Video: Ball Hawks Battle for Dom Brown's Wet Home Run Ball in McCovey Cove

Video: Ball Hawks Battle for Dom Brown's Wet Home Run Ball in McCovey Cove

Cliff Lee was stupendous on Monday night in San Francisco, commanding the strike zone with pinpoint accuracy. His final line may show a couple of earned runs, but the homer he gave up to Hunter Pence should have been a strikeout for sure. The homeplate ump cleaaaarly missed a would-be third strike and Lee barely even flinched. He had a lead at the time. Still, it's amazing he doesn't get flustered. Whatever, I guess.

[mlbvideo id="26905039" width="640" height="360" /]

The bats got to Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner early, forcing him into bases-loaded jams in both of the first two frames. The Phils came away empty handed in the first but capitalized in the second on a Michael Young double that should have cleared the bases had it not been for Chase Utley stumbling. Two-six would later score on a wild pitch and the Phils took an early 3-0 lead that would prove to be more than enough for Cliff Lee on the evening.

But it was a beast of a home run from Dom Brown that was most highlight-worthy. Brown crushed a Bumgarner offering in the fifth inning that cleared the right field stands and left the ball park entirely, ending up all wet in McCovey Cove. Now, I don't believe the ball actually landed directly in the water straight away, instead it looks like it took a hop off the paved walkway before the Cove, thus not counting as an official "splash hit."

One of my favorite parts was the battle for the ball once it landed in the Bay. If you watch the above video, you can clearly see one ball hawk throw a fishing-style apparatus that appears to be made for the sole purpose of retrieving a ball that is bobbing in the water. The intrepid collector is clearly no Bill Dance, however, and missed by mere inches, thus allowing superiorly-equiped kayak person to snag the ball for his own.

It's a game of inches, people. Or 394 feet, depending how you look at it.

The Phils won by the final of 6-2 if you were sleeping.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."