And They're Back: Phish Returns to Philly

And They're Back: Phish Returns to Philly

"I'll tell you something, cause I play in a lot of towns, it's not just
that I grew up around here, but Philly has an ENERGY. It's different
every time I come, man. It's undeniable. The undeniable Philly energy."

-Trey Anastasio at the Tower Theatre in 2005 (Free>My Friend, My Friend>NICU, acoustic download)

For the first time in six years, Phish will play in the fine city of Philadelphia this evening, filling the Wachovia Center for two nights. As long time readers know, Phish is one of our things. It just is. Some of you hate it and that's fine, but there's an interesting intersection of hardcore Phish fans and Philly sports fans.

I was going through the impossible task of trying to "explain Phish" the other day to my special lady friend who adamantly hates the band from Vermont for no good reason other than hating for hating's sake. I obviously couldn't*, but I did come up with a parallel I thought apt. One of the things that is so great about Phish fans is their knowledge and geekery surrounding the band. If you meet and talk to a hardcore Phish fan, they've seen the band countless times, and can rattle off setlists from shows 8 years ago like they're telling you what they had for dinner last night. It's kind of like talking to hardcore Philly sports fans about their teams.

Much like fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, the boys from Vermont actually spent most of their childhood in the Jerz and love playing shows in Philly.

While Phish technically hasn't played in the city of Philadelphia in quite some time, they did play a rockin' show in Camden this summer, arguably the best show since their triumphant return in March. But seeing Phish play in the shadow of the Spectrum, the place I saw my first show back in 1996, should be awesome.

Here's video of Trey talking about his memories at the Spectrum and here's a customized Trey Flyers jersey at one of his shows.

Not enough of a Philly angle? Here's a video from Phish's Festival 8 which took place during the World Series in California. They played the Phillies-Yankees game on the big screen on Halloween and the place was mobbed with Phillies fans we are told. You must wait until the very end of the clip to see how the Phillie Phanatic made an appearance. (Thanks to reader Asher for the video)

*you can't reason with a hater, and hell, go watch Twilight or something, nobody is forcing you to listen to our favorite music

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Like when sporting events finish in a tie? Of course you do. That’s why the NHL scrapped ties in favor of a skills competition back in 2005, or why Major League Baseball awarded home-field advantage in the World Series to the winning side of an exhibition game for 14 years. Yeah, folks love ties.

Well, if you’re the type who enjoys a good tie or a long smooch with your sister, the NFL has a rule change made just for you. Because the end result of reducing overtime from 15 minutes to 10 during the regular season will inevitably be more contests that end without deciding a winner.

Why? The league offered some hollow-sounding excuse built around player safety and competitive balance. Teams that play an additional five minutes in the extra period, then turn around and play again on a short week -- think Monday to Sunday, or worse, Sunday to Thursday -- are at a disadvantage, while the health of the players are at greater risk.

Whether there was any tangible evidence five more minutes can really have a serious effect on the following week is unclear. It sure doesn’t seem like that would make a world of difference. The only thing we can say for certain is the end result will be more ties.

Even under the previous rule, the NFL managed to have two games end in ties in 2016, which are two more than anybody would prefer. Yet, four more games went deeper than 10 minutes into overtime, according to Jonathan Jones for Sports Illustrated, and while not all were necessarily guaranteed to finish in a tie under the change, the likelihood obviously increases.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say there were two more ties in ’16, bringing the total to four. That still isn’t a huge number, but even two is atypical. Most years, there are one, or none at all. Now, the frequency is guaranteed to increase.

Does that matter? Maybe not. A few extra ties are unlikely to turn off viewers. In fact, a case can be made overtime will be more exciting with the clock coming into play more often. Ties also lead to some interesting situations in the standings, and can inject slightly more intrigue into playoff races late in the year.

None of which is going to change the fact that ties are inherently a bad thing and people despise them. The NHL and MLB both came up with rule changes that would avoid ties, each of which had a major impact on the very landscape of the sports. Yet, while competitors are getting away from ties, the NFL has decided to invite more.

Again, it’s worth pointing out the reasoning seems bogus. If competitive balance and player safety are issues, teams wouldn’t have to turn around and play on Thursday four days after a Sunday game in the first place.

The NFL’s overtime rules were already imperfect. Shortening the length of the period is unlikely to fix inherent problems with the sudden-death system -- namely a team winning the game on the possession immediately following the coin flip. Instead, we simply have another round of valid complaints to look forward to on the horizon.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.