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This is the end

The time has come – The Pattison Pundit is announcing his retirement from the blogging world.

There, there…take a minute to gather yourself.

The truth is, my inspiration and motivation for writing this blog has simply waned. When I started doing this, it was because of my passion for sports, but it was also a medium to try new styles, enter my voice into the Philly Sports Lexicon, and to learn what drew people’s attention or attracted various crowds.

I’ve learned a lot.

But in terms of blogging, I’ve gone as far as I care to go. That being said, I really like this whole sportswriting thing. So much, in fact, that I am going to grad school for journalism, in the hopes of one day appearing in Philadelphia’s Daily News or Inquirer. (Though in this marketplace, I’d settle for the Bismarck Tribune, at least to get started).

The Pattison Pundit will return.

So dry your tears, I say. This isn’t “goodbye,” it’s “seeya later.” Hopefully, I will be moving on to bigger and better things. Hopefully, the Phillies will trade for Roy Halladay. I’ll be working my ass off to make sure that the first one happens, and I’ll be crossing the hell out of my fingers, praying that the second one does. I really want to do that whole WFC thing all over again.

To those who supported the site, my deepest thanks. It’s been a blast.

This Pun’s in the books.

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McNabb is certainly playing his hand…But will he be playing here much longer?

And here I thought the bankruptcy of the Philadelphia Newspapers LLC was going to be the news we all flocked to.

But never fear, for Donovan McNabb is here! At least for now, that is.

I have to say – this latest tidbit, about Donovan only restructuring his deal if the Eagles bring in more playmakers, is interesting on a number of fronts. First, what was reported.

Although McNabb wants to remain in Philadelphia, if the Eagles aren’t successful in significantly upgrading an offense that needs help at wide receiver, running back and offensive tackle (veterans Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas are free agents beginning Friday), not only may McNabb drop his request for a new contract, he may consider going as far as to ask the Eagles to trade him.

Ah, and the plot thickens. Continue reading

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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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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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The Pundit Poll – What is the best rivalry in Philly Sports?

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Rants, Raves and Notes – Talkin’ some football

Ryan Jacobs

α: When Roger Goodell came into the league, many people (like me), were curious as to how this man was going to run, arguably, the best structured professional sporting league in the world. Goodell had many issues to deal with from the moment that he took the reins from Paul Tagliabue. One of the more prominent issues he needed to address was player misconduct. Well, Goodell came riding in on an iron horse and smashed the league back into order under his moral and ethically guided system of rules. (Editor’s note: What is an iron horse?) He sent Michael Vick to trial, suspended Pacman Jones for an entire season, and Chris Henry for half a year. I thought the guy had some balls. Coming into this league and making so many statements impressed me and others across the land. It seemed like the league had found a young king to lead their organization into a new era.

Things have changed a little bit since Goodell’s first year though. Nowadays, players are getting fined the equivalent of an Acura for simply questioning calls made by officials. The latest of these came when Randy Moss was fined 20 grand for claiming that some of the calls made by the officials during their week 9 loss to the Colts were “iffy”. In comparison to some of the things muttered by Moss in the past, this was child’s play (and probably shouldn’t have made headlines). I couldn’t fucking believe it! I mean, get real, man! 20 G’s for that? You’re off your flippin’ rocker! (Editor’s note: Now, let’s not go throwing stones…) Fortunately, the fine was later rescinded by league officials who actually have a fucking brain in their skulls, but the message was clear: The NFL League Office no longer recognizes the First Amendment of the United States Constitution….you know, the one about free speech and all, especially when the comment is made in defense of your team. Unbelievable. (Editor’s note: I plead the fiff!)

I mean, if you cannot make critical statements against blown calls, then you’re saying that referees are perfect. And if you’ve been paying attention to the NFL this year, you know there have been a slew of poor calls that have screwed many teams; and think, we just only passed the halfway mark in the season. I know it must be tough for refs, what with all of the hell they take for bad calls (Editor’s note: And those silly uniforms). But this is how I see it: you’re making good money officiating football games and you know you’re gonna be under heat for some of the calls that you and your crew make. If you aren’t ready to step up to the damn plate, then don’t even bother driving to the stadium, because it’s a war zone out there. (Editor’s note: Wait, who called Kellen Winslow, Jr?)

β: The…Eagles…are…killing…me; soooo painful watching them play. They hang around in games just long enough to make you think they might win, only to let you down. The thing about this team is that they don’t have swagger. They seem like they’re hungry, and I applaud them for that, but they just don’t have the mentality and tenacity to make them a Superbowl-caliber team. Losing to the Giants may have slid the cover over the coffin; now we’re all just waiting for another team to come along and put the nails in. My friend The Pundit would argue that all 4 of the Eagles’ losses came by a combined 19 points, and all were very tight contests. However, I see a team that can’t win the close ones; a team that doesn’t have what it takes to get them over the top when they need it most. (Editor’s note: Like that friend you have that is always talking to a girl by the end of the night, but can never close). And this is the regular season, people – while everyone is considering whether or not it’s feasible to consider a playoff run, we don’t even have the intensity to win in our division yet, let alone the postseason.

The Pundit would argue that we could right this ship and get hot, and he could be onto something there. I’ve seen mediocre Eagles teams of the past collect themselves at the halfway mark and make a playoff run. But for whatever reason, I don’t feel it with this team, though I’d be lying if I said I totally felt it with those other teams. I feel like this Eagles team is writing the final words in a long chapter while getting ready to turn the page and start a new saga. There’s no doubt that this team needs some youth and some fresh faces in key positions. With all else said, I think our window of opportunity closed last season and I think it’s time to move on to the Kolb era. (Editor’s note: Or, the Kolb error. Who knows?)

I never thought I’d find myself saying that, as I love and respect Donovan McNabb more than I feel a lot of people do. A lot of people love to take turns shitting on McNabb (Editor’s note: Now playing for the Cleveland Steamers, number 5…), which I have often disagreed with. McNabb has been the best quarterback this city has ever seen and it will be like breaking up with a serious girlfriend when he goes. And even though he is still playing well, he’s going to get run out of town sooner than later. Sorry buddy, it’s been good having you. But if this season ends in disappointment (and with 2 first round picks), I see the Eagles making significant personnel changes (which might mean you too, Dawkins…sniff, sniff).

γ: So Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America. Like the young people around me, I am glad that change is “coming to Washington”. I liked Obama even more when he said that it’s about time to change college football to a playoff system. Bravo, Mr. President Elect! Bravo! And here’s a guy who has the power to do such a thing. I’m not saying he would even challenge such a thing, as the billions of dollars raked in by the greedy fucks in charge of the BCS is enough to keep most people away. But if the president decides to do something, I’d be behind him. (Editor’s note: Oh, I think it’s more likely that he’d be behind you, Jacobs…Oh, SNAP!)

So I ask you, dear readers, would it be just as bad if President Obama set the dogs loose on the BCS? I don’t think he should waste his time worrying about College Football, though I would like to see the BCS revoked. Arash Markazi has a great article about Obama and the whole college football playoff situation posted under his “For the Record” column in the Fannation section of SI.com.

δ: It’s been circulating that Al Davis stripped the Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp of his play calling duties this week. While I can’t say the Raiders are good at doing anything, Davis is just causing more damage to, quite possibly, the NFL’s worst run organization. As one source said, “Knapp just happened to be the next in line scapegoat”. Keep in mind that Davis previously relegated play calling to Knapp even before the Lane Kiffin debacle began. The Raiders need help from everything from player personnel to coaching to the food they serve at the training facility cafeteria. (Editor’s note: Al Davis is a huge fan of baby food). But my vote goes to banishing Al Davis from the Raiders as the most important factor to turning things around in Oakland.

ε: USC has outscored its opponents 339-60 en route to an 8-1 record. Their defense has allowed more than 10 points only once: their loss at Oregon State when they gave up 28. USC is allowing an NCAA low 206.4 yard and 6.7 points per game. They blanked 3 of their opponents, and their average points allowed per game has steadily decreased as the season has wore on. Now, I’m not one to hype up USC, and I usually end up arguing with The Pundit over the validity of their defense, (Editor’s note: If I may attempt to rephrase his argument, I believe The Pundit often claims that USC’s defense is so good this year because the Pac-10 is sooooo bad), but USC looks scary right now. Everybody is giving Florida way more credit in the “one-loss contender” argument, especially because they play in the SEC. But USC is beating up on its weak conference the way it should be if it wants to be allowed back into the national title race. They are a good football team.

ζ: The Wildcat Formation. It’s the new rage in the NFL and it’s caught the eye of every coach and coordinator. The idea of getting one of your fastest and shiftiest playmakers behind center to run a zone-option read play is the new big thing. (Editor’s note: The Wildcat is the new black). After I saw the ‘Iggles do it with DeSean Jackson (and it led to a touchdown) against the Giants, I knew something was up. Could it be that coaches are taking something from the college game? Nahhhhhh, couldn’t be. I mean, to say that you dipped into college football playbooks would simply be barbaric, right? (Editor’s note: Andy Reid like DeSean Jackson. Andy get him ball anyway he can. Andy hungry now. Andy want food. Lots of food.). The coaches would be ashamed if people knew they had dropped to a lower level of football for inspiration. I personally think it’s great; just another way to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. I think it’s time that NFL coaches start taking chances on plays college football teams are more likely to risk.

I’m Ryan Jacobs, and I approve this posting.

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There was something in the air – covering the angles of the Phillies win

(Editor’s note: The Pundit is back from his unexplained and lengthy hiatus. He offered absolutely no explanation for his lack of material. I offer sincere apologies to the 10-15 people who actually read his work.)

After last night’s win, I know that one moment will be discussed and praised more than any other from the Phils 5-2 win over C.C. Sabathia and that team he has been carrying on his back for the past two weeks. The Brewers, right? Yeah, that’s it, the Brewers.

The moment I am talking about, of course, was the Brett Myers nine-pitch walk in the second inning. The walk that preceded another walk to J-Roll and then the Grand Salami by Sugar Shane Victorino (Editor’s note: He earned a second nickname after the swing he put on Sabathia to hit the grand slam – he’s always flying, but that swing was oh so sweet). The walk that almost literally catapulted the Phillies to what seems to be an insurmountable 2-0 lead on the Brewers (Editor’s note: As everyone reading this instantly knocks on wood and curses The Pundit).

Every angle of this will be covered, and for good reason. Brett Myers was down 0-2 in the count against the guy who was the best pitcher in the National League after getting traded from the Indians. Myers is terrible behind the plate. And yet, he started fouling off pitches he had no business getting his bat on. He took the balls just off the plate. Suddenly, there was something in the air.

Next angle – the crowd at Citizen’s Bank Park sensed it. They sensed a chink in the armour of Super Sabathia, exposed by the least likely of protagonists. And as Myers took pitches and began fouling off others, they became louder and louder. They saw Sabathia grow frustrated and began to wildly implore Myers to keep on fighting, keep on scrapping, to continue to channel Tony Gwynn or whoever it was that in the moment had possessed him. They changed the stakes – they made Sabathia painfully aware of the fact that he was in a dogfight with a terrible hitter, one he had no business being in, and after every pitch, they roared to let Myers know that he could do it, he could crack the ace. Brett Myers, the often maligned head case, had done the impossible – he had gotten into C.C. Sabathia’s dome. And everyone in the stadium knew it, because they had facilitated it. One of the truly great moments in the history of Philadelphia fans, and one far more indicative of the type of fans we have in this city than that of the negative rap we always are given by outsiders who just don’t get us.

Sabathia was in trouble. Four straight balls to Jimmy Rollins, and the fans could suddenly smell blood. And then, Mr. Victorino blew the whole thing wide open. The moment was so surreal, and yet, as I watched it happen, I wasn’t even surprised, at least not as much as I would have expected to be. I don’t know what it was, but I’m fairly sure I stood as he made contact and only was able to say “Oh man, he just did it.” There was just something in the air.

Next angle – Charlie Manuel, the visionary. Manuel decided to flip Victorino and Werth in the order, putting Sugar Shane second and Werth sixth. The result – Victorino finished the game 3-4 with arguably the biggest hit of his career, and Werth went 2-4 with two doubles. Was this another one of Charlie’s famous baseball hunches? I mean, honestly, what are the odds that this moment happens? It’s just unreal.

Another angle, and one covered by Jayson Stark here – baseball is a funny sport. Sometimes, the baseball universe turns everything on its head without feeling the need to let its inhabitants know it just changed the rules. It’s like the old philosophical mind twist about God – if God had created all of the rules and principles that ran the universe, what was stopping Him or Her from suddenly reversing them? Would we even know what had happened? Well, it seems as though the baseball universe did just that tonight. C.C. Sabathia was the savior of the Brewers; surely, he would turn water into Miller Lite one more time and even the series. Surely, he wouldn’t lose his composure against the opposing team’s pitcher, the pitcher who was infamous for his own meltdowns, and fall victim to such painful irony. And yet, there was Sabathia, shaking his head in disgust from the dugout after four paltry and ineffective innings. Baseball is cruel and it is giving, and what makes it such a fantastic sport is how unpredictably and delicately that balance tips from night to night.

Final angle – There is something in the air (Editor’s note: The Pundit has made that abundantly clear, no?) It’s more than the Victorino grand slam, or the Brett Myer’s at-bat. It was in the air the final weekend against the Nationals, and it was in the air during the rather subdued celebration after the NL East had been clinched. This team is focused and confident, and the fans have sensed it. The ballpark is electric, and the players are absorbing the energy. Last year, we were all so damn happy to be in this position; this year, we aren’t satisfied. And I don’t think we will be now unless this team makes it to the World Series. The experience of last year has been priceless for this team. I don’t mean to get ahead of myself; after all, this series isn’t over yet. But unless something drastic happens, the Phillies are going to beat the Brewers. I’ll take my chances against the Cubs or the suddenly torrid Dodgers, especially if we can get the kind of gems we’ve gotten from Cole Hamels and Myers, and if Jamie Moyer continues to sip from the fountain of youth, and if Brad Lidge keeps on being so damn perfect, and if unlikely heroes keep getting timely hits, and if we continue to play solid in the field, and if the fans keep knowing exactly when to cheer, and keep cheering with such unbelievable energy, and if Charlie Manuel keeps playing the part of visionary. I believe. I’m not just saying that in spirit of fake optimism that so many fans employ despite the fact that they actually doubt that their team can win – this team has the look. We’ll wait to fry up the chicken until the eggs have hatched, but I’m feeling good, and the Phils seem to be as well.

Maybe this time, when the baseball universe turns everything upside down, it won’t crush our city in the process. Maybe this time, the baseball universe will throw us a big ol’ hanging slider.

And maybe, just maybe, our Phils will hit that sucker so hard it won’t land until it falls into a throng of people dancing and singing on Broad Street.

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Monday Night Football Liveblogging

8:32 PM – First edition of the Monday Night Football liveblogging. This game is intriguing for three reasons: I didn’t expect the Chargers to start 0-2, Brett Favre is playing, and the game has huge fantasy implications for me. I have a 25 point lead, and LT is on my team. My opponent has Favre, Thomas Jones and the San Diego defense. I’m figuring he’s going to cancel some points out. Hopefully, Favre will throw 3 interceptions but no touchdowns, Jones will have a few fumbles and barely any yards, but a bunch of other Jets will step up and they’ll put 30 up on the Chargers D. Meanwhile, LT will rush for over 100 yards and two TD’s, and I’ll go 2-1 on the season.

8:36 PM – Oh god, I think Kornheiser is attempting to do Howard Cosell while performing a montage of Brett Favre MNF football moments. Uggggghhhhhh.

8:38 PM – I’ll be throwing some Phils coverage into the mix, as well. 2-2 in the 7th. Let’s go, boys.

8:42 PM – A nice screen pass to Thomas Jones. That hurts me twice in fantasy. According to Jaws, tonight is going to be Brett Favre’s “coming out party” with the Jets. I wonder when Kornheiser will have his coming out party. (Editor’s note: That’s not right).

8:46 PM – Rudy Seanez coming into the game for J.A. Happ. Wrap it up, Rudy.

8:47 PM – I am praying that LT’s toe feels nice tonight. Inject that bad boy with Lidocaine or whatever the hell they use.

8:54 PM – Rivers is looking a bit shaky right now. Almost threw another pick. Hey, Rivers – knock it off. I need LT with the ball in his hands, not the friggin’ Jets.

8:56 PM – Oh no. LT’s wife had a bad feeling about this game for the Chargers. Guess this one is a foregone conclusion.

9:04 PM – Braves had a man on third, Jeff Francoeur hit a chopper to third, J-Roll made a great play, jumping for the ball and making a perfect throw to home, getting the runner easily. Game stays tied 2-2.

9:09 PM – Fumble by Thomas Jones! And the Chargers D doesn’t return it for a touchdown! I’m a huge fantasy geek!

9:13 PM – Chargers score, but it isn’t LT, so I’m pissed. Then, with Greg Golson pinch-running for Greg Dobbs, a pick-off attempt went past the first basemen and Golson ends up on third. No outs, Phillies need to capitalize here.

9:18 PM – Golson scores on a ground ball to third, speeding down the line and getting underneath the tag. Phillies take the lead, 3-2. God, I love this team.

9:20 PM – Antonio Cromartie returns an interception for a touchdown. Hurts Favre, but helps the Chargers defense. This has to be unbelievably frustrating for the guy I’m playing against.

9:24 PM – Worst possible scenario for me. I thought Leon Washington was going to return the kick for a touchdown, thereby hurting the Chargers D in points and preventing Favre or Jones from getting a touchdown. Instead, he gets tackled at the five, and Favre gets the touchdown pass. Still hurts the Chargers D, but Favre gets them back. My 25 point lead has been shaved to 8.

9:28 PM – Suddenly, the Phillies are up 6-2. Pat Burrell with a 3-run homer. Booyah!

9:33 PM – Chris Chambers with a long TD reception. Stop stealing TD’s from LT, Chargers!

9:42 PM – Phillies win. Magic number for a playoff spot now down to two. And another interception by the Chargers D, though it really didn’t hurt me, as I’m still leading by 8.

9:51 PM – Touchdown pass to Antonio Gates. If you would have told me that the Chargers would score 31 points in the first half, and that LT wouldn’t have any of those touchdowns, I would have laughed in your face. Guess the joke is on me, huh?

10:03 PM – At the half, Chargers up 31-14. In fantasy, I lead 106.1 – 98.9. Oh man, gonna be a wild finish, at least in my fantasy match-up. I need LT to start grinding out some yards to keep the clock moving, maybe get a TD in here somewhere.

10:24 PM – So, LT scores a touchdown and I miss it taking a break on my roof. That’s fitting, isn’t it? You know what – I’m out. Back to the roof. I’ll leave you with one final thought: fantasy football is both a great thing, and a distracting thing. Truthfully, watching this game, I could have given two shits who actually won this game. I was paying attention to fantasy points, and fantasy points alone. Granted, it gets countless fans into football, and I pay much more attention to the rest of the league because of my fantasy guys. But football purists surely must complain that it negatively affects the way people analyze and value football. Whatever. I consider myself a football purist, and I love fantasy football. Now, enough of my soapbox, its back to the roof. Let’s go LT!

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The Pundit List presents: Essential Picnic Games

So, after a lengthy argument with my secretary Lucy about the most engaging number of candidates for a list (she argued five, while your Pundit valiantly made the case for ten), I have decided that every week, the list will be as short or as long as I damn please. If I come up with a list that has multiple worthy candidates, the list will be long. If, however, the list has a few candidates that stand above and beyond the rest, the list will be more concise. No longer will I be constrained by society’s need for a fixed list limit; I refuse to live by the whims of dominant culture. I have made my stand, and I shall not waver (Editor’s note: For Chrissakes, just shut the hell up already and get to the list).

Honorable Mention:

Frisbee – The difficulty with frisbee is that, while it is an essential item to any picnic, it is normally not an essential picnic game. You’re more likely to see a couple of people lazily flicking the frisbee back and forth to one another. But you’re less likely to see Uncle Frank, who hasn’t run since Vietnam and seems to be hiding a small child in his stomach, out in the field playing Ultimate Frisbee. See trampoline and slip-and-slide.

Number 7

Sack-0 – Aka bean bag toss, tailgate toss, baggo, sacks and holes (Editor’s note: heh), cornhole (Editor’s note: heh heh), and tea bagging (Editor’s note: Ahahahahahahahaha). Seriously, these are all of the different names Wikipedia has for what I know to be Sack-O. This game is essential for several reasons: anybody can play, it is cheap and easy, and it involves minimal effort. Some may be more likely to include this as a tailgating game, but I think it definitely falls under picnic game status as well.

Number 6

Wiffle Ball – Everyone has played themselves a little wiffle ball. It is a frustrating game, as that darn ball can fly all over the place, but wiffle ball is the closest, and safest (Editor’s note: At least for Mom’s windows) alternative to baseball. The great part about picnic wiffle ball is that, while the men will bring their beers and act casually in the beginning of the game to allow the younger kids to shine, by the end of the game, they’re swinging hard and wipping the wiffle ball all over the place. Cheap, and you can play as long as you have a couple of people.

Number 5

Bocce Ball – This Italian game has seemed to increase in popularity in the past few years. Bocce ball is great, because you only need some balls, an open field, and a few people (Editor’s note: Um, maybe he could have worded that differently). I have to be honest here – I’ve never played. It looks fun, but it was never really played in my family, so I’m not sure if this ranking would be higher were I more experienced in the game. That being said, Bocce Ball is certainly a riser in the picnic world, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it crack the top three in the next couple of years (Editor’s note: Oh brother).

Number 4

Quoits – Prounounced quates, quoits is a classic game that apparently has its roots in ancient Greece. I got that from Wikipedia, so you know its written in stone (Editor’s note: I understand that this phrase probably dates back to Moses and The Ten Commandments being etched in stone, I get that. But, if we were to update the implication of this saying, the only time we now write in stone is for gravestones. So, essentially, the modern translation of this phrase means not that something is sacred and irrefutable, but rather that it is dead. Who wants to ride in my new soapbox?). Check out the bottom of the article on quoits, it says that nowadays, it is most widely played in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Booyah! Quoits is simple, relaxing, anybody can play, and its often hours of fun. It drops to four because its cousin, horseshoes, is just a bit more popular.

Number 3

Kickball – Is there a game on this list more fun than kickball? Obviously up for debate, but I love kickball. You can play with a large group of people, or with a few scattered all over the field. It can be played casually, or can become a serious battle. It’s fun seeing the older folks get out there, especially when they realize that every kick could be their last. Simple enough for supplies, and nature will often supply the bases, though for kickball aficionados, the ball itself must be just right (Editor’s note: By the way, if you are a kickball aficionado, it may be time to do a bit of soul-searching). Every child, at some point or another, has played kickball. From recess and right on to this list on essential picnic games, kickball is as American as baseball, apple pie and the addictive reliance on oil.

Number 2

Horseshoes – You can always tell the difference between someone who is a regular picnic host, and someone who just throw one now and again. Check out the size of the grill – that’s always a hint (Editor’s note: It’s not the size of the grill that matters…its the BBQ sauce you use). Do they have a pool? How about tiki torches? And do they have a horseshoe pit? Without a doubt, horseshoes is an essential picnic game. Though many will argue that quoits, or even Sack-O, are acceptable replacements for Horseshoes, I firmly believe that most will first think horseshoes if you ask them to think of a picnic game that involves object-throwing. That, and like quoits, it goes back to ancient Greece, though it is less likely they played it at picnics, and more likely that they played it during grown men/young boy mixers. (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just messed up). Who doesn’t have fond memories of uncles and grandpa’s and fathers out throwing horseshoes, drinking beer and smoking cigars and making jokes the women and children weren’t supposed to hear, all while somehow making sure lil’ Tommy didn’t run into the middle of the game and take a horseshoe to the eye? Two stakes, some sand, a couple of horseshoes, a few beers and a hot afternoon – does life get better?

Drum roll please. Without further ado, here’s……….

Number 1

Volleyball – I knew that horseshoes and volleyball were going to wage war for the top spot, and it was an extremely difficult decision. While horseshoes have a more distinct picnic game feel to them, volleyball involves more people and is just a bit more fun. What makes picnic volleyball great is the dynamic between the people who enjoy playing seriously and the people who either aren’t very good or who are lazy and/or old. In my family, games end up becoming mildly competitive affairs where anybody making a mistake will quickly fall prey to an entire picnic of hecklers. Seriously, at our last family picnic, everybody not playing pulled up their chairs and made fun of everyone after they made a mistake. I felt like I was at a friggin’ Eagles game. The games always end up being a mix of younger kids and older folks, with breaks for beer replenishment and the occasional run to the slip-and-slide. In my opinion, more than any other game on this list, volleyball is a must for any gathering that dares to call itself a picnic.

Obviously, the list is up for debate. Feel free to send your thoughts, everybody picnics a bit differently, I’m interested to hear how you roll.

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