The Fightins » Phil Simmons R.I.P. Harry Kalas Thu, 07 Jul 2011 18:26:15 +0000 en hourly 1 The Philly Sports Guy’s mailbag Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:36:05 +0000 Phil Simmons By Phil Simmons

From time to time, I don’t feel like doing much work but still want to be paid by the word. When that happens, it means it’s time for the Philly Sports Guy’s mailbag. As always, these are real questions from actual readers.

Lost or The Wire: How do they compare to this Phillies team?
Glenn, Orlando

The Wire doesn’t work as an analogy here simply because the Wire is the undisputed best show in television history, while the Phillies position as the best team in the NL is constantly being doubted.

The Phillies mirror Lost in terms of the characters on the show as well as the reception to the show itself. Lost was one of those shows that nobody really expected to do much, as other shows of it’s kind usually fail. It formed a huge group of die hard fans right off the bat, gained a lot of bandwagon fans, and had very loud haters who for whatever reason or another, didn’t get it and thought it had no business being on television. Mention you’re a Lost fan to another Lost fan and you’ve made a friend for life, tell a non-Lost fan that you like the show and they will look at you like you just drove a bus full of baby kittens off a cliff. Lost fans will try to put their show up with the other great shows on television, while Lost haters will scoff and say it has no business being mentioned as a great show, and won fluke emmys.

But let’s look at the characters in Lost and how they compare to the current Phillies team.

Ryan Howard – Jack: Like him or not, he’s the star How he goes, the season goes. Very hit or miss in terms of his performance, sometimes he’d be too melodramatic and really reach, other times he’d be pitch perfect. Throughout the show’s run, the producers decided to up the attention to other characters, but Jack was still front and center, even in episodes and seasons where he’d take a back seat. The Island was his all along.

Chase Utley – Sawyer: Most of the fanbase wanted this guy to be the focal point of the show. He was a more interesting character, who had enough mystery about him to keep his performances constantly interesting, but he would always take a back seat to Jack. Whenever he would position himself to be a leader, he’d suffer an injury. If someone was ever shot, attacked by a shark or caught in a trap, it was Sawyer.

Jimmy Rollins – Locke: The spiritual leader of the island. Manages to be injured as much as Sawyer and for a leader, makes some really boneheaded decisions. It came down to Locke vs. Jack, as there wasn’t enough room on the island for the both of them. (Is there enough money for J-Roll with Howards contract?)

Shane Victorino – Hurley: It would’ve been too easy to say Blanton was Hurley. A former mental patient, the other castaways humored Hurley, they know he wasn’t the brightest tool in the shed, he’d sometimes do something mind numbingly stupid, but his heart was always in the right place.

Raul Ibanez – Sun & Jin: The Sun and Jin story peaked in season 3, yet it was dragged through until the end of the series. Every once in a while there’d be a great Sun & Jin scene, but fans knew what to expect every time they popped onto the screen. Nobody really was too devastated when they died, most saw it as long overdue.

Cliff Lee – Charlie: Sometimes serious, sometimes funny and happy go lucky. The internet went nuts when he was killed off (“Should of kept Charlie” predates FanSince09), as most fans thought there was crappy reasoning behind it while others were sure he’d come back.

Placido Polanco- Sayid: Never got the same amount of attention as Jack, Saywer and Locke, but was the backbone of the series. Forming a faction on the island? You want Sayid. Need someone to solve a problem with lives on the line? You send Sayid to do it. In the rare instances where he was injured, he’d walk it off, and he seemed to be the most dependable castaway, always doing the right thing.

Brad Lidge – Kate: Nobody liked Kate after the first season. Other, more interesting female characters would pop up, yet there was a blind loyalty to Kate that the fans could not understand. She was serviceable when she was good, horrible when she was bad, but the higher ups liked her, so she made it through to the end.

Ryan Madson- Juliette: Juliette could have replaced Kate and the show wouldn’t have struggled at all. She was a more interesting character, a better actress and she had chemistry with the male leads.

Roy Oswalt- Desmond: We weren’t quite sure what to make of Desmond when he first showed up. His addition didn’t feel 100% necessary and there some concern he’d steal screen time away from the castaways we’ve come to know, but he became an integral character and one of the highlights of the show.

Wilson Valdez- Miles: The ratings didn’t exactly peak due to a Miles backstory episode, but every once in a while he’d make a great one liner that would make you think “Maybe he should be a bigger character” before common sense kicked in.

Kyle Kendrick – Rose & Bernard: They seem like nice enough people, but nobody wanted to see a Rose and Bernard heavy episode.

Mike Sweeney- Mr. Eko – A character that was awesome for a year and then killed off. Everyone loved Mr. Eko and was sad to see him go.

Danys Baez – Paolo & Nikki: “They made a Paolo and Nikki episode? WHY?!”

J.C Romero – Vincent: An absolute dog.

What’s the greatest movie ever made: Gymkata, or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo?

That’s like asking me to choose which of my kids I like better (my son). It really comes down to this against this

How can you possibly choose? I see “Sports Guy’s choice” being made about this very subject, as any decision I make in my mailbag will haunt me for years to come.

I’ll go with Heat.

First time, long time Phil. Can you compare Rocky opponents to present day actresses? Thanks!!!
Dan in boothwyn.

Angelina Jolie- Apollo Creed: Angelina exploded onto the scene and was immediately the hottest, craziest woman in the world. Whether making out with her brother at the Oscars or wearing a vial of Billy Bob Thorton’s blood around her neck, she had every man in the world in the palm of her hand. Women hated her because she put out a slutty vibe, and she became their ultimate villain when she took Brad Pitt from Jennifer Anniston. But then she settled down, started adopting a million kids, started making movies that guys could care less about. Women don’t really view her as much of a threat anymore and where guys used to imagine her doing a myriad of dirty things in her spare time, now we pretty much figure she just stands in the pool and throws tennis balls to her dogs.

Lindsay Lohan- Clubber Lang: Go ahead and mention to your wife or girlfriend that you think Lindsay Lohan is hot. If you and your wife have a “free pass” agreement for celebrities (I do) say you want Lindsay to be your free pass. She will suddenly turn into Mick in full “If you wanna fight em, you’re fightin’ em without me! I’m done!” mode. There is no actress on the planet that women hate as much as Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay is so crazy that normal guys probably have a shot with her. Your girlfriend/wife will lose her mind and try to keep you away from her like Mick tried to keep a title shot away from Clubber.

Megan Fox- Ivan Drago: Probably created in a lab to be the hottest woman on the planet, it seemed that she would be absolutely unstoppable for years. However, once her great weakness was discovered (she can’t act), she quickly dropped out of big franchises and was relegated to movies nobody watches.

Rocky V doesn’t count.

Olivia Wilde – Mason “The Line” Dixon: If you watched The OC like I did, you remember Olivia as the lesbian bartender from Season 2. Back then, we all knew she had potential, but she continued to be relegated to bad television shows including one where she dated a guy who’s FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY! Then, after finally proving her worth on House (the show, not my buddy House), she was cast in some blockbusters and can finally can be considered among the elite.

Is it just me, or did the recent Sixers season also remind you of that Rocky / Apollo beach race in Rocky III?
J-Slug, Kenzo, PA

The Sixers took the Heat to the brink and if it wasn’t for the refs, we’d be in the NBA Finals. Still, this was an unexpected season, and yes, the season was a case of getting stronger for each stride. The awkward hug at the end of the season was totally warranted.

You just made me picture Doug Collins running down a beach in short shorts alongside Elton Brand. I will now go light myself on fire.

Who should the Sixers sign in the offseason?
Lou C, Elkins Par

Let the Thomas Kinkade of the NBA Trade Machine work his magic.

Easy enough.

Has there ever been a guy who’s body language reads “Mailing it in” as much Jayson Werth’s does?
Mandy H, Allentown PA

The biggest mistake Jayson Werth has made is not becoming the ultimate heel of baseball. Everyone knows he chased the money and when he spouts off cliches about the Nats being winners, there’s nobody that takes it seriously. So why not play up the money? Carry the Million Dollar Belt around in the locker room. When someone under performs, shove a $100 bill in their mouth. If his lip service team player act isn’t going to rally the team to win, saying “I’m only here for the money” is going to rally the team to win just to shut him up.

He’s already considered aloof with the fans and the media, so let him rattle off some Ric Flair press conferences. When someone asks him about a strikeout, he’s gotta say “My SHOES cost MORE than your HOUSE!” Bleach his hair blond and his beard black, and have him take his own limo to the ballpark every day. He can try to buy someone’s world series ring and if that doesn’t work, pay for someone to get plastic surgery to look just like Joe West only to have it backfire because they’re a better umpire than Joe West. This is really Jayson’s only way to be a franchise guy.

If the ’08 Phillies were the San Francisco “Real World” cast, which one would this year’s team be?
Brad, Los Angeles

Much like the San Francisco: Real World cast, the 2008 Phillies were a team with medium expectations that ended up giving us the most unforgettable season of the last 25 years. San Fran’s Real World isn’t even considered “the best” but many, but there’s absolutely no doubt that it was the most memorable season. As far as the 2011 team, the season is still young and there are two possibilities as to how it can end up:

Best Case Scenario:

The Real World: Hawaii (Season 8 )

Each season of the real world usually has an “ace” character. There are four different types of ace characters, usually only one a season:

1. The complete a-hole that nobody else in the house can stand. This person threatens to derail any chemistry and leaves a trail of tears in their wake.

2. The gay cast member that decides he/she needs to push it as far as they possibly can in order to make everyone else uncomfortable so they can then break down about being oppressed.

3. The destructive alcoholic. Not to be confused with the A-hole, this is the cast member who usually ends each episode in a vodka induced coma.

4. The slut.

Hawaii was the first Real World season that had all four aces in one cast member: Ruthie, the asian bisexual who would get drunk and sleep around and ultimately was threatened with eviction due to her drinking and overall horrible attitude. On paper, there had never been a better real world cast member, every time she appeared on screen, there was a possibility of her making television history by dying on camera. But the show couldn’t rest on Ruthie alone, and lucky he had a murderer’s row of housemates for the season. Amaya, Teck and Justin could have carried a season by themselves while Matt, Kaia and Colin gave you way more than you could ever have expected from utility housemates. Hawaii will always be remembered as “The Ruthie Season” but really, it was a year full of great performances from top to bottom. Let’s hope we can look back and say this about the 2011 Phillies.

Worst Case Scenario:

Real World: Las Vegas (season 12)

How could this season be bad? You took a can’t miss formula into the single craziest town in America. There was no way that when you put this cast in this setting it could be anything less than the best ever, right? Wrong. While there were some moments of gold during this season: Steven/Trishelle/Brynn starting off the season with a threesome, Arissa’s scumbag boyfriend, Brynn throwing a fork, the season at a whole just missed the mark. There was a lot of crying but not a lot of action. The cast seemed to think they were all better, crazier and more entertaining than they really were. On paper it should have been the greatest Real World ever, all the elements seemed to be there to start, but something was missing. Just a huge disappointment of a season. I hope we’re not saying this about the Phillies at the end of the season.

I’d like to take a minute to rub in how I know celebrities. “Brad from Los Angeles” happens to be Brad Rutter, the biggest all time money winner in Jeopardy history, who most recently challenged Watson. I asked him how it felt to be defeated by Watson:

Like daniel-san’s halloween beatdown in karate kid. currently training with mr. miyagi in event of a rematch.

Thanks, Brad! See you at Jimmy’s finals party!

What would be more awesome: Clubber Lang or Teen Wolf joining Cobra Kai?

Clubber Lang is a loner and would never join Cobra Kai. After one lesson he would have beaten the crap out of all the rich suburban kids and slept with every single one of their girlfriends, and no way would he ever let Terry Silver tell him what to do.

Scott “Teen Wolf” Howard joining Cobra Kai makes tons of sense, though. After a great basketball season, I can see Johnny reaching out to him, introducing him to the crew, taking him down to the dojo. Wanting to fit in, Scott would join up and do everything Sensai Kreese told him to do. He’d be hanging out with the cool rich kids, and finding an outlet for all the energy being a wolf gives him. When he would Wolf Out during tournaments, he’d be unbeatable. The success and popularity would completely go to his head and he’d get a reputation as the dirtiest and most dangerous fighter out there. BUT, there’s no way Scott would sweep the leg. None at all. If Daniel LaRusso limped out there injured, and Kreese gave the order, the exchange would go something like this:

Kresse: Sweep the leg, Wolf!

Scott: What? Sensai, he’s hurt!

Kreese: I said sweep the leg!

Scott: No Sensai.

Kreese: What’d you say to me?

Scott: I said No, Sensai!

Kreese: Now you listen to me, you little punk…

[Scott growls, then claws the Cobra Kai patch off of his uniform. Kreese and the other members of Cobra Kai run.]

Mr. Miyagi: You have shown great honor.

Celebrity fight judge Hulk Hogan: Great job, brother!

Also, do you think if Scott Howard’s basketball team played the Heat, the refs would still give the Heat every single call? Would being a wolf suddenly disqualify him from the game? Would Bosh play even softer because he’s scared of werewolves?

If you could select Philly sports teams to face each other in a Gauntlet type show, what matchups would you like to see?
DBone, Fishtown

Number one would be Eagles/Phillies. I think there would be some legitimate hatred between these teams, the Eagles players would feel like the Phillies somehow stole the spotlight, and the Phillies would think that the Eagles don’t respect them enough. I think ultimately the Eagles would win the challenge, followed by Jeff Lurie himself cutting the feed. The highlight of the show would be dog lover Chase Utley being a little too rough with Mike Vick and starting a brawl between the two teams. It would also finally make sense to do an Eagles chant at a Phillies game.

Flyers/Sixers would be an interesting matchup. They have the same owner, and there’s no rivalry between the two except that for some reason, Flyers fans hate the Sixers and think that anyone who likes the Sixers (or the NBA in general) should be banned forever from the Wells Fargo Center. The reason for this is because they’re racist, but they will say it’s because Hockey players are “better role models” and they can “relate better with them.”

I think the Phillies easily beat the Eagles and the Flyers eek out a win over the Sixers (Flyers fans wonder if there was a swimming competition), leading to an interesting Phillies/Flyers matchup. If you’re on twitter, you know that in addition to hating the Sixers, Flyers fans HATE when anyone mentions baseball in the months of April or May. “What the hell is all this baseball talk for? It’s HOCKEY season!” is probably a trending tweet for the entire spring. The news that Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies was a huge annoyance to Flyers fans who were focused on getting a point against the Islanders in December. I see the Phillies picking up the win over the Flyers, driving another stake in the heart of those Flyers fans who are not hockey widows.

I’d also love to see a “Phillies of the 2000” vs. “Eagles of the 2000s” competition with McNabb and Bobby Abreu as captains of their respective teams.

We often see the Phillie Phanatic’s mother, Phoebe, at games. We never see, or even hear about, the Phillie Phanatic’s father. Who is he? Does the Phanatic still talk to him? Does his absence cause the pain in the Phanatic’s life which led him to a career in which he constantly seeks the approval of others?

Getting there…..

I just came up with a new move last night when I was having sex with my girl. It’s called the Ben Fransisco. Right when it looks like she’s getting close to orgasm you stop, pull out and say “If it was warmer, that one would be gone.”
Frank B, Philadephia


How well does Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz do with the ladies? Does he insist on their calling him “Hurricane” or “Cane” in bed?
Adam, Phila Pa.

Yup… these are my readers!

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The Phillies should sign Gus Johnson Fri, 06 May 2011 13:30:06 +0000 Phil Simmons By Phil Simmons

Before today, there were only two instances I could think of where someone’s departure really stunned me: when Daniel LaRusso left Mr. Miyagi to train with Terry Silver at the Cobra Kai Dojo and when Pedro left the San Francisco Real World house rather than deal with Puck. But now I have to add Gus Johnson leaving CBS to that list. As you all know, I’m a huge Gus Johnson fan, and his leaving CBS really leaves a void in any sports broadcast on that network.

But after I digested the news and talked about it with Philly SportsGal, who told me “I’m trying to watch The Real Housewives of Orange County you dork, I should divorce you!” I came to a realization: Gus Johnson can save the Phillies broadcast team just like Ken Reeves saved Carver High in The White Shadow! Gus could probably get a job anywhere, but what’s a better job than one with the Phillies?

When you look at the Phillies broadcast team, there’s no real voice there. On the radio side, there’s Larry Anderson, who has about as much enthusiasm as Coach Finstock had when Scott Howard was trying to tell him about his problems. There’s Scott Franzke on play-by-play, who sounds like he’s one “LA On-Air Nap” away from tunneling out of CBP like Andy Dufresne. They also shoehorn in Jim Jackson, who is so out of place that it reminds me of when Demolition would send Crush and Smash down for a tag team match instead of Axe and Smash!

On the TV end, you have two color commentators who are a respective 8 and 9 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. Sarge is basically Clay Davis if he got into baseball instead of politics, and Wheels is a venerable Philadelphia institution. I seriously want to make Wheels commentary tracks for movies. Could you imagine Wheels doing commentary for Fast Five?

“Now ya see here what they wanna do is they wanna drive the car… right there… they wanna get it on the road, middle in, but The Rock wants to stop them and Vin Diesel, he really respects the game and he’s a real heads up thief, so he knows that if he approaches this race all loosey goosey, he’s cooked and the Rock knows that this guy can fly if he gets behind the wheel of a car so he’s really gotta be careful here”

If I could make those, I’d be rich! I’d be even richer than I already am from my pandering to my fratboy reader base!

So, Gus couldn’t replace either of those two. He’d have to replace T-Mac. T-mac has gotten a raw deal, he’s basically like Kurt Thomas in Gymkata, being thrust into a starring role before he was ready. More importantly, T-Mac took full PBP duties after Harry died and we haven’t won since, so if we dump T-Mac for Gus, and the Phillies end up winning the Series, I’d be fully satisfied with renaming my famous “Thome Theory” to “The T-Mac theory.”

Coach Finstock referenceBut don’t get me wrong, I’m a T-Mac fan. Last time my buddies and I went to Vegas, we were getting destroyed at the blackjack table. I was about $10,000 down, and I had my last few chips. Normally I’d walk away, but my buddy started doing T-Mac’s “GOOOONE” whenever I’d lose a hand. Eventually I was all out of cash, and the T-Mac jokes died for a bit, but later when I hit the ATM, he dropped a “HE’S BAAAAACK” which cracked everyone up. We ended up winning big, and I credit T-Mac for loosening us up! As far as I’m concerned, “HE’S BAAACK” is up there with “Look at the size of that Russian” as one of the greatest calls of all time, but I would sacrifice it in a heartbeat for the chance to hear Gus Johnson try to talk over a Wheels story, or a Gus-Sarge exchange.

So it would be a great opportunity for both Gus and the Phillies. We all know that the only sports teams and cities that matter are the ones I directly root for, so there’s nothing standing in the way of this and I can’t understand why Gus would choose to go somewhere else.

The Philly Sports Guy is the author of a book on basketball that ignores everyone except for the Sixers. He has also written a book that undermines every world series not won by the Phillies.

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