 40…he is still capable of putting up huge numbers and I could see him in the middle of Utley and Howard. Secondly, they will hopefully have a healthy Halladay and even though the win/loss category did not show it, Cliff Lee was awesome down the stretch and started to look like the Lee we are used to. And what can we say about Cole Hammels, he has improved every year and he may be this teams true Ace. The Phillies will also get back a healthy Backstop Chooch. Chooch put up huge numbers last year as the team struggled on offense. Michael Young can easily hit 30-35 HR with 100 RBI. I also believe that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will have stellar seasons. This team needed a shakeup. Ben Revere is not a power
Hitter, but he will thrive at Citizens Bank Park this year. So the Phillies definitely have a good team that will contend for the playoffs and possibly another World Series. They have one of the better bullpens and closer in Baseball so the key will be a healthy Halladay, Lee, and Hammels. John Lannan, and Tyler Cloyd will round out the rotation. It will be good to have more lefties on the staff. This team will contend and we as Phillies fans can only hope that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins can have productive seasons. One may say there are too many what ifs…but these are all definitely possible. Stay tuned its coming fast.

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Philly Needs an Overhaul

My how things have changed the past few years. I can remember back as recently as 2010 when the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup, The Phillies made the NLCS, The 76ers made the playoffs and the Eagles had a stellar season behind Michael Vick. Fast Forward 2 years! The NHL is probably going to skip a season (already half way into the labor dispute and lockout), The Phillies missed the playoffs and finished close to the basement in the NL East, The Sixers are still inconsistent and not close to winning a championship and the Eagles???? The Eagles?? Well, the Eagles are fading fast and are in a state of disarray. At 3-7 now, the Eagles are well on their way to their worst record since 1998 when Andy Reid took over this team, 14 seasons ago. When Andy Reid arrived in Philly, the Eagles were a team with some talent that needed a good leader and strategist. When Andy Reid and the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb in 1998, the tables were turning. Jim Johnson built one of the most powerful defenses in the Eagles history. Five straight NFC Championships, One Superbowl, Countless memories followed as the Eagles closed down the VET, moved into the LINC, Grew into one of the real powerhouses in the NFL. The Eagles were the NFC version of the New England Patriots…without the Superbowl wins lol. The Eagles were a very successful team and provided Philadelphia with many great memories. However, the past few seasons have been inconsistent and disheartening to say the least. A few seasons back, the Eagles signed Michael Vick and traded Donovan McNabb. McNabb took most of the blame for the Eagle’s failure in the 11 years under his reign. Yes, McNabb was not the most accurate quarterback the Eagles ever had. McNabb did blow it in the Superbowl. McNabb did get injured a lot. Nonetheless, McNabb holds every Eagles quarterback record in history. He was the winningest quarterback they ever had. McNabb was a good leader at one point in his career. Let us not forget, the NFL is a team game (just ask the New England Patriots and New York Giants). After McNabb was traded, Michael Vick had one good season and all of the experts were saying…see…it was McNabb’s fault. These experts failed to place any blame on the team’s coach, Andy Reid. Jim Johmson’s untimely passing was another turning point in the Philadelphia Eagles history. The Defense has not been the same and the Eagles made Juan Castillo the Defensive Coordinator last year. No one could argue that the Eagles did not have talent on that side of the ball. I mean, they signed Namdi Asomgha to one of the largest contracts for a Cornerback in the history of the NFL. They also boasted the NFL’s sack leader and a very good defensive line. Fast forward to 2012…Juan Castillo is fired and he takes the blame for the Philadelphia Eagles failures. Well, Castillo is gone and this defense is playing even worse. It’s truly time for Jeff Lurie to throw loyalty to the side and replace Andy Reid now. This version of the Philadelphia Eagles is pathetic. It is obvious that Andy Reid has lost this team. The team lacks respect for him and there is no leadership. They have the arguably the worst offensive line in NFL history. Michael Vick showed his true colors, that he really is not the Quarterback that will take this team to Championship. Now LeSean McCoy, their superstar running back, the one weapon that this team has that really is one of the best in the NFL, has received a concussion after taking a hard hit in the last two minutes of a game. The Eagles, who were losing by 30 points to the Washington Redskins were finished. Andy Reid, when asked why McCoy was still in the game, answered “We were trying to win the game.” C’MON Andy….get real!!!! You have lost your marbles. This team is finished. The time for rebuilding is now. Why wait until the end of the season. This team needs a drastic change now. Andy Reid is done. Forget all of the good things he has done for this team. The goal of any NFL franchise is to WIN the Superbowl! Well, in 14 seasons under Reid the Eagles have exactly one appearance (a loss to the Patriots) in a Superbowl. If this was any other company or corporation, Reid would have been replaced a long time ago. Well, Reid is still here. Jeff Lurie has let loyalty reign above results. This is a huge mistake. Lurie, I hope that you will finally listen to the fans…we really are not stoopid. We really are NFL fans and we DO understand the game. It is so obvious that Andy Reid has lost this team and a change is necessary. Why are you waiting…Andy Reid should be with his family anyway, after losing his son earlier this season. Please restore the good feeling in Philly again. Bring the Eagles back to respectable again in the NFL. Andy Reid must go. This is not personal, this is an anomaly. It is time for this team to rebuild from the top on down. If I’m Lurie, everyone goes except LeSean McCoy!!! He is the only true talent that is untouchable. We need a DEFENSIVE minded coach again. Defense really does still win Championships. As good as the Patriots Offense has been under their dominance the past fifteen years, Their Defense has truly been their backbone. We need a change. This does not just go for this Football Team. The Baseball Team also needs to rebuild. After their World Series win in 2008, this team has still had playoff success but if you really look close at the team they have gotten old. They have declined tremendously both in talent and success. It’s ashame, after the Phillies traded for and signed Roy Halladay, it looked like they may be on their way to a dynasty. Then the Four Aces…Halladay, Lee, Hammels, and Oswalt. Fast forward, Oswalt is gone, Halladay was injured and had his worst season in ten years, Lee was inconsistent and not the dominant force he had been the previous five years, only Hammels was good as promised. Chase Utley is done. Ryan Howard is on a decline. They do not have a young nucleus. This team also needs to rebuild. Charlie it’s been nice knowing you. Back to the Eagles, C’MON!!! Nick Foles first start in the NFL, and you make him drop back 43X!!!!! Four Sacks, countless rushes and hurries! Reid…you will never get it!!!! Quarterbacks have changed, lines have changed, defenses have changed. The one mainstay is Reid. Now it is time for Jeff Lurie to give this city some hope! Please hear the voice of the FAN!

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CLOSER ANTHEMS

With the MLB playoffs underway…my friend Aaron brought up an interesting topic the other day. We were talking about the playoff teams…who has the best offense, who has the best starting pitching, who has the best relief pitching, who has the intangibles, who has the best closer. Yes that’s right…of the remaining teams, who has the best closer? Well that topic could be debated by the use of stats…who had the most saves…who had the nastiest stuff. A more interesting topic was raised by Aaron…He asked me…If I was a MLB Closer…what would my entrance anthem be when entering the game? His first pick was Thunderstruck by AC/DC! Definitely a crowd pumper and a sing that fits what a closer does…strike the opponents with Thunder. His second pick was Wild Side by Motley Crüe. Another great choice for a pitcher to enter in the waning moments of a big game. This is a very cool topic because this had become more popular as the Closer position has evolved. It seems like this pitching ideology has grown so much, even in the past 10 Years. And many of these closers have picked numerous songs to enter the game to…usually a Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Tune of some sort. The subject became a national story with the Oakland Athletic’s closer, Grant Balfour, who is nick named “Rage”. With the playoff race winding down, Balfour set a record of five straight perfect inning saves to nail down the Division. Balfour comes into the game with METALLICA blaring and throwing out FBOMBS. He actually enters the game the same way he plays it…with Strength, intimidation, and Rage.
So the debate begins….which song would you enter to If you were a Major League Closer? My first choice was “Walk” by Pantera. The song has a tremendous opening and would get the crowd going instantly. My second choice was “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot. This is a pretty cool topic and I’m sure many people would have many great choices to ad. Imagine this…World Series…Bottom of Ninth…Game 7…3 Men on and 2 Outs….up by 1 run. What song would get your adrenaline pumping…what song would send the crowd into an early frenzy. I’m thinking if it was this point in the game…I would play the Rocky Theme…just because I think playing the Underdog always seems to give the team an edge that uses it to their advantage. I can picture this situation in my mind…just like I am there! I remember 2008…when the Phillies won the World Series and Brad Lidge was perfect in Save opportunities in the regular season and playoffs. That last inning on the mound felt like it lasted forever. The crowd was put into such a frenzy. Well…I’m sure there are so many great choices. METALLICA Master of Puppets. How about Europe…The Final Countdown? Well…I hope we get some feedback on this one so share with your friends and give us your pick. If u could chose 1 song to enter the game to, as a Closer…what would your song choice be??

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