Dude, You Should Totally Go to the Penn Relays This Weekend

Dude, You Should Totally Go to the Penn Relays This Weekend


Look,
I hate to be the one who breaks it to ya, but the Phillies stink.
They’re terrible. I mean, one of the guys on their team is named
“Laynce.” Not Lance. Laynce. That’s no way to spell a name. So the fact
that the Phils are playing at 1pm this Saturday doesn’t matter. You
don’t have to watch. Stop wasting your time, stop cheering for a bunch
of losers and go do something productive with your Saturday afternoon
for once in your boring, miserable life. Head down to Franklin Field for
the most awesome, ridiculous, exciting afternoon ever.


Don’t believe me?



Don’t think a track and field meet can be that exciting?



Keep reading, Laynce.



Keep reading.



Nonstop Bonkers Action

It
is IMPOSSIBLE to follow what the hell is going on at a track and field
meet. It’s a total whirlwind as there are approximately 37 events going
on at all times. At one end of the stadium, high school long jumpers
with really dumb haircuts pump up the crowd before launching themselves
for THE MOST IMPORTANT JUMP OF THEIR LIVES. At the other end, a
ridiculously hairy man from a country you’ve never heard of jams A GIANT
POLE INTO THE GROUND and flings himself 20 FEET INTO THE AIR like a
goddamn lunatic. If that’s not enough -- and you find yourself dizzy
from trying to keep up all the activity -- another guy SHOOTS A GUN AT
THE SKY reminding you that the LSU women’s 4x400 team and their
RIDICULOUSLY SHORT SHORTS / BATHING SUITS / WHAT DO YOU EVEN CALL THOSE
THINGS are about to run around the stadium WITH THIGHS SO STRONG THEY
COULD CRUSH YOUR FACE. It’s equal parts terrifying and wonderful. THE
GUN BLASTS COME OUT OF NOWHERE. It’s sort of erotic! You gotta see it to
believe it. I don’t know why you’re still reading this, just buy your
stupid tickets already. Just do it. What are you waiting for? Look here’s a link omg you’re so dumb just do it already, just do itttttt!!!



Tip #1 when attending: Get there early and walk around Penn’s campus.

Not
because it’s supposed to be a nice day or because Penn has a beautiful
campus (which it does), but because you’ll see tons of really really
good-looking incredibly fit athletes walking around in really dope track
suits. Sometimes you can find an entire team stretching in the park in
unbelievably compromising positions -- and even though looking at them
makes you feel horrible because you’re half the man/woman they are, it’s
still nice to stare at what the human form is supposed to look like.



USA vs. The World

All
relay races are exciting. That’s a fact. That’s a medical fact. Even
those ones where you have to carry a stupid egg on a stupid spoon and
everyone yells at you because you can’t do it and your spoon is warped!
Why do I always get a warped one?!?! But these USA vs. The World jawns
are INTENSE. Essentially, the USA enters two teams of olympic-caliber
sprinters (you’ll have heard of maybe three or four of them) to compete
against other teams made up of much more fair-skinned runners. No matter
if you’re a bike messenger from West Philly or a Princeton alum,
American pride will burst inside you as you cheer for eight American
athletes who up until that moment could’ve punched you in the face and
you wouldn’t have know who they were.




Jamaican People

Anyone
who’s not American in the crowd on Saturday will be something called a
“Jamaican.” You might be familiar with Jamaicans -- dreadlocks, Usain
Bolt, funnel cake -- but you’ve never seen ANYTHING like the Jamaicans
at Franklin Field. Screaming, chanting, TUBE TOPS. Let me tell you
something. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. Jamaicans really really really
like sprinting, like REALLY like sprinting, and they’re really really
good at it.



You
know your stupid younger cousin who LOVES chicken fingers? Like, he
can’t get enough, eats them at every meal and completely freaks out
whenever you eat one off his plate even though it had been sitting there
for like 30 minutes and he was totally done with them! Yo, that’s what
Jamaican people are like with sprinting. Except, it has nothing to do
with chicken fingers and that was a horrible analogy, but you get the
point. They go absolutely mental for the sport. Usain Bolt!



High
school Jamaican kids DOMINATE the Penn Relays and they have AMAZING
haircuts. There are colleges from Jamaica, too. Who knew there were
colleges in Jamaica? Why didn’t my stupid high school guidance counselor
tell me there were colleges in Jamaica? I went to college in friggin’
Maryland. MARYLAND. Do you know how dumb that was? Do you have any idea?
Applebee’s. We had an Applebee’s on campus. Have you ever eaten at an
Applebee’s? No, of course you haven’t. It’s the only smart thing you’ve
ever done in your stupid life. Also the Jamaican jerk chicken at
Franklin Field is INCREDIBLE.



Tip #2 when attending: Buy a program.

It
seems ridiculous, I know. Spending 10 bucks on a magazine that you’ll
never look at it again, but it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. The program comes
with a schedule of all the races, so you can see what people are running
when, and when it’s safe to go spend an hour waiting in line for jerk
chicken. That thing will be your HOLY BIBLE, and you’ll feel like the
smartest dude around as you tell everyone in your section, “UP NEXT IS
THE CENTRAL LEAGUE 4X800. MARPLE NEWTOWN WON LAST YEAR IN A PHOTO FINISH
AND RIDLEY’S 1974 TEAM HOLDS THE ALL-TIME RECORD. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I
SPENT 10 DOLLARS ON A MAGAZINE. IT HAS GLOSSY PICTURES AND A COUPON FOR
10% OFF DRY CLEANING. I AM THE KING OF SECTION 237. I AM THE
KINGGGGGG!”




Franklin Field

Built by Ben Franklin himself! The Father of Track and Field! It has a clock!



Admit It, Just Admit It, You Don’t Have Anything to Do on Saturday

Do
you know who the starting pitcher is for the Phillies on Saturday?
Jonathan Pettibone. Yep, Jonathan Pettibone. Not Jonathan Papelbon.
Jonathan Pettibone. That’s a person. A real, live, human person. And
he’s pitching for THE GREATEST STAFF OF ALL TIME on Saturday afternoon.
Ughhghhhh. Is it that hard for Ryan Howard to hit a ground ball down the
third base line??? HOW HARD IS THAT???   



Tip #3: Bring sunscreen!!!


End to End: Who will Flyers protect, lose in expansion draft?

End to End: Who will Flyers protect, lose in expansion draft?

Throughout the offseason, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.

The topic: The expansion draft, who to protect and best guesses at Vegas' selection.

Dougherty
We have and will continue to discuss in detail the entry draft, but we haven't talked much about the June 21 expansion draft. That's what we're doing today.

The expansion draft will affect the Flyers' plans this summer because they will be losing a player to Vegas, but the impact will be a minimum. They will not lose any core pieces.

How the expansion draft works: Teams have two options in protecting players. They can either protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. The expectation is the Flyers will protect seven forwards, three D-men and a goalie.

There are six forwards and two defensemen who are obvious protections: Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Valtteri Filppula, Shayne Gostisbehere and Radko Gudas. Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny are exempt.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall will have decisions to make on who the seventh forward and third defenseman he protects. Then there is the goalie protection.

That leaves forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nick Cousins, Taylor Leier, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Jordan Weal and Dale Weise; and defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning.

Losing any of those six forwards would not be major blows to the Flyers. Now on the blue line, it gets interesting. My prediction is that the Flyers will choose to protect Manning with the hope Vegas takes MacDonald's contract.

Probably isn't going to happen.

Of the goalies, I don't think Vegas will have any interest in Anthony Stolarz, especially since he tore his right MCL in April. So that should cut the question here. That would mean the Flyers protect Michal Neuvirth, whom they signed to a two-year extension.

So what is my best guess at who Vegas plucks from the Flyers?

I think it will be a toss-up between Laughton and Raffl. I suspect the Flyers will re-sign Weal before the draft and then protect him, or have a verbal understanding they'll sign him after the expansion draft. Both parties appeared interested in him coming back.

My pick? Let's go with Laughton, a former first-round pick who turns 23 on Tuesday.

Laughton hasn't panned out as the Flyers hoped. He spent last season in Lehigh Valley and both Leier and Weal earned call-ups over him. I think that is a telling sign here.

So I'm predicting Laughton going to Vegas, where a change of scenery helps him out and the Golden Knights get a young forward that can slot into a third- or fourth-line role and still has upside.

Hall
There's a lot to the expansion draft — tons of possibilities and things can still change before June 21 that could impact the Flyers' decisions.

Albeit unlikely, Steve Mason could re-sign, which would obviously affect the Flyers' protection plan at goalie. Assuming that doesn't happen, I think the Flyers protect Neuvirth, especially considering Stolarz's health is in question this offseason and he may not be the true goalie of the future. Stolarz is also a pending restricted free agent, so he'll have to receive his qualifying offer from the Flyers before the expansion draft.

Now, let's say the Flyers go with the seven-forward, three-defensemen approach.

The blueliners are pretty clear: Gostisbehere and Gudas will be protected, as it comes down to MacDonald and Manning. I feel the organization thinks a bit more of MacDonald and his versatility compared to Manning, whose two-year deal last summer was likely strategic on the Flyers' part in planning for this expansion draft.

As for the forwards, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, Filppula and Couturier are staying put. I believe Weal will be re-signed and protected.

Ultimately, I could see Raffl being Vegas' choice. At 28 years old, he's not super young or inexperienced, but also not old by any means, and the winger can play all four lines because of a well-rounded game that complements different styles.

Raffl's injuries last season (abdominal, knee) may cause red flags. At the same time, the Golden Knights should be intrigued by the two seasons prior in which Raffl played all 82 games of 2015-16 (and was a plus-9) after scoring a career-high 21 goals in 2014-15.

A loss of Raffl wouldn't be ideal, but not as damaging given the Flyers appear to be gaining more depth and youth at forward.

Paone
June 21's expansion draft will be the biggest wild card of the NHL summer. And that's not just some corny pun because it involves an expansion team from Vegas.

It'll be the first piece of player movement during the offseason, coming before the entry draft and free agency. But since it will be the first piece of player movement of the offseason, it will help mold how the Flyers and the rest of the teams around the league approach their summers.

None of the Flyers' "big guns" will be on the move and my gut tells me the Flyers will be protecting Neuvirth as they want him to shoulder the starting load this coming season.

We don't know exactly what Vegas is looking for in the expansion draft because general manager George McPhee is keeping that close to the vest. But if I'm the Golden Knights' GM, youth is at the top of my wish list.

That leaves three Flyers to stick out in my mind — Weal (25), Cousins (turns 24 in June) and Laughton (turns 23 on Tuesday).

After the sparkplug Weal was down the stretch with eight goals and four assists in 23 games, the Flyers should reach a new deal with the UFA and keep him in Philadelphia.

That leaves Cousins and Laughton.

My instinct tells me Vegas will gamble (sorry, still getting used to this whole Vegas having a team thing) on Laughton, a former first-round pick.

There's a reason he was a first-rounder in 2012. The guy can play, even if he hasn't shown it consistently in Philadelphia. But remember he's been yanked back and forth between the AHL and NHL on numerous occasions and when he's been with the big club, he's either been in the press box as a scratch or been tossed back and forth between center and wing. That constant instability in both level and position can be detrimental to a young player. Vegas would give Laughton a fresh start, a fresh home and some fresh stability.

Plus, I know there are only so many protections to go around, but Cousins is a guy the Flyers should want to keep around. Just 16 points (six points, 10 assists) in 60 games isn't good enough offensively, but not many Flyers were great offensively last season. Everyone needs to be better there. But Cousins has that pest intangible that can be so effective, especially in the rugged Metropolitan Division, where basically every game is a rivalry game. It's a good quality to have.

Phillies-Reds 5 things: Skidding Phils take on veteran Bronson Arroyo

Phillies-Reds 5 things: Skidding Phils take on veteran Bronson Arroyo

Phillies (16-30) vs. Reds (23-24)
4:05 p.m. on TCN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

Tim Adleman and the Reds shut down the Phillies in Friday night's series opener, dealing the Phillies a 5-2 defeat. It was the Phillies' 21st loss in 26 games (see full story).

Jerad Eickhoff takes the ball for the Phillies on Saturday, trying to get both the team and his own season back on track. Veteran Bronson Arroyo takes the start for the Reds.

Here are five things to know for the game:

1. Worst in baseball
The loss on Friday paired with the Marlins' win over the Angels gave the Phillies sole possession of the worst record in baseball. 

The loss to the Reds was enough to make manager Pete Mackanin call a team meeting with the Phillies hitting a definitive low at 16-30. The 2016 squad didn't fall 14 games under .500 for the first time until Sept. 2. The Phillies are 5-18 in May and have scored 86 runs compared to 131 by opponents. 

Many of the games recently haven't even been close. Six of the losses this month were by at least five runs. The team brought the tying run to the plate on Friday, but it was behind 5-0 and had just one hit going into the ninth. 

The offense has gone silent in the last six games, scoring no more than two runs each time out. In five of their last six, the Phillies have faced a starter with an ERA above 5.00 who proceeded to throw at least five innings and give up one run or fewer. Adleman was the latest to victimize the Phils (see story).

The bright side? The upcoming schedule is much more palatable for the squad. After the Reds, the Phillies face the Marlins, Giants and Braves for 10 games. Those three teams have a combined record of 57-85 this year and the Phillies went 5-0 against the Marlins and Braves in April.

2. 10th time's the charm?
Nine starts into his second full MLB season, Eickhoff hasn't found the right stuff ... or a win. In 51 2/3 innings, he's 0-5 with 4.70 ERA. 

Why the slow start? First off, Eickhoff had some control issues. He's gone from a more than palatable 1.9 to a less stellar 3.1 walks per nine innings. Beyond dishing out free passes, he has a 1.43 WHIP, up from 1.16 last season. Still, his 3.77 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) indicates he shouldn't have struggled quite this much. 

Looking further into the numbers, Eickhoff has allowed more infield and bunt hits this season than he did on a rate basis last year. He's induced less weak contact, which could be part of his issue. Still, he's thrown 300 MLB innings over 50 starts and has a 3.66 ERA. It's hard to believe his true talent level isn't closer to his 3.65 ERA over 197 1/3 innings last year than his out-of-character 4.70 mark this season.

He faced the Reds just once before, taking a loss in the Phillies' second game of the year. It seems a while ago now, but Eickhoff started the year with three quality starts, including a two-run, six-strikeout game over 6 2/3 in Cincinnati. The Reds' batters have four extra-base hits against him and he's allowed home runs to Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett. Gennett's HR came as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

3. Arroyo back in action
You're forgiven if you didn't think Arroyo was still in baseball. He was injured and didn't pitch in either the 2015 or 2016 season. Despite being a non-entity on the field, he was still traded twice, going from the Diamondbacks to the Braves to the Dodgers, who immediately released him. 

At 40 years old, Arroyo is easily hittable now. The right-hander never threw very hard but now tops out at 87 mph, averaging 83-84 with his fastball. Like many soft-tossers, he constantly uses his off-speed stuff. He's heavily reliant on his curveball and slider, both of which are in the 70s. 

Hitters against Arroyo have been home run happy with 15 dingers this year over just 46 2/3 innings. Those 2.9 HR per nine innings are near three times as many as Eickhoff, who has struggled with the long ball at times over the past few seasons. The 15 home runs play a large part in his 6.75 ERA as batters hit plenty of flyballs vs. Arroyo. It doesn't help that he has a 1.479 WHIP. 

Among current Phillies, only Freddy Galvis (1 for 7) and Andres Blanco (1 for 3) have faced him. His career against the Phillies dates all the way back to three starts in 2000. Over 14 games (13 starts), he's 4-7 with a 5.14 ERA in 77 innings against the Phils. He's just the second starter after Bartolo Colon to pitch at Citizens Bank Park this season that also faced the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.

Arroyo is fourth among active pitchers in starts and fifth in innings pitched. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Moved into the leadoff spot on Friday, Odubel Herrera put together a few strong at-bats, finally coming through with a hit in the ninth inning to snap an 0-for-13 stretch.

Reds: Scott Schebler hit his 14th home run of the season off Aaron Nola in the second inning Friday. In just his third season, Schebler had just 12 homers in his career before 2017.

5. This and that
• Howie Kendrick made his third rehab appearance in Triple A Lehigh Valley Friday, going 1 for 4. He played all nine innings in left field. The IronPigs won, 5-4, with Nick Williams hitting a home run. Williams, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro each had two-hit nights.

• The Phillies haven't won a season series vs. the Reds since 2012 (10-18 since the start of 2013). However, the Reds are 16-30 at CBP and haven't won a series in Philadelphia since Aug. 2006.

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, on April 18 this year, Arroyo became the first Reds pitcher older than 40 to win a start since Boom-Boom Beck beat the Phillies, 8-1, on May 31, 1945.

• The Reds are the only team in baseball with four hitters (Votto, Schebler, Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall) who have at least 10 home runs.