Gallery: Bradley Maule Documents the Phillies-Mariners Weekend Series

Gallery: Bradley Maule Documents the Phillies-Mariners Weekend Series

One of our favorite Philly blogs of all time was PhillySkyline, a thoughtful and eye-opening perspective on Philadelphia through the eyes of Bradley Maule. Brad has moved to Portland, Oregon, but fortunately, we still get to keep up via the powers of the Internets (he still maintains a nice presence at Maule of America). Recently back in Philly for a short trip, he reminded us what a great eye he has for the things we see (and don't always appreciate) every day. After Brad returned to Portland, we found out he'd be making the trip up to Seattle in part to see the Phillies play there this past weekend, and we asked if he wouldn't mind sharing the experience here. These are his words, and his amazing pictures. Be sure to click on the top right image for the entire 22 photo gallery.

You know, it's a drag that the Mariners took two of three from the Phillies over the weekend, but you have to admit that it was a great series of baseball. Beating defending Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez was a thrill, but doing so seemed to mess up their timing against garbage ball lefty Jason Vargas on Sunday. That dude, who made his MLB debut at Citizens Bank Park in the late innings of a Phillies 13-7 win over the Marlins in 2005, somehow baffled the Phils for a three hit, complete game shutout, his second in the past month.

Nevertheless, it was great to watch the Fightins out here in the Pacific Northwest. It wasn't quite Citizens Bank Park West, but there was a nice smattering of red across an unusually packed Safeco Field. Or should I say Shaneco Field, at least for Saturday night. Victorino finished a single short of the cycle as he led the charge in the 5-1 win.

I get the impression that Mariners fans are not unlike Pirates fans: they're good and knowledgeable baseball people, but they're sick and tired of losing. But, they're now a half game out of first, and in addition to King Felix and Ichiro, young bucks like Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley have the potential to put butts in seats like they haven't seen since the days of Junior and Buhner (each of whose jerseys were well represented, as well as Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez . . . no A-Rods though).

Seattle is the farthest-away opponent the Phillies have to play (according to The Internet, San Diego is 2,365 miles from Philadelphia and Seattle is 2,371), and they never do well in interleague play anyway, so they get a pass for losing 2 of 3 to an AL West team. They still have the best record in baseball -- the best in the NL by a full five games -- and they're heading into RyHo's hometown to play a Pujols-less Cardinals team.

Here is a handful of photos from Saturday night's 5-1 win, notable for a solid, Vic-led win over Felix, Ackley's first MLB homerun, and especially Michael Stutes' first MLB victory in his native Northwest. The Portland native was a member of Oregon State's back-to-back championship team.

Peace out from the rainy baseball land of clam strips & chips and Hale's Ales. Go Phils!

Many thanks to Brad for the great photos.

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."