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Report: An Expanded Role for Chris Berman

Kevin Kinkead - August 16, 2018

Chris Berman is a unique case.

Seems like you either totally love him or totally hate him. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who falls in the middle of the spectrum with their opinion of the longtime ESPN host.

He’s in pseudo-retirement and not doing much with the network these days, but that might change according to the New York Post, which says he’s been in talks with ESPN about taking on an expanded role for the coming NFL season:

There is no deal yet, but there is interest on both sides. While the move would not be for a full-time position, sources said the possibility of Berman contributing more to or even hosting some Sunday night “SportsCenter”s has been broached.

There is a hope that Berman could work a quarter of the NFL season, according to sources. ESPN would want Berman for more, but in semi-retirement, Berman already has made plans for some weekends, and so that is likely unfeasible — at least for this year.

In addition to appearing on “SportsCenter” this season, Berman could do more features and interviews to aid “Sunday NFL Countdown,” whose ratings dropped by double digits in his first year away from the program.

I dunno. Thoughts?

Regular Season Games in the United States?

Kevin Kinkead - August 16, 2018

The Eagles are playing in London this season.

The Sixers played in London last season.

The NHL and MLB played regular season games in places like Japan, Australia, and Mexico.

Usually it’s us sending our sports teams overseas for meaningful matchups, but it looks like that’s now going to be reciprocated by Spain’s La Liga, which has agreed to begin playing regular season games in the United States.

From Steve Goff at The Washington Post:

Relevent, the sports and entertainment company that operates the annual International Champions Cup, has struck a 15-year promotional deal with Spain’s La Liga that includes plans to play at least one league match at a U.S. venue every season.

Charlie Stillitano, Relevent’s executive chairman, told The Insider the sides have begun discussing a single game this season, sometime after Jan. 1, perhaps in Miami and almost certainly involving one of the league’s famous clubs.

“Our goal, our job, our responsibility is to try to build La Liga,” Stillitano said. “We told them, [Relevent] sees the power of regular season games.”

To properly market the match, he added, one of the participating teams would have to be Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla or Valencia (but preferably one of the first three). “And the league knows that,” Stillitano said.

That’s the problem here – people ain’t coming out to see Eibar vs. Celta Vigo in Raleigh. They’ll come out to see Barcelona play somebody in Miami, but why would Barca want a “home game” 5,000 miles from their actual home stadium? And why would their opponent want to fly 5,000 miles instead of taking a short flight or bus ride instead?

Likewise, I’m sure if you asked Jalen Ramsey and Blake Bortles, they’d prefer eight home games in North Florida instead of having to do the London thing again. And look at how the Sixers had to deal with a condensed schedule after they came back from England last season. It was crowded and stuffed with back-to-backs, which wasn’t at all ideal.

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The Montco Teacher Who Wrestles as a Nazi Won’t Lose His Job

Kevin Kinkead - August 16, 2018

A bazillion people commented on this story when we wrote about it last month.

Remember the Boyertown guy who teaches in the Spring-Ford School District and moonlights as a wrestler on the side? “Blitzkrieg The German Juggernaut,” aka Kevin Bean, is going to keep his job after administrators did some investigating.

Adam Hermann over at Philly Voice writes that a letter explaining the decision was sent to parents:

“…Dr. David R. Goodin, superintendent of Spring-Ford Area School District, said that based on the investigation the district “found no evidence indicating violation of board policies by Mr. Bean. As such, Mr. Bean will continue to remain a teacher within the District.

The letter included an apology from Bean, 36, who has been employed by the district since 2004:

“The character I portrayed did not reflect my personal feelings or beliefs and I do apologize to those in the community who were offended by such actions. I have spent many years working in the Spring-Ford community and pride myself in providing an exceptional education to my students over the course of 14 years.”

Goodin said the actions demonstrated in the video by Bean — in which Bean waves a flag adorned with the German Iron Cross and uses Nazi salutes, including shouting “Sieg heil” — are not supported or sanctioned by the district. Goodin said the district will work with its staff “so that we may continue to uphold the high standards our community has come to expect.”

Fair enough. The guy apologized. Probably time to create a new persona or drop the wrestling gig entirely.

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Your Thursday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - August 16, 2018

A new look lineup with Justin Bour at first and Wilson Ramos making his Phillies debut at catcher gave the Phils some life.

It started out like it would be yet another disaster, but Ramos and his three runs scored, plus a career-high three extra base hits with three RBIs helped guide the Phils to a 7-4 win.

The beginning wasn’t good whatsoever. Vince Velasquez gave up a bases-clearing double to Mitch Moreland in the third to put the Phillies behind 3-0. His night would be a short one, going 2 1/3 and giving up three runs off four hits and four walks with only two strikeouts. But the Phils responded an inning later with three runs of their own thanks in part to Ramos, Odubel Herrera, and Carlos Santana.

After Scott Kingery, who Kapler still defends having on the roster, hit a sac fly that gave the Phillies a one-run lead, it was Ramos again that brought home two runs in the seventh, along with one from Maikel Franco, that gave the squad a much-needed win.

Despite the win, Atlanta also defeated Miami, which means the Phils are still two games back of the Braves for first in the division. They can get that to a game and-a-half today with a doubleheader against the Mets at home. Ranger Suarez is scheduled to take the mound for game one at 4:05 PM on Facebook Watch, while Zach Eflin is scheduled to return and start game two. Let’s hope the fans behave better this time!

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Aaron Cox, Mike Trout’s Brother-in-Law, Passed Away

Kevin Kinkead - August 15, 2018

Millville native Mike Trout has been out of the Angels lineup for much of August.

It started with soreness in his right wrist, then he was inactive due a personal family matter.

Turns out his brother-in-law died at the age of 24.

Here’s a statement from the family:

Cox also graduated from Millville High School and finished his senior year in 2012 with a 6-0 record and a 0.86 ERA while striking out 71 batters in 48 innings. He was a 19th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Gannon University in Erie, where he pitched a no-hitter as a junior.

From ESPN:

The 24-year-old right-handed reliever had pitched the past three seasons in the Angels’ system. He made 11 appearances for the Angels’ High A team at Inland Empire this season, going 0-1 with a 4.11 ERA, but retired from baseball on Aug. 6. He had a career record of 7-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 68 appearances.

No cause of death has been released.

Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - August 15, 2018

Tommy Hunter: Actually bad.

But we all know this by now, and it was on display yet again last night in the 2-1 loss to the Red Sox. Hunter gave up a solo bomb to Brock Holt in the top of the eighth for the go-ahead run.

The loss shouldn’t be Hunter’s fault, however. Once again, pin the blame on an offense that got only two hits, both of them coming in the fifth. Rhys Hoskins got his 23rd homer of the season and Odubel Herrera singled off Rick Porcello. And that was it.

Porcello lasted seven innings and gave up those two hits and one run to go along with 10 strikeouts. On the other end, Nick Pivetta nearly matched him in terms of dominance. The righty went six innings and gave up three hits and a run with six strikeouts and a walk. That was wasted because of a no-show from the offense and Tommy Hunter.

The team’s struggles are coming at the worst time. The Braves are up two games on the Phils in the NL East, but the team does hold the second Wild Card spot by a game. As for the Atlanta, Ronald Acuna Jr. has been on a tear, with three lead off home runs in three straight games.

The team takes on Boston one more time tonight at 7:05 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia and nationally on ESPN. Vince Velasquez hopes to stop the bleeding. There’s also still time to bet on tonight’s game.

The team also made a couple of roster moves. They optioned J.P. Crawford to Triple-A and brought back Hector Neris and also traded Jake Thompson to the Brewers for cash considerations.

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The Recent Rain Storms Turned the Schuylkill River into a Floating Garbage Dump

Philip Keidel - August 14, 2018

We all know that the polar ice caps are melting and that planet Earth as we know it is probably on a fast track to an early destruction due to carbon emissions. We don’t live particularly close to the polar ice caps here, so it’s fairly easy to ignore all that.

But when the Schuylkill River looks like this, as it did today, well…yikes:

Technically, we aren’t really to blame for this. The Schuylkill flows south from parts of the state that we don’t generally think about too often.

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Free Beer for Browns Fans, on One Condition

Kevin Kinkead - August 14, 2018

Dilly Dilly.

Bud Light is doing a promotion for long-suffering Browns fans, explained by ESPN’s Darren Rovell:

Hey that’s pretty cool. Free beer!

But what if the Browns don’t win a game? Rovell says the beers will be replaced once per month until Cleveland gets that first W.

Here’s their opening slate:

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