During Charlie Manuel's regular pregame powwow with reporters this afternoon, the topic of ballplayers with the best arm arose. Mark Whiten, Dave Parker, and Ichiro were all mentioned.
"Roger Maris had a good arm," Manuel said.
Charlie was then asked if he ever remembered anyone in particular throwing him out going from first to third.
"Naw, I was so fast," Charlie joked.
This prompted one writer to break out his iPhone and Google players throughout history with the most outfield assists.
Charlie saw the iPhone and suggested while the writer was Googling meaningless baseball stats, why not also look up Virginia State Marble Championship results from… oh… 1955 or 1956 or so.
According to Manuel, he won the Virginia State Championship in Marbles as a sixth grader. Apparently it rained that day, and instead of playing on grass outdoors as usual, the contest was moved inside and was played on concrete, a surface Charlie had never played on before.
Didn't matter. Winners win no matter the circumstances.
And I don't believe anyone followed up by asking Charlie if he knew where his marbles currently were.
We attempted to Google the results of the State Championship of Marbles in Virginia but our limited research proved unfruitful. If you have any information on marble champions, we'd love to hear it.
The Eagles on Monday signed defensive tackle Justin Hamilton to a futures contract.
Hamilton, 23, went undrafted in 2015 but spent time with both the Bills and Packers. This past season, he spent six different stints on the Seahawks' practice squad, constantly being waived then re-signed.
He has never played in an NFL game.
Hamilton played collegiately at Louisiana-Lafayette, where he totaled 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in four years. He was First Team All-Sun Belt as a senior.
The Eagles have signed 15 players to reserves/futures contracts this month.
NEW YORK — Ron Hextall admitted there’s a bit of a double-edged sword to Claude Giroux.
“I think he’s pressing too hard,” Hextall said before Sunday night’s game. “It’s what you like about him; there’s a few guys like that. You like that [competitiveness] about them, but sometimes you become your own worst enemy because they beat themselves up.”
The captain was entering the day with a goal drought of 12 games, his longest since Oct. 2-Nov. 7, 2013, when he opened the season goalless in 15 contests.
“G wants to be successful at everything,” the general manager said. “Hopefully something good happens for him and he gets rolling. He’s too good of a player to play like this.”
Hextall got his wish.
Nearly four hours later, Giroux buried the game-winning goal of the Flyers’ 3-2 overtime win against the Islanders at the Barclays Center (see game story). Not only did it relieve Giroux of his funk, but it also did the same for the Flyers, who had lost three straight and 12 of their last 15.
"It's been tough the last couple of weeks,” Giroux said. “We know we're a better team.
“Obviously we can still be better but we needed this win tonight.”
And Giroux needed that goal. Over the previous 12 games, the Flyers’ second-leading scorer was a minus-13 with seven assists and just one even-strength point. It’s no coincidence the Flyers went 2-8-2 in those 12 games.
Giroux didn’t disagree with his boss.
“You want to succeed and you want to play the best you can,” he said. “Sometimes you push it a little too much. When you sit back and kind of look at the big picture, sometimes I think that's when you kind of realize you need to relax and just go out there and play.”
Before the game, head coach Dave Hakstol made a change that reaped the rewards. He decided to put Jakub Voracek back on the top line with Giroux and Michael Raffl. Giroux finished with six shots, his most since Dec. 21, while Voracek put up four and assisted the overtime winner.
“Well, I mean there are a lot of things that go into that,” Hakstol said of the move. “Those guys have success together, but more importantly, you look at some of the combinations as you go through the year when you’ve had success. Sometimes one change gives you a little bit of a jump-start. Those guys did a good job.”
Giroux’s goal was emblematic in a way that he simply planted himself in front of the net and tapped in Shayne Gostisbehere’s wraparound pass. There was no highlight-reel deke or miraculous shot.
Keeping it simple — as players often say — did the trick.
"Sometimes you don't need to try so hard,” Giroux said. “You need to go about your job and make sure you do the right things out there. Make sure you help your teammates and linemates. Just go out there and play hockey. We're supposed to have fun doing it, right? So sometimes you need to relax and kind of look at how you can get better.”
Sunday was a start.