Category Archives: General

Remembering the night the Globetrotters stripped me at the Spectrum

It was March of 1993. I was eight at the time, and though my memory is hazy on many of the details of the evening, I do remember the gist of a conversation several fans were having as they approached the Spectrum. Something about “good riddance” and “Barkley leaving town” and “we don’t need that bum, anyway.”

Anyway, on this particular evening, I was off to a Harlem Globetrotters game with my uncle, who had been given tickets from ‘Sweet’ Lou Dunbar, a customer of my uncle’s at his auto body store, Performance Years. He had a GTO, and would often call my uncle for parts. Very often, in fact. My uncle remembered one humorous anecdote from a Sweet Lou call.

“He called me up one time, and he’s ordering this part, and suddenly, kind of in the background, I hear: ‘Lou? Lou, where are you?’ Sounded like his wife. So I go, ‘Hey Lou – where are you calling me from?’ And he goes: ‘Uh…from the closet.’ So then I hear his wife again, yelling: ‘Lou, you better not be in the closet on the phone, ordering more parts for that darn car of yours!'”

He was, as my uncle recalled, a funny, friendly guy. He often played the Meadowlark Lemon role – the joker, the entertainer, the guy whose role it was to be the life of the Globetrotters’ party. And he was even so good as to give us passes to go into the locker room before and after the game, which was a thrill for me. Continue reading

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Not hyped for the Super Bowl? Lively it up by playing the Pundit’s new drinking game, “The Stupor Bowl”

Before I get going on this post, I just want to send my best wishes over to Jim Johnson and his family. Jim, as you’ve probably heard by now, has cancer, a recurring case that this time found it’s way into his spine. Jim, I think I can safely say I speak for all of Philadelphia when I say that you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and we hope that you have a swift and successful recovery.

Alright – on to The Stupor Bowl.

Because, let’s be honest – who gives a shit about this game? I mean, seriously, I just don’t care. The storylines are pretty bland here. Last year, at least you could root against the Patriots. This year? I just can’t find anything to care about.

And thus, I have done the only logical thing I could think to do – devise a drinking game to make the game a bit more, ahem, spirited.

Yeah, not really what I was going for there...

Um, not exactly what I had in mind...

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10-3 Redskins. Unbelievable. The Pundit is BOILING as he attempts to do Game Notes

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?

(Sigh) Well, the Eagles had everything fall into place for them before the start of the game. Tampa Bay lost to San Diego, and there it was in front of our Birds: win two, and head off to the playoffs.

And they couldn’t do it.

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Filed under College Football, Eagles, General, NFL, Olympics, Sixers, Uncategorized

After the tumultous season the Eagles have had, they’re the sanest team in the NFC East? Actually, yeah…

Wait, that can’t be right. I mean, first, we had the controversy with Lito Sheppard. And all of the talk about how we couldn’t stop anybody’s running game and how Donovan couldn’t win the close ones. And then we tied the friggin’ Bengals, and Donovan admitted he didn’t know how the overtime system worked. Than, he got benched against the Ravens, for Chrissakes. All of this while most of Philly was calling for Andy Reid’s head on a silver platter, because of the unbalanced play-calling, and his terrible record at replay challenges, and his clock-management, and his inability to make in-game adjustments, and his personnel decisions, and…

Awwww dude, that is so not cool. Yeah, um, that was the only picture we could find with a head on a silver platter-  yeah, that sounds right...

Awwww dude, that is so not cool. Yeah, um, that was the only picture we could find with a head on a platter. Right...

Where does the whole sane thing come into play, exactly?

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Game Notes: Eagles vs. Cleveland Steamers

What do Scott Weiland and the Cleveland Steamers, eh, Browns have in common? Glad you asked. Scott Weiland spent his glory years with the Stone Temple Pilots in the 90’s. The Browns spent their glory years in Cleveland until 1995, when they were shipped to Baltimore by Cleveland’s Antichrist, Art Modell. Weiland often battled a heroin addiction; Cleveland fans battled not having a team to support. Weiland never achieved the same level of musical quality or cultural relevance after splitting with the band (Editor’s note: Sorry, Velvet Revolver doesn’t quite cut it). The Browns have had only two winning seasons in the past nine years, and only made the playoffs in one of those years. Oh, and Weiland has a new song out right now – what’s the name of that song?

Oh, right: “Missing Cleveland.”

"This is for you, Modell!"

"This is for you, Modell!"

Which any pure NFL fan with an appreciation for traditional football organizations does. Which the old Dawg Pound most certainly did for the three years Cleveland was team-less. Cleveland fans are some of the best football fans in America, and they deserved better than losing their team, and they deserve better than this one. So, that being said, hopefully the Eagles will decimate the Browns tonight and keep their playoff hopes alive.

But just know, Cleveland: I feel for you. I really do. Now to my game notes.

8: 29 PM: Oh man, the ESPN pregame crew is so super funny. They are all giggling, pretending like they might not pick the Eagles in this game. What whimsical irony they deftly wield in front of our eyes like the most graceful of swordsmen. (Editor’s note: What mildly phallic prose The Pundit stumbles over in his attempts at high-minded wit).

8:34 PM: Does any sport lend itself to better sexual innuendo than football? Brian Westbrook really hits the hole hard. The tight end was wide open. Good catch. The Browns are unveiling their flash package. I mean, it’s friggin’ priceless. (Editor’s note: This post has not yet been rated).

8:43 PM: Very nice sideline catch by Jason “Idiot” Avant.

8:45 PM: The Eagles are doing what they need to do early – mixing the running game with the passing attack and marching down the field, all topped off by a beautiful catch by Kevin Curtis in the end zone. Nice ball, nice jumping catch, and the Eagles take the 7-0 lead.

8:53 PM: Josh Cribbs gets a first down on a counter run in the flash package. They should probably just let Cribbs play quarterback.

8:54 PM: Spoke to soon. Ken Dorsey beats the blitz and throws a perfect fade to Braylon Edwards. Good God, the Browns are threatening to score their first touchdown after three games without one!

8:57 PM: Ah, it’s just the Browns. Their no-touchdown streak lives on; 7-3 Eagles.

8:59 PM: Another nice return by Demps – I love this kid’s motor.

9:04 PM: Apparently, Jason Avant is our first-down guy tonight. Nice snag over the middle to keep the drive going. So far, the offense is balanced. But what happens when the scripted plays run out…

9:10 PM: Another nice drive by the Eagles offense, though they couldn’t punch it in. 10-3 Birds.

9:11 PM: Is anybody else completely done with the UPS whiteboard guy? (Editor’s note: Yup).

9:17 PM: Stewart Bradley blasts Jamal Lewis at the line of scrimmage. Great pursuit angle by Bradley on the play. One play later, the Eagles blow up Cribbs in the Flash. The Eagles D, after the Browns worked down the field on the first drive, have suddenly awoken.

9:23 PM: Jaworski has been highlighting it, and it’s a very good point: Westbrook, other than being an amazing runner and receiver out of the backfield, is also very adroit at picking up the blitz in the passing game. It certainly has helped McNabb, who has been on point with his passes: 11-15 to open the game.

9:29 PM: Sometimes, we all get a little too fancy. Like the Eagles running the Wildcat on third-and-goal and having DeSean Jackson throw the ball. Which resulted in an interception. Bollocks! (Editor’s note: Though a better throw by Jackson may have resulted in a TD. That’s it – put in Kevin Kolb. For DeSean Jackson. Trust me, it’ll get the point across…) Three drives into the red zone on three possessions, and only 10 points. The one thing you do not want to do with a team like the Browns is let them hang around – put them away while you have the chance, and don’t give them any unnecessary confidence.

9:35 PM: Asante Samuel intercepts a Dorsey pass, and takes it to the house. That’s why he makes the big bucks, people. Though he almost pulled a DeSean by dropping the ball before the goal line. Thankfully, he woke up and picked the ball up in the end zone. Guys, just act like you’ve been there before. Nice job by Chris Clemons getting pressure on Dorsey and forcing the poor throw. You’re off the hook, DeSean. (Editor’s note: Alright Kolb, sit back down, buddy).

9:43 PM: Trent Cole wills his way to another sack. Another man that needs a nickname. What about Trent Coletrain? (Editor’s note: Not bad, though there’s really no musical connection).

9:45 PM: You know a team is in trouble when one of the graphics ESPN has prepared for you is the potential coaches that will take over for the incumbent after the year. Ah, the poor, poor Cleveland fans.

9:54 PM: WHY CAN’T THE EAGLES FINISH A HALF WITHOUT SOMETHING NEGATIVE HAPPENING? McNabb under throws a fade, and if it weren’t for the hustle of Brian Westbrook and friends, the Browns would have returned the pick for a TD. Aaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhh! (Editor’s note: Though it was a pretty one-handed pick by Brandon McDonald). The Eagles have been in the red zone four times, and have 10 points for their efforts. That’s just not good enough, but they still lead at the half, 17-7. Thank God we’re playing the Steamers.

10:11 PM: Braylon Edwards is really playing well tonight – another very nice grab by Mr. Monday Night.

10:22 PM: The Eagles are moving once more – another third-down conversion to Action Jackson. (Editor’s note: Oh, we’re doing that now?) Amazing what manageable third-downs can do for an offense. (Editor’s note: Alright, now you’re just being damn smug about this whole offensive balance thing).

10:30 PM: Five red zone trips, and only 13 offensive points. I know the score is 20-3 in the favor of the Birds, but their chances in the red zone against the Redskins and Cowboys will be more limited than this. You have to be able to convert these opportunities – it’s about consistent efficiency, people.

10:41 PM: Another beautiful throw from McNabb to First-Down Avant. Not sure what the Eagles third-down conversions are at right now, but it has to be at a high percentage.

10:46 PM: 10-14 on third downs after the Eagles again fail to convert in the red zone, or as Jaws so eloquently put it, the Vomit Zone. (Editor’s Note: While enjoying your stay at the Vomit Zone, be sure to check out feature films at our state-of-the-art multiplex. Now playing:  “2 Girls 1 Cup.” Do enjoy!) Eagles up 23-3, early fourth.

Dude...

Dude...

10:52 PM: Wow. Ken Dorsey just threw an inexplicable duck right into the hands of a surprised Stewart Bradley. I don’t think there was a Brown within ten yards of Bradley. I can already imagine the conversation between Romeo Crennel and Ken Dorsey on the sideline.

Crennel: Man, what was that?

Dorsey: Sorry coach, I, uh, thought I could squeeze it in there.

Crennel: Into where? There wasn’t one of our guys in the vicinity of that pass!

Dorsey: Would this be a strange time to tell you that I’m color blind?

Crennel: For one, yes, now would be a completely inexcusable time to mention that you’re color blind. And on top of that, even if you’re color blind, you could still distinguish between their dark tops and our white tops.

Dorsey: Would now be a strange time to tell you that I suffer from frequent bursts of random amnesia?

Crennel: Good God, just fire me already…

10:56 PM: Holy cow, the Eagles scored a red zone TD! Alright, Eagles. Greg Lewis, who is still, inexplicably, on this team, was sitting in a hole in the defense at the back of the end zone. 30-3 Eagles.

11:06 PM: Oh no! Andy Reid benched Donovan and put Kevin Kolb in the game! All is lost. For the Browns. Let’s see what the Kolbler can do. Wow, I didn’t so much as finish typing before Kolb threw a pick to McDonald, who took his second pick to the house. And the Browns finally score a touchdown. Congrats, fellas. Oh, and let’s definitely get rid of McNabb after the season is over – Kevin Kolb is without doubt ready to take over the reins of this offense. (Editor’s note: In the immortal words of Borat Sagdiyev: “Not!”)

11:14 PM: And there it is! The inevitable reference to Philadelphia fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus! Our streak lives on – that’s now 1,238,543 consecutive national broadcasts with the Santa Claus story being mentioned! For the love of God, let it go! (Editor’s note: Anybody know if Santa retaliated by throwing coal into the stands?)

Apparentely, Santa took out his frustrations from that fateful day on some unsuspecting elf...

Apparentely, Santa took out his frustrations from that fateful day on some unsuspecting elf...

11:22 PM: Well, it’s the two-minute warning. I think I’ll be signing off now. Eagles stay alive in the playoff race, and start to prepare for the Redskins. This one was never really in question. Keep your heads up, Cleveland fans: karma will swing your way soon. Hopefully, the Browns will field a successful team once more.

You deserve nothing less.

E-A-G-L-E-S  EAGLES!

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Filed under College Football, Eagles, General, NFL, Olympics, Uncategorized

The Pundit interviews Andy Reid! Well, sort of…

(Editor’s note: Obviously, The Pundit couldn’t score an actual interview with Andy Reid. We figure he didn’t want to field The Pundit’s probing inquiries. That, and we had no idea how the hell to get in touch with him. Right. But this how we think things might have gone).

The Pundit: Thanks for being here, Andy. Really appreciate you taking the time. Let’s get right to it – coming into the season, there was a lot of hype circulating around this team, both locally and nationally, especially after Dr. Z of Sports Illustrated picked you to make the Super Bowl. What expectations did you have for this team headed into the season?

Andy Reid: I’m going to pass on that question.

The Pundit: Um, alright, not a problem. Well, coming off of a disappointing season last year, did you change your approach at all coming into this year, or do you more fine-tune and tweak a few things here and there?

Reid: Yeah, I’m going to have to pass on that question.

Pundit: Right, okay, sure, I understand, let’s focus more on the present. What can you tell us about the Shawn Andrews situation as it currently stands?

Reid: I’ll pass on that question.

Pundit: Wow. Right. Um, in the most recent game against the Giants, did the offensive line really pick up their game, or was it more the case of them getting added cracks at the running game and eventually wearing down the New York defense?

Reid: Pass.

Pundit: Oh, Jesus Christ! Ok, whatever, you’re gonna be like this, than fine. I’ve got a bagful waiting for you, buddy. Did the health of Brian Westbrook these past two weeks factor into the gameplan whatsoever?

Reid: (Yawns) I’m going to pass on that question.

Pundit: Dude! Are you serious right now?

Reid: I’ll pass on that question.

Pundit: Wait, that wasn’t even a serious question. I mean, this is unbelievable! Work with me here, Andy. It’s a give and take – how can I accomplish anything in this interview if you refuse to answer any questions?

Reid: Sorry, but I would prefer to pass on that question.

Pundit: Aaaaagggghhhh! Did Donovan McNabb’s erratic play inspire you to run the ball these past two weeks?

Reid: Pass.

Pundit: IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT I WILL STRIKE YOU IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER ONE OF MY DAMN QUESTIONS! ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Reid: I won’t respond to that – I pass.

Pundit: Good God, I hope I brought my Xanax with me. Alright, alright, I gotta get something here – could you talk on the decision to sit Reggie Brown, and what led up to that decision?

Reid: (Seen flipping closed a cell phone): Did you know that if your regular cell phone minutes run out, they charge you overage fees? I wonder how that works… I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, I was a bit tied up. Oh well, let’s just move on, it’s a long interview session, nothing we can do about it now.

Pundit: Mr. Reid, you are slowly dissolving my hope for humanity itself. I have never suffered through a more intolerable experience. Why do you refuse to…

Reid: Let me just interrupt you there, before you ruin this question for yourself, your fans, and myself. Let’s go ahead and bring somebody else in to finish the question. Do you have a back-up interviewer, someone else who could ask the question? How about that intern over there, he’ll probably do a better job of asking this next question. Go ahead, son.

Random Intern: I don’t know exactly what The Pundit was going to ask. This might not be it at all, but I’ll give it a shot: Why do you refuse to run the ball more consistently?

Reid: Son, I give you the opportunity to come into the interview and show me something, and you totally blow it. I’ll pass on your meager attempt. Alright Pundit, it can’t get any worse than that – you’re back in.

Pundit: Oh, goody-goody friggin’ gum drops. Fine, here’s one for you, since you won’t address yourself or the team, do you think the fans want to see the team continue to run the ball?

Reid: I think the fans really just want to win. They don’t really care if we throw it or run it, they just want to see W’s.*

Pundit: Holy cow, you responded. You actually ran with one of my questions. That’s…that’s a revelation. So, um, gosh, I don’t even now what to ask know, I just can’t believe I got an answer there. How about, uh, well, here we go, what made you guys go with a more run-reliant gameplan against the Giants?

Reid: The weather conditions were the biggest factor.*

Pundit: Yes! Yes, two answers in a row! Alright, let’s keep running with this, I really like the way we are headed right now. The success you had running the ball against the Giants was obvious, and it seemed to seep down to the rest of the team. For one, McNabb was much more effective in the passing attack, having shorter third downs to convert, and less pressure on his shoulders to make all of the plays. He was able to relax a bit more, and take what the defense gave him. And our own defense, spending less time on the field, was fresher than they’ve been much of the season, and kept a very good Giants running game in check. With all of that being said, can we expect to see a continued commitment to the running game down the stretch, with a playoff berth on the line?

Reid: Sorry, but I’ll pass.

That’s what I’m afraid of…

*Sections marked with the asterick are actual quotes from Andy Reid, and were referenced from this page here.

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The Pundit Poll – How will the Eagles finish the season?

Well, after the victory over the Giants, we can actually have this discussion. Are the Eagles looking like a playoff team to you, or will they break your heart? Do you think they may hot-streak their way to the Superbowl, or will they be golfing come playoff time? Here’s your forum, people – vote, and feel free to comment in support of your vote.

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Obsessing over games – The Pundit explores our love of sports

Since beginning this site, I have been paying very close attention to the sporting world, almost everyday. Even as I’ve relaxed my writing frequency over the past few weeks, I still keep myself aware of what is going on. Constantly immersed in sports, I have found myself asking a question that, in my lifetime, had never entered my consciousness.

Why the hell do I love sports so much?

I mean, seriously. It’s just a game, right? It’s not as though the results of these games, which I spend so much time watching and studying, actually matter. It takes up an inordinate amount of my time. Supporting Philadelphia teams has almost certainly added years to my life due to stress and disappointment. A friend suggested that I should just leave it alone – after all, why try to explain love?

Sadly, the ability to avoid analytic thought just isn’t in my nature. Hell, I’ve even tried to figure out why that’s the case, which was truly a fruitless endeavor.

Now, I can diagnose one of the reasons that I love to watch sports – I loved to play them. As a matter of fact, there are very few times in life where my head is more clear  than when I am in the midst of a good football game. I mean, I just love to play competitive games in general; I talk shit during rummy, for God’s sake. But that, in essence, makes me wonder if my constant obsession with watching sports is just a sad case of vicarious living. And it still doesn’t explain why I love playing sports as much as I do.

Now, before you decide to turn away from this fairly annoying self-analysis, there is a point here. (Editor’s note: THANK GOD!). It occurred to me while talking with a good friend about the stock market. For the most part, his banter about the Dow and the shifting market and what-not induced instant daydreaming. But as I occasionally checked back in to his dissertation, I realized something very important – it was very much like a game to him. Buy this stock, sell that one. Gather your information, create a strategy, and get at it. Maybe the goal of the stock market is to make money, but the process of doing so becomes very much like sport. In a later conversation, another friend of mine compared it to gambling. The stock market, at its core, is really just a game. A game that dictates a whole lot of the culture we live in, and one we’re losing right now, but a game nonetheless.

By George, I think I’ve got it.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much of life boils down to sport. Politicians getting elected and running their campaigns are competing against one another. They create strategies they think will get them elected. They go against one another in debates. They tack add-ons to bills they wouldn’t otherwise support to get what they want. They try to please the people that helped them to get elected. It’s all a game.

Think about many of the institutions that societies traditionally have, and you’ll find that many of them are completely fueled by competition and are conquered by those that best “play the game.” The problem is, very often it is this sporting nature that causes many of society’s problems. Constantly trying to make more and more money breeds obese amounts of greed and creates rifts in social classes. Worrying so much about getting elected and pleasing the people in one’s “political corner” often blurs the real issues facing society and makes it less likely they will be properly treated. (I, by no means, am any sort of political expert. My point is that “the game” in many of society’s institutions distract otherwise intelligent people from the real issues facing their position).

I always wondered why the business and celebrity sides of sports bothered me. I never considered that sports were one of the truly pure ways people are able to satiate their competitive nature, and the constant greed and showmanship that have entered athletics diminishes that purity. I’m not saying that athletes shouldn’t try to make their money and that there is no place for the business side of sports; my point is that it shouldn’t be the primary focus. Athletic competition has always given us a healthy way to compete, one that entertains the masses, creating heroes out of men who play with bats, balls and pucks. It inspires people, and it binds communities by giving them all someone to root for.

You see, we can’t help it. Those of us who love watching the games we do need to get our fix somewhere. It’s in our blood. Judge us if you will, but at least we know where our competitive nature is best appeased – on a field, or a court, or a sheet of ice, where at the end of the day, a win is just a win, and a loss is just a loss.

And that’s where it ends.

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Waking with the Pundit

The following hits brought to you by Penn State football

Your daily Eagles fix here: Scouting report for Sunday and  watching points from Eagletarian.

Well, Bill Simmons is back, and he has a few NFL predictions (after a lengthy dissertation on blackjack in the day).

Jason Whitlock on Richard Collier, black athletes, violence and truckers vs. golfers (Editor’s note: Excuse me?)

The series of the season opens tonight for the Phillies, as they take on the Mets. Can they find some of that magic from a year ago? God, I hope so.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you have in front of you is an amazing weekend for entertainment. This evening, the Mets and Phils kick off their series. Tomorrow at 1 is the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Manyunk. Plus, you’ve got Penn State vs. Oregon State and game two of the Phillies-Mets. Sunday, the Eagles open their season against the Rams, the Phils wrap up their series, and Entourage returns (Editor’s note: Hopefully, this season will be better than last). Check back in this weekend for coverage from the Soapbox Race, The Week in Review, and whatever small asides I may put out there. God, I am pumped for this weekend.

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Waking with the Pundit

Required Reading

Extra, Extra! Read all about it! Despite more paltry run support, Cole Hamels finally gets the win.

Eagles tidbits here – looks like Mr. Demps is impressing.

I almost always enjoy Jason Whitlock’s columns. You might too, but if you are pressed for time, scroll down to his number 3 NFL truth – he has quite the prediction for Philly’s most controversial son.

Just in case you were having a bit of Brett Favre withdrawl after the heavy media binge – The Pundit found you a little something something (Editor’s note: Have you ever sucked d$*@ for Favre?).

If this keeps up, you’ll be able playing Madden on your cell phone too. This is pretty crazy, and can’t be good for your minutes.

Check back late night, for the triumphant return of Olympic Liveblogging. (Editor’s note: I’ll bring the chips, you bring the beer. Oh, do you know if anyone could score some Favre, ‘cuz that would be sweeeeeeet!).

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