Win a Spot on The700Level's Team for Major League Bocce's Fall League

Win a Spot on The700Level's Team for Major League Bocce's Fall League

We're excited to team up with Major League Bocce to play in their fall league in the coming weeks with games taking place right in the heart of Center City. Not only will The700Level have our own team playing in the league, but we'll also be running a photo contest for one winner and a friend to actually be our teammates and play all season for free.

We'll be kicking things off at a happy hour with Major League Bocce  a week from today -- Thursday, September 27th -- at the Fieldhouse by the Convention Center with specials from Major League Bocce's official beer sponsor, Dogfish Head Brewery -- $4 Punkin' Ale and 60 Minute IPA drafts. The Fieldhouse is where the fall league games will be played and you can get a chance to see how the indoor bocce courts inside of a bar work. Hint: they're right next to the bar. And you're encouraged to come out on Thursday and meet some of the Level contributors and buy me as many Punkin' Ales as I can drink. Seriously, come out and have a few cold ones and lament the death of the 2012 Phillies with us.

Show us Your Balls and Beers Photo Contest

Enter the contest by uploading a photo here

You obviously like sports if you're reading this and many of you probably like drinking as well. The700Level and Major League Bocce want YOU to send us your favorite photo involving Major League Bocce's two favorite things: sports and drinking.  Send us photos of you tossing back a few cold ones while engaging in an athletic activity, preferably centered around balls.  You can be watching the game or playing in the game - choice is yours!  Submit the winning photo which we'll select based on our own criteria and you and a friend will win a FREE spot on The700Level bocce team this fall with Major League Bocce!  All photos will get a posting on The700Level Facebook fan page, so keep 'em decent. PLUS everyone who enters, will automatically receive $5 off their bocce registration this fall.  Show us your inner artiste.

Here's a shot I took prior to a Union game earlier in the year that would make for a solid entry:

For those of you who are uninformed about what exactly bocce entails, it's actually a very physically grueling sport. Okay, that's a lie. It involves standing around, throwing balls close to other balls, and drinking and socializing with new people as you play.

Here are some facts about Major League Bocce and their fall league which we'll be playing in:

About Major League Bocce:

- Major League Bocce was founded
in Washington, DC in 2004 by a group of friends looking for a fun,
social activity centered around sports and drinking
- The first season in 2004 registered 50 players - today, Major League Bocce has over 7,500 members in leagues across DC, MD, VA, PA, and MA
- This isn't your grandfather's bocce - players must be 21 to play and
range in age from 21 to over 60.  However, 28 is the average age of
membership.
- While bocce and drinking are the core competencies, the League has
always maintained a strong commitment to the surrounding community and
charity.  First place teams receive a monetary donation to a charity of
their choosing.  To date, Major League Bocce has donated over $85,000 to local, national,
and international charities.
- Bocce is accessible to all types of players - athletic ability is
not a pre-requisite to play.  Men and women are completely equal in
skill when playing bocce.  This game is about finesse, not fitness and is ideally suited to play with a beverage in one hand and a ball in another.

Major League Bocce Fall 2012:

- Major League Bocce will
play at Fieldhouse on Tuesdays this fall on INDOOR courts.  These
courts were designed and constructed by Major League Bocce and are built to be set-up
on indoor surfaces.
- The balls are smaller and lighter in weight for indoor play.
- Indoor bocce is played right next to the bar, which makes it easy to drink and play at the same time.
- Major League Bocce
Philly is sponsored by Dogfish Head beer, which will be on special at
Fieldhouse exclusively for Major League Bocce players on bocce nights.
- There will also be a season-long drinking contest - the teams that drink
Dogfish Head will be automatically entered to win gift certificates
every week, and the team that drinks the most DFH during the season will
win a grand prize donated by the brewery.
- Fieldhouse will also offer food specials to members on league nights.
- Players receive a team t-shirt, 7 weeks of organized league play, and a party at the end of the season with free beer.
- EVERYONE makes the playoffs - however, once you lose, you're out.
- Teams compete for 1st and 2nd place bocce trophies (yes, they make bocce trophies) along with a donation to a charity of their choice
- The season starts 10/16 and ends 12/18 with a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday.
- The
price to register for the season costs $45.  Everyone who enters the
700level photo contest will get $5 off registration for the fall season
plus a chance to play for FREE (along with a friend) on the The700Level
bocce team.

Be sure to enter our photo contest. All it takes is uploading one photo you already have on your laptop/phone/Facebook/Instagram/etc. And if you'd like to register to play in the fall league you can do so here.

Details for Major League Bocce / The700Level Happy Hour:

When: Thursday, September 27th
Where: Fieldhouse  (Google Maps)
Time: 7:00-9:00 pm
What: Major League Bocce happy hour with The700Level.com - meet the contributors, play a little bocce (bocce court will be set-up), watch the Phillies v. Nats game
Specials: $4 Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale and 60 Minute IPA drafts (plus food specials TBD)

Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

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Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg (9-0) won his 12th consecutive decision dating to last season, pitching six innings of one-run ball as Washington salvaged a four-game split.

Strasburg improved to 12-0 in 15 starts since losing to the Mets on Sept. 9, and the Nationals have won all 15 of those games. The 12 consecutive winning decisions is a franchise record for a starter, breaking a mark shared by Livan Hernandez (2005) and Dennis Martinez (1989).

Jayson Werth connected for a pinch-hit grand slam. Wilson Ramos had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single during a three-run fourth off Michael Wacha (2-6), who lost his sixth straight decision (see full recap).

Dodgers score twice in 9th to top Mets
NEW YORK -- Adrian Gonzalez snapped a ninth-inning tie with a two-run single off suddenly struggling closer Jeurys Familia, and Los Angeles beat New York.

Curtis Granderson hit a tying triple for the Mets immediately after Clayton Kershaw was lifted with two outs in the eighth. But the Dodgers quickly regrouped for their sixth victory in seven games since losing four straight.

Kershaw struck out 10, walked none and capped a magnificent May with another sublime performance.

Adam Liberatore (1-0) got the win. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Familia (2-1) allowed two runs on two hits and two walks (see full recap).

Castro's homer Yanks' only hit in victory
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Starlin Castro's two-run, seventh-inning homer off Jake Odorizzi was the Yankees' only hit of the game, enough to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

According to Baseball Reference data going back to 1913, the Yankees' only other one-hit win was when Charlie Mullen had an RBI single to beat Cleveland in six innings in a doubleheader nightcap on July 10, 1914.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-2) gave up one run and six hits in six innings to win his career-best fifth consecutive start and beat Odorizzi (2-3).

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a perfect inning and combined for seven strikeouts. Chapman got his seventh save (see full recap).

Deitrich hurt on odd play in Marlins' win over Braves
ATLANTA -- Derek Dietrich hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and drove in four runs before getting hurt on a foul ball hit into Miami's dugout.

Dietrich's homer landed deep in the lower section of the right-field seats in the sixth, giving Miami a 3-1 lead. A former Georgia Tech star, Dietrich added a two-run double off Eric O'Flaherty in the seventh inning, then was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in the ninth.

The team said X-rays were negative and Dietrich was to remain in Atlanta on Sunday night for further evaluations.

Tom Koehler (3-5) allowed three runs -- two earned -- three hits and five walks in seven-plus innings. Julio Teheran (1-5) gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Correa's home run lifts Astros over Angels in 13
ANAHEIM, Calif.  -- Pinch-hitter Carlos Correa had a three-run homer off Mike Morin (1-1) in the 13th inning.

Correa got a run-scoring hit in the 13th inning for the second time in six games, following up his game-ending single against Baltimore on Tuesday.

Albert Pujols had three hits for the Angels, who blew an eighth-inning lead and stranded 14 runners while losing for the fourth time in five games.

Michael Feliz (3-1) pitched the 12th for Houston (see full recap).

Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

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Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

It doesn't sound like the Sixers' replacement for Mike D'Antoni will be the most rumored name for the position.

NBA coaching veteran P.J. Carlesimo has decided to not join Brett Brown's staff as associate head coach and instead will remain a television analyst, according to tweets Sunday night by ESPN's Mark Stein.

Stein added that despite "strong mutual interest," Carlesimo made the decision for family reasons.

The 67-year-old Carlesimo has spent parts of nine seasons as a head coach in the league and five more as an assistant. He was last on a NBA bench when he took over as the Brooklyn Nets' interim head coach in 2012-13.

So the Sixers still have a vacancy on their bench after D'Antoni, who joined the Sixers in the middle of last season after Jerry Colangelo joined the organization, signed on to become head coach of the Houston Rockets last week. Who the team's next choice for the role is remains to be seen.

Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

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Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009.

Not that either side is complaining.

Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city.

Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it.

"I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point."

It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making.

General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up.

"I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are."

The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous.

Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration.

True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final.

Fresh faces
When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs.

"HBK" is H-O-T:
Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production.

Powerful Sharks
San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not.

Old men and the C(up)
Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux.

"When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.