HIP HOP IS DEAD

HIP HOP IS DEAD

No, not just the genre! The Sixers mascot of the same name has met his end. When we first heard this was likely and/or possible, we couldn't have been happier. And it's not like we're in the minority or part of some vanguard revolution against the roided up rabbit here. I can't think of any fans Hip Hop had.

And now, per an investigative report by Rich Hofmann, the Sixers have announced the retirement of Hip Hop, who has fallen in love, married (far be it from him to live in sin), and moved away to start a family. So in short, we have another reason to hate Hip Hop. WHAT WE AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH TO RAISE YOUR HARES NEAR? HUH, HIP HOP?

And now, the search for a new Sixers mascot begins. Any ideas?

Per Hofmann:

The task of coming up with a replacement for Hip Hop will fall to two firms specializing in the business. One is Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which began as the workshop of the late creator of the Muppets. The other is Raymond Entertainment Group, whose founder is Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic.  

Cancel Henson Inc. and whoever. Dave Raymond's got this. (CC: The Phanatic's best friend, Tom Burgoyne.)

It's not an easy city to be a mascot. The shadow of the Phanatic looms large. But Hip Hop was an experiment gone bad, and, importantly for the franchise that wisely put him down, it wasn't just because of the character.

I'm a Sixers fan, though not nearly as big as some of the others posting here. The team's been a part of my life as long as I can remember, and I still really enjoy going to the games, trying to hit a few per season. The one thing that really bothered me every time though was Hip Hop. Not just because I thought he was a paper-thin, obviously transient concept, but because he was loud and annoying while I was trying to watch basketball. As if to call more attention to the fact that the arena's been empty on most nights lately, he would clap thundersticks together, the sound echoing throughout. I probably let it bother me more than I should have, but what can I say. It's not easy reconciling the wish to fight a mascot with the reality that you'd probably lose.

In any case, whatever the new character is, he needs to go to Phanatic camp to learn the arts. Tip of the cap to the new ownership for moving swiftly on this front. Now that this significant hurdle has been cleared, let's get the men back on the court.

So, now that we know Hip Hop is no more, any ideas for what should replace him? What shouldn't?

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
 
Don’t worry about the role.
 
Just pitch.
 
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
 
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
 
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
 
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
 
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
 
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
 
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.

There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
 
But for now, it’s just these four.
 
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.

Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
 
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
 
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
 
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
 
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
 
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
 
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
 
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”