Thursday, May 10, 2012

Double Trifecta

A few weeks ago I posted about a Philadelphia trifecta-when the Phillies, Flyers and Sixers all won on the same night.

Now I write about the opposite trifecta, and a second opposite trifecta.

In wake of Tuesday's Flyers, Sixers, Phillies losses, the only team that has given the city of brotherly love any glory in the past 30 years has simply taken an awful plunge to the cellar of the NL East.

I'll start of by saying that the Flyers did what was expected of them-they bowed down gracefully to a better team with better goaltending and better defense. The Giroux suspension didn't help, but there are plenty of goalscorers on that team. Good defense beats good offense, hands down. The Flyers explosive offense from the first round was muted by a solid New Jersey defense and a rock solid playoff goaltender in net.

Anyone who didn't see that coming is an obvious optimist. I'm sure that has gotten you pretty far in life, but in the world of sports, it doesn't do anything unless you are the athlete.

The Sixers. God. I hate watching them. 28% from the field in the first half. 34% on the game...again. How bad are these guys? There is absolutely no skill on the court. But somehow they are still in the drivers seat. All I have to say is good riddance. We are forced to be fans because they are the Philadelphia 76ers. But the inevitable is looming. Beat the Bulls, exceed expectations, then go back to feeding Andre Iguodala loads of undeserved, uncompensated money. Draft another 'athlete' late in the draft and try to make him a scorer, and be a 7/8 seed for the next 5 years. That's what we have seen for the past 10 years, and that's what we will continue to see.

Oh and I am sick of the announcers praising Doug Collins during timeouts for his words to his team. Has anyone ever seen the players during an NBA timeout? They couldn't be further away from what the coach is saying. Most of them don't even look at the coach. Doug Collins points out the obvious and ra-ra's his team, and the commentators praise him for being such a great coach.  He's not. He never has been. I don't understand why he was hired in the first place. Iguodala continues to shoot three's instead of driving, he doesn't shoot any free throws, and the team still settles for off-balance jumpers.

I am no NBA coach, but I don't think I have to be-those aspects obviously don't work for the Sixers, so play to your strengths.

If you can't tell, I am not a Doug Collins fan. And I honestly don't see how commentators, who are paid pretty well to give a good analysis of a game, can think so highly of him. He's a nice guy, he says the right things (which no one listens to) and he sometimes fires up his players. But he's a sub .500 coach, never won a title, and his last two coaching gigs have been slightly below mediocre. Which, fittingly, is what the 76ers organization has settled for the last 10 years.

And finally...the Phils.  After getting swept by the Mets, that's right, the Mets, the Phighting Phils are four games below .500. All three games they were leading in the sixth inning.

Charlie Manuel held a closed door meeting, and I'm glad he did. Unlike Doug Collins, I think Charlie Manuel has a good grasp of how to coach a championship team and how to push the right buttons.

Hunter Pence needs a kick in the ass sometimes to re-gain focus. How do you drop that fly ball in a clutch situation with your team about to get swept? How do you swing at EVERYTHING? It works for Vlad, but you aren't Vlad. (Don't get me wrong, I really like Hunter Pence, but he does need a wake up call.)

Kyle Kendrick should be playing in a beer softball league somewhere.

But the most troubling thing about the start to this teams season is the effort. If Charlie Manuel has a problem with his guys effort, it must be bad. He always praises their effort, but now he's calling them out on it. What a complete 180- and I believe him, they aren't putting forth the effort. There is no urgency. There is no do-or-die attitude. There is no - "let's do this" aspect like there has been in the past.

But realistically, this has been gradually occurring since the 2008 World Series title. One round worse every year. I guess this is the year they don't make it to the playoffs.

It's a sad fall, and there is still time. But there's nothing worse than die hard fans not getting die hard effort from their team. The Phillies won't have three of the best pitchers in the league for long. And if there is a push, this must be the year. But this team isn't nearly good enough to not put forth full effort.

And Cole Hamels is an idiot. Don't be cocky when your team is in last place.

It's so frustrating to be a Philadelphia sports fan. Not just now, but for many many years. Living in Denmark, I am swarmed with soccer. It's on TV, it's the only sport anyone ever talks about, and it's the only sport I can do watch live.

I don't want to be a soccer fan. Please, please, please Philadelphia-give me something to watch!

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