Ah, the familiar sights of Citizens Bank Park. The Mike Schmidt statue outside the third base gate. The Robin Roberts statue outside the first base gate. The Ryan Howard statue at first base. Chase Utley at second base. Baseball doesn’t get much better than when Utley is playing in the dirt.
Unfortunately for fans making the journey to the ballpark to take in the Philadelphia Phillies home opener, they won’t be treated to the sound of baseball this afternoon—Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. Utley is not in the lineup today, as he’s suffering from the flu, which I can report is really going around this spring.
Don’t blame Utley for his absence though. Ryne Sandberg makes it sound almost as if he had to have security escort his second baseman out of the building today.
Sandberg on Utley (flu): "He was sick as a dog. I told him to go home." #Phillies
Okay, so maybe I took a little bit of creative license there, but there is no doubt in my mind Utley really hates missing the home opener. Now be sure to stop at CVS if you’re on your way to the game and pick up a get well card for Chase, because the Phils are need his lumber back in the lineup ASAP.
Your starting lineups:
Home Opener lineups at Citizens Bank Park. I think the third name down on the left could bring South Philly boos. pic.twitter.com/EM28dWDDCs
About a year ago, while in Indianapolis for the combine, the Eagles cut veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Ryans has finally found his next job ... as a coach.
The 32-year-old former linebacker has been named a defensive quality control coach on Kyle Shanahan's staff in San Francisco. Shanahan was on the Texans' staff for the first four years of Ryans' pro career. Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was also on that Houston staff.
After the Eagles cut him last Feb. 24, Ryans was out of the league in 2016 after 10 NFL seasons. He played the first six years of his career in Houston, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler, before joining the Eagles through a trade in 2012.
While the Eagles cut Ryans after the 2015 season to save $3.5 million in cap space, they made a point to go out of their way to praise him on his way out. He was very well thought of in the locker room and throughout the building.
While Ryans played one season under Andy Reid, he quickly became a favorite of Chip Kelly, who frequently called Ryans the "Mufasa" of the Eagles' defense.
Kelly didn't forget about Ryans when he went to San Francisco to coach the 49ers for the 2016 season. In fact, in Kelly's questionnaire in the NFL's 2016 information guide, Kelly listed Ryans as a player who'd make a great head coach.
In the 2016 NFL Info guide, Chip Kelly named DeMeco Ryans as a player who would make a great HC. Now, he's on the next 49ers staff. pic.twitter.com/TGx0cfDr3c