The Evster Repairs the Images of Bynum, Lindros, Rolen and McNabb

The Evster Repairs the Images of Bynum, Lindros, Rolen and McNabb

I cannot wait to heckle Andrew Bynum when he comes back to the Wells Farg.

I might even make a sign, even though I recognize that there's nothing lamer than making a sign, and nothing more annoying than sitting behind a fan holding one up. And yet I'm still considering it. Right now my #1 sign idea is: "HEY ANDREW HOW'S THE WEATHER UP THERE JK NO ONE CARES." I think it's pretty good.

But the thing is, Bynum didn't really do anything wrong here. (Yeah, there was the whole bowling thing, but bowling is SUPER FUN and we can't get mad at a person for bowling.) He was just injured and wanted to make sure he was healthy before cashing in on free agency, and that's really no reason to hate him. It was just his complete and total apathy for the whole situation that was so maddening. Not once did it ever seem like he understood that we were excited to have him. Not once did it seem like he wanted to dunk on people's necks. It's not fun to watch Spencer Hawes play basketball. Andrew didn't get that, and now he's leaving town as one of this city's all-time most hated athletes.

I'm not sure if Andrew cares (in fact, I'm not sure if this guy cares about anything), but I think he might. Because if getting through middle school taught me anything, it's that most people in this world, deep down, just want to be liked.

And Andrew still could be.

All the guy needs a good public relations person and one thoughtful press release. So I am offering special one-time only pro bono Evster PR services to Andrew (and Eric Lindros, Scott Rolen and Donovan McNabb) to repair their images once and for all.

Andrew Bynum: "Yo, I'm sorry this didn't work out. I really am. I came to Philly super excited to follow in the footsteps of the great Sixers big men like Wilt and Moses and Shawn Bradley (jk that guy sucked), and be the face of this franchise, but my body just wouldn't let it happen. I get injured so much and it's really, really frustrating. I really appreciate the Sixers organization showing confidence in me, trading for me and prying me away from that whack job in Los Angeles, that city is friggin' bonkers by the way, have you ever been there? People wear jackets there all the time. It's like, 78 degrees every day, and they still wear jackets. Ridiculous. My time here wasn't supposed to end like this, and yes, I admit the bowling thing was stupid, but I friggin' love bowling. Cherry soda? Amazing. Those old school jawns with the plastic cups and the seltzer shoots out and then the syrup? You can't beat that! After being laid up for a while, I just wanted to get out of the house and roll a few frames with the fellas, but them lanes is slippery! You know them lanes is slippery! So I'm sorry, but I've got to move on, and I'm sure you understand that. Best of luck to the organization. Best of luck to Nerlens, I know how hard coming back from injuries can be. I really hope Cleveland has good sandwiches. You guys got some good-ass sandwiches here. Yo, you seriously got some good-ass sandwiches here. Y'all should be proud. Peace."

Eric Lindros: "Not sure if you guys are aware of this, but during my time here I suffered a bunch of brain injuries, which means I suffered injuries to my BRAIN. Do you get that? Do you understand what I'm saying there? I'm not even sure if I understand, because my brain is broken and I have trouble understanding things, but I want you to try and understand that THERE'S AN "S" AFTER THE WORD INJURY BECAUSE I HAD MULTIPLE MULTIPLE MULTIPLE BRAIN INJURIES. I wanted that Stanley Cup, I really did, but THE WHOLE THING WITH MY BRAIN AND IT GETTING INJURED AND ALL, I just wasn't able to make it happen. I always wanted to be the next Gretzky or Lemieux or Messier, but when my BRAIN STARTED TO SWELL UP INSIDE OF MY SKULL, I started to make some really poor decisions. Also, my dad is a total whack job. Ugh, parents, am I right? Can't live with 'em, do you guys hear a doggie? I think I hear a doggie. Sorry that I wasn't able to achieve my goals here, but I'm very thankful for, do you hear a doggie? I definitely hear a doggie. I'm going to go find that doggie. Here, doggie! Here, doggie!"

Scott Rolen: "I am a white person from Indiana who was drafted by a professional sports team that plays its home games in the murder capital of the world. And still, I feel like I gave you guys six solid seasons of hustle, grit and ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE DEFENSE I MEAN DID YOU SEE SOME OF THOSE PLAYS I MADE. But the Vet turf, I mean, that Vet turf?!?! You saw that guy on the Bears blow out both of his ACLs. HE BLEW OUT BOTH OF HIS ACLS! I'm from Indiana for God's sake! I needed to get back there. People from St. Louis and the Midwest are so nice. Yeah, they also commit murders, but there's plenty of great parking available in downtown St. Louis and people in this town park in the middle of Broad Street! Who does that? You can just park in the middle of the street? This place is lawless. And why is everyone in this town always yelling at each other? Must be the humidity. I just had to get out of here. I'm sure you understand. His ACLs literally exploded out of his legs. He was screaming."

Donovan McNabb: "You gotta see how much food they give you during Super Bowl week. Everywhere you go, there's just buffet tables and spreads and little dishes of peanuts and pretzels and Chex Mix, you wouldn't think Chex Mix was that delicious, but it is, and by the time that 4th quarter rolled around, I was queasy as a mugg. Plus, went to Olive Garden the night before, which was obviously a mistake, but dude, free breadsticks and salad?!?! How do you turn that down? Literally, as many breadsticks as you can eat. So sorry about the puking. I wanted to win, I really did, but I also wanted to just eat some breadsticks. You understand. How do you guys not like me? I played basketball at Syracuse for God's sake! That's so cool. Devendorf? Sherman Douglas! Please get off my back. Remember that scramble against the Redskins? Doug Pederson seriously sucked though, right, we can at least agree on that. You don't even have to like me, I really don't care, but can we just agree that Doug Pederson sucked so much butt? Do you know that he's now Andy Reid's offensive coordinator in Kansas City? That's unbelievable. Shawn Bradley was seriously the worst, though, c'mon, let's be honest. Shawn Bradley? Seriously? #76? C'mon. Hook shots? Hook shots??!?! C'mon, guys. C'mon. C'mon, man. Seriously. Shawn Bradley?"

If you want to hire The Evster to handle your clients' public relations, follow him @TVMWW.

Best of MLB: Curtis Granderson homers twice off bench in Mets' win

Best of MLB: Curtis Granderson homers twice off bench in Mets' win

NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson came off the bench and homered twice, Jose Reyes had four hits and the surging New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Tuesday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera extended his recent tear at the plate, hitting a two-run homer in his return to the lineup after missing one start due to a sore left knee. Rookie right-hander Seth Lugo (2-2) gave up two runs in the first inning but recovered nicely as the Mets won for the eighth time in 10 games.

By winning the first two games of the four-game series, New York (68-64) moved ahead of slumping Miami for second place in the NL East. Both teams began the day 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the league's second wild card (see full recap).

Cardinals edge Brewers in 10 innings
MILWAUKEE -- Zach Duke stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout in the 10th inning after Randal Grichuk hit an RBI single in the top half of the inning, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Seung Hwan Oh (4-2) pitched out of a jam in the ninth to get the win. Duke got his first save with the Cardinals by striking out pinch-hitter Manny Pina after Matt Bowman walked three batters.

The Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta led off the 10th with a single off Corey Knebel (0-2) and moved to third on Yadier Molina's ground-rule double. Jeremy Hazelbaker, who pinch ran for Peralta, scored the winning run on Grichuk's flare to right.

St. Louis' Adam Wainwright and Milwaukee's Wily Peralta dueled for seven innings, leaving a 1-1 game for the bullpens (see full recap).

Wieters lifts Orioles over Blue Jays
BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Jason Grilli in the eighth inning to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

The Orioles pulled within three games of the first-place Blue Jays, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. After losing the opener 5-1, the Orioles will look to gain more ground in the series finale Wednesday.

Michael Saunders drilled a two-run shot off Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez that tied the game 3-3 in the seventh.

In the eighth, Jonathan Schoop walked and Wieters homered off Grilli (4-2), his 12th of the season.

Brad Brach (8-2) picked up the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Zach Britton got his league-leading 39th save (see full recap).

Phillies' bats dominated by Max Scherzer again in loss to Nationals

Phillies' bats dominated by Max Scherzer again in loss to Nationals

BOX SCORE

The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game with the worst on-base percentage in the majors – a paltry .297 – and they were facing one of the top pitchers in the game.
 
The results were, uh, predictable.
 
The Phillies were dominated by Max Scherzer in a 3-2 loss to the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (see Instant Replay). The final score was deceiving. The only thing that kept the game close was a solid start from Jerad Eickhoff and good work from Phillies relievers Michael Mariot, Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos.
 
Scherzer (15-7, 2.89) held the Phillies to three hits and a walk over eight innings. He struck out 11, marking the 12th time he has reached double digits in K's this season.
 
Since signing a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals before the 2015 season, Scherzer has faced the Phillies eight times. He is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in those games. (And you thought Bartolo Colon owned the Phillies.)
 
Scherzer opened this game with five no-hit innings. It was the ninth time he’d carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning in 61 starts with the club.

Scherzer has twice taken no-hitters into the sixth inning against the Phillies. Freddy Galvis broke up a Scherzer no-hitter with a double in the sixth inning June 26, 2015. He did it again Tuesday night with another sixth-inning double.
 
“He’s a thorn in my side,” Scherzer joked after the game.
 
Galvis didn’t stay on the bases long. He made a boneheaded base running play after the double and Scherzer wheeled and picked him off.
 
The Phillies’ three-hit effort left manager Peter Mackanin a little frustrated. The Phils had just four hits in losing to the Nats, 4-0, on Monday night. They are hitting just .239 as a team. Only the San Diego Padres (.237) are worse in the majors.
 
“Gotta hit,” Mackanin said quietly. “Once again, I mentioned it before, we need to improve our plate discipline. We’re just not getting hits. We had chances to win the game. But Scherzer was tough. You have to give him credit. He’s got what, 60 less hits than innings pitched? He’s a tough cookie.”
 
Scherzer has given up just 128 hits in 190 innings.
 
The Phillies made a run at Scherzer in the seventh inning. Odubel Herrera reached base on an infield hit and Ryan Howard followed with a line drive two-run homer into the left-field seats. He hit a 94 mph fastball on an 0-1 count.
 
Howard had struck out in both of his previous at-bats against Scherzer and was 1 for 20 with 13 strikeouts in his career against the Washington fireballer before the homer.
 
Given Howard’s career struggles against Scherzer, it was actually a little surprising to see him in the lineup. But Mackanin reasoned that no one on the team had good numbers against Scherzer and Howard was just as likely to run into a big hit as anyone.
 
He was right.
 
Mackanin also said he’s going to start cutting into Howard’s playing time and get Tommy Joseph more looks as the season winds down. Howard, however, could force his way into the lineup with more big hits.
 
Howard was asked about his approach against Scherzer.
 
“Put the ball in play,” he said. “Simple.”
 
Howard’s homer was his 20th of the season. He has reached 20 homers 10 times. Only Mike Schmidt (14) did it more as a Phillie. Howard has 377 homers, tying him with Norm Cash and Jeff Kent for 73rd all time.
 
Howard was asked what makes Scherzer so tough against the Phillies.
 
“That’s Scherzer, man,” Howard said. “I mean, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game for a reason. He’s got basically four-plus pitches that he can throw anytime in any count, throw them for strikes, and he does a great job of keeping hitters off balance, mixing it up really, really well. He’s kind of got a pit bull’s mentality on the mound just going out there wanting to shove it to the other team. He had it going tonight.”
 
Scherzer also drove home the Nats’ third run of the night with a safety squeeze. It proved to be a huge run after Howard’s homer.
 
Eickhoff was solid. He gave up a couple of softly hit balls for hits in the first inning and that helped the Nats score two runs out of the gate.
 
The Phillies just didn't have enough hitting to ever get the lead.

Some of that is just who they are – one of the poorest hitting teams in the majors.

Some of it was the guy they were facing.

'Stronger, bigger, better' Ivan Provorov hoping to follow Shayne Gostisbehere's path

'Stronger, bigger, better' Ivan Provorov hoping to follow Shayne Gostisbehere's path

TORONTO — At training camp last year, Ivan Provorov roomed with Shayne Gostisbehere. This year, he’s hoping to follow the young blueliner’s footsteps and earn a roster spot on the Flyers' blue line. 

After playing two games with the Flyers during the 2014-15 season, Gostisbehere joined the Flyers last November and appeared in 64 games, scoring 17 goals and tallying 29 assists. The 23-year-old’s 46 points led all Flyers defensemen and the Florida native finished second to only Chicago’s Artemi Panarin in Calder Trophy voting as the league’s Rookie of the Year. 

“He had an unbelievable season [and] he helped the Flyers a lot,” Provorov said this week at the annual NHLPA rookie showcase in Toronto. “I saw him at development camp and main camp — thought he was a great player. He got his chance when he got called up, and he used it well and played his game.”

Provorov, the Flyers’ first selection (seventh overall) in the 2015 NHL draft, has only one option this year: make the Flyers' roster out of camp. Otherwise, because of his age, he’ll have to return to junior and the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings. 

This past season, Provorov scored 21 goals and 73 points in 62 regular-season games with Brandon. He added three goals and 10 assists in 21 postseason games, helping the Wheat Kings win the WHL title and reach the Memorial Cup. However, Brandon struggled at the four-team tournament, losing all three games.

For his solid second season in the WHL, Provorov was named the recipient of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

“[Memorial Cup] didn’t really turn out the way that we were hoping to, but still a great experience,” Provorov said. “It was a different atmosphere and different tournament, where you have to win one game to get into the playoffs. It’s not like a seven-game series.”

With a second WHL season under his belt, Provorov feels he’s better prepared than he was a year ago to make the leap to the NHL game. 

“I should be a little bit more comfortable, I know what to expect,” he said. “I had a great summer and I think I'm a better player than I was a year ago: stronger, bigger, better in all areas of my game. Just looking forward to getting to Philly and starting camp.”

The Flyers currently have seven defensemen under contract for the upcoming season, but Provorov’s combination of size and skill could push a veteran such as Andrew MacDonald, who already spent most of last season with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, out of a job. 

Despite his abilities, Provorov knows bumping a veteran for a roster spot won’t be an easy task.

“Of course when you move on from a level to another level the speed increases, the players are stronger [and] bigger,” he said. “I think, for me I'll just try to play my game and compete as hard as I can.”

Provorov grew up idolizing Nicklas Lidstrom and has tried to model his game after the Hall of Famer. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Provorov has spent his two seasons in Brandon developing into a two-way blueliner, who can put up numbers on the offensive side, but at the same time be counted on in a shutdown role. 

The 19-year-old credits his decision to come to North America at such a young age for helping him adjust to the differences in lifestyle. By the time he was 16, Provorov was playing for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Iowa prior to being selected by the Wheat Kings in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.

“I came here when I was really young, so it wasn't that hard of a transition,” Provorov said. “Probably the most weird [adjustment] was probably food 'cause, I mean, food is really different from back home, but now I'm used to both.”

If he does wind up back in the WHL, Provorov has the annual World Junior Hockey Championship to look forward to. At last year’s tournament, Provorov, a native of Yaroslavl, Russia, registered eight assists in seven games, winning a second consecutive silver medal at the under-20 tournament.

“World Juniors is a great tournament, good experience,” he said. “It's always great to represent your country and, this time, if I get a chance to play, hopefully we'll win gold.”