The Evster: the Sixers are cool but the Wells Fargo Center still kinda sucks

The Evster: the Sixers are cool but the Wells Fargo Center still kinda sucks

Don't let the Sixers fool you. Despite their bonkers start, this organization is still completely and totally incompetent. I love Evan Turner, and I would jam my tongue into Michael Carter Williams's mouth, and I am almost, almost, almost ready to cheer when Spencer Hawes makes a three-pointer, but this team still has a lot of work to do before I spend my hard earned money on a trip down to the Wells Fargo Center.

Luckily, as a rising internet celebrity, I now get free tickets to games thanks to some guy on Twitter (who I've never met before). Seriously, some random dude gave me free tickets to the season opener vs. the Heat and also to the following week's game vs. the Wizards. It's incredible. He didn't even ask me to send him any barefoot pics or anything (yet). He just gave me the tix, and I went to the games, and snapped a bunch of photos for you sad, pathetic common-folk who still have to pay to attend sporting events because you don't have OVER EIGHT HUNDRED LOYAL TWITTER FOLLOWERS.

So here you go you sorry sack of inbreds: some sweet pics of life down at the Wells Fargo Center as well as some photographic evidence that the Sixers brass still spend most of their time sucking their own butts.

For the season opener vs. the Heat, the Sixers pulled out all the stops, hiring a group of mummers to perform outside the arena. The Mummers got the party started with some timeless ragtime hits while thousands of parents hurried their children through the turnstiles, imploring them to not make eye contact with the sad, weird troll people.

The following Wednesday? Not quite the same fanfare outside the arena, but still a pretty awesome way to greet the fans ...

... with a dumpster parked out front.

Just your standard, black, dirty, disgusting dumpster.

Come on down to the Wells Fargo everyone! Watch your step around the dumpster though. Couldn't move that before the game tonight. Just parked it right out front. Right in front of our multi-million dollar facility. Open the lid and see what you can find in there! Could be a dead mummer!

Aw man, I'm sorry I don't have a better picture of these bozos. These were the DJs hired to PUMP UP THE JAMZ when you first entered the arena. I wish I could remember their names, it was something like DJ Dazzle and his buddy DJ Razzle. Obviously those weren't their names, those are ridiculous names, but it was something like that. DJ Razzle had to be 55 years old. He kept putting his hand down on the DJ table to steady his balance. And yes, that's a Toyota Corolla in the background. They were playing Bruno Mars when I first got there.

This is a "Chicken American" sandwich from Chickie's and Pete's. I figured it'd be a smart move to go with a known Philly entity instead of some Aramark dogisht that'd been sitting under a heat lamp since last seez. Turns out the Chicken American is just three chicken fingers on a seeded roll with no cheese, no tomato and no taste. Very simple. Very basic. VERY American. Oh sorry, it did have a small dipping container of honey mustard sauce along with it though. So there's that. It cost $10.50. I ended up just eating the chicken fingers on their own after developing a severe case of lockjaw from trying to pry my mouth open wide enough to jam it all in there. It was seriously the driest sandwich I've ever eaten. But that's all right, at Sixers games you can always wash anything down with a nice cold brewski from the ...

BUD LIGHT BLUE ZONE.

CHIEW, CHIEW, ZIEWZZ (those are the slashing sounds of the Bud Light Blue Zone)

A little chilly in the Blue Zone last Wednesday. Too chilly in fact for them to open up shop. Same for this gem of a hot dog stand ...

PREMIUM PHILLY FLAVOR.

What does that even mean?!?!?!?

CHIEW, CHIEW, ZIEWZZ

My friend who I was with had a hankering for some "Assorted Candy" which I thought was going to be a bunch of different hard candies thrown into a bag. I realize now that that would've been ridiculous, but at the time it seemed like something the Wells Fargo Center would possibly offer. When my friend asked the dude behind the counter what kind of assorted candy they had, he told her they only had Twizzlers.

Now I personally think Twizzlers suck, but that's neither here nor there, the fascinating part is that this was OPENING NIGHT. The Sixers had an entire offseason to stock up on candy, and yet, apparently they decided to go with JUST THE TWIZZLERS. On top of that, this all took place the week of Halloween, so they easily could've gone to a local supermarket and loaded up on candy. But nope, just the Twizzlers was enough. JUST THE TWIZZLERS.

Let's talk about the Sixers Flight Squad, shall we? (Who I am totally fine with by the way, I am totally fine with them.) I am all for people running around like idiots and launching themselves off of trampolines and ramming their faces headfirst into a basket. I'm honestly shocked that Slam Ball wasn't a huge success. But these dudes need to RE-LAX. 95% of the time they're on the court, they're just trying to pump up the crowd by yelling things like, "C'MON!" and "LET'S GO!" and "DJ RAZZLE ON THE SCRIBBLE SCRABBLES!" There's just so much clapping and so much head-nodding. None of them know how to properly throw a t-shirt.

The picture above was taken around 20 minutes before tip off (still plenty of great seats available!) when the Flight Squad came out for a little impromptu break dance sesh. It was so embarrassing. Whenever someone did a flip, all the other members of the squad would go, "Ohhhhh!!!" and then another guy would do a Jackknife or something and they'd all go, "OHHHHHHH!" and then another guy would do some sort of Swizzle Shift and I don't even know what that means, but that's seriously the only way to describe what this young man was doing with his body. At the moment this photograph was taken, two of the dudes were doing the Kid and Play dance. They had one kind of candy in the arena, folks. Twizzlers. Just the Twizz.

The Flight Squad's gametime performance was a whole 'nother story. End to end explosiveness (with even more clapping and head-nodding and pump-up-the-crowd action). The dude in front of me (pictured above) was so into it that he actually filmed their dunks. He was probably 24 years old.

Later, when the Sixers cracked the century mark, he asked me how to redeem his free Big Mac coupon. I told him he had to go to section 101 to exchange his ticket for the coupon and when I finished explaining this to him, he repeated everything I said just to make sure he knew what to do. I found this very endearing. He was very excited to get his Big Mac. I was excited for him too.

See that cotton candy dude? Probably a very nice person. Well, he had the audacity to ask a little kid if he wanted strawberry cotton candy or blueberry. I wanted to be like, "Dude, it's blue and pink. There's no difference in flavor. Cotton Candy is the flavor," but instead I actually kept my mouth shut for the first time in my life. I didn't catch the little kid's response, but I'm guessing it was something like, "You're an idiot, right?"

Also, if you had to call them different flavors, the blue would obviously be blue raspberry!

This is who greets you when you enter the bathroom. The poster boy for Horizon Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. I don't know about you, but no plumber, heating guy or air conditioning dude has ever entered my house looking that presentable.

Before allowing any blue-collar worker into our home, my wife will lay down a giant tarp at the front door just so they don't track in any dirt, mud, or some sort of dead animal that might be attached to the bottom of their boots. Also, that guy and that lady are TOTALLY gonna pork. The sexual tension is PALPABLE. Look how he's making eye contact with her HARD. I feel sad for that lady's husband. If I was a stay at home mom, I would have sex with every person who came to my front door. FACT.

The team store didn't have any Michael Carter Williams jerseys (they were being delivered the following Wednesday, because WHY HAVE THEM READY FOR OPENING NIGHT?), but they did have TWO different key chains: a $7 version with the Sixers logo on it and an $8 SPENCER HAWES JAWN with an imitation human torso.

I've never understood why people need key chains in the first place. They're so bulky and annoying to carry and now that jeans have gotten considerably skinnier, they dig into your thighs and omg am I really talking about key chains let's just end this post immediately.

The Evster writes the blog TV My Wife Watches where he writes about TV his wife watches. You can follow him on Twitter @TVMWW or you can follow his wife @DianeSawyer.

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — On the whole, the Phillies have made steady progress in their rebuild this season.

Cameron Rupp has improved. Maikel Franco has had a nice year. Odubel Herrera, even with his recent inconsistency, has had more ups than downs. Cesar Hernandez has been on a good roll. Freddy Galvis has 36 extra-base hits, and Tommy Joseph has opened eyes with his power. In the bullpen, Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos have shown that they just might be future studs.
 
For a good chunk of the season, the young starting pitching has shown promise, as well.
 
But lately, that corner of the team has taken some hits. Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin were both ruled out for the remainder of the season last week with elbow and knee injuries, respectively, and hard-throwing Vince Velasquez has been tagged for 19 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
 
Jake Thompson’s first four major-league starts haven’t exactly inspired confidence, either. The 22-year-old right-hander was hit hard in a 9-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). He gave up eight hits, including five for extra bases, and seven runs as his ERA swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
“I’m not used to this,” Thompson said after the defeat. “I feel certain that I’m a lot better than my performance has indicated.”
 
Few pitchers come to the big leagues and dazzle right away. There is a learning curve and occasionally growing pains. But no one expected Thompson to have this much trouble out of the chute, not after what he did in his final 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley.
 
Thompson went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
He was advertised as a control and command pitcher. He has yet to show that in the majors.
 
“A lot of it has to do with his age and, I think, the fact he’s in the big leagues for the first time trying to make a good impression,” manager Peter Mackanin said. “He probably feels like he needs to make perfect pitches every time. All he’s got to do is keep the ball down. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He relies on command and control and he hasn’t shown that. I attribute a lot of that to his youth and inexperience.”
 
So does Rupp, the catcher.
 
“How many guys do you see come to the big leagues at 22 years old and just flat out dominate every time they go out?” Rupp said. “Not very many. He's young. It was his first time in Triple A this year and he pitched really well and now he's got a chance in the big leagues. I'm sure he feels like there's pressure. When you come up and you pitch so well all year and then you finally get your opportunity, you want to impress. It puts a lot on you. And as a kid, you've got to be able to control it and it's tough. It's hard.

“Nobody wants to see anybody fail. It's hard to go through. It's something that's going to make him better when he does finally figure it out."
 
Two of the walks Thompson gave up Tuesday night became runs. He gave up back-to-back homers to Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau in the fifth inning as the White Sox turned it into a rout.
 
“Just too many pitches up in the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “Everything he threw was thigh high, waist high. He couldn’t get the ball down. It’s as simple as that.”
 
Thompson concurred with his manager.
 
“The issue is pretty evident,” he said. “I'm not throwing strikes and when I am throwing strikes, they're not good strikes. It’s a frustrating thing because it's a relatively easy thing to do. I don't really have the answer right now to fix it.”
 
The game moves fast at the big-league level and confidence can become bruised quickly. Thompson said his confidence was unshaken. Still, Phillies officials have to be careful that this difficult baptism to the majors does not snowball and become something that adversely impacts Thompson's growth.
 
“It’s something that you’re concerned about and I’m concerned about,” Mackanin said.
 
Concerned enough that Thompson might not make his next start?
 
Mackanin said he expected Thompson to stay in the rotation, but added that he would speak with general manager Matt Klentak on the topic.
 
“I don’t want to see him keep getting beat up and keep struggling like this,” Mackanin said. “We’ll talk about it and see what Matt wants to do.”

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

MIAMI -- Yordano Ventura escaped two threats while pitching six innings, and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to nine games by beating the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Ventura (9-9), who reached 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun, allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. Royals starters have an ERA of 1.69 during the winning streak, Kansas City's longest since June 2014.

Three relievers closed out the win and extended the bullpen's streak of 32 consecutive shutout innings since Aug. 10. Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

The Marlins had won three straight but were shut out despite totaling seven hits. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position (see full recap).

Nova, Pirates beat Astros to snap 4-game skid
PITTSBURGH -- Ivan Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Gregory Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in an Aug. 1 trade.

It was the fourth complete game of the right-hander's seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.

His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.

After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers (see full recap).

Gausman, Jones help Orioles roll over Nationals
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman scattered six hits over six shutout innings, Adam Jones went 4 for 5 and the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the Washington Nationals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run for the Orioles, who won two straight over Washington to conclude a 3-5 homestand.

Baltimore is 34-24 against the Nationals in a rivalry that began in 2006. The series shifts 38 miles south to Nationals Park on Wednesday for the first of two games.

Gausman (5-10) walked two, struck out two and permitted only one runner past second base. He's 5-1 at home and 0-9 on the road.

The 25-year-old Gausman outpitched Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez, a 22-year-old making his fifth major league start. Lopez (2-2) yielded six runs, four earned, and seven hits in 2 2/3 rocky innings (see full recap).

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — Jake Thompson’s difficult big-league baptism continued in the Phillies’ 9-1 interleague loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
 
The rookie right-hander was tagged for seven runs in five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked four as his ERA in four starts since coming up from Triple A swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
Offensively, the Phillies did little against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. They had just five hits for the game.
 
The Phillies have lost five of their last seven and are 58-68 on the season. They have been outscored 18-1 in their last two games.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson, 22, has been a much different pitcher since coming to the majors than he was in his last 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
Two of the four walks that Thompson gave up in this game became runs.
 
Five of the eight hits he allowed were for extra bases, including a pair of homers.
 
Rodon, 23, was the third pick in the 2014 draft, four ahead of Aaron Nola. The lefty held the Phillies to three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked one.
 
Bullpen report
David Hernandez was tagged for two runs.
 
At the plate
Freddy Galvis broke up the White Sox’s shutout bid with a solo homer off reliever Chris Beck in the seventh. Galvis has 13 homers.
 
Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back homers against Thompson in the fifth inning to help the Sox pull away.
 
Abreu has homered in three straight games.
 
Minor matters
Pitcher Alec Asher, who serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a PED, has begun a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team. Asher is expected to be activated by the big club during the second week of September and he could make several starts down the stretch as the club watches the workload of several pitchers.
 
Up next
The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.91) opposes right-hander James Shields (5-15, 5.98).