Eagles-Steelers: the Battle for Pennsylvania Continues

Eagles-Steelers: the Battle for Pennsylvania Continues

Another chapter in the sports rivalry between the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh gets written today, albeit a much different one. The Flyers and Penguins play each other six times over a normal 82-game season, and can then meet in the playoffs for seven more as they did in April. The Phillies and Pirates play at least two series per season as well, and also could meet in the postseason -- if the Bucs ever got there.
The Eagles and Steelers meet just once every four years, unless they were both to wind up in the Super Bowl. It appears both could be a long way from reaching that goal before 2013.

The Steelers are 1-2 entering today, and there is a belief their entire campaign could hinge on today's result. That's not being melodramatic either, not in the AFC North where both the Ravens and Bengals are 3-1. Luckily for the Steelers, they are coming off of a bye and return three great players in Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu.

The Birds are in much better shape by virtue of their 3-1 record alone. As everybody would be quick to tell you though, the three wins are by a combined four points, and the loss was a blowout. The Eagles are in fine position for now, but only as long as Michael Vick stops turning the ball over long enough for the offense to kick a few field goals.

Still, these may not be the powerhouse Steelers we are accustomed to, but perhaps an aging group whose best days are behind them. However, they are still dangerous, especially at Heinz Field where they rarely lose, least of all to an out-of-conference opponent.

So any way you look at it, this is a big game, even if it doesn't fit the mold of the traditional Philly-Pitt rivalry. One season is riding on it, another could be defined by it, and any way you look at it, Eagles-Steelers tends to be a battle of two NFL juggernauts.

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

The Phillies on Thursday officially announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018. 

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Saunders will make $9 million this season with the Phillies and the club option for 2018 will be worth $11 million with escalators potentially pushing it to $14 million.

Saunders, 30, is the left-handed hitting outfield bat the Phils were seeking. He hit 24 home runs for the Blue Jays last season in his walk year, making the AL All-Star team before slumping in the second half.

Saunders hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in 82 games for the Blue Jays before the All-Star break, then hit .178/.282/.357 with eight homers in 58 games after.

He had a good year against same-handed pitching, hitting .275 with a .927 OPS and eight homers against lefties. 

He'll likely start in right field for the Phillies, with Odubel Herrera in center and Howie Kendrick in left (see Phils' projected lineup).

Saunders, who will wear No. 5, can also play first base, which could allow the Phillies to sit Tommy Joseph against a tough right-hander and fill in the outfield.

It was important to Phillies GM Matt Klentak that the player he signed to fill the spot in the outfield was not going to block young outfielders like Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and others.

On a one-year deal, Saunders came relatively cheap to the Phils, lingering in free agency as other hitters found contracts. In the middle of last summer, Saunders seemed poised for a multi-year contract like the four-year, $52 million deal Josh Reddick signed with the Astros. His second half cost him some money.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Saunders, the Phillies designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.