Results tagged ‘ 76ers ’

2014 Opening Day Roster

The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster and were few surprises.  Here is how it worked out:

Pitchers (12): Right-handers A.J. Burnett, Justin De Fratus, Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Manship, Jonathan Papelbon and B.J. Rosenberg and left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Mario Hollands and Cliff Lee.

Catchers (2): Wil Nieves and Carlos Ruiz.

Infielders (6): Cody Asche, Cesar Hernandez, Ryan Howard, Jayson Nix, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.

Outfielders (5): Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd, Tony Gwynn Jr., John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Revere.

They also resigned Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal so he will be at Triple-A until he is needed.  And Jayson Nix, brother of former Phillies Laynce Nix, was signed a few days ago and put on the roster as an extra infielder.

Also of note, the Phillies will begin with only 4 starting pitchers as, due to off days, that is all they will need the first few weeks of the season.  Relief pitcher Mario Hollands was a bit of a surprise to make the roster as he has pitched in only 3 games above Double-A ball (2012, AAA Iron Pigs).  But he was impressive in camp; he will be interesting to watch.

The final spring tune-up on Sunday was canceled due to rain L  That was a bummer as I was hoping to meet some of the new players before the game.  So I wound up going to the 76ers game instead later that night.

The Sixers finally broke their 26-game losing streak in a dominating performance over the Detroit Pistons.  And that win prevented them from becoming the all-time worst team in all major sports.  Instead, they are tied.  But still worse than the 1961 Phillies, so that is an achievement.

Sixers fans were so relieved, with 5 minutes left in the game, chants of “Thank You Detroit” rang out all over the stadium.  Nicely done, Philly fans.

As for the Phillies, Cliff Lee will take the mound in Texas tomorrow against the Rangers for 2014 Opening Day.  Finally, some real baseball!  Game time is 2:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Are We Seriously Only Halfway Through Spring Training?

Is it just me, or is it taking forever to get to the regular season?  I was excited when Spring Training began, because a little baseball is better than no baseball.  But that excitement has waned slowly and transformed into impatience.  Can we get to the real games already!

There is not much else in Philly to get excited about right now.  The Flyers are good one day, and suck the next.  They are in last place in their division.  And the 76ers are all but out of playoff contention, unless a small miracle occurs.  And no, that miracle will not be Andrew Bynum, who does not appear to have any desire to play this year.  He will sit back and collect his massive paycheck.

Some people are excited about the Papal Conclave in Rome.  I get it.  I was just in Rome this past October; I took the whole 9-mile tour of the Vatican museums, St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel.  It was an ethereal experience for sure.  But unless the smoke coming out of that chapel chimney signals the start of the regular season, I don’t have much to get excited about.

They will pick a new pope.  Some people will celebrate, some will complain and life will go on.  But what I really need is some baseball!

I like Spring Training; it is a necessary part of baseball.  But some things about it annoy me.  Mainly, that it is 6-weeks long, the games don’t count and the fact that I am not in Florida right now.  Ugh.

However, there have been a number of rather interesting incidents this spring.  A Hooter’s ball girl screwed up and fielded a fair ball (not that interesting I guess; this happens every year); Charlie Manuel was accosted by a strange man on a tricycle at a game against the Astros; and several Phillies playing for Team Canada in the WBC brawled with Team Mexico this past Saturday.  Apparently, Pete Orr was thrown out of the game.  Tyson Gillies, who has a habit of finding trouble, body slammed a Red Sox pitcher who was playing for Mexico.  And Phillies Sebastian Valle, who played for Mexico, swung his catcher’s helmet at opposing players, despite their being at least 3 of his Phillies teammates on Canada’s team.  Oops.

So while Spring Training has not been dull, it is just not over yet!  But we are half-way there and everyone, so far, is healthy (cross all fingers and toes)…3 weeks to go!

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Friday Night Smackdown: Philadelphia 2, Boston 0

Both the Red Sox and the Celtics were in town Friday night, which is something that does not happen very often.  Also a rare occurrence, both home teams came out on top…the Phillies beat the Sox, 6-4 and the 76ers took down the Celtics, 92-83 in playoff action.  The stars aligned in Philly for what was a special night.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had a great view of the game from the Hall of Fame club section as he served his one day suspension for a heated argument with umpire Bob Davidson on Tuesday.  Davidson was also suspended one game, even though he is the one who instigated the entire incident.  I felt like he should have gotten more…but hey, MLB suspending an umpire publically?  That is also something you do not see every day so we’ll take it.

An even bigger story last night was closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was looking forward to facing his old team.  He had many reason to be fired up, including the fact that after last season, the Red Sox did not even bother to offer him a contract.  But whether or not Papelbon was going to get a shot at revenge would depend on the rest of the team…

Cole Hamels did his part, winning 6 straight starts in games in which he earned a decision for the first time in his career.  He allowed 3 runs over 7 innings last night while striking out 9 batters.

Meanwhile, the Carlos Ruiz ridiculous hit parade continued with 2 more hits, 2 more RBI, another stolen base and a run scored in the game.  Hunter Pence is reaping the rewards of Chooch’s success; batting in front of Ruiz, Pence is getting better pitches to hit.  Pence homered in the game and had 2 hits total.  Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry Jr. each also had a hit and an RBI.

Chad Qualls came out of the pen for the 8th and right away cut the Phillies lead to 5-4 as he gave up a homer.  Luckily, the Galvis home run in the bottom of the inning gave Papelbon some breathing room in the 9th.

Then, as if it was scripted, Papelbon got his wish; a 2-run lead and a save situation in the 9th against his former team.  And just like a storybook ending, Papelbon got the save.  But as he noted after the game, he will got gloat until the Phillies win the 3-game series.

Game 2 starts a little late tonight at 7:15pm as Pat Burrell will retire before the game on a 1-day contract with the Phillies.  If you had not heard, a group of comedians (www.birdtext.com) recently made a video spoof which pokes fun at Burrell’s reputation with the ladies.  According to the model who stars in the video, Burrell saw the video and liked it so much, he invited them all to tonight’s game and even requested the tee-shirts they are selling to promote the video.  You can hear her interview on the Preston and Steve show here or at www.birdtext.com .

You have to see this….it is hysterical:

So remember, don’t let your mom, wife, sister, girlfriend or whoever get “Burrelled” tonight ;o)

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Former Phillies broadcaster Andy Musser Passes Away at Age 74

A Phillies broadcaster for 26 years from 1976 to 2001, Andy Musser, 74, passed away on Sunday.  Musser called games not just for the Phillies, but also the Eagles, 76ers and several other organizations throughout his career.

Phillies fans will remember that Musser worked alongside Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn and Chris Wheeler in the booth.  Wheeler is the last remaining broadcaster of the foursome.

Musser was a Philadelphia-area native and an Army veteran, making him a popular home-grown addition to the Philadelphia sports circuit.  He worked as a broadcaster during many great moments including two World Series, two Super Bowls and two Masters Championships.  Musser also called the division-clinching Mike Schmidt homer in 1980.

This is another sad day for the Phillies family.  Musser was well-liked and respected and he will be missed.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.

The memorial service for Musser will be held at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Donations may be made to the church in lieu of flowers.

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Photo by Tom Gralish / Philly.com

Philadelphia Phillies Fans 2012 New Year Resolutions

Having baseball withdrawal yet?  Me too.  But it is never too soon to begin thinking about the upcoming baseball season.  Anytime a new season is on the horizon, the chance to start over and hopes of success in the coming year breed anticipation.

It is this time of year that Phillies fans should sit down and make a practical list of important New Year Resolutions.  Here are a few to get you started:

1. Be thankful that you are not a Mets fan.  If you run into one, give them a hug.  They really need it.

2. When at a game, be mindful of your children.  If I wanted slimy, saliva-tainted cotton candy goo in my hair, I would have put it there myself.

3. Please refrain from cussing out loud at the game.  There are children all around with sensitive ears.  However, if their nasty, cotton-candy goo-infested hands land on you, this rule no longer applies.

4. We can all stop booing Jayson Werth now for moving to D.C..  His .232 batting average last season is punishment enough.

5. Start a petition to award Roy Halladay with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his bravery in saving a man in the Amazon after an anaconda attack.  Could this guy be any more awesome?  I think not.  I have been up close and personal with such large snakes and can tell you, for Halladay to put himself in danger to save this guy was no small feat.  And yes, that is really me in the photo.

6. On Dollar Dog Night, limit yourself to a five dog maximum.  Take the other $15 dollars you saved and donate it to Phillies Charities.  Your stomach will thank you.

7. I pledge to spend more of my offseason time supporting the Philadelphia Flyers and the 76ers.  They have young, exciting teams and also deserve our support.  (Do not talk to me about the Eagles though…ugh).

8. Do not yell at the umpires for being blind.  The Americans With Disabilities Act says that blindness is a handicap and therefore, it is politically incorrect to poke fun at blind people.

9. For God’s sake, stop spilling your beer at games!  The puddles created from the morons behind you flow downward and under your seat, soaking whatever bags you laid there.  If you cannot avoid spilling your drinks, please go back to Kindergarten and relearn this skill.

10. Be kind to people, even if they suck or are cheering for an opposing team.  You will eventually get back what you give.

I wish you all a safe and happy New Year!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame 2011 Induction

On Thursday evening, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2011.  The Hall of Fame’s 8th class includes: Bill Bergey, Biz Mackey, Curt Simmons, Dawn Staley, Ed and Steve Sabol, Jimmy Dykes, Joe McCarthy, Moses Malone, Mark Howe, Ora Washington, Ted Meredith, Wilbert Montgomery, Speedy Morris, Al Meltzer and the Penn Relays (Special Enshrinement).  PB102129BCThese chosen athletes have had exceptional careers in their particular sport, either with a Philadelphia team or having grown up in the Philadelphia area and gone on to an outstand sports career elsewhere.

For the Phillies, the highlight of the evening was seeing Curt Simmons be inducted.  Simmons was a left-handed pitcher for the Phillies from 1947-1960 during a 20-year career.  He and Robin Roberts were the aces of the 1950 “Whiz Kids” National League championship team.  Simmons, 82, is the youngest surviving player of that team.

A former Eagles favorite and 3-time team MVP, Bill Bergey was also an inductee this year.  He received an impromptu introduction from his former coach, Dick Vermeil, who was actually in attendance to accept Wilbert Montgomery’s award.  As usual, Vermeil got emotional and struggled through sobs to express his feelings about Bergey.  The two men shared a hug afterwards and Bergey went on to dazzle the crowd with his enthusiasm and humor.

After the ceremony, I spoke with Vermeil about his speech.  He told me, “I just get so emotional over these guys I coached.  I can’t help myself.”  It is refreshing to see a former coach who honestly cares about his players and clearly still holds Philadelphia close to his heart.  Vermeil maintains his permanent residence in Chester County and is a regular attendee at these events.

111011 Bergey Vermeil

One of the best moments of the evening was watching Mark Howe accept this honor in front of his father, Gordie Howe, who is regarded as the best hockey player in history.  Both men are now members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto; Mark is part of their 2011 class.  Mark Howe played for the Flyers from 1982-1992 during which he was a finalist for the Norris Trophy 3 times. 

Father and son spent most of the night signing autographs and posing for photos.  But during all the flash bulbs popping, Gordie Howe paused for a moment to hand me some flowers that he accidentally pilfered from a table arrangement.  And that was my personal highlight of the evening.  Flowers from Mr. Hockey…wow.

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The evening featured many other great moments, including a video presentation by Bill Cosby on behalf of the Penn Relays.  Representative for the Penn Relays were excited about the honor and posed together for a photo after receiving their award.

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There were a few notable absences from the event.  Ed and Steve Sabol were unable to attend so Greg Cosell, an NFL Films producer for 31 years, accepted on their behalf.  Moses Malone, former 76ers great, NBA Hall of Famer and 3-time MVP, was also absent.

In addition to the inductees, there were many sportswriters, former players, coaches and other friends of Philadelphia sports there to support the newest members of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.  You can see some of those people plus the inductees here in my Photo Album from the event and order prints, if you wish.

In all, the 2011 induction was a great success.  Congratulations to all of the inductees!

If you have any questions about the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame or about future events, visit their web site, contact@phillyhall.net or call 215-923-5121.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Announced

Earlier today, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2010.  This 7th class for the Hall will be officially inducted during a ceremony which will take place on Thursday, November 11. 2010.  These chosen athletes have had exceptional careers in their particular sport, either with a Philadelphia team or having grown up in the Philadelphia area and gone on to an outstand sports career elsewhere.

Here are the inductees:

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Several inductees were present at the press conference and spoke with the media.  Closer Tug McGraw played 10 years with the Phillies and is best known for recording the final out of the 1980 World Series.
P7145453k.jpgSadly, McGraw passed away in 2004 from a brain tumor.   His son, Mark McGraw, who currently works as an actor, was there to speak on his behalf. 

Mark McGraw said, “Well I think you all know how much my Dad loved the city of Philadelphia and especially the fans.  And to be honored into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is an honor for our family, it’s an honor for our Tug McGraw Foundation and Team McGraw which continues on Tug’s legacy and (pause), excuse me, it’s a bit emotional for me, and a very proud moment for Tug if he was here.  And we’re very excited to be honored and representing our father and Tug McGraw into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and we thank them very much.”


P7145439c.jpgFormer Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Mike Quick, also spoke at the press conference.  Quick played 9 seasons for the Eagles and still lives in the area.  He noted that he has been in Philadelphia for 30 years now, which is longer than his time in North Carolina where he grew up.  “To me now, this (Philadelphia) is really home,” Quick said, “My kids grew up here, I became a man here and I am very pleased that the Hall of Fame had decided to invite me as one of the inductees.”


P7145444e.jpgPhil Jasner
is a writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and currently covers the 76ers.  He is to be awarded the “Legacy of Excellence” award and induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for an outstanding career as a sports journalist.  Jasner also grew up in the area and graduated from Temple University.  Always entertaining, Jasner did not disappoint today saying, “I asked Marcia, my life partner, if she’d still love me when I’m old and miserable.  And she said, ‘Of course I do.'”

But the real highlight of the day for me personally was having the opportunity to speak with former Phillie, Dick Allen.  Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-1969 and 1975-1976.  He earned the NL “Rookie of the Year” award in 1964 and was a 3-time All-Star with the Phillies.  His early career in Philadelphia was marred by several personal incidents.

Allen played during a time when racism was still prominent in America and certainly, in baseball.  Allen was subjected to racial slurs and taunting by both fans and fellow players.  In 1965, he got into a fight with a white teammate, Frank Thomas.  Thomas hit Allen in the shoulder with a bat and was released the next day.  Fans blamed Allen for the dismissal of Thomas and his problems were only exasperated by his own temper and demeanor, which were often seen as negative.

However, when I spoke with Allen today after the press conference, I saw a kind, gentle human being with a great sense of humor.  Allen asked if I was going to take his picture and I told him I would.
P7145461n.jpgHe then pinched me on the arm, winked and told me, “You are such a pretty girl, I should be taking your picture.” Ok, so I’ll take flattery wherever I can get it.  But that aside, Allen stayed to speak with reporters for an extended time after the press conference and was gracious and forthcoming with everyone he spoke to.

When asked about his difficulties back in the 60’s, Allen said, “Mother sat me down and had a long talk with me,” and went on to say his mother also taught him about the importance of forgiveness.  Another question arose about the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Many think Allen should be in the Hall, but may have been snubbed because of his earlier temperament.  Allen’s numbers certainly warrant a bid to the Hall.  Allen’s career stats include a batting average of .292, a slugging % of .534, and his on-base % was 378.

When asked about a possible bid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Allen said, “I don’t even know how that works.  Maybe politics or something like that. I don’t know.  I think everything speaks for itself.  Possibly had I been a little kinder to some of the writers or maybe the right persons along the way, I don’t know.”  But ultimately, he said has always been at peace with everything.  Allen stated, “I played it all and gave it my heart so I am particularly enjoying this,” referring to his Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction.

I particularly enjoyed meeting and speaking with Mr. Allen.  I would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to me.  I would also like to thank all the other attendees and especially the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me to the press conference.  Congratulations to all the inductees!

For more information on the PSHOF, visit www.phillyhall.org.

 Here is the full Photo Album from the press conference.

Photosby Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Golf Classic

This past Tuesday, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame hosted their 4th annual Golf Classic at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club.  The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philly sports history which inducts new members annually. 

The golf event was attended by many Philadelphia stars, including former Phillies, Flyers, 76ers and Eagles, along with broadcasters and other special guests.  I was asked to be the photographer for the event, which was in honor of the memory of Harry Kalas.  This is a tribute table with a few of Harry’s belongings and memorabilia:


P6012679a.jpgThe day included a putting contest, lunch, shotgun golf round, live and silent auctions, a million dollar hole-in one contest and the “High Hopes” reception and dinner.  Much of the time was spent by chatting with VIP guests as well as enjoying the golf course.  By the way, former Phillie Darren Daulton promised me the Phillies would be snapping out of their current funk very soon.  I am holding him to that.

From top to bottom, left to right, here is Darren along with Greg Luzinski, Terry Harmon, Andy Ashby, Tyler Green, Mike Mamula (former Eagle), someone I do not know and Dickie Noles.  If you know who the mystery guest is, feel free to let me know ;o)


Former Phillies.jpgOther sports were represented as well.  This next photo collage includes former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, former Eagles player Chuck Bednarik who was showing me his bent finger, former Eagles Eddie Khayat and Vince Papale and former Flyer, Bernie Parent, possibly the most entertaining man on the planet.  If you have never met Bernie, you are missing out on a real treat.  The man is a ball of energy and funnier than most professional comedians:

 

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I have tons of other photos which show many other big stars from the day and all of the events that went on.  Feel free to check that out.  Thanks to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me!  It was a memorable day.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

PSWA Banquet 2010

On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ.  The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area.  The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us.  This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry.  This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father.  I have video of the speech that you can watch below. 

The photos below show the empty seat that was left in Harry’s honor right next to the podium, Todd Kalas speaking and a friend of Harry’s who sung “High Hopes.”PSWA Harry.jpg

The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion.  The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.”  Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.

The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.

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The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel.  Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie.  Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor.  Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:

http://www.facebook.com/v/285597867858

There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:

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We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s.  Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid. 

The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others.  The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site.  I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.

The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures.  His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical.  Take a look:

http://www.facebook.com/v/286085147858

And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia.  The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O) 

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If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.

Photos by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

 

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