Philly vs. Boston: Our thoughts on both towns


Philly vs. Boston: Our thoughts on both towns

The Celtics-Sixers wars of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The Flyers' dethroning the Bruins as the NHL's best team in the '70s. The Patriots and Eagles meeting in the Super Bowl.

You may not think of Boston and Philadelphia as athletic rivals, but there is a history and a long one between the cities. We're especially aware of it now, with the Celtics and Sixers battling (again) in the playoffs and the Red Sox and Phillies meeting in interleague play.

And it got us thinking ... What do people in Philadelphia think of when they think of Boston? And how about the people in Boston when they think of Philadelphia?

We asked members of our staff and that of CSN New England for their answers. Feel free to provide yours (and please keep it clean).

When I think of Boston, I think of ...

John Gonzalez, columnist
I think of Mayor Tom Menino. He is the last of the old school big city bosses. Menino has been in office since 1993, but his charm has less to do with his electibility than his frequent public gaffes. My favorite Meninoism -- and there have been many, as any Bostonian knows -- came two years ago during a dedication ceremony for the Bobby Orr statue the Bruins planted outside TD Garden.

During a speech, Menino -- fondly known as Mumbles -- said that Boston has remarkable athletes whose actions have become "ionic." That part was good. The next part was even better: "Havlicek stole the ball. Fisk waving the ball fair. Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass. Varitek splitting the uprights.

Last anyone checked, former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek hadn't split any uprights. That's Menino. It was just one of his many "ionic" moments.

Tim Panaccio, Flyers Insider
When I think of Boston, I think of the North End, the best collection of Italian restaurants in the U.S. in one place. I think of Marriott's Custom House since I am a Marriott timeshare owner. Think of Long Wharf and Faneuil Hall and the waterfront. Then the Bruins and Celtics and Bill Russell, plus my friends who all love in Hopkington. I love Boston. Always have, always will. I just hate their winters, which is why I could never live there. I don't think of the Patriots because I hate what Bill Belichick stands for.
Jim Salisbury, Phillies Insider

When I think of Boston, I think of Yaz, my favorite all-time player, I think of Bobby Orr making a rink-long rush, I think of Stan Jonathan, beating the dawg out of Pierre Bouchard (Jonathan was the best fighter I've ever seen), I think of Pudge waving the ball fair ... I am a native New Englander but have been in Philly for a long time. Love both places.

Reuben Frank, columnist

I'd love to be able to say that when I think of Boston I think of the Sixers beating the Celtics in the 1982 Eastern Conference finals or the Flyers beating the Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup finals or the Eagles beating the Patriots in the ... well, never mind. Truth is, when I think of Boston, I think of walking around Faneuil Hall with my daughter. I think of the fine restaurants in the North End. I think of seeing Charlie Chesterman and Sourpatch at the Middle East nightclub the night after an Eagles preseason game in Foxboro.

I think of a stranger and his cute daughter who were visiting Boston College buying me drinks and dinner at the Cask 'n Flagon across the street from Fenway in 1999 after they found out I'd driven up from Philly to Boston for a Red Sox-Yankees playoff game that got rained out. I think of long, rainy, peaceful Sunday runs along the Charles River when I spent the summer in Boston before my senior year of college. Because we might hate Boston's teams. But it's impossible to hate Boston.

When I think of Philly, I think of ...

A. Sherrod Blakely, Celtics Insider

Santa Claus being pelted with snowballs in 1968. It was before my time, but as a kid who grew up in the 1980s and loved the Eagles (Mike Quick and Ken Clarke were my favorite players), it was pretty sad for me to see hear the tales of how they were just drilling Kris Kringle.

But if you know the story . . . the Santa they had scheduled was a no-show, so they pulled this teenager out of the stands who had a ratty looking Santa outfit on; the weather was horrible and the team sucked, as in '12 Indianapolis Colts sucking. Only problem? They started winning games, so they lost out on drafting O.J. Simpson.

So the last thing they wanted to see on this miserable day during a miserable season was a miserable looking Santa Claus.

But it set the stage for me being like most Philly fans -- passionate about sports, even if at times it's displaced.

Tom E. Curran, Patriots Insider

Well, naturally, I think of The Doors. Right there at the 2:25 mark on that You Tube clip, you'll hear the six words that lodged in my head when I was about 13 and have never left.

"Hey Philadelphia . . . do you FEEL all right?!"

That's what I think of first. First because Jim Morrison beckoned in a way that seemed to presume he was speaking to the entire living, breathing city.

That and because the word "Philadelphia" is right up there with my favorite place names along with Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Cincinnati and Saskatoon. So that's what I think of first.

But when I heard of Philadelphia first, Kiki Dee and Elton John were begging us through the power of AM radio to allow Philadelphia Freedom to shine on them. And that was fine. I think I first sensed a Philly-Boston rivalry in 1976 when the country and all us third graders were overrun by all things Bicentennial and we heard about the roles played in Philadelphia, Washington, New York and Boston. I know a lot of stuff went down in Philly, but I felt a little house proud that we got things started.

Sports-wise? I was peeved that Bobby Jones, George McGinnis and Dr. J beat the Celtics in the playoffs and happy as hell that they lost to the Trail Blazers. And Andrew Toney was the first villain from an opposing team I remember wanting to be just like as I copied his straight-out-from-the-forehead jumper on my dirt court out back in Pembroke, Mass.

I remember imitating Dave Zinkoff and kicking a leg out like Lloyd Free when I shot and loving Wilbert Montgomery and buying a Harold Carmichael jersey because he caught passes in 117 straight games.

I guess I remember a lot of things because, from the time I realized the world extended beyond Boston and Massachusetts in which there were other cities and other pale, freckle-faced kids screaming for their teams too, Philly's always swirled in my mind along with New York and Baltimore. Places that had a personality.

Joe Haggerty, Bruins Insider

A rabid fan base that takes it way over the line far too often. Everybody knows the stories of Phillies fans throwing batteries at J.D. Drew after he spurned them following the draft or Eagles fans famously booing Santa Claus.

But perhaps the Flyers fans have behaved worst of them all in recent years, and give a glimpse at the fanatical sports following in the City of Brotherly Love.

Three years ago when the Flyers and Canadiens battled in the Eastern Conference Finals, a group of Flyers fans destroyed a car in the Wells Fargo Center parking lot with Quebec license plates. The car belonged to Montreal Gazette columnist Pat Hickey, who had to figure out a way to get back to Canada when his car was severely damaged by the fans.

The idiot fans were eventually nabbed because they brazenly bragged about their acts of sports vandalism on Facebook.

Just this past season a New York Rangers fan was pummeled badly at Philadelphias landmark steak-and-cheese joints (Pats and Genos) after the Flyers fell short in the Winter Classic. In the interest of full disclosure, Im more of a Tony Lukes guy myself. But once again the video detailing the assault was posted on YouTube, and ended up assisting the police in catching the Flyers fanassailant.

So weve learned two lessons here: Philly fans are as passionate as you can get sometimes to their detriment. Theyre also unable to get away with their Philly fan gone wrong act these days in the age of mighty social media.

Sean McAdam, Red Sox Insider

The end of the Bruins' dynasty. Losing to the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals in 1974 marked the end of the Big, Bad Bruins. Fred Shero had an innovative game plan which involved the Flyers' forwards aggressively attacking Bobby Orr and Bernie Parent was brilliant in goal.

Ever since, any mention of Kate Smith or the Spectrum brings back bad memories. My one and only visit to the Spectrum came at a Springsteen show in October 2009, shortly before it closed for good. I was amazed at how small it felt.
Rich Levine, Author of CSNNE.coms blog, Standing Room Only

For me, it's Labor Day 2003. On this particular year, the holiday fell on Sept. 1 Moving Day. But believe me, no one in Boston moved a thing until the Sox were done with a random, ridiculous and obviously memorable interleague make-up game against the Phillies at the Vet.

Philly had scored three runs in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead, but the Sox exploded for six runs in the top of the ninth highlighted by Trot Nixon's grand slam off Turk Wendell to give Boston the win and kick start its run to the 2003 ALCS. Of course, that season ended in misery, but that random Labor Day comeback is still what I think of when I think Philadelphia. (Second Place: The scene in National Treasure when Nic Cage breaks into Independence Hall to uncover a pair of Ben Franklin's bifocals.)

Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards


Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg (9-0) won his 12th consecutive decision dating to last season, pitching six innings of one-run ball as Washington salvaged a four-game split.

Strasburg improved to 12-0 in 15 starts since losing to the Mets on Sept. 9, and the Nationals have won all 15 of those games. The 12 consecutive winning decisions is a franchise record for a starter, breaking a mark shared by Livan Hernandez (2005) and Dennis Martinez (1989).

Jayson Werth connected for a pinch-hit grand slam. Wilson Ramos had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single during a three-run fourth off Michael Wacha (2-6), who lost his sixth straight decision (see full recap).

Dodgers score twice in 9th to top Mets
NEW YORK -- Adrian Gonzalez snapped a ninth-inning tie with a two-run single off suddenly struggling closer Jeurys Familia, and Los Angeles beat New York.

Curtis Granderson hit a tying triple for the Mets immediately after Clayton Kershaw was lifted with two outs in the eighth. But the Dodgers quickly regrouped for their sixth victory in seven games since losing four straight.

Kershaw struck out 10, walked none and capped a magnificent May with another sublime performance.

Adam Liberatore (1-0) got the win. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Familia (2-1) allowed two runs on two hits and two walks (see full recap).

Castro's homer Yanks' only hit in victory
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Starlin Castro's two-run, seventh-inning homer off Jake Odorizzi was the Yankees' only hit of the game, enough to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

According to Baseball Reference data going back to 1913, the Yankees' only other one-hit win was when Charlie Mullen had an RBI single to beat Cleveland in six innings in a doubleheader nightcap on July 10, 1914.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-2) gave up one run and six hits in six innings to win his career-best fifth consecutive start and beat Odorizzi (2-3).

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a perfect inning and combined for seven strikeouts. Chapman got his seventh save (see full recap).

Deitrich hurt on odd play in Marlins' win over Braves
ATLANTA -- Derek Dietrich hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and drove in four runs before getting hurt on a foul ball hit into Miami's dugout.

Dietrich's homer landed deep in the lower section of the right-field seats in the sixth, giving Miami a 3-1 lead. A former Georgia Tech star, Dietrich added a two-run double off Eric O'Flaherty in the seventh inning, then was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in the ninth.

The team said X-rays were negative and Dietrich was to remain in Atlanta on Sunday night for further evaluations.

Tom Koehler (3-5) allowed three runs -- two earned -- three hits and five walks in seven-plus innings. Julio Teheran (1-5) gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Correa's home run lifts Astros over Angels in 13
ANAHEIM, Calif.  -- Pinch-hitter Carlos Correa had a three-run homer off Mike Morin (1-1) in the 13th inning.

Correa got a run-scoring hit in the 13th inning for the second time in six games, following up his game-ending single against Baltimore on Tuesday.

Albert Pujols had three hits for the Angels, who blew an eighth-inning lead and stranded 14 runners while losing for the fourth time in five games.

Michael Feliz (3-1) pitched the 12th for Houston (see full recap).

Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff


Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

It doesn't sound like the Sixers' replacement for Mike D'Antoni will be the most rumored name for the position.

NBA coaching veteran P.J. Carlesimo has decided to not join Brett Brown's staff as associate head coach and instead will remain a television analyst, according to tweets Sunday night by ESPN's Mark Stein.

Stein added that despite "strong mutual interest," Carlesimo made the decision for family reasons.

The 67-year-old Carlesimo has spent parts of nine seasons as a head coach in the league and five more as an assistant. He was last on a NBA bench when he took over as the Brooklyn Nets' interim head coach in 2012-13.

So the Sixers still have a vacancy on their bench after D'Antoni, who joined the Sixers in the middle of last season after Jerry Colangelo joined the organization, signed on to become head coach of the Houston Rockets last week. Who the team's next choice for the role is remains to be seen.

Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins


Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009.

Not that either side is complaining.

Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city.

Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it.

"I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point."

It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making.

General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up.

"I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are."

The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous.

Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration.

True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final.

Fresh faces
When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs.

"HBK" is H-O-T:
Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production.

Powerful Sharks
San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not.

Old men and the C(up)
Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux.

"When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.