Most Popular Philly Sports Blog Posts of 2012 Dominated By Flyers, Sidney Crosby, Iverson, Hartnell and Jagr

Most Popular Philly Sports Blog Posts of 2012 Dominated By Flyers, Sidney Crosby, Iverson, Hartnell and Jagr

Maybe many casual fans around the continent aren't missing hockey all that much, but you know there's a hardcore contingent in Philadelphia that's missing the Flyers a whole lot. We have some data today to prove it. After messing around on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, we determined that 13 of the top 18 most visited blog posts on The700Level.com in 2012 were about the Flyers. We listed all 18 posts below with a few takeaways.

First, you guys really love to hate Sidney Crosby. The Penguins' villain popped up in 3 of the top 18 posts.

Allen Iverson was the only Sixer to get his name in the top 18 posts, but the Sixers' new t-shirt cannon made the cut as well. Another A.I. post also just missed the top 18. You guys really miss Bubba Chuck.

You all love Scott Hartnell, especially when he falls down.

Charlie Manuel and Jonathan Papelbon were the only Phillies to get huge numbers, mostly because they were arguing with umps and fighting with fans. Controversy!

Jason Babin whining was quite popular.

Here's the full list. Jagr's beard beat out Lavvy's rant as most visited post of the year by only a few hundred pageviews. Wonder how Jagr's beard was so popular? Some giant web portal in the Czech republic linked to the post about Jaromir's "scholarly beard."

Good night, good blogging.

1. Marvel at Jaromir Jagr's Unique Playoff Beard

2. Peter Laviolette Goes Ballistic On Penguins Bench; Hartnell Taunts Hulk Hogan Wannabe

3. Watch: Sidney Crosby Reacts to Daily News 'Cowardly' Cover

4. Jonathan Papelbon Wins Cage Match With Fan

5. Flyers Turn 'Knock, Knock' Winning Anthem into Playoff T-shirt (this was RT'd by Mac Miller to his millions of fans)

6. Sixers to Unveil Big Bella, World's Largest T-Shirt Launcher Tonight

7. Philadelphia Bar Brews a Beer Called 'Crosby Tears'

8. Jason Babin Laughed When Andy Reid Told Him He Was Released, Then Laughed Some More When He Shared the Story

9. Video: Allen Iverson at the Wells Fargo Center for Game 6

10. Scott Hartnell Channels His Inner Hulk, and the Hulkster Himself Makes Jumbotron Appearance

11. Watch—The Quintessential Scott Hartnell: #hartnelldown, goal, fight! The Hart Trick? (pretty sure Matt coined "The Hart Trick" in this post)

12. Jagr: 'I have never seen a team like the Flyers'

13. Both Charlie Manuel and Ump Bob Davidson Get One-Game Suspension

14. Jaromir Jagr Pulls His Own Goalie

15. 'Uniform Monitor' Ranks Flyers Orange and Black as Best Unis in Sports

16. Watch: Chris Therien's Fantastic Crosby Rant Set to Game Video

17. Bettman: ‘This Process Is Over,’ NHL Prepared to Martyr Itself

18. 'Knock, Knock' From Xfinity Live! After Flyers Game One Win in Pittsburgh

This naked guy didn't crack the top 18 but we wanted to include him in the montage above. Here's the other A.I. post that just missed. Good stuff.

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.
 

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

There was no better story of personal triumph on the Phillies' roster than Tommy Joseph in 2016.

Dumped from the 40-man roster and passed over by 29 other teams on the waiver wire and in the Rule 5 draft in 2015, he reported to minor-league camp with his career on the line last spring.

Two months later, thanks to good health and a molten bat, Joseph's career began to spike upward.

But 4½ months in the big leagues and the promise of a starting job in the majors in 2017 hasn't changed Joseph's outlook or the mindset he will take into spring training camp next month.

He's still going to scrap and claw for everything, just like he did a year ago when he was fighting for his baseball life after a series of concussions put his career in jeopardy.

"I'm preparing the same way I did last winter," Joseph said during an offseason stop at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

"The job is not given to me. I still have to win it. I'm not going to walk in and have it. Obviously, it's mine to take and I plan on going in and winning the job."

Joseph, 25, earned a significant slice of the starting first base job last year. But with Ryan Howard, the last piece of the 2008 World Series team, gone, Joseph has a chance to stake an even greater claim to the position in 2017 and establish himself as a serious building block in the Phillies' rebuild.

"Tommy came out of nowhere last year," manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's something to be excited about there. He was off the map and he did enough to warrant a real strong look this year. And hopefully, he can improve and take baby steps toward being a final product."

Joseph pushed himself to the majors and cut into Howard's playing time last season by hitting .347 with six homers, 17 RBIs and a .981 OPS in 27 games at Triple A. He came to the majors in mid-May and hit .257 with 21 homers and 47 RBIs in 107 games. In the fall, Joseph briefly played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but right wrist tendinitis, now fully healed, cut the stint short.

Joseph's good showing at the plate in 2016 was partly the result of his finding good health. As he recovered from a fifth concussion in the summer of 2015, it was discovered that he had a series of ocular problems. They were addressed through therapy and ... well, it's amazing what a hitter can do when he can see the ball.

This year, Joseph will look to improve in the field. The converted catcher is looking to add quickness around the first base bag and that starts with better footwork. At the urging of bench coach/infield instructor Larry Bowa, Joseph has been jumping rope and doing box drills all winter.

Joseph also wants to improve his approach and mindset at the plate. Though he wants to drive the ball like his size — 235 pounds — and position dictate, he wants to improve his on-base percentage and thus his OPS, on-base plus slugging percentage.

Joseph struck out 75 times and walked just 22 times in 347 plate appearances in 2016 and his on-base percentage was just .308. But over the final month of the season, he made an effort to be more selective at the plate and he recorded a .327 batting average and .406 on-base percentage (while slugging .618) over the final 23 games of the season. He struck out 10 times but walked seven over that span.

"My whole career has been a battle when it comes to walking," Joseph said. "I started to listen and read more what veterans around the league were saying about on-base percentage and OPS. Slugging is important on the corners, but there are times you have to take your walks. It's relevant because the best players in the game have a high OPS."

Joseph needs to improve in this area for a couple of reasons. First, the front office is intent on building a long-term lineup around players who control the strike zone, i.e., those who don't chase bad pitches. And second, the Phils have a legitimate run-producing first base prospect in Rhys Hoskins set to take his game to Triple A in 2017.

Joseph knows all of this and takes nothing for granted.

"The only difference this year will be I'm on the big-league side in spring training, but everything still has to be earned," he said.

The Phillies ranked last in the majors — or "last in the world," as Mackanin said — with just 610 runs scored in 2016. The offseason additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders should help run production. So, too, should expected improvements from Maikel Franco and Joseph, two players who have the chance to be long-term building blocks.

"We've got guys at the big-league level that I choose to think are going to get better," Mackanin said. "Tommy Joseph is a perfect example."