LEGO-like Phillies Toys Exist and They're Both Awful and Amazing

LEGO-like Phillies Toys Exist and They're Both Awful and Amazing

I don’t know about you, but I loved Legos as a kid. I had the castle, I had the pirate ship, I even had a little ice cream truck so the knights & pirates could stop by for creamy treats on the way to more swashbuckling adventures.  Sadly, my love for baseball never had a place in Legoland.  Maybe it should have stayed that way.  This week I discovered that Oyo, who describe themselves as “compatible with brand name building toys” has filled that gap.  Like their off-brand nature, they present the Phillies as represented in Lego Oyo form, to varying degrees of accuracy.

The Outfield

Due to the constraints of the figurine form, Dom Brown and Ben Revere are the same height.  Due to the constraints of not wanting to get too specific about skin color, Dom Brown and Ben Revere are the same complexion.  The “Jr.” is dropped from Mayberry’s name—though his dad never played for the Phillies, the figurine has just the right amount of “generic black guy”ness to make the Fox broadcasting crew disregard that historic tidbit. Righty pull-hitters have it made vs. the Phillies’ defense, as all three outfielders seem only capable of running to Right Field.  There is no figurine for Delmon Young, leaving me to keep searching for the perfect Chanukah present for my nephews.

The Infield


Ryan Howard looks exactly like Dom Brown, right down to the facial hair. Nevermind that there’s like 50 lbs separating them.  Michael Young is just happy to be here, you guys. If he looked any more generic, he’d literally just be a manila envelope wearing a plastic baseball cap.  Jimmy Rollins is probably the coolest of all the not-Lego figurines.  He’s got a sweet goatee, and a smile that says he knows it.

They’ve actually improved on the real Chase Utley, in that his torso can’t twist and strain an oblique.  And based on all that lunging he’s doing, his knees are stronger than ever!  Freddy Galvis is there to fill in for Utley, and introduces a new color of plastic skin—vaguely brown: used for Latin American players not from the Dominican, as well as Shane Victorino.

Catchers

Now that they’ve expanded the line to mascots, it’s only a matter of time til Erik Kratz gets a little plastic turkeypig to talk him through breakfast, right?

I fear I may have buried the lede here, because if you compare 2013 Carlos Ruiz to his 2011 version, it’s clear that he’s taken up tanning and gotten Botox.  Forget ADHD medication, this is the real story!

Pitchers

I can see the resemblance with Roy Halladay’s beard, but I really can’t get what they’re going for with Cliff Lee. That’s not even his hair color, and he looks downright dastardly. What’s even more confusing is that his earlier iteration had lighter (and more accurate) facial hair. They’ve gone all Brian Wilson on him, and I don’t know why. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels has impeccable eyebrows, and that’s about as far as the resemblance goes.  There is no Kyle Kendrick because I guess the Oyo’s aren’t buying the hype. And there’s no fifth starter because the less said about that, the better.

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Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dougie Hamilton scored 1:09 into overtime, Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in a chippy game filled with big hits and multiple fights.

Hamilton capped a fast-paced overtime by deking Arizona's Mike Smith with a forehand before flipping in a backhander. Calgary has won five straight and eight of 11 (8-2-1).

Max Domi scored before leaving with an upper-body injury and Smith stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six straight and 11 of 14 (3-7-4).

Arizona captain Shane Doan became Arizona's all-time assist leader and is the fifth player in NHL history to own his team's records for games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins roll over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight and five of their past six.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers. Luongo allowed three goals on Pittsburgh's first five shots.

Panthers coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses (see full recap).

Price loses cool as Habs beat Devils
MONTREAL -- Carey Price lost his temper after being bumped twice in his crease and made 19 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Torrey Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.

Adam Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Montreal had a season-high 49 shots on Cory Schneider.

A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown (see full recap).