Tag Archives: Pat Burrell

A powerful weekend in Philly sports

As a day well-spent brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death. – Leonardo da Vinci

First things first: my utmost commendations to the Phillies organization for a wonderful, touching, and heart-wrenching service for Harry Kalas on Saturday afternoon. Unless you are an alien from a planet renowned for its lack of emotion, you probably watched most of the procession through misty eyes. Lord knows this Pundit did.

I think the moment that will always stand out for me from the day, a moment that was just so beautiful and emotional, was watching Harry’s friends, family and members of the Phillies pass his casket down the line, as “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” played over the PA system. A proper send-off to a beloved man.

We’ll always love you, Harry. Do me a favor – ask Whitey if he can smell the rain coming up there in heaven, would you?

One final footnote to the procession – people around the country can say what they want about Philadelphia fans, conjuring up embellished stories of the day we murdered Santa Claus, or whatever the hell it was we did. But they can never say that this city does not love its own with a passion rarely found elsewhere. The key to that sentence, of course, is “its own.” Philly won’t call you its own just because you live here, or work here, or play here. Philly will call you its own if you bust your butt off, displaying a love for what you do and the people you do it with…if you’re good at what you do but never arrogant…if you give everything you have; and if that isn’t enough, you make no excuses, just give a little bit more next time…if you understand that we will ride you when you aren’t performing up to your capabilities, but we will embrace you wholeheartedly when you do…that our energy and excitement will propel you to victory if you put yourself in a position to win.

Harry understood that, embraced it, and embodied it. That fact, as much as his golden pipes, made him one of the most treasured figures this city has ever known.

Because, at the end of the day, this town isn’t for everybody. Let all of those who don’t understand grit, hard work, undying passion, despair in defeat, and unadulterated joy in victory live somewhere else. We will continue to live and die with every pitch, pass and shot. We will continue to heckle the slackers, praise the scrappers, and love our teams through thick and thin, even if that means the boos rain down in a stifling display of tough love.

This is Philadelphia – this is the place for those with a thick skin, a workmanlike attitude, and a heart almost too big for the chest it beats in.

This is our city. And Harry fit right in. You will not be forgotten, HK.

Now to the events on the diamond, ice and court. Continue reading

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A little bit of last year must have been built right into the rings

The ring ceremony is the last remnant of a World Series – it’s the final gesture, the last bit of hardware, the epilogue in a joyous celebration dating back to late October.

Who expected the Braves bullpen to join in the celebration? Continue reading

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Pat Burrell to the Rays – The Pundit wonders just how wise the Phillies have been

So, Pat Burrell has finally landed. On the Tampa Bay Rays. Guess Pat’s like one of those cougar widows who only dates money (Editor’s note: Comparable analogy to a middle-aged free agent who signs with the other team in the World Series? You be the judge). Though maybe this wasn’t completely about money, seeing as Burrell only ended up getting a two-year, 16 million dollar deal, both down in years and dinero from his original request. Oh, and he’ll likely DH.

Hmmm.

Meeeeee-owwwww

Meeeeee-owwwww

I wonder…if the Phillies had suspected they could have gotten Burrell back at that contract, would they have given Raul Ibanez three years and 31.5 million? Continue reading

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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 Poll: Have the Phillies improved?

With the free-agent additions of Raul Ibanez and Chan Ho Park, and the resigning of Jamie Moyer, the Phillies have stayed busy this offseason. How do you feel about their moves?

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Plaxico, Phillies arbitration, and football: Some talking points for the water cooler

In relation to my previous post about Plaxico Burress: surely, somebody isn’t telling the truth here, right? I mean, seriously: he didn’t really just accidentally shoot himself, unprovoked, did he? Something must have preceded this, right?

The Phillies declined arbitration for Pat Burrell and Jamie Moyer – not too shocking on the Burrell front, though I thought Moyer was a lock to get an offer. I have to agree with Todd Zolecki, who writes that the reason the Phillies didn’t offer Moyer arbitration was due to the fact that they thought Moyer’s 16 wins last year would drive up his seven million dollar salary from a year ago. I would really like to see him come back, though. As for Burrell, I’m still not convinced he’ll get the offer he wants on the market – I’m thinking there’s a pretty good chance he’s back next year.

Bored at work? Here’s a few questions I’ve heard floating around to keep you occupied:

Who should go after the year is up? McNabb, Reid, both, or neither?

At this point in the season, who is the NFL’s MVP?

What, exactly, is ailing the Sixers so far this year?

Please, feel free to post your answers on the comments section, or just heckle your coworkers with your responses.

Be sure to check back this evening, as I plan to unveil my comprehensive plan for a college football system that would employ a playoff, all of the major bowl games, and the BCS rating system. It’s gonna change some shit, people – or not. Whatever. Be sure to check it out later tonight. Happy Tuesday, all.

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The Pundit List presents: Things to be thankful for

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pundit List, so it seemed like time. I decided to list the things I was thankful for both in the spirit of the holiday and because I’ve been so negative about the Eagles lately. My thanks will be primarily directed toward the sporting world, but I will undoubtably stray from time to time.  Obvious things, such as my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. will be left off of the list because they aren’t as much fun to write about. But they would be at the top. Probably. Anyway, on to the list.

8. The Flyers and Sixers – Eventually, I’ll actually start watching their games. I’m thankful I have something to look forward to once football is done for the year.

7. Emmananuelle Chriqui – You probably know her better as Sloan from Entourage. She might be the sexiest woman on this planet, at least in this humble Pundit’s opinion. If you aren’t familiar with the show, take a look– you won’t want to look away.

6. Beer – I don’t really need to go into depth here, do I? Though I will say, I am extremely thankful for my two favorite watering holes, The Pope (Pub on Passyunk East) and the South Philly Tap Room.

5. The BCS – The system blows, and I would like a playoff, but at least it gives me something to constantly bitch about on the site. The BCS, if for nothing else, is great for material. Think about how much has been written aruging that one team should be ranked higher than another, or about how there should be a playoff, and how it would be formatted. It’s a story-generator, and for that, and that alone, I offer my thanks.

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, Generation Kill, John Adams, Weeds – After The Wire ended last year, I needed something to fill the gigantic void that was left in my soul from its wake. (Editor’s note: Oh brother). Any show and/or mini-series listed above either helped, or is currently helping, to fill that void. Rest in peace, The Wire – you were the greatest show ever crafted for television. Hell, I’m thankful I ever tuned in.

3. The Eagles – They are driving me absolutely crazy this year – how could I possibly be thankful for them? Well, much like the BCS, they constantly give me something to talk about. I mean, they tied the Bengals. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, and is starting him this week. They blew chances to win close games against the Bears, Redskins, Cowboys and Giants. Honestly, a few clutch plays, and this team could potentially be undeafeted right now. And honestly, that is what makes them so damn frustrating – wasted potential. But success wouldn’t stir conversation, now would it? The Eagles are like the girl in the neighborhood who sleeps around – everyone knows her business, has their own idea of how she should be living, and are constantly gossiping about her. (Editor’s note: So wait…are the Eagles like the town’s bike?) I suppose I’m just thankful for football in general, but as a writer, the Eagles specifically are wonderful for controversy. (Editor’s note: Kind of sad, really).

2. Change – More than everything except for one thing on this list, I am thankful for the possibility, and the hope, of change. It was what made the number one item on this list so very special. I am thankful that “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did.” I am thankful for the possibility that the Eagles will move in a new direction after this season. I am thankful for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, college football will someday have a playoff. I am thankful that the Sixers brought in Elton Brand, the legitamate big man they haven’t had since Charles Barkley. (Editor’s note: What, no love for Dikembe “Cookie Monster” Mutombo?) I am thankful that, after 25 years of failure, we finally had ourselves a winner. Which brings me to number one:

1. The 2008, World Phucking Champion, Philadelphia Phillies – I mean, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? They brought us the parade we had been waiting for so long. They were a team full of players that were easy to embrace. Talented. Team-oriented. Focused. Unflappable. They were led by a manager with the waddle to the mound. The guy who had divine hunches. I offer my thanks to Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, J.C Romero, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, and So Taguchi. On second thought, not So Taguchi. Sorry, pal. I give my thanks to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies – it was one hell of a ride, and I sure hope to take it with you guys again.

I hope everybody a damn good Thanksgiving. Stuff your faces, take a nap while watching a football game, and enjoy seeing your family. But don’t use it as an excuse to be thankful for the things in your life – we should all be doing that everyday. (Editor’s note: I’m thankful for self-righteous advice!). Oh, and Rant: I’m thankful for you too, man. Rant has been the man. Many thanks go out to him. Now…bring on the feasting!

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To win, you gotta have chin

On Saturday night, I met up with Jacobs and Hoffman, two contributors to the site, at Fox and Hound to catch the Penn State game. I was fairly surprised by what I saw when I arrived – Penn State was trailing Michigan 17-7 at the 12 minute mark of the second quarter.

“What the hell is going on here?” I asked.

Jacobs didn’t hesitate to answer my question. “Fucking Michigan is running up and down on us. Let’s get the hell out of here, go to a different bar. I can’t stand all of these damn Michigan fans. Look at all of them over there! Where do they come from?”

Sure enough, an entire section of the bar was entirely decked in blue and maize. Disgusting. Apparently, they had been hooting and hollering for the entire game; in fact, one delightfully obnoxious bar patron had even brought his cowbell, and was whacking that thing unmercifully every time Michigan did anything positive. (Editor’s note: Yeah, I’m just gonna stay away from that one). It was too much for Jacobs, a diehard State fan and a rather passionate dude. But I wasn’t about to be phased by some stupid cowbell.

“Dude, trust me – when Penn State comes back and wins this game, it will be awesome to watch all of these Michigan fans leave the bar dejected and distraught,” I said. “You’ll see – when Appalachian State beat Michigan last year, I was at this bar. Watching all of the Michigan fans sadly stream out of here, dreams broken, while all the fans of other teams heckled them, was truly priceless. As annoying as it now, it will be sooooo worth it later.”

Now, I know how harsh, and unbelievably cruel, that sounds. But there was a deeper point I was trying to make – a real winner always has to take the best punch his/her opponent can throw, get back up, and punch back harder. To win, you gotta have chin.

Chin has been all over the MLB playoffs. In game one, the Dodgers jumped on Cole Hamels early, scoring two runs and quieting the uproarious Philadelphia crowd. But the Phillies calmed down, shook out the cobwebs from the Dodger haymaker, and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell each hit home runs to seal the Philly win. Game 4 was another example – for most of the game, no matter what the Phils did, the Dodgers had an answer. They led 5-3, and you could sense that series momentum was shifting in their favor. But the Phillies weren’t done fighting yet, and when Shane Victorino tied the game with his rope to right, the Dodgers started to sway. And then Matt Stairs hit them with a left that they never saw coming, and they dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. No matter how much, or how hard the Dodgers swung, they couldn’t knock the Phils down, and they certainly couldn’t handle the counter punch. It was of little surprise that the Phillies sealed the deal in game 5 – the Dodgers were sporting a glass jaw.

To win, you gotta have chin.

The ALCS was a dissertation on chin. The Rays had the Red Sox down for the count, leading them 7-0 in the seventh inning in game 5, with a 3-1 series lead, after pasting them in the two games before. Honestly, the Red Sox looked unconcious before they hit the mat. And yet, somehow, someway, the came back to win that game. Uh-oh. And when they won game 6, you couldn’t help but wonder if the Red Sox had absorbed the very best punch that the Rays had (and, truthfully, it was one hell of a punch), and were going to win this series. And yet, the Rays had one last trick up their sleeve (Matt Garza), and were able to take a few crushing blows of their own, pulling out the game 7 win. That the Rays were able to regroup after seemingly losing all of the momentum in the series that they had signed, sealed and delivered, they showed me something. Resiliance. Fight. Chin.

To win, you gotta have chin.

It’s the reason that Rocky is Philly’s favorite sports hero: the man never gave up. He never stayed down. He not only took your best shot, he wanted it. He wanted you to give him all you had, and then he wanted to give you just a bit more. He wasn’t the most talented or hyped fighter, but he could take anything you had in your arsenal, and fight on. Rocky wasn’t real, but the spirit and essence of his character most certainly is, and its what the Phillies are going to have to rely on against a dangerous Rays team.

To win, you gotta have chin.

Oh, I almost forgot: Penn State ended up beating Michigan, 46-17. Since my arrival at the bar, Penn State scored 39 unanswered points. Apparently, your Pundit is good luck. (Editor’s note: Doesn’t change the fact that he never gets lucky – ZING!). After every touchdown, following the traditional “WE ARE – PENN STATE!” chant, a chorus of us would ask one other question.

“CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME MORE COWBELL?”

Nobody on the Michigan side ever answered our pleas. They knew they were defeated. They knew that to win, you gotta have chin.

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A day of contrasts – some thoughts about the Eagles and Phillies on Sunday

Sunday was a strange day, full of angst and bliss. The Eagles and Phillies started and stopped at almost the precise same moment, and the results were completely contrasted. Was Sunday indicative of two franchises headed in opposite directions? Or just a truly strange day? (Editor’s note: He never actually addresses these questions in the following post. Quite frankly, The Pundit truly is wondering himself, especially given the Eagles past two games).

Eagles

Ugggggghhhhhh. This one was painful. Over 200 yards rushing. An offense that slowly went the way of the buffalo as the game progressed. (Editor’s note: Really, American “buffalo” are actually bison. They are only distant relatives of the real buffalo, those being the water buffalo and the African buffalo. The more you know…)

– Chris Cooley killed them over the middle all game long, bringing up painful memories of Jason Witten in week two. I’ll grant that TE’s are reemerging in the NFL as effective weapons, but 8 receptions for 109 yards? No good.

– Call me crazy, but if you give up over 200 rushing yards, you’re probably going to lose. Just a hunch

– The Eagles looked unstoppable on their first drive. Whaaaaa happened? Um, the play calling went stale. Now, I’m not a huge fan of insulting the play calling, because if certain players don’t handle certain responsibilities, the perfect call won’t work. That’s football. Plus, a lot of research and film study goes into game planning in the NFL; these guys tend to know how they want to attack the defense. But I noticed something on Sunday, and I think it’s a trend – the plays that Andy Reid scripts for the beginning of the game are always diverse and effective, but as the defense adjusts, the Eagles offense tends to stay the same. I don’t know if Andy Reid simply isn’t a great adjustment coach, or if he’s so damn stubborn he refuses to stray from the game plan. Either way, the various formations, play designs and players utilized need to remain consistently diverse, because the Eagles really don’t have the personnel to get stale. They have play makers who are effective in space, namely McNabb, Westbrook and DeSean Jackson. However, force them into traditional roles, and they become less potent. Stir it up, big ol’ Andy. Stir it up.

– Seriously, the Eagles have to score touchdowns when they get the ball near the goal line. Field goals are like a beer goggles rendezvous – you take them, but you really wish you had done better.

– Seriously, David Akers, you need to grow back the beard. You are like the Samson of beards – without it, you lose your powers. Do it for us, David.

– The Redskins outplayed the Eagles in every phase of the game. They are a pretty good team. The Eagles certainly could have played much better. These are the facts. Draw your own conclusions.

Phillies

I’m not going to say too much here, except that I’ve got a feeling. I don’t even want to reveal what that feeling is, for fear that no matter what I say, I’ll jinx us somehow. The Dodgers are hot right now, but the Phillies have shown a very mature poise. The starting pitching has been a revelation. The bats have done just enough. It was nice to see Pat the Bat find his groove again with two very picturesque home runs on Sunday. Way to take care of business, fellas. I’ve got a feeling, and I’m going to leave it at that.

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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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