Roob's 25 random points: Manuel, Holiday, Eagles D

Roob's 25 random points: Manuel, Holiday, Eagles D

July 1, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Charlie Manuel (center) is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies. (USA Today Images)

In today’s edition of Roob’s 25 Random Points, we touch on Shazam, Jason Mraz, fax machines and I-95 construction, as well as the 76ers, Eagles, Phillies and Flyers.

Let’s get started!

1. I like Jrue Holiday as much as the next guy. Nice player, went hard all the time, wore himself down to the bone last year, since he was the only real player the Sixers still had. But anybody who doesn’t see the genius of the 76ers’ draft-day trade just isn’t paying attention. They weren’t going anywhere by keeping a nucleus of Holiday, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes and simply adding the 11th pick. Honestly, where was that going to lead? This franchise has been mired for years in that NBA netherworld where you’re always fighting for at best a No. 7 or No. 8 seed and drafting among the lottery picks if you don't get into the playoffs. The one time in recent years they got a top-five pick, it was a historically weak draft and the best they could do was Turner. The only way to wriggle your way out of NBA mediocrity is by being bold and creative, and Sam Hinkie managed to not only acquire a player seen by many as the best player available when healthy, he got an extra first-round pick in the loaded 2014 draft, cleared $40 million in cap space and even got a point guard project who could replace Holiday. This is a franchise that’s won one playoff series since 2003. The status quo wasn’t good enough. It would have led nowhere. Hinkie had to alter the direction of the franchise, and on his first big day as Sixers GM, he did. Brilliant moves.
2. I have this funny feeling that if the Phillies get swept in Pittsburgh, Charlie’s getting fired. That would be a 3-7 road trip, a 39-47 record, likely double-digits back in the NL East and 17 losses in their last 25 games. Is this mess his fault? No way. He's not the one who put together this bullpen. He's not the one who failed to replenish an aging roster with young talent. He's not the one who turned two former MVPs into sad shadows of their former selves. But he doesn’t have a contract beyond this year, and this team seems to need the kind of big, ol’ kick in the pants that managerial changes bring. End of a long, bad road trip is when these things usually happen. Just a hunch.
3. I Shazam bad songs way more often than good songs. I already know all the good ones. The bad ones are the ones I'm curious about. "Wow, who could possibly have recorded a song this awful." It's usually Jason Mraz.
4. Maybe the new coaches will help. Maybe the new coordinator will help. Maybe the new scheme will help. Maybe the new additions will help. Still, I don’t see where the Eagles have really dramatically improved themselves on defense. The subtraction of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a few others will help, but I still don’t see any playmakers. Fletcher Cox is very good, Mychal Kendricks has a chance to be a player, and Bennie Logan could become a stud. But the sacks, the interceptions, the forced fumbles, the big game-changing hits –- all the stuff that was missing last year and, really, the last couple years -– where’s all that coming from? The way the Eagles are going to play offense is going to put tremendous pressure on the defense. A three-and-out might take 45 seconds, and then it's back out there for the defense. That's going to be very tough for this group.
5. The last Eagles head coach who didn’t reach the conference semifinals by his second season was Marion Campbell, back in the mid-1980s. Andy Reid won a playoff game in his second year, Ray Rhodes in his first year and Rich Kotite in his second year. Buddy Ryan didn’t win a playoff game his second year, but he got a first-round bye and a berth in the conference semis [and we’re not counting 1987 as his second year, since the Eagles were 7-5 in non-strike games but 7-8 including the replacement games. Had those results not counted, the Eagles would have been in the playoffs].
6. Why do people still put fax numbers on emails and business cards? When was the last time you faxed something?
7. The WXPN Free at Noon series is a fantastic way to see live music, and it always amazes me how few people take advantage of the free, weekly hour-long Friday afternoon concerts at a nice venue with Harpoon IPA on tap that’s a five-minute walk from 30th Street Station. In the past few years, I’ve seen Steve Earle, Marianne Faithful, They Might Be Giants, Son Volt, British Sea Power, Yo La Tengo, Dr. Dog, Illinois, Felice Brothers, Crowded House, the Villagers, Marah, Bob Mould, Delta Spirit and many, many more.
8. Three best Free at Noons: Yo La Tengo, Son Volt, Crowded House. Three worst Free at Noons: Bat for Lashes, She and Him, On an On.
9. This is a Special Guest Flyers Random Point from Flyers writer Sarah Baicker: Don’t be too quick to dismiss the Flyers’ selection of Samuel Morin with their first pick in Sunday’s draft (11th overall). While he might not have been the highest-ranked player available at the time of their selection, he’s done nothing but improve over the past year -– especially after returning from a collarbone injury. There’s always a risk that draft picks will hit their peaks before they ever come close to the NHL, but the way the Flyers see it, he's proved that won't happen. Plus the Flyers have had a solid history of developing French Canadian players, for whatever reason.
10. Hard to imagine at this point Cole Hamels won’t lose 20 games. The last National Leaguer to lose 20 was Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who went 21-20 for the Braves in 1979 pitching all year on short rest (he started 44 games). The last time a National Leaguer lost 20 without winning 20 was 1977, when both Niekro and future Phillie Jerry Koosman of the Mets did it. Hamels has 11 losses and will probably get 17 more starts. He needs a combination of nine wins and no-decisions to avoid becoming the National League’s first 20-game loser in 34 years.
11. The new Joseph Arthur record, “The Ballad of Boogie Christ,” is one of the 10 best albums I’ve ever heard.  
12. Whoever planned out this I-95 construction zone is completely out of their mind. I feel safer riding Kingda Ka.
13. Jimmy Rollins has 197 homers, 106 triples and 438 doubles. That's 741 career extra-base hits, or one every 11.6 at-bats during his 14-year career. Since he became a starter in 2001, only two National Leaguers have more extra-base hits -- Albert Pujols (915) and Aramis Ramirez (760). But in 28 games in June, in 102 at-bats, Rollins had just two extra-base hits, both doubles. That's one every 51 at-bats.
14. Jimmy’s lost his power, but he’s still playing Gold Glove shortstop.
15. Would anybody really be surprised if Chip Kelly never does announce a starting quarterback and just waits till 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at FedEx Field, and we all just sit there and wait to see who runs out with the offense?
16. When I’m in charge, anybody who parks in a handicapped parking spot without being handicapped loses their license for a year. Do it again, you lose your license for life.
17. It’s a pretty short list of NFL players who’ve had 800 yards rushing and receiving in the same season –- Roger Craig in 1985, Charlie Garner in 2002, Steven Jackson in 2006 and Marshall Faulk four times. I’ve got LeSean McCoy going for 1,144 rushing and 818 receiving this year.
18. Only four Eagles have had double-digit sacks in a season since 1997, and if you guessed Hugh Douglas, Trent Cole and Jason Babin, you know your stuff. If you also got Darren Howard, you really know your stuff.
19. It’s time for another Special Guest Flyers Random Point from Flyers writer Sarah Baicker! And it's not even about cheese! OK, here goes: The highlight of Sunday’s NHL draft came late in the seventh and final round, long after most fans had left the Prudential Center and hours after top prospects posed for photo ops on stage. In a surprise move, the New Jersey Devils traded for the Los Angeles Kings’ 208th pick and asked that their goaltender Martin Brodeur could approach the lectern to announce the team’s selection: His son, Anthony. A super classy move for their longtime netminder and, simply put, just another example of what makes hockey great.
20. Remember Eagles linebacker Marc Woodard? Was with the Eagles from 1994-96. His daughter Jessica just graduated this month from Cherokee High School in Marlton and is one of the top track athletes in the country. She won the shot and discus at the New Jersey Meet of Champions earlier this month, the first to win both the same year since 1985, and went on to place fourth in the discus in the USATF Junior Nationals, featuring mainly college athletes, with a throw of 168-10, second-best in New Jersey history. Woodard will enter Oklahoma in the fall.
21. It’s frightening how good Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig is. He now has 44 hits in 26 career games. Only one member of the Baseball Hall of Fame had more hits in his first 26 games: Joe DiMaggio.
22. Puig’s .436 batting average is the highest in major-league history among players with 100 or more at-bats. Ty Cobb is 70 points back at .366.
23. Remember how crazy that whole Jeremy Lin-mania thing was? He’s about to change teams for the fourth time in 18½ months.
24. Eagles-Redskins is 69 days away.
25. Carlos Ruiz is on pace for eight RBIs this year. Eight.

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