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Top 10 Philly Sports Moments of 2012

Kyle Scott - December 31, 2012

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This is easily the most half-assed top 10 list you will read this year. But here are the top 10 Philly Sports Moments of 2012, as is tradition. There weren’t many, so hence the mailingitinedness of the post. I took your suggestions into advisement, and wanted to wait until today. You’ll see why.

10) Lehigh beats Duke

For our first moment, we have to step outside of Philly (because there weren’t enough memorable moments to get a full 10). 

9) Phillies re-sign Cole Hamels

It’s kind of sad that the biggest Phillies signing or acquisition was of their own, homegrown player. But it is.

8) Peter Laviolette gets into it with Dan Bylsma and his glasses

– smiley face –

7) Sixers trade for Andrew Bynum

Well, it was fun until he had to actually play.

6) Chase Utley home run in first at-bat back 

Rushing into Citizens Bank Park to catch Utley’s first at-bat since returning from having no knees, I feared that I would miss something special, cool. I didn’t. I made it to a railing behind the first level just in time to see Utley do the improbable, proving that he is still, in fact, the man.

5) Sixers beat Bulls

Andre Iguodala hit important free-throws and Joshua Harris hugged like a woman.

4) Brian Dawkins number retirement ceremony

This took on a life of its own as the day neared, reminding us all of what it was like when we had a competitive football team.

3) Claude Giroux: The Shift

Just watch it, ejaculate.

2) Fired Andy

It actually happened. It’s going to take to next year until it sinks in.

1) Sidney Crosby shows off his womanhood as Flyers roll Penguins in Game 3

By far the most entertaining, fun, exciting, memorable Philly sports game of the year.

Big Ten Has its Own Sanctions for Penn State

Kyle Scott - July 23, 2012

Not wanting to miss out on this most unfortunate of parties, the Big Ten kicked the dying body of Penn State football shortly after the NCAA dropped a piano on its head.

The conference announced two things: 1) Penn State will not be eligible to play in conference championship games for four years (of course, they probably wouldn’t have had to worry about that anyway) and 2) they will forfeit Big Ten bowl game revenues for the next four seasons – about $13 million – with that money going to charity. 

From the statement

Ineligibility: As referenced in the NCAA release, Penn State’s football team will be ineligible for postseason bowl games. It will also be ineligible for Big Ten Conference Championship Games for four years, a period of time that runs concurrently with the NCAA postseason bowl ban imposed this morning.

Fine: Because Penn State will be ineligible for bowl games for the next four years, it will therefore be ineligible to receive its share of Big Ten Conference bowl revenues over those same four years. That money, estimated to be approximately $13 million, will be donated to established charitable organizations in Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children.

 

Combined with a $60 million fine from the NCAA (also going to charity), Penn State will lose about $73 million. Or, half a Cole Hamels.

Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #1 Paul Holmgren Shoots Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in a Blaze of Glory

Kyle Scott - January 1, 2012

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Read the full top ten list here.

On June 22, just a day before the Flyers traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, I received an email from a valued CB reader. He forwarded me a conversation he had with [a hockey person] who told him that the Flyers could trade their captain and leading scorer.

I absorbed it, but then did what I do with most speculatory emails: filed it away.

That night, CB contributor Ryan Gillon, who moonlights in various sports-related positions, sent me a text saying that he heard from a very connected person that the Flyers may trade Mike Richards.

I laughed. I trusted him and his source, but I laughed.

Ryan and I exchanged a few texts, mostly talking about how it was too crazy to put on site. A part of me wanted to do it, but it was too vague, too improbable. Neither source was reliable enough.

18 hours later, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were in tears.

I should have posted those tips.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the Flyers' offseason moves, one thing is clear: trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and signing Ilya Bryzgalov, Max Talbot, Jaromir Jagr and others, signaled the most significant organizational shift for the Flyers since they acquired Eric Lindros.

Discarding their captain – for whichever reason you choose to believe – and then signing a Russian goaltender was just about the most surprising thing the Flyers could have done. 

Richards was labeled the next Bobby Clarke. Ed Snider loves Bobby Clarke. Snider used to hate goaltenders… and Russians– now he has two of them.

The Flyers went from inking Richards, the captain, and Carter, one of the best goal scorers in the league, to decade-long contracts to throwing both under the bus for real or perceived off-ice reasons. 

In 2010, the team came closer to winning a Stanley Cup than they had in the previous 23 years. A season later, the captain, leading goal scorer and both playoff goaltenders were off the roster.

Six months later– today, the Flyers are near the top of the conference, two points behind the Rangers, whom they’ll play in the Winter Classic… with the Russian goaltender drinking tea on the bench and Jagr as the team’s third leading scorer. 

Yeah, things changed a bit. 

And no move or moment in 2011 was more significant or impactful than the Flyers blowing up and reassembling their franchise over the course of a week.

Ladies and gentlemen, your number one Philly sports moment of 2011: Paul Holmgren shooting Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #2 Wilson Valdez Pitching

Kyle Scott - January 1, 2012

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This is our third annual “Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of the Year.” You can find lists from 2009 and 2010 here and here. We will be rolling out the moments through New Year's Day.

19 innings. Wilson Valdez shaking off Brian Schneider Dane Sardinha. Carlos Ruiz playing third. 

Does this really need any more description?

I will refer you to our It Got Weird and post-game video posts to re-live the most memorable Phillies moment of the year.

Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #3 Lindros to LeClair

Kyle Scott - January 1, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-01-01 at 2.05.12 PM

This is our third annual “Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of the Year.” You can find lists from 2009 and 2010 here and here. We will be rolling out the moments through New Year's Day.

Number three was originally supposed to be the uber cop out Phillies pitching. And while they absolutely deserve praise, it’s hard to pinpoint one facet other than Cliff Lee’s ridiculous June and August months, which came in at number five on our countdown. 

We have a last-minute, last-day entrant: Lindros to LeClair.

Ms. CB and I were seated high above the net, in section 431. Watching Lindros streak down the side boards as LeClair entered the top of the slot, it was clear what was about to happen. We had seen it so many times before.

Nearly an entire generation – mostly people who fall between 20-35 – experienced their first taste of successful Flyers hockey with Eighty Eight wearing the C. Whatever your opinion of Lindros was, or is, it was clear from the day he was awarded to the Flyers that the direction of organization would be forever changed.

At times he was a crybaby. At times he appeared lazy. And he was always hurt. But when Lindros was at his best, few were better. That best often always came with John LeClair on his wing. 

Yesterday, we got to experience the perfect pairing one final time. It was as if time stood still for the last 15 years– nothing changed… except the 45,000 watching them connect in a ballpark that wasn't even around when they wore the orange and black.

Yesterday, Lou Nolan assured us that all was right with the world: Flyers goal scored by #10 John LeClair. Assisted by #88 Eric Lindros… and #8 Mark Recchi.

The video is after the jump.

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Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #4 Flyers Win Game 6 in Overtime

Kyle Scott - January 1, 2012

This is our third annual “Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of the Year.” You can find lists from 2009 and 2010 here and here. We will be rolling out the moments through New Year's Day.

Easter was one hell of a day in Philly sports: Lou Williams beat the Heat (#10 on our Top Ten list), Roy Halladay struck out 14 and Shane Victorino hit an inside-the-park home run in San Diego, and the Flyers won a thrilling Game 6 against Buffalo to force a seventh game in the first round of the playoffs.

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Ville Leino, now a Sabre, won it for the Flyers in overtime. The first three players into the post-game pile-on – Leino, Kris Versteeg and Mike Richards – are all gone.

Sadly, this would probably be the biggest Philly sports win of the year… a first round victory to stave off postseason embarrassment. How fitting.

The above video is our highlight video of all three events set to Kanye’s Jesus Walks.

Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #5 Cliff Lee

Kyle Scott - January 1, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com
 

This is our third annual “Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of the Year.” You can find lists from 2009 and 2010 here and here. We will be rolling out the moments over the next few days through New Year's Day.

Excellence. Pissed.

All summer long.

This one is a tortured selection because if there’s one person who can be blamed for the Phillies losing to the Cardinals, it’s Cliff Lee. He handed over a 4-0 lead in Game 2. Had he been able to secure the win, the way he had for most of the season, the Phillies beat the Cardinals in three games, we’re not talking about their offensive woes, and Ryan Howard still has his Achilles intact. 

With all of that being said, however, it’s hard to deny Lee’s excellence in 2011. He won five games in June, giving up one run. During a stretch beginning in August and continuing on into September, Lee won six straight games and gave up only two runs. Other times during the season he looked average, but it’s hard to deny his dominance on the mound (and at the plate). He brought a different kind of excitement to summer nights, one that was comprised of equal parts performance and personality.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, this was perhaps my favorite homoerotic lede, from our Morning Wood on Aug. 5:

Somewhere in the land of pretty ponies, where awkward men like Ichabod Crane dodge pumpkin heads thrown at them with gravity-defying movement, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence were just sitting back, watching, waiting to bridge the Madison Bumgarner Gap. Last night was their time to strike.

If you don’t like that lede, you're probably not going to like this, either: In the seventh inning, when Lee had Cody Ross down in the count, 0-2, after throwing two straight speed balls, I mumbled to myself, “He’s going to drop a deuce on him like a magical steed throwing pixie dust off a rainbow.” 

I wasn’t far off.

Cody Ross finished the night 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Sit down, clown.

 

As you might imagine, had Lee been able to win Game 2, he would probably be even higher on the list…

Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #6 Nnamdi and Hunter on a Friday Night

Kyle Scott - December 31, 2011

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Philly overloaded ESPN on this night

This is our third annual “Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of the Year.” You can find lists from 2009 and 2010 here and here. We will be rolling out the moments over the next few days through New Year's Day.

There were rumblings all week. The Eagles were aggressive as the – hectic – NFL free agent signing period began. Their biggest (and most expected move) until this point was trading Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Phillies had been rumored to be interested in Hunter Pence all week leading up to the trade deadline, but no deal had been reached by late afternoon on Friday.

At around 6 p.m., things picked up a bit. Our post:

Howie Roseman and Joe Banner just went all Amaro on the NFL. In a shocking twist, the Eagles signed All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha… in addition to acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (glad we're going with the easy names) yesterday.

The Eagles offseason has progressed like a far-fetched Madden franchise: First they trade the underachieving backup QB, acquire an All-Pro CB and second round pick, then sign Vince Young and Nnamdi Asomugha. 

The deal is for 5-years, $60 million. Just hours ago, Asomugha appeared headed to the Houston Texans or New York Jets. This is all too familiar.

Feliz Navidad, Juan Castillo. Your move, Amaro.

 

Things didn’t turn out quite the way we expected, and it was hardly a Merry Christmas for Castillo, but, at the time, there was certainly cause for celebration.

Just a few hours later, Hunter Pence was removed from the Astros-Brewers game in Milwaukee. He was on his way to Philadelphia. 

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The Hunter hath arrived. A catchphrase was born. And we all got to eat… until Game 5 of the NLDS.