**(Hey so remember when I said that I was stepping away from the Cooler? That was apparently a lie.)
Have you ever seen baby turtles hatch from a nest? It’s frantic free for all. Hundreds of minute-old turtles scramble for their lives on the beach as seagulls swoop down from above and eat them whole. It’s a truly mesmerizing and horrific scene found in nature. The same happens with NFL quarterbacks. There are countless young players from robust programs with their own pages of the record books that are indiscriminately swallowed whole and crapped out onto your car. The benching of Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel is a welcoming reminder of that fact.
Why? All three quarterbacks were taken in the first round and none of them will be starting on opening day. Many fans will see this news as a disappointment on the player’s part or a poor managerial decision by the coaching staff, which is grossly unfair. Just because it has become the norm for teams to trot out rookie QB’s doesn’t mean that it’s right. The main argument from the angry masses:
“He’s a first round pick!”
I hate this complaint. It’s short-sighted and misguided and generally makes me want to slap you in the face (it’s more rewarding than a punch!). Let me explain by stating a few simple things:
- College football and professional football and not the same game. Out of the 11 Heisman winners prior to Manziel in 2012, seven of them have been duds at the NFL level. The other four (Carson Palmer, Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III) have had varying degrees of success. Success in college does not directly translate to the pros. the same even goes for coaches.
- First round picks in all sports are based on potential, not immediate impact. Sure, I could use a Thunderstone to evolve my Pikachu at level 5, but my Raichu is not going to be nearly as badass, nahmean? Some top talents need time to develop. Remember Drew Brees in San Diego?
- Human error exists. This last fact more or less covers the idea that some players get selected in the first round that have no business doing so. These players were misjudged by often desperate and/or simply bad teams and were then unfairly classified. For examples, consult your local Raiders fan!
With that argument dead and buried, let’s move on to the next major complaint:
“He should get the experience!”
This is slap-worthy as well because the phrase by default means that sitting on the bench is not a means of gaining experience. However, there is value in waiting and watching and learning. The idea of “the game slowing down” is often mentioned by players who are looking to make the leap. The adjustments within the system come naturally, allowing them to play without hesitation. Also, when you consider that a rookie QB has four to five months before the season starts and the majority of that time is spent in shorts against no pressure, it’s reasonable to believe that some aren’t ready to play, no?
So while Bortles, Manziel, and Bridgewater are first round picks and starting experience would be nice, it’s important to understand that sometimes the best way for a turtle to reach the ocean is to zig-zag rather than run a straight line.
I’m developing matching calluses on my palm and forehead. This is Ruben Amaro’s fault. Every time the man speaks these days I face an uncontrollable instinct to bury my face in my hand with increasing haste, as if this could somehow shield me from his wanton disregard for reason.
Thus far, my efforts have been unsuccessful.
Amaro: “Right now, we’re trying to win as many games as possible… At the same time, at some point, we’re going to have to start looking to the future. And once we’re ‘eliminated’ … listen, is it a long shot to get back into this Wild Card race? It is. Numerically it’s not impossible, but right now obviously I’d be foolish to say it’s something that’s probable…. And at some point, we may be looking more at what we have to do for 2015 as far as what’s going on, on the field. But until then, we’ll make the decision when it’s the appropriate time, when it’s time to start to looking to 2015 and beyond. We’re not quite there yet.”
Trying to win as many games as possible. While that might be a nice thing to hear from a player, whose present entertainment value and future paycheck rely entirely upon his immediate performance, this is an impossibly ignorant and disheartening thing to hear from the general manager of a woefully uncompetitive major league baseball team. It has become clear at this point that self-reflection is not Amaro’s strong suit.
Perhaps Amaro, Montgomery, and the rest of the Phillies’ brass would be better served by a lesson that comes not from self examination, but from history. Not baseball history, but Mediterranean.
King Pyrrhus of Epirus was always a warrior. He was not a king that came from the political class. While he was indeed the heir to the title by birth, he was expelled from power four years into his reign, and had to take to the battlefield to regain his throne. So in 281 B.C.E., King Pyrrhus was already an expert battlefield commander when he answered the pleas of the beleagured city of Tarentum, which was under threat of destruction at the hands of Rome. Pyrrhus, sensing an opportunity to expand his kingdom, sailed to Italy with an army.
After early successes in the field, in 279 B.C.E. Pyrrhus turned his troops north towards the city of Asculum. His army numbered around 40,000, and the Romans met him with an equal number. The battle lasted for two days, and at the end of the second day, the Roman forced had been decisively defeated. But Pyrrhus was hardly in a position to celebrate. Although his army had killed twice as many Roman soldiers as it had lost, winning the battle had cost Pyrrhus a strategic defeat.
The Greek historian Plutarch sums up the aftermath: “Pyrrhus said to one who was congratulating him on his victory, ‘If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.’ For he had lost a great part of the forces with which he came, and all his friends and generals except a few; moreover, he had no others whom he could summon from home, and he saw that his allies in Italy were becoming indifferent, while the army of the Romans, as if from a fountain gushing forth indoors, was easily and speedily filled up again.”
This is the event from which we draw the term Pyrrhic Victory: winning the day with grave consequences for the future. Unfortunately for Phillies fans, this is precisely the kind of win that Amaro is referencing above.
The Phillies’ misguided attempts to win today, or indeed during the second half of the 2014 season, have prevented them from making the moves that must be made in order to start building another championship-caliber roster. By holding onto aging, but still productive, talent, the Phillies have already lost out on too many opportunities to get any better in the future. Likewise, they’re pushing themselves further and further away from the highest picks in next year’s draft, which this team sorely needs in order to start replenishing its decimated farm system.
Actually, comparing Pyrrhus to Amaro and Montgomery isn’t very fair to Pyrrhus. At least he realized the cost of glory. He demonstrated an ability to remove himself from his personal pride and see the ultimate consequences. This Phillies management group has repeatedly proven incapable of thinking with such lucidity. Every extra win that this team earns in the waning days of summer could rightly be termed a Phillic victory, and they should be “celebrated” accordingly. It would serve the Phillies – and more importantly, what remains of the Phillies’ fan base – to see that the net result of their current philosophy can only lead to ultimate failure.
So as you may have heard recently Ray, Turtle and I have been given the opportunity to try a podcast with a big company. While I’m really excited for the opportunity it hurts to say that the Wooder Cooler is now officially on hiatus. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to check in on the Philly sports thoughts of myself and our staff over the past two plus years. You’re–as they said back in the day–“the bomb”.
For all of the people that have made this thing happen: Hank, Ray Boyd, Ransom, Nick, Bill, Pete and Ray McCreavy…thank you. I’m still holding out hope for a drunk podcast.
So much love and kisses that it would probably weird you out even if we were married,
In case you’ve missed them, here are some things that we’ve recently discussed during Eagles training camp! They’re the best articles written in the history of all articles ever. Fact.
- Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger and 94WIP host Marc Farzetta were on our podcast. Need we say more?
- Hank explores if it’s reasonable to expect Chip Kelly to improve this season. Stats a-plenty!
- We explain who the hell Allen Barbre is. After all, he’s going to start the first four games.
- Ray discusses which players intrigued him going into the first preseason game.
- This team has some freakishly tall players—as in NBA starting five-sized players.
- The Eagles window to win a Super Bowl is shorter than you think. Believe it.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
- We break down the Tony Stewart situation
- Hear our thoughts on the Eagles preseason openers and hear the opinions of 94WIP’s Marc Farzetta and Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger
- We also give the latest on Sixers and Phillies trade rumors
- And of course we give you Feminine Persuasion and a TWCNN News Update
What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!
Follow us on Twitter: @TheWooderCooler
Football is back on Friday night at 8:oo p.m. Yes, it’s just preseason, but it is football nonetheless and Eagles fans are ready to get a glimpse of their team as the second season under Chip Kelly gets underway.
There are plenty of players to keep an eye on on Friday night, but some stand out more than others.
Here are the five players that I will be keeping the closest eye on when the Eagles take on the Bears in their preseason opener.
5. QB Mark Sanchez: Of course everyone will be watching to see how Nick Foles looks, myself included. However, you can expect to see a lot of fluidity out of Foles who should be familiar with the system and the majority of the weapons he’ll be working with.
Sanchez will get ample snaps on Friday night and the bottom line is that in the NFL you are extremely lucky if your second string quarterback doesn’t have to start a least a few games for you.
Sanchez has not played since he got injured last preseason and it’s time to find out if the Eagles got a steal in snagging him to backup Foles. Reports on him out of camp have been good so it’s time to see what he’s got.
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Yet another trade deadline has passed, and yet again the Phillies did absolutely nothing to alter their course. It’s damned near inexplicable. Not only are they 4 games back from the hapless Mets and 5.5 back from the penniless Marlins, but they also have the league’s second oldest lineup – 31.0 years old – and the third highest payroll in the whole goddamned MLB.
Anybody – I mean really, anybody – can see that this bullshit ain’t gonna get better on its own. Old players are old, and no amount of wishful thinking can make them young again. Sometimes bad players are good, but more often they stay bad. Especially if they are already old. This shit ain’t exactly fucking science.
The period preceding the non-waiver trade deadline is generally the best sellers’ market in the MLB calendar. Unlike the relative mystery of the hot stove, teams know exactly where they are with respect to the league, managers have an excellent idea of their units’ deficiencies, and when contenders make moves, other playoff-bound teams are put under pressure to keep up with the Joneses. The 2014 non-waiver deadline was one of the most active in memory, and a number of marquee players were involved in the deals.
And yet, the Phillies couldn’t pull off a single one. Not one goddamned trade to make this squad better in the future. Nothing to indicate that they have any intention of making it to the World Series again.
Make no mistake, this is a terrible missed opportunity for the future of Philadelphia baseball. But in and of itself, it’s not worth taking personal offense to a quiet deadline. No, what’s truly onerous about the situation is the attitude coming from the man in charge, the grand marshall of this shit parade: Rubén Amaro, Jr.
Amaro: “We were not looking for exorbitant payback, so to speak. We were looking for players that would help us. I think we were very reasonable in the discussions that we had. Frankly, I don’t think the clubs were aggressive enough for the kind of talent we have on our club.” – NJ.com
Let me translate that into human English: “Nobody wanted to sell the farm for the bullshit that I was peddling, so I’m gonna peddle bullshit to my fan base instead.”
I take offense, Rubén. I take offense because you just looked me in the eye and called me a stupid asshole.
Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers long-time top defensemen and man’s man, has been diagnosed with blood clots in his legs and lungs. The Flyers have since signed Michael Del Zotto. A few quick thoughts on the matter with more likely to come in the podcast:
- This doesn’t necessarily mean that his career is over. Yes, this is likely Kimmo’s last hurrah, but given that he’s a stubborn old man that never leaves leaves the ice if injured, I would imagine he tries to come back ASAP if medically possible.
- I didn’t mind the idea of Timonen sticking it out for one more year even though his play has noticeably declined. The Flyers are weak on the blue lines and any knowledge you can squeeze out of him to your younger defenseman would be a plus.
- Perhaps Kimmo could retire and Finnish (yes, bad pun!) the season as an assistant on the bench. His experience and knowledge is useful for the next generation of defenders.
- Michael Del Zotto, who has been signed following the Timonen injury is only 24 years old. He could be such a case.
- However, the fact that a 24 year-old defender is on the market in August is not exactly comforting. A change of scenery certainly hasn’t improved Luke Schenn.
- Can someone build a time machine and get JVR back? I’ll kiss you.
Here’s what we talked about:
- The Hall of Fame and the players you grew up with
- Feminine persuasion involves two female firsts.
- The Eagles offense, training camp, and why Sanchez isn’t such a bad fit.
- TWCNN gives another news update
- Paul George, International brands, and the booming love of players.
What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!
Follow us on Twitter: @TheWooderCooler
This week we’re having a live show!
Look for the link to the show through our social media accounts on Sunday around 3:15 and then listen to us live and CALL IN to our podcast! We’ll be doing the show through blog talk radio. Assuming everything goes well we’ll try to do more of these in the future and other related ideas (Callers only show, live Q and A with a guest) So crack a beer, relax in your living room and enjoy the show this Sunday!
If there’s a question you’d like to have us discuss but can’t make the show leave a comment and we’ll make sure we get to it!