Tag Archives: CC Sabathia

The Pundit hands out some hardware for Philly’s best this year – It’s the first annual Punny Awards!

(Editor’s note: Ah, New Year’s. A time of year for all of the various articles handing out “best-of-the-year” awards to come pouring out. Not to be outdone, The Pundit has joined in the holiday tradition with his first annual “Punny Awards.” One quick note: These awards will not include the current Flyers, Sixers, or any of the college basketball teams. Everything will be from teams that played the majority of their season in 2008. On to the awards!)

Award shows are really where it’s at. I mean, they’re so ridiculous. Famous audience members pretending to not posture for the camera. Cheesy video montages. And, my favorite, the poorly scripted and unenthusiastically delivered introductions to each award by disinterested celebrities who are probably half-tanked. I think that’s how we’ll run the Punnies.

And so, with that in mind, please put your hands together for Samuel L. Jackson, who will be presenting the Punny for Quote of the Year. Continue reading

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The Pundit’s Power Rankings: Meetings in Vegas, Portis is pissed, and Harrell can just stay home

Unlike traditional Power Rankings, which attempt to rank teams on a week-to-week basis, the Pundit’s Power Rankings avoid such arbitrary silliness. Instead, The Pundit wishes only to rank the pertinence, scope, and conversational value of the top sports stories of the week. Extra points for any stories that lend themselves to relentless mockery and high-horse rhetoric. On to the Rankings!

1. The Winter Meetings

They say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. In baseball’s case, what happens in Vegas ends up in New York. The Yankees and the Mets were the biggest players during the Winter meetings, with the Yankees landing free agency’s biggest prize, CC Sabathia. Plus, it looks like they’re going to snag A.J. Burnett. (Editor’s note: Damn Yankees). The Mets added pitching as well, obtaining closer Francisco Rodriguez. Plus, they added one more putz to their roster- setup man J.J. Putz, that is. (Editor’s note: Wow, never saw that first-rate zinger coming). Or, as they’re saying in New York: J.J. Pootz. Hah. Still waiting to see where big-namers like Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe wind up. And the rest of the National League can breathe a bit easier, as for now, talks between the Cubs and Padres over Jake Peavy are dead. May they rest in peace, and never, ever come back to life. Stay tuned.

2. Clinton Portis vs. Jim Zorn?

Clinton Portis was unhappy about being on the bench in the second half of a loss against the Ravens this past week, and he exclaimed his anger on a local D.C. radio program, going so far as to sarcastically call Zorn a “genius.” Then, it leaked that many of the players weren’t happy with Zorn’s habit of talking to the media about the specific mistakes made by players during games, and apparentely, some of the playcalling. Fun stuff in Washington, especially for a team that has dropped four of their last five games. Though, maybe this type of thing shouldn’t surprise us from Portis anymore…

What in the hell...?

What in the hell...?

3. Heisman Ceremony minus Harrell

Coach Mike Leech was pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Many members of the National Media were pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Me? Eh, doesn’t bother me – for me, the contest was between the three guys they picked. Though Harrell put up some sick numbers: 4,747 passing yards, 41 passing TD’s, 6 rushing TD’s, 7 INT’s, a 71.5% completion percentage. Let’s be honest: if Texas Tech plays at least a competitive game against Oklahoma, he gets the invite. It’s all about the last impression you leave people, and unfortunetely for Mr. Harrell, his cost him dearly.

4. The Cowboys in disarray

Jerry Jones is calling out Marion Barber for not playing through his injury? TO thinks there is some sort of conspiracy going on between Tony Romo and Jason Witten to get Witten, and not TO, the ball? The Cowboys are the perfect example of why you can look lovely on paper, but if you have no chemistry, all the paper in the world can’t ensure a championship. Jerry Jones, shut your mouth, and let your players play. TO, just shut your mouth, period. Why wouldn’t Romo want to get you, one of the most talented recievers in football, the ball? You normally make him look good – accept the fact that sometimes, the defense will dictate who Romo throws the ball to. It’s common sense, isn’t it? I guess it’s just TO’s world, and we’re polluting it, apparently.

5. Jimmy V Week

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” – Jim Valvano

If you can watch the speech he gave at the 1993 ESPY’s and not get a little choked up, you are probably a robot. Jim Valvano was a great example of how sports can extend beyond the field and impact the lives of so many people. Wins and losses, they fade in time. Some things live on.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Amen.

6. Injunction suspended for NFL players

Looks like the Vikings and Saints can breathe easy, as they will likely keep their players for the playoff push. This was a bigger story last week, and I still think it’s fishy that the judge who ruled on this presides in Minnesota, but whatever. I mean, is anybody all that scared of the Vikings or Saints, anyway?

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

7. Carmelo Anthony goes for 33 in one quarter

I mean, that’s just ridiculous. 33 in a quarter? Unheard of. Melo’s got game, son, for real for real. Let’s put that into perspective: not one Sixer has gone over 33 points in a single game this year! Which is probably as sad for the Sixers as it is impressive of Melo.

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The Pundit’s Power Rankings: Plaxico shoots up the list!

Unlike traditional Power Rankings, which attempt to rank teams on a week-to-week basis, the Pundit’s Power Rankings avoid such arbitrary silliness. Instead, The Pundit wishes only to rank the pertinence, scope, and conversational value of the top sports stories of the week. Extra points for any stories that lend themselves to relentless mockery and high-horse rhetoric. On to the Rankings!

1. Plaxico Burress shoots himself in thigh

A true run-and-shoot offense. Well, shoot and run, I suppose. And I’m not sure if I’d be running after I had shot myself in the thigh. Whatever. I feel as though we need to go over the details of this one more time: Plaxico Burress shoots himself in the thigh after stuffing his handgun, which didn’t have a safety, into his sweatpants while hanging out at a club. A handgun he didn’t have a permit for in New York, a city notoriously strict on illegal possession of firearms. And not only do the Giants lose their best receiver, but one of their top linebackers, Antonio Pierce, might be in some trouble as well. This story speaks for itself.

2. The Juice is no longer on the loose

At this point, anything I say would just be piling on. And that’s what, a 15-year penalty?

3. Sean Avery’s sloppy seconds

Hard to believe he got a six-game suspension for what he said. Classy? Hell no. But worth a six-game suspension? Hardly. Seems to me like the NHL was looking for a reason to crack down on what they felt to be one of their more unsavory characters, and they got their money’s worth. Quick question: on a sloppy-second score, is Avery credited with an assist?

4. NFL players take substance to mask steroids, suspensions suspended

Anybody else think it’s a bit fishy that the Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson, of Minnesota, was the judge who temporarily delayed the suspensions of the 5 players accused of using diuretics to mask steroids? Which, of course, led to a federal judge blocking the suspensions until a further investigation into the matter could take place. Would Judge Larson have taken such a vested interest in the manner if the Williams Wall, and the Vikings playoff hopes, weren’t in jeopardy? I have no idea, but I love a conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, so I’m going to go the paranoid route. Which is why I’m almost positive that Matt Cassel has been taking injections of Tom Brady’s DNA, Tony Sparano is actually Tony Soprano and is involved in a massive point-shaving operation, explaining the Dolphins sudden success, and somebody suddenly changed the overtime rules without telling anyone in week 11, confusing Donovan McNabb and, apparently, a huge contingent of NFL players. Oh, and Plaxico Burress didn’t shoot himself in the thigh – there was another shooter up on the grassy knoll, maaan…

5. Charlie Weis’ future in question

Let’s do some math, ok? Alright, here’s a problem to start with: Unlimited resources + a multitude of highly touted recruits + a lucrative television contract + a huge contract for your head coach + the past four years = 28-21 record and two losses in the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and the two losses in the Fiesta Bowl were with players almost exclusively recruited by Tyrone Willingham. I despise Notre Dame and their College Football politicking, so seeing them fail doesn’t bother me much – I say, let Charlie work it out. Heh…

(And now, for a commercial break. This has nothing to do with this post at all, but I just saw this TV, and it absolutely cracked me up – they were offering commemorative Barack Obama half-dollars. I mean, seriously? What’s next, the Collector’s Edition Obama Oreo Tin?)

6. Oklahoma or Texas? The BCS again reveals its flaws

Though, after watching Oklahoma absolutely toy with Missouri during four lopsided quarters, its hard to argue that Oklahoma doesn’t deserve to be where they are right now. I mean, if you’re a college football fan, the Oklahoma vs. Florida match-up has to be getting you pretty pumped up.  Plus, Penn State vs. USC, and Texas, Alabama, Utah and Ohio State pairing off should actually make for a decent bowl season. Still, even though I supported Oklahoma being the Big-12 South champion, I can’t help but feel as though Texas got absolutely screwed. Hey, at least ESPN now has the broadcasting rights to the BCS after Fox’s contract runs up – now we’ll get years of the Gameday Crew touting the wonders of the BCS. Hooray!

7. Arbitration, Free Agency in MLB

None of the major moves have happened to this point, so much of this story has simply been speculation. Player X is going here, player Y is going there, Scott Boras is a huge piece of shit, etc. etc. Well, except for that last part – that’s just true. Once Manny and CC are signed, sealed and delivered, the rest will fall like dominoes. As for me, I’d like to see Derek Lowe end up in Philly, as well as a second to third-tier outfielder. What I think will happen?  Jamie Moyer will be back, and we’ll still get a second to third-tier outfielder. Though I have a feeling that Mr. Amaro is going to want to make a splash in his first offseason…

That’s it for this week’s Pundit Power Rankings – be sure to check in tomorrow for some postgame Eagles reactions.

E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!

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The Pundit isn’t afraid anymore – talking about the Phillies’ chances

There are moments in life that perhaps on their surface seem innocent enough, but in actuality hold much deeper truths about the nature of things. Now, I don’t want to get into a philosophical conversation about what these things are, or even what they reveal, but I will mention one man who’s actions have started to make me believe in things far beyond the man himself.

That man is Brett Myers.

Brett Myers has been sublime in the strangest of all places – at the plate. He didn’t pitch particularly well yesterday, giving up 5 runs, but his impact went far beyond his arm. Mr. Myers went 3-3 with 3 RBI’s, one a timely two-out single to keep the inning alive. When your starting pitcher, one who had all of 4 hits in the regular season, is the spark that is igniting your offense, something strange is occurring. See, while I don’t want to take anything away from Brett’s achievements, I can’t help but think that he’s channeling something deeper here. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I can’t keep it in any longer. Here goes:

The Phillies are going to win the World Series.

God, that felt good to get out. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Pundit, sir, how could you jinx us? Why would you say something like that? Sure, we can sense something special going on, but good grief, man, don’t put it out there like that – you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Well, you know what? Fuck that. Most of my life as a Philly fan, I’ve lived with a fake optimism, acting as though I thought my teams would win but never really believing they could do it. I’ve done all of the stupid superstitions, worn the lucky shirts, never tried to jinx the team. Hell, if I was on a bad streak where when I watched the team lost, I would stop watching until they won again. I was committed, and desperate, and mostly I just didn’t think they could do it, so I figured I’d help out as much as possible.

Well, this year, I really believe. I believe that their starting pitching is good enough to keep us in the game, and that the bullpen will seal the deal, and yes, I believe that Brad Lidge will remain perfect. I believe that we’ll continue to play solid defense, and make the smart play. I believe that our big bats will hit, and somebody unexpected will continue to emerge as the hero we need. I believe because the Phillies fans have been absolutely unbelievable, and I don’t think we’ll lose a playoff game at home. This isn’t some hopeful rant of optimism to promote a positive atmosphere that will somehow propel our team to greater heights – I truly think we’re going to win the whole damn thing, and I think it would be sweet to beat the Red Sox to do it.

And I believe because of Brett Myers. Because, in baseball, it doesn’t matter who gets the hit, or makes the play to spur the team on. Myers got into CC Sabathia’s head, and was, along with Shane Victorino, our biggest bat in game two. When he steps up to the plate, it just feels like something is going to happen, which makes me feel as though this team feels as though something is going to happen. Sometimes, the key to success is just believing you will succeed, and focusing on that and that alone. Seems to me as though this team is doing just that.

So I won’t hide my feelings away. I won’t get lost in a bunch of worries about superstition or jinxes or any of that crap. The Phillies are going to win the World Series, and that’s just all there is to it.

(Editor’s note: The Pundit sends his condolences to Charlie Manuel, Shane Victorino and their families for their recent losses. There is much more to life than baseball, and the death of a family member is a painful reminder of this. All of Philadelphia’s thoughts and prayers are with you guys and your families.)

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From the Nosebleeds – The Philthy Phillies

As you may or may not know, From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pundit, where anyone with the itch to write their take on the sports scene has their forum. Again, please feel free to email me with any material you may have. I will do some editing, and add my own take from time to time, but the floor will be yours.

By Hoffman

It’s been well documented over the years that in the city of Brotherly Love, “we” (Editor’s note: We really do lump ourselves together with the teams and a whole slew of people we don’t even know, as though “we” are connected through the force, or something along such mystical lines) have been without a world championship among the four major sports. For the time being we will forget about pseudo-championship won by the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. (Editor’s note: Who?). I tend to think they won not because of great coaching, solid players, and the execution of a good game plan, but rather raucous shouting of Ron “JAWS” Jaworski and the flowing locks of owner, Bon Jovi. I would like to make something extremely clear: I have a strong dislike for Bon Jovi, and I would appreciate if he would find another town to crap in. (Editor’s note: Clearly, Mr. Hoffman wants Bon Jovi out of this town – dead or alive!)

So, going back to my original thought, that being the lack of winning in Philadelphia, I believe that could very well change in the coming weeks. (Editor’s note: People, knock on any wood you have near you, immediately. If you jinx us Mr. Hoffman, I swear to all that is sacred, I’ll get you. Believe that!). After watching a rather lackluster performance by the Eagles this Sunday, I was warmed by thought of the Phillies hosting Game 1 of the NLCS. Oh, and by the way, I’ll be attending, ignoring the burning $200 hole in my pocket. (Editor’s note: You can’t put a price on love, people).

For about the past few seasons, the Phillies have been on the cusp of greatness, or at least a playoff berth, dragging true Philly fans along until the last day of the season. Last year they ended a 14-year playoff drought, ending the Atlanta Braves division dominance, all while the Mets stumbled to the finish line (HAHA!!!). I believe last year at this time the Phillies were just happy to make the playoffs. It was a huge hurdle to jump. Obviously, we know how last year ended. The Phillies got in the way of a locomotive, in the form of the Colorado Rockies. (Editor’s note: Ok, I don’t know if it was intended, but I instantly thought about those stupid Coors Light commercials, where the train rolls through the hot areas, making everybody cool, which, if the metaphor was intended, was precisely what the Rockies did to us last year). How torrid they were, winning 14 of 15, and 11 in a row to close the season. They then went on to sweep us in 3, the D-Backs in 4, only to get swept themselves in the Fall Classic against the Red Sox. (Editor’s note: They cooled off. The mountains turned blue. Mmmmmm…beer).

For the last couple years the Phillies have been picked to be very competitive within the very competitive NL East (Braves, Marlins, Nationals, The Mess. Wait, sorry, I meant the Mets). The Phillies can hit and have three legitimate MVP candidates in J-Roll, Utley, and Howard. Everyone knows we can hit, though they haven’t as consistently as I, the fans, and even they would like. Conversely, the pitching has always been thought of as average at best. A group of decent pitchers that give up a lot of hits is something I have become way too accustomed to. But as the Phillies seemingly displaced the wild card winning Brewers with some amount of ease, and the most overwhelming part of the four game series was the quality of the Phillies pitching. It was vital, and dare I say, borderline brilliant.

Cole Hamels has been given the title of staff “ace,” which is a term used much to often around the league these days. When I think of what makes an “ace”, I think of a pitcher who is around the Cy Young Award discussion from the beginning of Spring Training to the first pitch in the autumn air. To be completely honest, Cole isn’t quite there yet. He has all the qualities and attributes to have a great career in this league. Being just 24 years old, his future looks extremely bright. But for now lets leave the “ace” talk for those who truly deserve it, i.e. Brandon Webb. (Editor’s note: I tend to disagree here – I think if Cole Hamels had been given more run support, and thereby gotten more wins, his name would have surfaced more in the Cy Young discussion. He was second in the NL in innings pitched with 227.1, was sixth in ERA at 3.09, was sixth in strikeouts with 196, was fourth in strike out to walk ratio with 3.70 K’s per walk, and was fourth in hits per 9 innings with 7.64. He’s an ace). Cole in game 1 was absolutely stunning. It was an amazing performance, by a guy with seemingly sparse big game experience. That start will propel him throughout the playoffs and probably the next several seasons as he continues to mature.

Brett Myers looks like his old self, or rather a new, better self. Throughout his career in Philly, Brett has had all of the talent, passion, and fire to be great pitcher. But it always seemed like something was getting in the way. And then I figured it out. He couldn’t get out of his own way. His emotion seemed to get the best of him more often than not. His first half of the season, he looked very bad. He couldn’t spot his fastball or even throw it with any sort of velocity. His curveball, which made him a dominant closer in the 2007 season, was non-existent. After coming back from the minors (with the good ol’ Iron Pigs”), Myers has been fantastic, making pitches, throwing with authority and fight, and most importantly, keeping those volatile emotions in check. There have been a few battles between him and manager Charlie Manuel in the past several months regarding Charlie pulling Brett out of the game, but his heart is in the right place.

Game 2 with the Brewers was the pivotal game of the series. Myers was pitching against arguably the best pitcher in the second half of the season, if not the league. CC Sabathia has been pitching out of his mind, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.65 ERA, throwing seven complete games and three shutouts since joining the Brew Crew (show him the money!). But coming off of his fourth straight start on 3 days rest, he was noticeably fatigued. The Phillies bats took advantage of that fatigue, getting out to an early lead with Victorino’s grand salami. They were even able to score runs without help from the glove of Rickie Weeks or Mike Cameron (see Game 1 highlights, or lowlights for the Milwaukee More Taste League).

I’ll quickly touch upon Game 3, as it was a fairly disappointing game, one I missed some due to a little bit of camping. From what I heard and saw as far as highlights, it was not a pretty game. All I have to say is that we need Jamie Moyer (Souderton Graduate in 1981) for the playoffs. We really need him to do well. It would be great if he could throw three consecutive no-hitters, like he did in high school. I mean, seriously…that would be sweeeeeeet!

Joe Blanton has been a great addition to this pitching staff. (Editor’s note: Well, I don’t think I’d go that far). While his midseason numbers were less that spectacular, he did have some playoff experience, which he gained during this days in Oakland. If he can be the pitcher he is capable of being, the Phillies can go a long way this postseason.

I’ll be honest; the Dodgers kind of scare me. They are playing really well, as good as anyone in baseball. They have one of the best modern-day postseason pitchers in Derek Lowe, in my opinion the best hitter, especially in the postseason, and worst left fielder I have ever seen, in Manny Ramirez, and one of the best postseason managers of all-time, in Joe Torre. That is quite a scary combination, but one I am looking forward to face this Thursday. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’ll be at the game, and you probably won’t. (Editor’s note: Jerk). With everything I have mentioned above, I still just have a feeling about this group of players, a feeling that winning is not just a destination, but also a journey, a journey that will hopefully end dancing down Broad Street.

I hope to be a regular or irregular contributor to this publication. I can only hope my writing can quench the large thirst of the Pundit. (Editor’s note: To do that, you’ll probably need to bring over a case of beer next time you’re around, Mr. Hoffman).

Long Live the Pundit of Pattison! (Editor’s note: I swear to God, I didn’t add that myself. Seriously. All his doing).

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