Good thing he wasn’t needed to make all of those personnel moves before, right? According to Jeff McLane, the Eagles are getting ready to hire Bears director of college scouting Joe Douglas as their new personnel head, barring any huge setback.
Douglas would report to Howie Roseman and “head the eagles scouting department,” so they definitely didn’t need him in the draft, when they were trading for picks, or anything like that. Here’s a bit of his resume:
Douglas has been with the Bears for just one year. He was hired away from the Ravens, for whom he was a national scout, last offseason. He worked in Baltimore for 15 years under Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. Before becoming a national evaluator, he scouted the Southeast and the East Coast.
The more minds the better. That part I get. But this guy isn’t really a “personnel head” as much as he’s a guy who answers to Howie, who is really the head of personnel. Bringing more, smart people aboard is always a good thing, but this just looks, once again, like Jeffrey Lurie handled everything from Chip’s dismissal to now totally haphazardly.
Not actually as surprising as it sounds: That image above is of the leader of the Church or Scientology, David Miscavige, and his wife Shelly decked out in full Eagles gear. It comes courtesy of David’s father, Ron, and his upcoming tell-all book.
Why is this image not surprising? Because the world’s most famous and visible cult leader was born in Bucks County, raised in Willingboro, NJ, and went to high school at Marple Newtown before he dropped out. That’s the Bucks Co./South Jersey/Delco trifecta. I always wondered how that effected someone, and as it turns out, the outcome isn’t great.
There’s no other info on that image (or Miscavige’s alleged Eagles fandom) in Esquire’s excerpt from Ron’s book, but there is this: His wife Shelly, also seen in the image, “allegedly disappeared years ago. Ron says he used to send Shelly gifts and that a former staff member told him he spotted them at a facility in the San Bernadino Mountains, where Ron believes Shelly has lived since 2005.” Hope she gets Eagles games in her weird cult prison bunker.
[h/t reader Christoper]
From a twitter egg reader, comes that not well-thought-out Sam Bradford vanity plate. Plus, it’s just kinda boring.
Here are some better options for bad Sam Bradford vanity plates:
But the real Bradford move is signing a two-year lease on a car, seeing the new one they unveiled, and then demanding out of your lease.
Complex Sports’ Maurice Peebles talked to Carson Wentz about redheads, music, and airport boos. But the most intriguing part of his interview was the question based off of an old Crosswalk post:
The site CrossingBroad.com pulled together some numbers from sports-reference.com and came to a realization concerning the home field advantage in Philadelphia. They looked at the Home Field Advantage Percentage of every team in every city in the four major sports over the last 10 years. Of the 30 NBA teams, 30 NHL teams, 30 MLB teams, and 32 NFL teams, Philadelphia ranked dead last in terms of Home Field Advantage Percentage in every single one. The weirdest part was that no other city had all their teams in the top five, or in the bottom five, or in the middle. There was no other correlation across the country or Canada besides Philly, and Philly was last in every single one. The Eagles, in fact, were the only team in North America with a negative Home Advantage Percentage, meaning that they played worse in front of their own fans than they played on the road. The rough odds of this happening are 800,000-to-1, so to me that screams it’s not a fluke. I know everyone says “Oh the fans are passionate,” but hearing that this crazy statistical anomaly is happening where there’s obviously something going on with the fans or the atmosphere—I just want to get your initial reaction to that.
Honestly, it’s surprising. I thought you were gonna go the other way with that, not dead last. Um, heck, I guess I don’t know what to make of it. I haven’t played in the Linc yet so I’ll have to wait and see and get my own sense. Maybe if you ask me in a year or two I’ll have a better sense of it once I’m around that area but, heck, that’s pretty surprising. And usually not a good thing so we’ll flip that around at least for the Eagles.
I hope so. I know rabid fans normally end up as positives for a team because other teams don’t wanna play there and other fans don’t wanna come there, but [in Philadelphia] a lot of it seems to be the pressure that the fans put on the players, just in terms of how much of their own lives are gripped up with the team. And it seemed to actually have an affect on the outcome of the games over the last 10 years.
It’s interesting. That’s really interesting. We’re gonna turn that around, though.
Wentz actually answers the question pretty well, considering it couldn’t be one he was expecting to be asked. But his most important answers comes down to fashion. On the sleeve length on his SI cover:
“I still gotta make a decision on how I want my sleeves to look. But I’ll probably have them similar to what they were in college. Not long sleeves but maybe not what’s in that picture. I don’t know. But we’ll see. Honestly I’m not overly concerned with the look of the sleeves I just want them to be functional.”
He may have just arrived, but he knows what we wanna hear.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman (I will not use his official title because he’s the damn GM, come on) made a call into ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike this morning to talk trading up for Carson Wentz, signing Chase Daniel, and dealing with Sam Bradford. It was a QB-a-palooza.
Roseman told M&M that he doesn’t know if the report on Sam Bradford ignoring calls and texts is accurate because he hasn’t tried to call or text him:
“I have not spoken to [Sam], I have not reached out to him so I’d probably have to go talk to some people here and ask them [if Sam is ignoring texts and calls]. But Sam’s a pro and understands he’s got a great opportunity here to come in, be the starting QB with our group of players around him and hopefully win some games …
No [we are not considering a trade]. We’re gonna do what’s in the best interest of our team. If anything makes us better we’ll look at it, but we’re really comfortable where we are with the QB position.
We have not [given Condon permission to seek a trade].”
At least from Howie’s perspective, it seems like a “two can play that game” response to Bradford cutting off communication with the team. He hasn’t reached out to Sam, Sam hasn’t reached out to him, and he hasn’t given Sam’s agent permission to seek trades. It’s like the most boring and bloodless Mexican standoff of all time. But Howie clarified that while he let Sam know about the trade before it was announced, he didn’t necessarily care how he felt about it or how it looked:
“We’d been very clear publicly and privately that we were gonna draft a young QB … it was a priority for us, we needed to get one in here we were gonna develop. When we signed Sam we told him he was our starting QB. We told him about the trade before the trade happened. But we gotta do what’s in the best interest of our team in the short-term and the long-term. That’s our job.”
It’s not that the fans in general were ever on Bradford’s side, but it’s incredible how Howie went from odd-man-out punchline to guy Eagles fans will defend against their starting QB. Everything has gone right for Roseman since regaining control, but the team hasn’t played a snap either. That’s the real test, but he’s flying high right now.
I noticed something this weekend: People were tweeting me about their dislike of Mike Schmidt.
It’s one of the few times over the last two years that I received a series of Tweets about a Phillies game.
Michael Jack Schmidt has been doing home Phillies Sunday (now weekend) games for two years. This is his third season. His annoying brand of commentary is not new. But, suddenly, there’s pushback.
This tells me two things:
- People are paying attention again. I can’t tell you the last time I was fully engrossed in a Phillies series like I was this weekend. It had to be 2012. No joke. It’s the first time I felt like I was watching competivie baseball again. Judging by the number of Tweets I got about Schmidt (Hey, Mike Schmidt stinks!), I’m not alone here.
- Mike Schmidt stinks.
Great players don’t always make great announcers. Sometimes the greatest players get so caught up in their own greatness that they begin to believe they’re great at everything, especially if it involves the thing they were great at in the first place. Got it? Great. This obviously describes Schmidt, whose knowledge of the game would be fine if it weren’t for his lack of preparedness, disdain for conventions that didn’t suit Mike Schmidt, and insistence on saying questionable things which must have company man Tom McCarthy squirming in his overworked broadcast seat.
Anecdotally, just on Sunday, Schmidt professed how much he detests it when pitchers talk to opposing players when they’re on base – because that’s not what Bob Gibson did! – as if Vinvent Velasquez, who drew a walk while turning in yet another impressive outing, was somehow less competitive because he talked to Carlos Santana on first.* He flashed political leanings with an odd comment about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (regardless of your stance, avoiding politics is Sports Broadcasting 101):
He called Cameron Rupp’s mom, who was being honored for the Phils’ celebration of moms, “cute”:
And he displayed a general lack of preparation, even joking that he stopped keeping score in the seventh.
Somehow this stuff is endearing when Larry Andersen or Gary Matthews does it. When Mike Schmidt does it, he comes across as an asshole, probably because Mike Schmidt has an opinion on everything… and opinions are like assholes. Did I get that right?
All the more perplexing is that the Phillies, because it’s Mike Schmidt, are promoting it – with a sponsor and everything – as Weekends with Mike Schmidt. Though somehow I’d rather have Bernie Lomax in the booth. [I’ve heard that Schmidt is getting an insane amount of money for each homestand he works, but can’t confirm the number.]
Schmidt could be a good broadcaster. His voice is good, he has the clout, and his stories are, at times, interesting. He also has a knowledge of the game (maybe not the one he’s calling, but the sport in general). But he just can’t get out of his own way and stop being Mike Schmidt long enough for us to ever find out if he’s worth listening to.
*He allowed two baserunners, both walks, over the next three innings. Curiously, they were the first two batters after he returned to the mound. But this might have a little more to do with the fact that he was facing the Indians third and fourth hitters than it does with him talking to Santana.
The Phillies weren’t supposed to be this good. Or, maybe, playing this well. That’s a better way to put it, because they’re playing very well. But I still don’t know how to frame how “good” they actually are. So let’s try to do that.
The Phils are 15-11, but their Pythagorean Win/Loss record (an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed) is nearly the inverse at 10-16. That’s because they’ve scored 85 runs and allowed 108. They’re 8-2 in one-run games, but are 6-9 in games where the run differential is three or more. They average 3.8 runs in every win, while their opponent averages 7.4 runs in every loss. They’ve only won one game all year where their opponent scored more than four runs. They simply don’t have the firepower. They’re on pace to allow 673 runs, which would be their lowest total since 2011. However, the 530 runs scored for which they’re on pace would be their lowest total since 1981 (491).
While the record seems likely to revert to the mean, there’s no telling what the pitching will do. The pitching staff’s 10.1 K/9IP for the month of April was the highest for the first month of the season in Major League Baseball history. That’s a very long history. But while that’s incredibly impressive and should not be ignored, it’s worth noting that “the top nine MLB teams on the list were all from 2013-16.” Here’s the chart from BOOP:
But there’s real, real promise. The average age of the Phillies’ pitching staff is 27.2 years, the youngest they’ve been since 1995. And the guys who pitched a little bit last year are improving:
Velasquez is in the 90th percentile, about even with Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber. Eickhoff is in the 88th percentile, right there with Lance McCullers and Carlos Martinez. And Nola is in the 79th percentile, by Sonny Gray and Hisashi Iwakuma. Velasquez, so far this year, has improved. Eickhoff has improved. And Nola has improved. It’s not yet at all fair to say these arms are on the level of the Mets’ best, but you can get dreaming. At these performance levels, the differences aren’t enormous, and the Mets have built around the pitching. Good rotations are almost necessary for good teams, and the Phillies have quickly found most of one. Long-term, I mean. I’m not even bothering to address the early success of Jeremy Hellickson.
Again, you see the hallmarks of rebuilding teams who succeed early. Nola has simply been developed well by the organization. Velasquez was taken from an organization less willing to give him a starting opportunity. And Eickhoff must have been scouted well, because at the time of the Cole Hamels blockbuster, he was anything but the centerpiece.
From never playing Major League ball before last season to the Phillies’ most surprising star, Herrera is currently third in the NL in on-base percentage (.450), first in the NL in times on base (50), and second in the NL in walks (23). He’s only five bases on balls away from matching his 2015 number, all that while only being walked intentionally twice. All eyes are on Maikel Franco, but Herrera is playing out of his mind and well beyond expectations.
What Does It All Mean?
Hell if I know. No one expected the Phils to be playing as well as they are right now… but they’re still third in the division. I expect them to regress to the mean. If they’re still a handful of games above .500 at the All-Star Break, maybe I’ll revise my prediction. I’m still at 74-88. With each win I’m tempted to inch that win total up, but every seven-run loss levels me out.
Is this a good team? Probably not. But are they fun? Absolutely, and this fan base needs that.
Kyle: I’d argue they have the makings of what will be a good team. They could be good-ish this year, if only because their pitching is so good and they have a bunch of guys who seem like they actually care. Either way, all good signs for what’s to come.
This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated comes in one of three covers. There’s Jared Goff wearing a helmet in a photo shoot for some reason, Paxton Lynch looking like a wax sculpture of Jack Sparrow, and Carson Wentz.
Inside is Austin Murphy’s story of how the three ended up with the teams they’re with. Here’s a segment on Wentz:
If Goff is the Natural, as Tollner refers to him, Wentz is the Prototype. At 6’ 5″, 237, he’s got 20 pounds on Goff, as strong an arm and more foot speed. The pride of Bismarck, N.D., has spent far more time than Goff under center, running coach Chris Klieman’s pro-style offense at North Dakota State. Wentz’s game tape overflows with Wow! throws. Sure, scouts would’ve liked to see him completing those passes against, say, Alabama, rather than Weber State and Western Illinois. But at a certain point a throw speaks for itself.
Wentz secured legendary status in North Dakota in January when he led the Bison to their fifth straight FCS championship, 11 weeks after having surgery on his broken right wrist. He could’ve bailed on the team to be fully healed in time for the NFL combine. Instead, his loyalty and grit sparked a dramatic rise in his stock, which continued to soar at the Senior Bowl. Says Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive VP of football ops, “I was struck by the presence he had, the leadership he showed in a setting with all sorts of guys from bigger schools.”
By the time the combine rolled around in late February, Wentz had pulled slightly ahead of Goff in most mock drafts. It didn’t help Goff that in the all-important rubric of hand size—we are only half-joking—his mitts measured nine inches from thumb to pinkie. Anything less would’ve been a red flag to teams worried about his ability to hold and throw a wet ball.
And one very noticeable thing about the cover? Wentz’s sleeves are almost too short. Like he’s overcompensating (or probably just trying to balance it all out).