Stardate 042609. Feeling quite pleased with the Phillies three-game sweep of the Marlins. Truly filleted their bullpen. Opportunistic bats storm to the forefront. Jamie Moyer doesn’t drink cocktails, he sips from the fountain of youth. Cameron Maybin looks like a lost puppy at the plate. Raul Ibanez is the only man on the planet who has my full-fledged support to sport the soul patch. Need – desperately – to get tickets for next weekend’s series against the Mets.
And so our journey begins. Surely, there was no way to get tickets directly through the Phillies. Other mediums had to be explored, and thus, my roommate Lucy and I were forced into the most despicable of predicaments – dealing with online scalpers.
What a depraved, dishonest and dispassionate man the online scalper is. Hording away tickets that otherwise well-intentioned fans might purchase in order to make himself a buck. It’s bad enough that the Phillies have begun to attract teeny-boppers and frat boys who experiment with steroids, all attending in the name of “making the scene”; now, an honest fan can’t even buy a damn ticket at face value. Where were you during the Gregg Jeffries’ years, you bandwagon barbarians? Playing twister with all of the pink-jersey’d Eagles groupies, I’d imagine.
Though I will suffer them so long as they yell loudly when the real fans yell, and don’t make a complete mockery of the True Philadelphia Fan by stooping to the level of mindless marauder, feeding into the Exploitative National Media’s stock definition of our people.
That I cannot tolerate.
Luckily, we were able to begin e-mail correspondences with a gentlemen from Bluebell, who had tickets for next Sunday’s showdown against the Mets. After several exchanges, it was determined that he would be available for most of the evening. Damn it all, we were going to Bluebell!
Ah Bluebell, a land stricken of placid undertones and sterile design. Our journey was going to lead us straight into the heart of American Isolationism – the dreaded Country Club. (Oh, the horror).
Nobody should ever have to leave South Philadelphia to undertake a journey to Bluebell – it really should be the other way around. And yet, we were committed, and so, armed with an address and high hopes, we made the trek. A beautiful day and the proper allotment of summer-esque tunes aided our journey. That, and a Red Bull which left me several beats away from a heart attack.
Upon reaching the Country Club, I was shocked to find that we would have to pass through gates guarded warily by an embittered old gatekeeper. I was not prepared for this, but I quickly drew up a plan, involving a glass bottle, a quick run to the gatekeeper’s fortress, a swift strike to his head, and a lifting of the gate lever so that Lucy could pass through. Thankfully, Lucy had a much more – shall we say, intelligent – plan in mind.
“Hi, I’m here to see Rob Dobb.”
(Yes, that was really his name. I can’t make these things up).
“Whatever the address was, blah blah blah. He is expecting us.”
(Lifts the gate). “Have a nice day.”
He seemed cautious of us, certain, I am sure, that we were not his kind. I had rubbed my face with twenty-dollar bills on the ride over, but my senses indicated that I still wasn’t giving off the proper Country Club pheromones. That, and he may have been alarmed by the grimacing manner with which I was eyeballing him while holding a glass bottle.
No matter…we were in.
Country Club terrain is highly difficult to navigate. Everything looks exactly the same. It’s like a hall of mirrors, without the humor. My imagination, for the briefest and most horrifying of moments, catapulted me into the land of Stepford Wives. I couldn’t help but shudder, though that also might have been from the taurine corrupting my body.
Hard to say.
We approached the house cautiously, afraid that if we walked too heavily, we might bring imperfection upon our surroundings. Nearby, grasshoppers gossiped about us. Frightening. We knocked on the door, and a woman answered, hair pulled taut, clothes likely pressed multiple times, face straining to mimic politeness. She looked at me cautiously (probably wondering if I was there to cut her lawn), before tentatively asking us whether or not we would like to come inside. We agreed doing so might be the normal thing to do, and walked in.
A nice house for sure, with a mahogany table and a tall wooden sink and smooth couches with the pillows symmetrically aligned and an electric piano and a rather dignified throw rug and a bending stairway that jutted up the middle of the household. The rooms of the house – at least from the vantage point of the front door – were sectioned in the same manner in which the set of television sitcom chronicling the lives of the average American family might be presented to the studio audience.
And who was this now walking down the stairs, but one Rob Dobb? A short, stocky man, slightly resembling Stephen Root (you know, the guy always looking for his stapler and the non-athletic, wannabe gym-jock married to a mail-order bride). He quickly explained to us that the reason he was selling the tickets was that he would buy them for clients and sometimes people simply couldn’t take them and he might as well sell them because he surely wasn’t going to eat them (har har) and he was probably going to save his front-row ones for him and his daughter and if we ever needed to purchase $27 dollar tickets for $55, he was our guy and it sure was nice to meet us and thanks (holding up his new found loot) and have a nice day (closing door).
We had done it – we had driven an hour both ways, infiltrated a Country Club, rubbed elbows with a man of sophisticated airs (cough), paid twice the amount our tickets were worth, and noted that the grass was so green within Country Club confines, it was likely fake.
High-priced plastic, I guessed.
And with all of that to take into consideration, we still couldn’t have been any happier – we had Phillies tickets for a game against the Mets, baby!
True fandom knows no bounds.
Damn the Penguins and their baby-faced, whining leader, Sidney Crosby. Missed opportunities, squandered leads, inconsistency – all of these plagued the Flyers throughout this series. The boys in orange broke my heart, especially seeing as it was against our state rival, and doubly because it seemed, for long stretches, that they were the better team. Alas, they could not maintain said stretches, and are left to lick their wounds. And now, that is enough about that – I just don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Wow – quite a weekend for the Eagles, huh? Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, and…wait, Ellis Hobbs?
What about that whole, “we will not trade Sheldon Brown” thing? I mean, they’re not going to slowly phase him out like they did to Lito, and likely end up much less compensated then they could have been had they traded him earlier, are they? That would be sheer friggin’ madness.
For now, we’ll wait to see how those dominoes lay. Let’s talk a little bit about this Eagles draft. If you think about it, they really got Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters, LeSean McCoy and Ellis Hobbs through their draft, not to mention a kid in Cornelius Ingram that has an interesting upside. He missed all of last year with an ACL injury, and came to Florida as a quarterback, was moved to wide receiver in 2006, and became a tight end in ’07. Pretty good athlete who is certainly raw at the position, a project-type, but could be a player based on his athleticism and seeming versatility.
Thrilled that McCoy dropped to them at 53. Probably the best fit for them, given his “wiggle” and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. That, and he is a guy that can carry the load, having logged, in two seasons, 36 touchdowns, 2816 rushing yards on 584 carries, and 549 receiving yards on 65 receptions. Oh, and he hasn’t turned 21 yet, so he should be around for awhile, at least as long as he’s productive. Which I think he will be – I really like this kid. Doesn’t finish runs with the inspiring and reckless abandon of Knowshon Moreno, but I think he has more lateral quickness, is slightly better catching the ball out of the backfield, and may prove to be more durable. All conjecture at this point, but if you’ve just spent the last 24 hours with Mel Kiper, I’m sure you’re immune to that by now, anyway.
As for Maclin, I – like many, it seems – was initially surprised by the move. The natural inclination is to compare him to DeSean Jackson, and not Anquan Boldin, thereby causing several throngs of Philadelphia fans to go cross-eyed. But let’s not get our boxers in a bunch just yet – this kid has decent size (6-0, 198), good speed, and is a pure-blooded playmaker. Really, you can’t ever have enough playmakers – that’s like having too many vacation days. Not possible. He will likely relieve DeSean of any punt returning duties, allowing DeSean to focus more on advancing as a wideout. Maclin averaged over 200 all-purpose yards per game in his career – that’s damn impressive.
I have to say, I’m feeling pretty damn good about this offense going into next season. The line is improved, and they’ve added weapons – McNabb will have a bounty of options next year, with Westbrook, McCoy and Weaver in the backfield, and Curtis, Jackson, Maclin, Celek and maybe even Ingram to throw the ball to.
Still miss Dawkins, though – just won’t feel the same without him.
But overall, I will have to – ever so begrudgingly – admit that the Eagles have had a successful offseason. The book is still out on Sheldon Brown, but they’ve at least lined up a competent alternative in Hobbs, should the situation reach inconsolable levels. Which I’m pretty sure it has long since surpassed.
Starting to feel like a new chapter in Eagles football, huh?
Oh, right, almost forgot – the Sixers. Yeah, they’re tied 2-2 with the Magic. Um, so got to be honest here – pretty surprised that they’ve won one game, let alone two. And almost took Sunday’s game to overtime. That Thaddeus Young play on Friday night was pretty sweet. Flipped over after the ridiculous ninth inning the Phillies put up on Friday, with the epic Victorino grand slam, just in time to see Thad wildly hocus-pocus a lay-up through the hoop against the Magic. Because, let’s keep it real – with the Phillies, the Flyers, and the Draft all on tap this weekend, I almost forgot about the Sixers. So feel free to add to the basketball discussion in the comments if you want, ‘cuz I ain’t got nothing else on that.