The Evster: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the San Diego Chargers, But Were Afraid to Google

The Evster: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the San Diego Chargers, But Were Afraid to Google

Ohhhhhh, baby! This Sunday rekindles the bitter rivalry between our beloved Eagles and their longtime enemies to the west, the San Diego Chargers. There's no love lost between these two teams, like the Steelers and Browns or Duke vs North Carolina, Philadelphia and San Diego are separated by only a short 2,695 mile drive across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, then over to I-70 West, then a quick turn onto 55 South, then continuing onto 44 West through Oklahoma, then merging onto I-40 through Texas, New Mexico and a little bit of Arizona, then around 37 more turns leading you to zip across I-8 until you can hear the sweet sounds of waves crashing in the Pacific Ocean. If you leave now you could probably make it there by Sunday's kickoff, especially because the game is being played in Philly. Then again, traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway can be pretty jammed up at times, so you never really know.

Who can forget some of the all-time classic games between the Birds and the Bolts? How 'bout the 13-6 thriller in 1974 that saw Eagles linebacker Clint "The Spleen Crusher" Jenkins crush the spleens of 17 different Chargers running backs, only to have his own spleen crushed by teammate Bob Bogdanov during a post-spleen-crushing celebrashe.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Check out the new upgrades to the Linc this year]

This year's Chargers head into week 2 with their spleens intact, but carry with them an 0-1 record after dropping their season opener 31-28 to the Houston Texans. San Diego led by 21 points early in the 3rd Quarter last week, but they're unfortunately still quarterbacked by Captain Noodle Arm, Philip Rivers, who threw a devastating Pick Six during the 4th Quarter. This week, as the Bolts look to get back to .500, I did some internet sleuthing to learn a little more about their key players.

So let's break down the Chargers of San Diego position by position.

Quarterback

Ole Linguini Limbs Rivers comes into this weekend riding the NFL's second longest consecutive games started streak behind only Eli Manning (113 to 128). Nothing would make Philly fans prouder than to see that streak end after Mychal Kendricks crushes Rivers's spleen into 49 different pieces.

From the looks of Rivers, he seems to be a total douchenstein extraordinairre, but he was actually named a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award back in 2011. Seems as if he and his wife Tiffany help find safe homes for abandoned and orphaned children. That's nice, I guess, if you're into that sort of thing. Side note: Rivers met his wife in middle school so there's a very good chance that she's the only woman he's ever slept with. Despite his charity work, faith-based values and monogamous lifestyle, I'd still love to see his rib cage explode on live television.

Seeing as Philip may not be as big of a douche as he seems, let's take a look at the current list of the top 5 douche-jobs in the NFL.

1. Jay Cutler - constantly yells at his O-Line, somehow married a Playboy Bunny, absolutely unacceptable hairstyle for most of his NFL career.

2. Ben Roehtthhislerberger - just the 2 rapes for Big Ben.

3. Floyd Mayweather - technically not a football player, but there's no denying that a good portion of the American public would love to watch him die in the ring this Saturday night.

4. Mario Lopez - San Diego native is way too happy about life.

Only $11.96 on Amazon.

5 (tie). Tony Romo (obvs) and DeAngelo Hall - scooped up a Michael Vick backwards pass last week after pretty much everyone had stopped playing, then sauntered 80 yards to the end zone like Mikhail Baryshnikov where he proceeded to dance like Deion Sanders (HE DIDN'T EVEN DO HIS OWN DANCE, HE JUST STRAIGHT UP IMITATED DEION) despite making a play that any living, breathing human being (including Nate Allen) could've made.

Running Backs

Ryan Mathews (JUST THE ONE "T" IN MATHEWS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH), Ronnie Brown (YEP, THAT RONNIE BROWN) and Danny Woodhead (NOTHING TO REALLY SAY HERE).

If there's one person who is most likely to have their spleen shattered on Sunday, it's Ryan Mathews. That guy is fragile, having played only 12, 14 and 12 games a season during his 3-year career. Luckily, the Chargers also have Ronnie Brown and picked up Itty Bitty Danny Woodhead in the offseason. Fun facts about Woodhead (from his bio at Chargers.com): Danny was homeschooled up until 9th grade (red flag) and all of the men in the Woodhead family are nicknamed "Woody" except for his father, Mark, who goes by "Big Woody". Can't make this stuff up, folks. Cannot make this stuff up. Big. Woody. Also, are you aware of what Little Woody looks like?!?!

And he's got some hair on his chinny chin chin!

Receivers / Tight Ends

The Chargers' receivers are all terrible (Eddie Royal is currently banned in 74% of ESPN's standard fantasy leagues), but they still have Antonio Gates, the 8-time Pro Bowler who seems to suck more and more butt every year. Even if Gates turned back the clock and showed up as his former self on Sunday, it wouldn't matter because the Eagles have the most dominant linebacker in the history of football, Mychal Kendricks, a guy who most Philadelphians didn't even know existed until roughly five days ago.

Offensive Line

Any time a person pretends to know anything about an offensive line, they are LYING. The only person with any knowledge about this position is Ray Didinger. All I know is that during Week 1, Ryan Mathews averaged a paltry 2.5 yards per carry, so the Chargers O-line probably stinks. Also, one of their starters is former Eagle, King Dunlap, which totally explains the whole 2.5 yards per carry thingie.

Something you probably didn't know about King Dunlap: His sister Victoria plays for the WNBA's Seattle Storm and averages a Ryan Mathews-esque 2.6 points per game.

Semi-interesting Information About the Chargers Logo:

During their initial years in the AFL, the Chargers had a lightning bolt AND A HORSE in their logo. It wasn't until the NFL-AFL merger that they decided to ditch the horse. Frankly, that seems kinda stupid considering only 9% of people die from lightning strikes whereas 98% of people who get kicked in the face by a horse get their entire heads blown off.

Nice horsey.

Defensive Line

After spending his first 11 seasons with the Colts, future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney signed a free agent deal this summer with San Diego. Technically, Freeney is listed as an outside linebacker, but he pretty much rushes the quarterback any time he's on the field. Honestly, I have no idea if he's still any good and am really excited to move on and talk about the Chargers linebackers.

Linebackers

So, so, so, so, so, so sad that we won't get to see Manti Te'o in uniform this week. The ChristianMingler.com is nursing a foot injury and has no timetable for his return. BUT DON'T FRET MY GOOD 700 LEVEL FRIENDS, because in his place the Chargers are starting a guy named Bront. Yep, that's his name. Bront. Bront Bird.

Bront led the Chargers in tackles last week and is seriously, honest to God named Bront. Turns out, Bront went to Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, which just so happens to be the same school that Buzz Bissinger wrote about in Friday Night Lights. Not quite sure why that's relevant here, but it does sort of make the whole Bront thing a little more understandable. Also, guess what Bront's nickname is. Nope, not "Brontosaurus Balls" (that's what I thought, too), it's "Big Bird".

Secondary

Pro Bowl free safety, Eric Weddle, is probably the Chargers best player -- and is so popular in San Diego that he recently wrote a book entitled "No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story". Obviously I didn't read the whole thing, but I did skim one excerpt from the first chapter and came across this gem:

The author describes the birth of little Eric.

Within a few years, Debbie and Steve (Eric's parents) discussed the idea of starting a family. Shortly thereafter Debbie learned she was pregnant, and they had a baby girl. Kathleen arrived without incident ... and even though she was a girl, Steve considered naming her Eric. While he loved his daughter, he had also always wanted a son, and he wanted to name him Eric, a name he picked out for his future son when he was a teenager. "It was a strong name," Steve said. "I loved it."

Okay.

Okay okay okay okay okay hold on.

Eric?

That's a strong name? I don't know about you, but I grew up with around 13 different Erics and pretty much every one of them went on to sell life insurance. I'm not saying there's not strong Erics -- Erik the Red was a bonafide beast -- but the name Eric pales in comparison to something like Bront. Expect Desean Jackson to rack up over 200 receiving yards against the Weddlenator.

How 'bout Shefty getting a quote on the front cover!

Special Teams

Normally this is a spot devoted to weenies, but both the Chargers' kicker and punter appear to have a little street cred. Kicker, Nick Novak, was close friends with Kellen Winslow Jr. growing up and the two buddies actually share the same godmother (NOT KIDDING).

San Diego's punter, Mike Scifres (actual last name), was a high school teammate of notorious spleen crusher, Ed Reed. Sadly, back in high school, Reed was considered the far superior punter so Scifres was relegated to kickoffs, field goals and extra points. Even sadder, Scifres and his wife Stacie named their three children Berkeley, Bristyn and Brodyn, proving that they are by far the worst parents in the history of Western civilization.

Mascot

Say hello to Boltman.

It's a bolt and it's also a man.

Boltman obviously sucks, but it must be stated that the San Diego Chicken is without a doubt the second best mascot of all time (behind you know who). My favorite San Diego Chicken memory was from an episode of The Baseball Bunch back in the day in which Andre Dawson aka "The Hawk" was scheduled to drop by. The Chicken spent the entire half hour bugging out because he thought The Hawk might eat him.

Broadcasters

The dynamic duo of Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be calling the game for CBS. Kickoff is scheduled for 10am PST. Dierdorf is working on his own consecutive games streak as he will attempt to broadcast his 147th straight game with his testicles firmly implanted inside his own throat.

Coaching

Doesn't matter. Chip Kelly is a GOLDEN GOD.

Prediction

Eagles 358 Chargers 4

Follow the Evster @TVMWW

Thinking man's pitcher, Phillies prospect Cole Irvin enjoying time with Clearwater

Thinking man's pitcher, Phillies prospect Cole Irvin enjoying time with Clearwater

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Clearwater Threshers pitcher Cole Irvin is a student of baseball, but maybe the word “student” – simply stated and in its base meaning – describes the young left-hander best.

A graduate of the University of Oregon who completed his undergraduate degree in sociology in just 3½ years, Irvin has applied a studious, methodical approach to his work on the mound, where he starred as a freshman and senior for the Ducks as a regular Friday night starter.

His 2014 collegiate season was marred by Tommy John surgery, but he reflects on it now as being an important part of him staying in college and obtaining his degree. He remained in Eugene another semester after getting drafted by Pittsburgh in the 32nd round, his second time getting selected.

“I look at it as a positive. I wouldn’t have been able to finish my degree at Oregon if I didn’t have the surgery,” said Irvin, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Phillies last June.

“Sociology covers so many topics. It’s a great degree to have. My studies varied from the population of salmon affecting society to the study of social media. There was so much I learned in so many diverse topics. I like interacting because everyone’s opinion mattered.”

The sociological background also easily translates to the diamond for the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Irvin.

“It’s the same in baseball. The more information you have about the opposing team, our team, if we’re doing the shift and other things… now you have all that collected information. Now you just go do your thing. I think I apply (sociology) to so many different aspects of what I do,” he said.

Sociology aside, Clearwater pitching coach Aaron Fultz has been impressed with the mental approach Irvin has displayed.

“Very (much so),” replied Fultz when asked if the southpaw is the quintessential cerebral pitcher. “He’s a no frills guy and he’s here to work.”

Fultz broke in to MLB and played three seasons with the San Francisco Giants – 2000 to 2002 – and the former big leaguer said Irvin reminds him from a work ethic standpoint of a Bay Area teammate of his.

“He kind of reminds me of Jeff Kent. He comes here and he wants to work and get better,” said Fultz of Irvin, who also bears a slight resemblance to the five-time all-star and 2000 NL MVP of the Giants.

That industrious attitude worked well for Irvin in his first spring training camp in the Grapefruit League in February. He broke camp by bypassing Low A Lakewood and joining the Threshers. Then he proceeded to overwhelm hitters in the Florida State League.

Irvin, 23, was 3-1 in four starts in April, posting a 1.04 ERA. In 26 innings, he allowed 22 hits, struck out 20 and walked just three. His WHIP stood at 0.96.

“His first four or five starts, I thought he was the best pitcher in the league,” Fultz said. “Since then, we’ve had a little hiccup here and there about location and just giving up some hits. He’s had some bad luck, too.

“But I love the way he goes about his business. He gets the ball and he’s ready to pitch. He has a very good idea and is a smart kid. He doesn’t throw 95, but he’s left-handed – that helps – and he has a really good change-up. His stuff is better than average, but his tenacity and the way he goes after hitters is a really good selling point for him.”

Irvin said he tries not read what is written about him or the multitude of numbers baseball produces.

“The past three outings haven’t gone the way I’ve anticipated, especially after the first five starts of the year,” said Irvin, who is 3-5 with a 3.20 ERA after four straight losses starting on May 4 against Jupiter.

He will try to break that winless skid on Tuesday when he faces Florida back in Clearwater.

Of his standout first pro season at short-season Williamsport last year (5-1, 1.97 in 10 games), Irvin admitted he doesn’t look at the stats, saying, “Honestly, I don’t know the numbers. I don’t get ahead of myself and look at stats. Every once in a while, I’ll look at media stuff, but I try not to follow that stuff.

“Once it gets in your head, you start to get anxious about moving up and thinking about things you’re not supposed to be thinking about. I’m supposed to be thinking right now, ‘What can I do to get better and get to the big leagues?’ It’s not about being in the minor leagues; it’s about being in the big leagues.”

Irvin has enjoyed his season so far and, like a good sociology student, is harvesting his own data.

“There’s a lot to build off of. It’s my first full season, so it’s exciting to spend a whole year playing baseball and doing something you love and is fun. It’s something I’ve dreamed of as a kid,” he said.

“I never thought I’d be here this quick, so I’m taking it one day at a time. I can only focus on this day, and tomorrow will come tomorrow.”
 
Three questions with Cole Irvin

You throw a one-seam fastball. What does it do?

“It’s literally across one seam, holding it with one finger. It depends on the wrist. If it’s on the side of the ball, it’s going to fade (versus righty batters). But if your wrist is more on the inside toward your body, it’s going to cut. I only use it as a strikeout pitch. [Laughing] I’d say it’s a wipe-out pitch, but I don’t have wipe-out stuff like most of the guys on this team. It’s an effect pitch, where there’s a little uncertainty where it’ll go.”

You’re from Yorba Linda, CA, the birthplace of Richard Nixon and home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Have any good Nixon stories?

“Actually, I do. When I was 12, I had to do community service for the high school I was going to go to. I had to have so many hours. The library was looking for someone to clean the helicopter – Air Force One helicopter or whatever it was called. Every Sunday morning I’d show up at 5:30 a.m. to clean that helicopter. I had to go through the Secret Service back door and security checks. I was 12, so there wasn’t much information on me. I spent four or five Sundays cleaning that helicopter. It was so much fun.”

As an Oregon Duck, you were able to play in the Civil War against the Oregon State Beavers and New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. Any success?

“My senior year was the first time we’ve ever gone to Goss Stadium and won a series at Oregon State. I pitched against Conforto and also played with him on the Team USA collegiate team that had (Chicago Cubs star Kyle) Schwarber. Honestly, Michael’s one of the great guys to know and talk to. He’s just a world-class, awesome guy.”