Phillies Opening Day 2011: Roy Halladay vs. Brett Myers

Phillies Opening Day 2011: Roy Halladay vs. Brett Myers

The 2011 Phillies have already taken us on a wild ride of emotions this year. And the season starts this afternoon.

The Phillies allegedly won the World Series that Monday evening in
Decemeber when word broke that Cliff Lee was returning to Philadelphia
to pitch for a team he enjoyed and a city his family loves. That was
months before the Fightins became the dregs of the NL East through a
deluge of spring training injuries. Dom Brown's career was over before
it started, they said. Chase Utley's career as an All-Star is finished,
they said. Brad Lidge's arm fell off, allegedly. Placido Polanco's elbow
bends funny. The Phillie Phanatic is so stressed his fur has turned a
funny shade of red. Etcetera, etcetera.

Okay, so most of that is a gross exaggeration, but the Phillies do
have a number of questions marks leading into the most highly
anticipated Phillies season of most of our lives.

"Gotta change those question marks into exclamation marks," says Charlie Manuel.

And that's why the play 'em.

Their understated right fielder was beaming on Tuesday evening when
informed he'd get the opening day start in right and a chance to earn
the everyday role. All Ben Francisco was looking for was an opportunity
to show what he's capable of, and now he's got it. Time to execute, and
despite spring numbers being spring numbers, he showed Charlie Manuel
and the rest of the Phillies something at the plate down in Florida.

Wilson Valdez returns to a role he filled adequately last season. He
wasn't flashy at all, and despite being a GDP machine, he was enough of a
stop gap to get this team to the postseason.

Here's your opening day lineup for your Fightin Phils.

As for the opposition today, its the Ed Wade built Houston Astros,
featuring an ex-Phillies opening day starter on the mound in the form of
Brett Myers. The very improved Michael Bourn is the stir to their mock
Philly cocktail and Chris Wheeler's favorite goofy player, Hunter Pence,
bats third in their order.

Of course, Houston doesn't have one of the most potentially
devastating rotations in baseball history. If the Phillies can get
enough out of their lineup until Chase returns (if Chase returns), this
team should return to the postseason. As least season showed us, if you
can get there, it's a whole new ball game. I don't think any Philly fan
would bet against this team, with this rotation, in the playoffs.

But that's months away, with 162 games to be played before they get there. It all starts today.

The snow that turned to rain that turned to drizzle appears to have
stopped for warms ups. No matter. The Doc operates in all types of
weather.

Happy Baseball, Philadelphia.

Temple names Keith Gaither wide receivers coach

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Temple names Keith Gaither wide receivers coach

Temple head coach Geoff Collins on Monday added two new members to his coaching staff.

Keith Gaither will take over as the wide receivers’ coach and Kyle Lane is the new video coordinator. 

Gaither comes to Temple with 21 years of coaching experience. He spent last season as Army's wide receivers coach. Prior to that, he spent time with Tusculum College (1998-99), Thomasville City Schools (2000-04), Winston-Salem State (2005-08), Elon (2009-10) and Ball State (2010-14).

Gaither spent his collegiate career at Elon, where he was a four-year starter and voted all-region at defensive end before graduating in 1997. Collins originally had retained Frisman Jackson from the 2016 staff, but Jackson was hired by the Tennessee Titans. 

Lane is a Temple alum who spent time with Kansas during the 2016 season as its assistant video coordinator. 

Soul sign DL John Sheehy, OL John King

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Soul sign DL John Sheehy, OL John King

The Soul on Monday signed two players from their recent open tryouts, defensive lineman John Sheehy and offensive lineman John King.

Sheehy (6-5, 260), primarily a defensive end at Western Texas A&M, appeared in 13 games with the Buffalos during the 2013 season recording 16.0 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss of 16 yards and 1.5 sacks. He spent his 2014 season and a redshirt because of injury. He returned in the 2015 season posting 25.0 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a total loss of 10 yards and one sack. 

“Finding guys like John is what makes hosting these tryouts well worth the effort,” head coach Clint Dolezel said in a statement. “Getting to the quarterback has to be a priority in arena football and I believe John has the skillset to be a great AFL pass rusher.”

King (6-8, 320) started 34 at Buffalo and was the Bulls' starting right tackle his last two seasons.

“With the addition of John to our offensive line, we will be able to continue our success of leading the league in fewest quarterback sacks," Dolezel said. “Each year we produce at least one All-Arena offensive lineman and I believe John has the qualities to reach that caliber.”