The Evster: Watching a Game at the Linc. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Weirdos

The Evster: Watching a Game at the Linc. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Weirdos

According to a recent survey, research shows that 83% of NFL fans prefer to watch football games from the comfort of their own homes. Only 16% would rather view the game at a stadium while one person (me) prefers to watch while peering through a third story window outside of a Saint Joseph's University sorority house. I'll telling you man, you have not experienced true exhilaration until you've seen Shady McCoy break free into the secondary while you hang onto a tree branch from 35 feet up and pray that a young woman will remove her socks.

Despite my preferences, my wife and I bit the bullet last weekend and went down to the Linc for the home opener versus the Chargers. At the game, I enjoyed some of the many thrills that can only be experienced live and in person while also being reminded of why I hadn't left my couch in roughly six years.

Below are just one guy's opinions on the many pros and cons that come along with watching a game at the Linc.

A Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader performs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Pro:  Some Female Eagles Fans Are Wearing Some Really Short Shorts These Days

There have been a lot of amazing trends in the world of female fashion recently -- from leggings to side boobs to convincing people that it's socially acceptable to wear ballet flats everywhere -- but in my opinion nothing compares to the shorts that basically show off the bottoms of women's butts. While walking from the parking lot to our seats I must've seen at least seven or eight butts peeking out of women's shorts which led me to almost walk into roughly seven or eight telephone poles. Unfortunately, the Eagles next home game is not until October 20th, so I guess bottom-butt-showing season is over, but for one sunny afternoon in early September it was a total butt-a-palooza down in South Philly.

Con:  Lotsa Dudes with Missing Teeth

I don't know if this is a thing these days, like if gangs are making their members pull out their own teeth for solidarity or something, but I saw at least four or five South Philly dudes who had legit teeth missing from their mouths. I'm talkin' like, their incisors, gone, just gone, leaving a gaping hole in their mouths and fear in my heart. At one point, after a long completion to an Eagles tight end, one guy from my section who must've had three or four teeth TOTAL, stood up, smiled wide and pointed to the Celek nameplate on the back of his jersey while yelling, "Celekkkkkk!!!" And, lemme tell ya, no one -- and I mean, no one -- had the guts to tell him that it was actually Zach Ertz who had just made the reception. As the toothless wonder continued to grin ear to ear and actually point to where Celek had signed his jersey, I began to find him equal parts terrifying and adorable.

great, great shot by enrico


Pro:  Seeing the Entire Field 

This has always been the best thing about going to the game (well, besides the whole short shorts thing): being able to see the plays develop right in front of your eyes. Even the most ignorant fan can feel like a guru when he/she sees Desean Jackson streaking down the sidelines with his arm held high, only to have Michael Vick scrambling out of the pocket in the exact wrong direction. Then everyone gets to scream stuff like, "How did he not seeeeeeee him?" completely forgetting that while we kick back in the stands, Michael Vick has seven 250-pound defenders trying to rip his skull off.

Con:  It is Nearly Impossible to Figure Out the Down and Distance 

At the Linc, there is one shafty old-school Spectrum-esque scoreboard that always keeps the down and distance, but it's located in a spot where no human being would ever look for it. However, there's also a giant rectangular, ridiculously colorful screen that hangs above the sidelines, but whenever you actually look at it, it's flashing something stupid like "TEXT 45674 TO SIGN UP FOR NFL MOBILE" or "DIETZ & WATSON HAM IS THE OFFICIAL HAM OF THE HAMGLES" or "OKAY, EVSTER, WE GET THE POINT." Trying to keep track of the game flow was probably the most frustrating part of my experience, except for when I couldn't pee during halftime because I thought an 8-year-old kid was staring at my dork.

Pro:  Watching the Cars Go By on I-95

During a 3-hour NFL game, there is only about 1 minute and 47 seconds of actual game play. The rest of the time, the players are huddled up and catching their breath while fans are looking at their phones and trying to complete level 84 on Candy Crush Saga. But if you're lucky enough to have a seat where you can see the highway, you can avoid this boredom by sitting back and watching the cars whiz by. I've never seen my wife so relaxed at a sporting event, just staring off into the Southwest corner like a newborn child. There's a chance this was due to her mixing whiskey and percocets, but I think she just might be an in-the-closet gear head.

Con:  That Stupid Axe-Grinding Music They Play After EVERY DOWN

Doesn't matter if the Eagles picked up a first down or were called for seven consecutive holding penalties, the Linc's speakers blast metal jams after every play in an attempt to PUMP YOU UP. At times it worked our section into such a frenzy that one lady started screaming at Lane Johnson to "SHOVE SOMEBODY IN THEIR FAT STUPID FACE." Personally, I find it a bit much, but I'm also a person who owns around 35 different Sounds of the Oceans CDs. I don't like the whale sounds, though. The whale sounds are scary.

Pro:  The "Fly Eagles Fly" Song and "E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" Chant

On it's own, the Fly Eagles Fly song is one of the lamest non-Neil-Diamond-recorded singles in the history of music, but when sung by 68,000 maniacs after an Eagles score, it's super fun. Throw in that "E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" jawn at the end and you've got something SO MUCH BETTER than that stupid "J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! WHATEVER NEW YORKERS GET OVER YOURSELVES!" chant that is in no way similar to what we're doing, nope, no way at all, completely different, ours is completely different.

this guy does not like to keep it down

Con:  Everyone Just Constantly Yells

I totally forgot how loud people are at Eagles games. From pre-game tailgates to key third downs when the Eagles clearly aren't getting off the field, every insane idiot in that stupid stadium is just always yelling all the time. I mean, I get it, I guess that the crowd really can have a negative effect on the opposition's performance, but yo, can we all just calm down for like five quiet minutes? At one point during last week's game, a dude with earrings in both of his ears turned around to me and yelled, "HOW THE EFF ARE WE LOSING, MAN?" to which I replied, "Hmmm, not really sure, maybe it's because of the vast, chasmic hole in our secondary. Or could be the fact that the Chargers are currently 23 of 24 on third down conversions. But I'm not really sure. Maybe you should try to scream louder." I mean, I obviously didn't say that, I didn't say anything. I just sorta shrugged and made a weird sound out of my nose, but he got the point. He totally got the point.

Pro:  So Many Obscure Throwback Eagles Jerseys

I was pleasantly surprised to see so many Eric Allen jerseys being worn at the Linc. I've always thought that dude deserves more respect. Byron Evans, too. And Clyde Simmons. Also Riley Cooper sucks so much ass.

Con:  Seeing People Ruin Their Perfectly Nice Jerseys by Having Their Own Names on the Back 

Wearing a personalized jersey that has your own name on the back is just a total waste. I mean, this is your opportunity to escape your own pathetic life for a few hours and morph into any athlete you want to be! I own a COREY SIMON jersey (a TJ Maxx $5 special) and when I put that baby on, I feel like I could eat 6 whole cheeseburgers and not shit my pants. Turns out I can't, but I FEEL like I can, and so can you. So "Big Ron" or "Dingledowski" or whatever you're thinking of getting stitched on your back, ditch that idea and head over to TJ Maxx pronto.

recommended: encased meat over an open flame

Pro:  Tailgating

I'm totally lying. I hate tailgating. I only put that up there so that all the 700 Level readers who just skim these posts wouldn't get mad at me for leaving tailgating out and blast me in the comments section. I've never understood how it's fun to stand in a parking lot for hours at a time, getting sunburnt and developing skin cancer while trying to catch a football and hold a chicken wing at the same time. But if you guys love it, God bless ya. Just promise to please wear sunscreen.

Con:  Traffic, Man. Traffic. 

Ugh.

The Pro of All Pros:  Getting to Go Home

After a win, there is nothing better than walking down the ramp, high-fiving complete strangers and knowing that very soon you will be on your couch, passed out and drooling until the closing segment of 60 Minutes.

Follow the Evster @TVMWW.

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- For struggling pitchers, facing the Phillies has become like a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
 
Another rival pitcher searching for a cure got it Monday night when the Phillies suffered their 23rd loss in the last 29 games. This time it was Miami Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez. He pitched six shutout innings and allowed just three hits in leading his club to a 4-1 win over the Phillies, who fell to 6-20 in May (see Instant Replay).

Volquez had gone 16 starts between wins.
 
"Every loss stings, I don’t care who's pitching," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We're just in a rut. We've got to battle our way out of it. We have to show up tomorrow and get after it. We've got to get more than three or four hits in the game."
 
The Phillies had just four hits in the game. It was the fifth time in the last nine games that they've had four or fewer hits. Only one of the hits was for extra bases and one of the singles was an infield hit.
 
"Once again, we need more offense," Mackanin said.
 
Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson completed a difficult month of May by allowing six hits, including a two-run homer, and four runs over six innings.
 
Hellickson surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich with two outs in the sixth and that was basically the ball game. Dietrich hit a high changeup. Back in April, that pitch would have been at the knees. But Hellickson has misplaced the pitch command that he needs to succeed.
 
Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. In May, however, he went 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts. He was tagged for 35 hits, including nine homers, in 30 2/3 innings.
 
"Command in general," said Hellickson, describing his problem this month. "The biggest thing is not getting strike one, falling behind too much. I'm not getting the quick easy outs I was getting early in the season. I'm trying to get ahead, just missing."
 
Volquez signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Marlins over the winter, but it wasn't until this game that he delivered his first win. He entered the game 0-7 with a 4.82 ERA in nine starts.
 
The win was Volquez's first since Aug. 25, 2016, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals.

Volquez isn't the first struggling pitcher to shine against the Phils recently. Eight days earlier, Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl took a 6.69 ERA into a start against the Phils and pitched five shutout innings. In the series against Colorado, the Phillies were dominated by a pair of rookies. In the only game they won (in a late rally), they were held to one run over six innings by Tyler Anderson, who had entered that game with an ERA of 6.00. On Friday night, Cincinnati Reds right-hander Tim Adleman pitched eight shutout innings against the Phils and gave up just one hit in the best start of his life. He had come into that game with an ERA of 6.19.
 
So Volquez had to be heartened when he saw the Phillies on the schedule.
 
They are the get-well team for pitchers in need of a pick-me-up.
 
It's actually kind of sad.
 
With Odubel Herrera locked in the throes of the worst slump of his life and on the bench and Maikel Franco mired in a 2 for 21 slump and hitting .209, Mackanin is trying to push things a little. He gave Aaron Altherr the green light to steal with one out and runners on the corners in a one-run game in the sixth inning. Altherr was out at second on a close play and Tommy Joseph struck out to leave the runner at third.
 
The Marlins salted the game away in the bottom of the inning on Dietrich's homer.
 
"With our offense, I have to take chances," Mackanin said. "I can't sit around and wait for three hits in a row. We haven't been doing that."
 
The Phils have the worst record in the majors at 17-32.
 
They have lost eight of their last 10 and scored just 15 runs in the losses.
 
"It sucks," catcher Cameron Rupp said. "There's really no other way to put it. It's frustrating. But the only people that are going to help us are ourselves. Nobody's going to go out there and play for us, swing the bats, pitch, play defense. That's on us and we have to do a better job all around.
 
"We all want to be successful and get the job done. We just haven't been hitting the ball. There's no other way to put it. But the good thing about baseball is we play every day so we turn the page and come back tomorrow and try to get it done."

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.