Phillies Notes from a Weekend of Indifference: You've Got to Read How Ryan Howard Broke His Toe

Phillies Notes from a Weekend of Indifference: You've Got to Read How Ryan Howard Broke His Toe

If you're a die-hard, you've probably been keeping close tabs on the Phillies even as this season winds down. We know a healthy number of you tuned out to some extent though, certainly since they were officially eliminated from postseason play on Friday, if not much earlier.

Well, the Fightins were plugging along in Miami anyway over the weekend -- those of them who are still healthy enough to go on at least. You see, Ryan Howard's season ended a little earlier than anticipated on Saturday. Officially, the slugger has a broken toe, which is true of course.

But really, it's because he's clumsy.

Before an at bat on Thursday, Howard was swinging one of those heavy, metallic practice bats in the on-deck circle. The pipe slipped out of his hand, as he put it (another phrasing would be he dropped it), and landed right on his big toe resulting in a hairline fracture.

"It hurt."

You don't say.

It's not exactly Adam Eaton stabbing himself with a knife while trying to open a DVD, or Hunter Pence walking into and shattering a glass door. And we can all laugh about it now since it's not expected to impact his offseason. Just, you know, be careful.

Halladay's, Hamels', Cloyd's Seasons Over; Cole Sets Personal Milestone

There was some debate as to whether Roy Halladay was going to, or should for that matter, make his final start of the season on Saturday. He did, but it was nothing memorable.

One week after his worst outing as a Phillie where he allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings of work versus the Braves, Doc's performance to close out his 2012 was only modestly better. He was yanked after five-plus, surrendering four, but managing to come away with his 11th win thanks to a nine-run outburst from his mates.

Still, the last two starts jumped Halladay's ERA from 4.03 to 4.49, his highest figure since 2000.

Cole Hamels also made his final appearance of the year on Sunday, setting the bar even higher for 2013 and beyond. With a 4-1 victory, the Phils wound up taking two of three off of the Marlins, with Hamels raising his season win total to 17, a personal best. Afterwards, Charlie Manuel was adamant the lefty can top that, too.

"Without a doubt, before his career is over, he’ll win 20. I’m still looking for him to have a really big year, 22, 24 wins. It’s in there. Things just have to go his way."

Two great pitchers, perhaps heading in two remarkably different directions. Hamels finished with a 3.05 ERA and 216 strikeouts, figures bolstered by seven frames on one-run ball on Sunday.

Finally, 25-year-old Tyler Cloyd will not start Tuesday's game as scheduled, with Ruben Amaro citing the tank is on E. Cloyd went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA over his first six big league starts. No word yet on who gets the ball for Tuesday in the send-off series at Washington.

Baylor introduces Matt Rhule as head coach with campus celebration

Baylor introduces Matt Rhule as head coach with campus celebration

WACO, Texas -- Matt Rhule views his new job at Baylor as a calling, and with the passion of a pastor delivered a message of moving forward with the Bears.

The son of a minister and football coach, Rhule was formally introduced Wednesday as coach at the world's largest private Baptist university, and a Big 12 Conference program that has dealt with the fallout of a scandal.

"When the call came to come here, we came," Rhule said, talking for more than 15 minutes after being introduced to a crowd about 2,000 Baylor supporters. "And we came because we have one purpose ... to develop and work with these young people. I'm here to coach football, and I'm here to be the best partner that I can for Baylor."

The 41-year-old Rhule got a seven-year contract from Baylor after back-to-back 10-win seasons at Temple, where he spent 10 of the past 11 seasons. On the same day he was introduced in Waco, Rhule ran full-page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer thanking Temple University, Owls fans and the city of Philadelphia.

His immediate task at Baylor is to start recruiting since the Bears, already with a depleted roster, have only one player verbally committed for signing day in February. There are only days before a quiet period in recruiting starts Monday.

"Kids are reaching out left and right, they want to come to Baylor," Rhule said after the formal introduction. "They just needed some answers first."

After a search with many rumored candidates, athletic director Mack Rhoades said Rhule, who the AD knew from his days at Houston and in the same conference with Temple, was the "only person we offered the job to."

Rhoades, who became Baylor's AD in August, said he texted Rhule after Temple beat Navy last weekend to congratulate him on winning the American Athletic Conference title. They later met, and Rhoades said it took only about 30 minutes before he knew in his gut, his heart and his mind that he had found the Bears new coach.

"This is a strong leader," Rhoades said. "This is somebody with great vision who's going to demand excellence, demand accountability. I love the toughness. So it was all of those things wrapped up."

Acting head coach Jim Grobe got a standing ovation when he was introduced.

Grobe and his staff, assistants retained from former coach Art Briles' staff, will coach the Bears (6-6) when they take on Boise State in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27, the same day Temple plays Wake Forest in the Military Bowl.

Rhule becomes the full-time replacement for two-time Big 12 champion coach Briles, who was dismissed after a scathing report over the university's handling of sexual assault complaints, including some against football players.

An investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm determined that the school mishandled assault claims for years. The firm's report in May led to the immediate suspension of Briles, who had eight years left on his contract and reached an undisclosed settlement with the school a month later.

A former Penn State linebacker (1994-97) under Joe Paterno, Rhule said the possibility of NCAA sanctions for Baylor weren't even an issue for him.

"Just having lived through that at my alma mater, you never know what has to happen, what's going to happen," Rhule said. "I think I just trust our leadership and say, whatever happens, these kids need a good coach. I think I can be that coach for them."

Rhule, a professed Christian, was wearing a newly purchased green tie for the introduction that Baylor called a campus celebration.

The football team sat in section near the raised podium where Rhule spoke.

As for putting together a coaching staff, Rhule said he had about 480 text messages within two hours after his hiring had been announced. He said he hadn't had a chance to meet yet with the current Baylor assistants, and didn't rule out the possibility of some being retained.

NCAA president Mark Emmert 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

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Associated Press

NCAA president Mark Emmert 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

NEW YORK -- NCAA President Mark Emmert says he is pleased to see how well Penn State's football team has bounced back from the sanctions the program received in 2012 after the Sandusky scandal.

No. 5 Penn State (11-2) is having its best season since Jerry Sandusky, a longtime assistant of late Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno, was arrested in 2011 for sexually abusing boys. The Nittany Lions won their last nine games and the Big Ten title.

"I think it's terrific," said Emmert, who spoke at an intercollegiate athletics forum sponsored by Learfield Communications on Wednesday in Manhattan.

"I think what Penn State went through is an awful situation and it's still playing out sadly. But the football program is still Penn State and they showed it and they did really well. The university has done an amazing job to put in place all of the things their board wanted and our board wanted."

The NCAA went outside its usual process to sanction Penn State in 2012. The school was hit with massive scholarship limitations and a four-year bowl ban, along with fines. The school also agreed to enact dozens of reforms recommended in a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the scandal.

The original scholarship and postseason penalties were eventually rolled back. Emmert said he was pleased the roll back helped Penn State recover more quickly, and that NCAA sanctions are not meant to cripple an athletic program.

"I've always said and always believed that Penn State first and foremost is a great university ... and secondly it's got wonderful sports traditions. How could you not be pleased that they're playing good football again? That's very good stuff," he said.

Emmert covered numerous topics in a 30-minute question-and-answer session, and after he spoke with group of reporters for 15 more minutes.

-- He declined to weigh in on whether the College Football Playoff selection committee made the right decision with the four teams it chose to compete for the national championship, but he did say he would prefer an eight-team playoff that would include automatic bids for the Power Five conference champions.

"I think a conference championship ought to count for something. I think how you determine your champion is up to somebody else," Emmert said. "I'd like to see all five of the conference champions get in the playoff."

The NCAA has no authority over the College Football Playoff.

"That's why we live in America. Everybody can have an opinion," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany joked, when asked about Emmert's comments. "He doesn't have a vote, though."

-- Emmert said he would like to see the new NCAA football oversight committee better define the purpose of bowl games. There are 40 and some spots are given to teams with sub.-500 records. The NCAA does not run bowl games. It does have a sanctioning process, but mostly it lets conferences decide whether they want to put on games.

"What do we, the membership of intercollegiate athletics, want bowl games to be?" Emmert said. "Are they a 13th game that's an exhibition game? Are they a reward for having won something? We have teams in now that can get into a bowl game having won two or three of their conferences games."

-- The NCAA pulled its championship events out of North Carolina in September because of a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. The decision was later criticized by Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins in an Wall Street Journal op-ed. Jenkins said the NCAA should not be a moral arbiter.

"He and I have chatted a lot about that issue, and obviously I disagree and obviously, more importantly the board of governors disagreed," Emmert said.
The NCAA will choose sites for future championship events in April and part of that is a "fairly complex process," Emmert said, of looking at the local and state laws of potential host locations.

"One of the considerations we have now as we make those decisions, as the sport committees make decisions about where they go, is going to be LGBT rights," he said. "I think and hope and believe, maybe wishfully, that North Carolina will modify their position because citizens want that."

-- Emmert said the Big 12 deciding not to expand was a "good thing for college sports."

"I think the last round was very disruptive. It had a negative impact on so many schools, even personal relationships. It was hard and I'm glad we didn't have to go through that again. Even on a smaller scale," Emmert said.