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Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too: A Review of Clay Travis’ New Book

Tim Reilly - October 9, 2018

“With your help, I still believe,” writes Clay Travis at the conclusion of Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too, “sports can still be the one place we go in America where […] we can all be equal.” Travis, whose book is subtitled How the Left is Ruining Sports with Politics, argues that athletics and liberal politics have become destructively intertwined.

In 272 pages, Travis makes an occasionally compelling, frequently repetitive case for either the permanent divorce or more balanced presentation of sports and politics. The book would have benefited from a sharper-eyed editor who could eliminate some of the redundancies and remedy the litany of comma splices that appear throughout the text.

But the readers of Travis’ website, Outkick the Coverage, aren’t drawn to the author because he’s an eloquent sports journalist in the vein of David Halberstam; they read Travis because he’s a persuasive and entertaining writer. He also sticks to an accessible style. I’m by no means a fast reader, but I was able to finish Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too in the space of a weekend.

Travis begins by detailing the events of his confrontational appearance on CNN, in which he boldly declared his belief in the First Amendment and boobs. The resulting controversy almost cost Travis his spot on Fox Sports Radio.

I found it a bit difficult to sympathize with a person who summoned his own social media mob to submarine the hiring of Greg Schiano at the University of Tennessee, but the point Travis makes about performative internet outrage is well taken. Too often, such displays are nothing more than empty virtue-signalling exercises. Travis bolsters his point by citing the bizarre Twitter expedition into Donte DiVincenzo’s social media posts as a young teenager, in which he quoted a Meek Mill rap lyric that featured the n-word.

Moreover, the attention that is generated by mass displays of anger only empowers a provocateur like Travis. He wears the resulting stigma quite literally like a badge of honor. Just check out the cover of his book, which proudly trumpets Travis’ bans from CNN and ESPN.

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A Short Rant As This Phillies Season Approaches Its End

Tim Reilly - September 12, 2018

I’m not sure how I came by my Phillies pessimism. Was it a product of nurture or nature? On one hand, one of my earliest enduring memories as a young Phils fan was watching Joe Carter launch a Mitch Williams offering into orbit. It was an abrupt and brutal ending to what had been a dream season for the upstart ’93 Phillies, and a bitter pill to swallow for a seven year old who was still unaccustomed to the fickle whims of the baseball gods.

The wound caused by Carter’s home run left a scab that would rip open as one lost season followed another. Curt Schilling’s dominance notwithstanding, the Fightins offered little in the way of hope that a return to the playoffs was on the horizon through the rest of the ’90s and well into the next decade.

On the other hand, I was introduced to the game by men who had internalized its hard lessons long ago. My grandfather, Mick, a Massachusetts transplant whose South Bostonese accent was almost as stubborn as his fervent devotion to the Red Sox, had learned how to cope with the constant disappointment of baseball fandom: he came to expect failure. It was a lesson he would pass down to his son, who shared it with me.

Mick died in September 2004, just one month before the Red Sox would improbably break the Curse of the Bambino and claim the World Series title. In one of his last moments of lucidity, Mick happened to be watching a Chicago Cubs game in his hospital room. He stared in disbelief as Nomar Garciaparra (whom he called Gaparra- he could never quite get that name right) took his place at shortstop for the Cubs. It would be the final in a long string of indignities his hometown baseball team imposed on him.

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Sports Betting Updates

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DraftKings Sportsbook Review

DraftKings Sportsbook has been live in New Jersey for over two full months now and a lot has changed since launch. While they were the first out of the gate for legal US sports betting, they now face competition from many sites, including FanDuel Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, BetStars and others. How do they stack up and what promos does DraftKings Sportsbook offer? Let’s take a closer look. Bonus: First bet matched up to $200 Minimum

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BetStars NJ Review and $500 in Free Bets Promo

BetStars NJ launched their sports betting app which is now available for both iOS and Android, and they offering a pretty outrageous promo code and deposit bonus. Owned by The Stars Group, a Canadian-based company that powers the popular PokerStars app, BetStars is targeting DraftKings and FanDuel directly, bringing its mobile-focused product to New Jersey with an AGGRESSIVE promo and deposit bonus. Bonus: $500 in free bets and 100-1 odds on any team to win the

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Need To Know Betting Trends For The Eagles and Panthers

After seemingly getting back on track last Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles will look to climb over the .500 mark when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Panthers, who are 1-4 all-time in regular season games played in Philadelphia, are looking for their first road victory of the season, and they will have their work cut out for them if they hope to get it. The

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Don’t Buy What Terrell Owens Is Selling

Tim Reilly - August 8, 2018

“My favorite quote’s by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Terrell Owens asserted during his Hall of Fame speech, which he delivered at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “It says, ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.'”

It was an ironic choice from a wide receiver who, during his stellar career and even in retirement, has seemed most comfortable when he was courting controversy. Owens’ decision to exile himself from the ceremony at Canton in favor of a celebration on the campus of his alma mater was unprecedented. Then again, Owens is a man so accustomed to burning bridges that he probably doesn’t mind living on an island.

A cynic would label the entire spectacle a publicity stunt, one last dash by Owens to seize a rapidly dimming spotlight. But Owens didn’t see it that way. You see, T.O’s quest was righteous, a principled stand against a flawed process. Just ask T.O. –

“There has been a lot of speculation and false reports as to why I chose not to be there. I would like to set the record straight. It’s not because [of] how many times it took for me to be voted into the Hall,” Owens explained, before revealing that his delayed induction was precisely the reason why he skipped the event.

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What Can We Learn From The Ken Giles Trade?

Tim Reilly - July 19, 2018

Last week, as Vince Velasquez took the mound for the Phillies in their series finale against the Mets, Ken Giles was packing his bags for Fresno. Giles, the erstwhile Phillies closer who was shipped to Houston prior to the 2016 season for a package of pitchers that included Velasquez, had been demoted to the minor leagues by the Astros organization.

Astros brass had cited Giles’ lackluster performance as the reason for the roster move, but the fiery reliever’s temper may have been his most unforgivable sin. In his last outing before the demotion, Giles had entered a 4-0 game and promptly conceded three consecutive hits. With a run across and the lead evaporating, Houston manager A.J. Hinch walked to the mound to remove Giles. Giles was less than thrilled with his skipper’s decision:

While Giles was doing his best to burn his bridges in Houston, Velasquez was lighting up the Mets. The Phillies righthander returned from a short stint on the disabled list to toss six shutout innings of two-hit baseball. He left the game after throwing just 85 pitches.

From today’s vantage point, it certainly seems that the Phillies have emerged as the clear winner of the Ken Giles trade. Yet, I am reminded of something that I told the students in my history class back in my teaching days: hindsight is a powerful tool. The light it provides can blind just as easily as it can illuminate.

Besides, I am more interested in the lessons we can learn from the transaction while the Phillies approach the trade deadline as potential buyers for the first time in five seasons. Although Philadelphia lost the Manny Machado sweepstakes, Matt Klentak and company have signaled their willingness to pursue high-impact rental players for a potential postseason push.

The front office has the support of an aggressive owner looking to make a splash. Moreover, the organization can exploit the financial flexibility afforded to it courtesy of a lucrative television rights deal with Comcast. The Phillies have methodically rebuilt their once-barren farm system, which is now ranked the fifth best in the league. Most importantly, the team sits in first place in the National League East as the unofficial second half of the season is set to begin.

The Phillies have played solid baseball, but the roster has holes that, at this point in the season, only an astute general manager can fix. Thanks to an overachieving club and a deep prospect pool, Klentak has the motive and the means, but should he seize the opportunity? Although an analysis of one trade will not provide all the answers, it can produce some insights.

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Malcolm Jenkins Has Spoken. Will Anyone Listen?

Tim Reilly - June 7, 2018

“If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation,” Don Draper once quipped on Mad Men. On Wednesday, Malcolm Jenkins took the advice.

As the local press surrounded Jenkins’ locker, fishing for a quote to color their stories about the Eagles’ scuttled White House trip, the Eagles safety and social activist tried a different mode of communication.

“Are you surprised that you guys eventually decided not to go to the White House?” Derrick Gunn asked. In response, Jenkins held up a poster board that read, “You Aren’t Listening.”

“More than 60% of people in prison are people of color,” read the ensuing slide in the presentation.

6 ABC reporter Jeff Skversky was the next to try to cull a sound bite from Jenkins. “Are you surprised you guys are embroiled in this controversy with the White House?”

“Nearly 200,000 juveniles enter the adult criminal system each year, most for non-violent crime. #stopschoolpipelinetoprison” was the written reply.

“Are you not going to say anything, or are you just going to use these posters?” Skversky inquired. It was a fair question in light of the unconventional display taking place.

“You aren’t listening,” came the silent retort.

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It’s Time for Josh Harris and the 76ers Ownership Group to Get on with it

Tim Reilly - June 6, 2018

After the bizarre turn of events involving the Philadelphia Eagles and the White House-trip-that-wasn’t, it’s only fitting that the city turns its attention to the resolution of the Bryan Colangelo “Woodergate” scandal.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 76ers’ owners convened in New York to discuss the fate of their president of basketball operations. According to Wojnarowksi, the decision to terminate or retain Colangelo could be announced today.

Thanks to the relentless sleuthing of various internet detectives, including Crossing Broad’s own Kyle Scott, it has become painfully clear that the man behind the curtain of the various Colangelo-linked Twitter burner accounts first investigated by The Ringer’s Ben Detrick is actually a woman: Barbara Bottini, the wife of the embattled Sixers executive.

Wojnarowski’s deeply-sourced reporting has corroborated the evidence gathered on social media; he asserted that the law firm that the 76ers hired to investigate the issue has interviewed Colangelo and Bottini during their own information-gathering process.

Given the deep embarrassment that this entire situation has caused the franchise, it appears imminent that Colangelo will be handed his walking papers.

There is simply too much at stake for the 76ers, who have only recently emerged from a painful rebuilding process that saw the team become something of a laughingstock. Armed with a talented, playoff-tested core, a lottery selection, and the cap space needed to reel in a prime free agent, now was not the time for the Sixers to once again become the butt of the joke. But the indiscretions of the Colangelo camp have eroded much of the hard-earned credibility the 76ers regained with their 52-win regular season campaign.

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Remembering Roy Halladay’s Perfect Game

Tim Reilly - May 29, 2018

Eight years ago today, there was no doubt in my mind the game I was watching would emerge as another chapter in Philadelphia sports history.

The contest in question was Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers were in the midst of a miracle postseason run, which commenced when they punched their playoff ticket on the last day of the regular season with a shootout victory over the New York Rangers. After dispatching the New Jersey Devils in 5 games, the Orange and Black overcame a 3-0 series deficit to knock off the Boston Bruins in 7 games. Peter Laviolette’s squad skated past the upstart Montreal Canadiens in five games (never forget the shift), leaving the Blackhawks as the only team standing between the Flyers and the Cup.

It wasn’t meant to be on that night or in that series for the Flyers. But something special was brewing on a baseball diamond in Miami.

Roy Halladay, the Phillies’ prize acquisition of the offseason, was on the mound facing the Florida Marlins. The Marlins countered with Josh Johnson, a righthanded flamethrower whom the Phillies never seemed to hit. It was likely to be a low-scoring pitcher’s duel, but otherwise a nondescript baseball game in May. When the alternative is a Stanley Cup game featuring the hometown Flyers, there wasn’t much of a decision in terms of what to watch.

That calculus changed at some point during the first or second intermission, when it became clear that the Phillies’ ace had a chance at perfection. Philadelphia’s regulars had spotted Halladay a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the 3rd, and that’s all he would need:

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Trust the Process

Tim Reilly - May 10, 2018

After four years of watching the Philadelphia 76ers step backward in order to leap forward, I forgot how frustrating it feels to witness your team lose when it is actually trying to win.

Sixers fans have endured multiple seasons of strategic tanking while the franchise positioned itself for long term contention. They told themselves and each other to “Trust the Process,” an affirmation coined by former general manager Sam Hinkie that became an homage to the exiled architect of the Sixers’ controversial rebuilding plan.

The 199 defeats compiled during Hinkie’s three-year reign in Philadelphia were much easier to swallow than the bitter pill the fan base was forced to ingest Wednesday night when the Boston Celtics eliminated the Sixers in five games. It’s easy to accept failure when you convince yourself there’s a master plan in place. For four seasons, Sixers fans stopped looking at the standings and started counting ping pong balls. Each loss got the team closer to landing an elite, franchise-altering prospect in the draft.

What happens, though, when the plan evolves from the abstract to the tangible? How do things change when a lottery selection morphs into an actual player? Will Sixers fans practice the same patience they showed during the Process years that will be required as the young talent coalesces into a formidable unit?

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