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Tony Bruno Launches a Crusade Against the Philadelphia Parking Authority

Tim Reilly - April 11, 2018

Like so many twenty-first century skirmishes, the war began not with a bang, but a tweet:

Tony Bruno, the erstwhile Fanatic and WIP host who retired from the terrestrial airwaves in 2015, lobbed a virtual grenade at one of the largest armies in the city: the Philadelphia Parking Authority, otherwise known as the PPA.

Bruno is no stranger to verbal combat. He might be best known to Crossing Broad readers as a prominent veteran of the Radio Wars that our intrepid leader, Kyle Scott, has documented for posterity. Thanks to Kyle, our grandchildren will write essays comparing Hannibal’s invasion of Italy to Josh Innes’ brief assault on the Philadelphia market; Dwayne from Swedesboro will take his rightful place in history alongside Uncle Remus and Al Jolson’s blackface characters; and historians will debate whether the Camp David Accords had the same impact as the Baldy Summit of 2017.

Although Bruno has retreated from the radio scene, he has created a podcast and maintains an active social media presence. It also appears that he has decided to spend his golden years living in his native South Philadelphia, which is the setting for the Bruno-PPA conflict of 2018.

Bruno’s troubles with the PPA began last week. It appears that Mr. Monday Night was assessed four tickets in quick succession, which made his car liable to be booted. Bruno contends that three of the tickets were issued in error by an aggressive parking enforcement officer who ignored the 24-hour permit sticker on his vehicle windshield.

Despite receiving assurances that he would be able to dispute the charges before his vehicle was impounded, Bruno found that his car was towed. And so he decided to record his Sunday afternoon trip to the PPA’s impound lot to recover his vehicle:

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Gabe Kapler Might Be In Over His Head

Tim Reilly - April 2, 2018

Does experience matter anymore in baseball?

It’s a question that has nagged me throughout MLB’s Sabermetrics era, and one I entertained again as I watched Gabe Kapler stumble through his first regular season series as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kapler’s hiring came as a surprise this offseason, but in retrospect it shouldn’t have been all that shocking. Kapler fits the profile of the type of candidate toward which teams are gravitating. He’s relatively young, bills himself as an excellent communicator, and takes an analytics-friendly approach to the game. In an offseason that saw the Red Sox jettison John Farrell for Alex Cora and the Yankees replace Joe Girardi with Aaron Boone, it’s clear that the Phillies’ selection of Kapler is not an outlier.

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Petr Mrazek Is a Perfect Fit for the Inconsistent Flyers

Tim Reilly - March 20, 2018

In the sports world, there are few narratives more well-traveled than the “revenge game.” It adds some much-needed spice to otherwise dull contests, especially when they involve a team that has lost ten in a row.

When the Flyers head to Detroit tonight to face a rebuilding Red Wings squad that has not won a game this month, sports writers and television analysts in search of an intriguing storyline will offer the revenge angle for general consumption. It will go something like this: Petr Mrazek is returning to face the team that gave up on him. He’ll try to prove that they made a terrible mistake.

We can’t blame them, of course. Even in the best of times, it’s hard to generate compelling copy from athletes fluent in the language of cliche. Nevertheless, buying into the “Petr Mrazek returns to Detroit seeking retribution” angle will require some measure of suspension of disbelief.

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Taking on the “Stick to Sports” Myth

Tim Reilly - February 21, 2018

Note: Kevin wrote about this topic on Tuesday from a media/fan standpoint. Tim approaches it from another angle.

On Saturday night, Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly skated toward the penalty box after a brief scrap with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy. By NHL standards, it wasn’t a particularly strange scene. Smith-Pelly’s team was getting hammered by a score of 7-1, and T.J. Oshie, one of the Caps’ star players, had just absorbed a hit from Murphy. Given the circumstances of the game, retribution was required. This is how the justice system in the NHL works:

Once Smith-Pelly entered the sin bin, he was greeted with chants of “basketball, basketball, basketball!” by a small group of Blackhawks fans sitting nearby. It doesn’t take much of a logical leap to understand the implication of the taunt.

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Philadelphia: The City of Champions

Tim Reilly - February 6, 2018

On an early August afternoon in 2017, I was walking back to work when I spotted Ike Reese heading toward Independence Mall. It was the day of the solar eclipse, and Reese was joining the throng of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the celestial event.

I asked the former Eagles special teams ace and current sports radio host for a Birds prediction for the upcoming year. “10-6,” he proclaimed, with an unearned confidence that imbues all of our no-stakes preseason outlooks.

Yet, 10-6 seemed a bit optimistic to me. There were too many questions and not enough answers surrounding the team to justify a belief that this franchise could vie for a playoff spot, let alone a place on the Super Bowl stage. Would Doug Pederson develop in the area of game management? Was he the right guy to develop Carson Wentz? Was the recent acquisition of Ronald Darby enough to paper over a lack of depth in the secondary? Would the Eagles survive a brutal opening stretch of three road games in four weeks, including trips to Washington and Kansas City, with a cross-country flight to Los Angeles added for good measure? Could Philadelphia keep pace with the Cowboys and Giants, two teams that both seemed bound to contend once again in 2017?

Who am I, though, to temper Ike Reese’s enthusiasm? He might be right. With a little luck and a healthy roster, the Eagles had a reasonable chance to edge toward the periphery of contention.

Later in the day, we would all look skyward, hoping against hope that the gathering clouds would not obstruct what might be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Fast forward to Sunday. From a weather perspective, it was a gloomy day in Philadelphia. But overcast conditions and steady rain did little to dampen the outlook of Eagles fans. Our team was on the cusp of Super Bowl glory. All that stood in the way of the organization’s first Lombardi Trophy was arguably the greatest coach and quarterback tandem in NFL history.

However, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick seemed like minor obstacles given the gigantic hurdles the Eagles negotiated this season. The Eagles lost their Canton-bound left tackle, franchise quarterback, and star middle linebacker to season-ending injuries at various points of their journey to Minneapolis. In addition to Jason Peters, Wentz, and Jordan Hicks, the injured reserve brigade enlisted offensive spark plug Darren Sproles, special teams standout Chris Maragos, and starting kicker Caleb Sturgis.

No matter. Into the breach stepped Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Nick Foles, Najee Goode, Corey Clement, Bryan Braman, and Jake Elliott. As starters were sidelined, roles were redefined, schemes were altered, and the train kept moving. The Falcons and Vikings proved to be no match for an Eagles team that seemed destined to win it all. Why would the Patriots be any different?

For me, the “Matt Stairs moment” was the flea flicker in the NFC Championship game. When Foles connected with Torrey Smith for a 41-yard bomb that put the Eagles ahead by a score of 31-7 against one of the NFL’s elite defenses, I knew this was a different team. They weren’t playing by the set of rules in which all of my preseason anxieties were rooted. This team was assertive. It was resilient. Above all, it was relentless in knocking down anything that stood in the way of greatness. Continue Reading

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Life at the Intersection of Cottman and Frankford

Tim Reilly - January 22, 2018

As I move along Frankford Avenue toward Cottman Avenue to join the Eagles celebration, I am pulled by an invisible tide that has guided me since I was a little kid walking to McDonald’s with my grandpop.

I’ve lived in Mayfair most of my life, and I’ve gotten to know a number of its landmarks.

There’s the abandoned building where the McDonald’s used to be. Across the street is a Republic Bank where the Mayfair Movie Theater used to be.

Used to be. It’s a favorite phrase of the “back in the day” brigade that frequently laments the deteriorating condition of Mayfair. Upon reflecting on the evidence, they have a point.

There’s the place that once sold ice cream. There’s the building where you could get your watch fixed. The Stutz Candy Company held down prime real estate on the avenue at one time. These places are all gone, relics of a bygone era.

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Doug Pederson Is the Ultimate Underdog

Tim Reilly - January 15, 2018

For a team that has embraced the underdog role, it’s fitting that the Eagles are led by Doug Pederson. While his team is relatively new to the feeling of being discounted, Pederson was fending off the skeptics long before Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Pederson’s first stint in Philadelphia was as a quarterback. Andy Reid imported him from Green Bay in 1999 to pilot the offense until Donovan McNabb was ready to take the reins. Pederson thought he would lead the team for the season. He was relegated to the bench by Week 10.

After his playing career ended, Pederson got involved in coaching. Reid brought him back to Philadelphia as an offensive quality control coach in 2009. Pederson followed Reid to Kansas City when the Chip Kelly revolution arrived at the NovaCare Complex in 2013.

The tumultuous Kelly years left the franchise in disarray. Kelly had mortgaged the future of the franchise during his one season in charge of personnel decisions. With Howie Roseman exiled to an underground bunker at Eagles headquarters, Kelly moved quickly to reshape the roster in his image. Gone were Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy; in their place were Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso. The signings of Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray did not have the desired impact, to say the least.

At some point during the rocky 2015 season, Lurie had lost his appetite for revolution. He longed instead for the stability of the Andy Reid years. What better way to relive the Reid era than by plucking an apple from Big Red’s coaching tree?

And so Lurie targeted a Reid disciple. However, John Harbaugh wasn’t available. Instead, the Eagles settled on Doug Pederson.

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Thank God the Sixers Passed on Lonzo Ball and His ESPN-Enabled Father

Tim Reilly - January 9, 2018

It’s fair to say that Markelle Fultz’s rookie campaign has not gone according to plan.

Fultz, a player whose talents so intrigued the Sixers front office that GM Bryan Colangelo traded in some of the team’s prized draft assets to move into the No. 1 slot in order to select him, was supposed to be the culmination of the organization’s multi-season rebuild. At the very least, fans expected him to play a significant role as the Sixers shifted from “The Process” to the postseason.

So far, the Sixers’ young slasher has been stuck in neutral. Fultz labored through a shoulder injury that affected his jump shot and ultimately pushed him out of the lineup after four games.

There’s hope on the horizon, however. Kevin Kinkead’s Sunday notebook included a lengthy update on Fultz’s progress. The rookie’s participation in a full contact practice suggests his return to game action is imminent. The Sixers would certainly stand to benefit from Fultz’s presence in the rotation as they look to make a playoff push during the second half of the season.

No matter what happens this season, the Sixers made the right choice when they drafted Fultz. Ever since the NBA modified its hand-checking rule in 2004-05, point guards have never been more integral to the success of a team. The space-and-pace revolution that has overtaken the game demands a team employ a ball handler who can take advantage of overextended defenses by driving and dishing to open teammates. He also needs to be a perimeter scoring threat on his own who, ideally, can play off the ball as well. After all, the organizations that are excelling in the modern NBA are attacking defenses with multiple athletes who can run the offense.

Fultz’s ability to penetrate and pass to open teammates will make him a good player. But the three-point shooting ability he demonstrated in college will make him special.

There’s still time for Fultz to refine his game, of course. He’s only 19, and in the collegiate one-and-done culture that has been created in the wake of the NBA’s minimum age requirement, more and more players are starting their professional careers as raw prospects. Fultz likely won’t begin to hit his prime until his second contract.

Looking back on the 2017 NBA draft, there was really only one other viable option that the Sixers could have considered with the first pick. They could have taken a chance on Lonzo Ball. Continue Reading

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