Awards have been handed out everywhere you look over the last few weeks in the world of entertainment. The Pro Bowl, The Grammys, The Olympics, The Oscars, The Dundees, and more. And given that we’re a pillar of the community it’s time for The Wooder Cooler to enter into the fray with our first annual presentation of The Gabbys! The Gabbys are intended to represent the most talked about stories from the past year in Philly sports and are made out of solid gold stolen from Fort Knox. It’s a truly special award for an extraordinary set of categories!
And now, what you haven’t been waiting for because you didn’t previously know it existed!
The Eagles did a lot of locking up their own players this offseason with the signings of Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. They’ve also departed with their third Jason in Avant, who’s release gave the Eagles over three million in cap room. So here’s what the Eagles are looking like in a few major areas going into free agency, which starts on March 11th.
- Mike Vick
- Nate Allen
- Kurt Coleman
- Colt Anderson
- Clifton Geathers
- Donnie Jones
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this list is fantastic for the Eagles because the primary target here is the punter. Sure, I’m a strong supporter of Vick returning as a backup, but until he tests the market there’s simply no chance that he signs a deal. For the rest of the group the problem is that while some of these guys could possibly be signed as reserve roles there’s really no upside.
For example, Colt Anderson isn’t turning into a starting caliber safety at this point in his career. The Eagles are better off signing youth and drafting replacements in the secondary to build up their special teams and overall depth. It’s the smartest route and most cost effective route. Speaking of which…
[Note from Vince: This is another installment of From the Bench from new contributor Matt Rankin, who loves the Phillies so much that he bleeds red. Who would have thought?]
What do Scott Podsednik, Bobby Abreu, Juan Pierre, and Jim Thome all have in common? They are or were old players thought to be on their way out the door. All of whom the Phillies signed and were given an opportunity in spring training.
With no guarantees he’ll make the team. There had been reports of people giving up their season tickets or on the team entirely. Solely on the basis that Rueben Amaro thought it was a good idea to bring Bobby Abreu to spring training. To these people shame on you, first of all who cares? Yea he’s another old player on an old team. But really that’s the move that did it for you? Surely the Phillies aren’t the only team in the league that brings in veterans just to see what’s left.
All indications so far in spring training are that the bat speed is still there and, more importantly, Bobby has historically one of the best batting “eyes,” in the league. How sharp an eye? He is 56 BB’s short of Chipper Jones (1,512). Even while Chipper played three more years than Abreu has. Listen I am one of the biggest Darin Ruf fans and I know Abreu is taking away a spot on the bench. However, a great baseball man once told me that if you hit, they can’t keep you out of the lineup. Somewhere down the line he’ll get his shot if he earns it.
So what’s the difference? Podsednik and Pierre battled it out. Honestly I still believe Podsednik should have made the team and would have, if it weren’t for Pierre’s performance. Jim Thome was out the door especially with his serious foot and back problems. I think we all rooted for Jim to come back and do it. I think we’re all praying Bobby doesn’t.
Maybe that’s too hasty of a decision.
Tonight the Sixers honor one of the greatest players to ever lace up sneaks in the NBA. Allen Iverson’s #3 will take its rightful place amongst the other legends of Sixers past, high above the Wells Fargo Center court. That court will never again see another Sixers on it wearing the #3, the symbol of a man who literally gave blood, sweat and tears for his team.
Tonight A.I. is immortalized.
Iverson’s impact, like other all-time great players can be seen in the statistics, but they alone do not do him justice. Sure, it is worth pointing out that Iverson is sixth all-time in career points per game (26.7) and that he was named to 11 all-star teams in 12 NBA seasons. It’s worth pointing out that he was the 2001 NBA MVP while leading the Sixers to an Eastern Conference Championship and a NBA Finals Game 1 win over a Lakers team that had not lost at all during the playoffs.
We can look at the Rookie of the Year Award, the scoring titles, the All-NBA teams and the Olympic appearance, but all of these things are secondary to the lasting impact that Iverson had.
[Note from Vince: This is the first article from Flyers addict Chris Imbrogno, who will be gracing us with his hockey thoughts from time to time. As a contributor, Chris gets the privilege of doing the first installment of our contributor piece From the Bench! Give him a round of applause (in the comments...because he can't hear you)]
With the end of the Olympic break and the last 23 games of the Flyers schedule looming (as well as nothing to do at lunch since I finished Game of Thrones), I wanted to write a bit about my take on how the Flyers have looked so far this season.
Needless to say, the start to the season was as bleak as could be. For fans, it caused a mix of anger, disappointment, and confusion. Confusion as to how a team that manhandled one of the best teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penqueens, in the playoffs just a short time ago could be doing so poorly.
However, the way the Flyers have turned the season around is nothing short of miraculous. I could only imagine in the first 8 games, it’s what it feels like to be a Florida Panthers fan (do they exist?). What Berube and the other coaches have done to turn this struggling team around is extremely impressive. They still have a lot of work to do, and the defense is clearly still lacking, but they’re moving in a very good direction.
Some credit for the turnaround has to go to Steve Mason. Let’s be real, Mason has stolen games for the Flyers that they’ve had no right winning. The man has surely earned the nickname Stonewall Mason.
When we first acquired Mason, watching him play excited me. It excited me to see someone who would come out of the net and play the puck. It excited me to see someone who was not only big, but extremely athletic and, at this point, he has my exceeded expectations by far.
If the offense can keep putting up the points they were generating consistently going into the break, then, paired with Mason’s play, the Flyers have a very good chance to get into the playoffs.That’s where the captain comes into play.
Coming on the heels of a 10 win season the Eagles are prescribing to the philosophy of not fixing what isn’t broken. The team illustrated that point yesterday by signing longstanding left tackle Jason Peters to a five year, $51 million contract extension.
The deal will almost certainly lock up the All-Pro tackle for the remainder of his career. Peters is coming off a stellar comeback season in which he recovered from a torn ACL.
Peters led an Eagles offensive line that became one of the most solid and consistent parts of their scoring attack.
One of the many high profile moves of the Flyers offseason was the signing of Vinny LeCavalier after he was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the 33 year-old center has been pretty bad this year year for the Flyers. What’s gone wrong? How bad is Vinny? Should the front office have seen this coming?
All of the questions are answered here in what’s a fantastic piece by Collin Mehalick over at Broad Street Hockey. Check it out!
The NFL combine is underway and one of the most common practices is comparing the prospects to current pros. Often times, those players are compared to Pro Bowlers and Hall of Fame caliber players. One of the most recent cases has been Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel being compared to Brett Favre.
Favre’s gambling ways earned him a Super Bowl, 11 Pro Bowls, three MVPs, six All Pro selections and a number of records over his 20 year career. Manziel, like his legendary counterpart, has electrified crowds on his way to a Heisman trophy, two bowl game victories, a slew of awards, and the status as a top pick in the draft.
So what did Favre say about the comparison? In an interview with USA Today Favre said when he was reviewing Manziel’s tape, “I almost thought I was watching film of a young Brett Favre.” So obviously, the connection isn’t too farfetch’d. In fact, I find this link to the past eerily similar.
Today the NBA trade deadline came and went. Like we all expected, the Sixers were the NBA’s most active team. The Sixers pulled off four trades, shipped away three players and acquired five players and five second round draft selections.
Sixers General Manager Sam Hinkie was certainly busy working the phones.
The totality of the Sixers’ moves resulted in the team saying goodbye to Lavoy Allen, the local product out of Temple University, who’s claim to fame came as a rookie who gave Kevin Garnett all he could handle in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team also parted ways with Spencer Hawes, a fan favorite who never really cemented his role on the team but who developed a three point shot that while not pretty, was quite effective. And last but not least, Evan Turner, this season’s leader by default. Turner put up borderline All-Star numbers this season but clashed with fans and coaches in this city and never quite seemed comfortable in the Sixers’ systems.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
- A great deal has been revealed about a man named Incognito, and the irony is too much for us to handle.
- We’re joined by longtime friend Ray McC* for our baffled response to the NFL’s latest, strangest controversy.
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Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.