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)

Report: Eagles to re-sign QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Report: Eagles to re-sign QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson

The Eagles are reportedly bringing back a familiar face at quarterback, and no, it's not Tim Tebow. 

The team will re-sign quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan

With the addition, the current roster will be capped out at 90 after the reported signings of former Villanova LB Don Cherry and Alabama S Nick Perry go through (see story).  

The Eagles first signed Bethel-Thompson in February to pair with Mark Sanchez at the lone quarterback on the roster. A lot has changed since then, with the team re-signing Sam Bradford and drafting Carson Wentz. Bethel-Thompson was then cut by the Eagles in May. 

Bethel-Thompson has been in the NFL since 2011, after going undrafted out of Sacramento State. The 6-foot-4, 230 pounder has spent time with the Dolphins, the Vikings twice, Patriots and the 49ers three times. He has never played in a game. 

It'll be an uphill battle for the 27-year-old to make the roster with the quarterback position locked up with Bradford, Chase Daniel and Wentz. 

Today's Lineup: Rupp and Franco out, Howard, Ruiz in

Today's Lineup: Rupp and Franco out, Howard, Ruiz in

Going for the series win today, Pete Mackanin has shaken up the lineup.

Maikel Franco is still out. After taking a pitch off the wrist on Friday, Franco was listed as day to day with a sore wrist (see story). Andres Blanco will again hit and play third.

Both Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz crack the lineup today. Ruiz has caught Vince Velasquez just once this season, a five inning shutout with 10 strikeouts vs. the Marlins on May 17. 

Ruiz replaced Cameron Rupp in the third inning of Saturday's game as a precaution after Rupp took a pitch off the helmet. (see story)

After being on fire for much of the past month, Peter Bourjos has posted consecutive 0 for 5 nights in the leadoff spot. He will drop down to ninth today, allowing another hot hitter, Cesar Hernandez to hit leadoff.

Odubel Herrara will remain in the two-spot, where he has looked resurgent in this series, going 6 for 9 with four runs scored. 

Much like Bourjos, Cody Asche has not yet recorded a hit in this series and will be lowered to the seven-hole, while Freddy Galvis will hit sixth.

Velasquez takes the mound for the Phillies today. In his four starts since returning from a biceps injury in early June, Velasquez has been arguably the team's best pitcher. In those starts, the flamethrower has been going deeper into ball games than earlier this season, averaging six innings per start, while allowing just five runs during that span. 

Here is today's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Odubel Herrara CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz C
6. Freddy Galvis SS
7. Coday Asche LF
8. Peter Bourjos RF
9. Vince Velasquez P

Reuben Frank's way-too-early 2016 Eagles predictions

Reuben Frank's way-too-early 2016 Eagles predictions

Will offensive linemen Jason Peters and Jason Kelce bounce back from disappointing seasons? Who will the Eagles’ top cornerback be? How many games will Carson Wentz start? Will the Eagles win a playoff game for the first time since 2008?

We take our best shot at these questions and many others facing the Eagles in our way-too-early 2016 predictions.

See you in the comments section!

1. I’ll start with Zach Ertz. He caught 75 passes for 853 yards last year, but I feel like he can do so much more. Sam Bradford and Ertz really clicked late last season, connecting 35 times for 450 yards the last four games of the year. Nobody can keep that up for an entire season, but I think this is finally the huge breakout season we’ve been expecting from Ertz since he got here in 2013.

THE PREDICTION: 90 catches for 1,089 yards.

2. Staying on offense, much has been made of Kelce’s sub-par season in 2015. It was strange to see Kelce, coming off a Pro Bowl season, apparently healthy and in the prime of his career, struggle the way he did. But I still think Kelce is an elite center. Yeah, he’s a little undersized, but he was undersized when he dominated in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl in 2014. He succeeds when he keeps his technique and uses his strength and leverage to overcome his lack of bulk. I think Kelce returns to form.

THE PREDICTION: A second Pro Bowl in three years for Kelce.

3. Sticking with the offensive line, I see Jason Peters also rebounding in 2016. Nobody benefited less than Peters from Chip Kelly’s full-speed, non-stop practices. His body broke down and when he was healthy enough to start, he often wasn’t healthy enough to finish. He made another Pro Bowl, but it was really a lost season for Peters. But with the hurry-up offense gone and a head coach who promises to take it easy on the older guys the way Reid did, there’s no reason Peters shouldn’t rebound.

THE PREDICTION: Peters returns to form and continues his late-career Hall of Fame push with his ninth Pro Bowl in 10 years, the only exception being the 2012 season he missed while rehabbing his torn Achilles.

4. I know he’s No. 3 now, but I’m just going on common sense, which says that if Sam Bradford gets hurt or gets benched, Carson Wentz and not Chase Daniel will replace him. Imagine if it’s Week 13 and Bradford hobbles off the field and Daniel – who has one career touchdown pass in six NFL seasons – jogs out to replace him? It would not be pretty. I say Wentz starts the last four games this year and plays fairly well.

THE PREDICTION: Wentz completes 61 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

5. I think Jordan Matthews is a good, solid, functional NFL wide receiver, but I don’t think there is a star in this wide receiver group. The Eagles last year were the only NFL team with just one wide receiver with 30 receptions, the first time that’s happened in 26 years (Cris Carter was the only one in 1989). And honestly, I don’t see the situation improving that much. Maybe Nelson Agholor or Josh Huff or Rueben Randle will surprise me, but I just feel like this wide receiving corps doesn’t have the oomph it needs to really compete at a high level.

THE PREDICTION: Matthews catches another 80 to 90 passes but nobody else emerges as a big-time second wide receiving threat, and the Eagles once again go into the offseason desperate for an over-the-top threat like DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin.

6. Moving to defense, I think when all is said and done, Eric Rowe will emerge as the Eagles’ No. 1 cornerback. I wonder about Leodis McKelvin’s ability at 31 years old to run the way a corner has to in a division with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant. Think of some Eagles corners who were 31 and older. Nnamdi. Charles Dimry. Roynell Young and Herm Edwards at the end. The only one who played at a high level at that age was Troy Vincent, and Leodis McKelvin is not Troy Vincent. I think Rowe will have his ups and downs, but, by the end of the year, he’ll be a solid NFL starter.

THE PREDICTION: Rowe leads the Eagles with five interceptions.

7. The Eagles have a lot of different guys who can rush the passer, and in Jim Schwartz’s scheme, there should be plenty of opportunities for them to attack the quarterback. Two years ago, Connor Barwin had 14 ½ sacks and Vinny Curry had 9 and last year Fletcher Cox had 9 ½ sacks and Brandon Graham had a career-high 6 ½. Now, this is a new world, with a 4-3 defense, and nobody is quite sure how all the pieces will fit together. But I do think the Eagles will be among the NFL leaders in sacks.

THE PREDICTION: The Eagles had 37 sacks last year and averaged just 41 during the Bill Davis Era, but I say they get 50 this year, which they’ve only done once since 2003 – in 2011 under defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

8. I’m less confident in the back seven, and I’m not convinced the Eagles have solved their pass defense issues. We’ve seen a lot of new faces come and go over the years – from DRC and Nnamdi to Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher – with nothing really changing. The Eagles are the only team in NFL history to allow 25 or more touchdown passes in seven straight years (after not allowing 25 passing TDs since 1989). Malcolm Jenkins is a beast, but a lot of question marks surround him in the defensive backfield.

THE PREDICTION: The Eagles extend their NFL record of allowing at least 25 touchdown passes to eight straight seasons.

9. This group of linebackers scares me. I feel like Mychal Kendricks has a ton of talent, but don’t think he’s ever put together the type of full season he’s capable of. I love what Jordan Hicks did the first half of last year, but I wonder if he can come close to repeating that or if he can stay healthy. Nigel Bradham? Not sure what he brings to the table. And behind that group there’s guys like Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner and Travis Long. There’s talent here, but it’s a precarious group.

THE PREDICTION: By the end of the season, only one of those three linebackers will still be in the starting lineup.

10. It’s silly to make a prediction for the season now, before we even know who’s on the team. But I’m going to do that anyway. I don’t think they’re that bad. But I don’t think they’re that good. I’m a Wentz guy and don’t think the Eagles are really going to accomplish anything substantial until Wentz is behind center. That said, I like Bradford more than most people. I think he’s an adequate NFL starter. But I don’t like his TD-INT ratio and don’t think he can generate enough points against good teams to get the Eagles beyond mediocre. I think the Eagles are missing the elite offensive weapons and defensive playmakers to be a playoff team. In this division, who knows? If the Eagles can go 4-2 in the division and scratch out five wins in their 10 games out of the gate, it could be enough to win the NFC East. But ultimately, I think they’ll fall short. Too many question marks. Too many areas that just aren’t good enough. Too many unknowns with Doug Pederson. The Eagles haven’t won a playoff game in seven years and I fear that number will increase to eight this year.

THE PREDICTION: Eagles go 7-9 this year and finish two games behind the Redskins in the NFC East.