Joe Blanton - Fifth Starter, Artistic Muse

Joe Blanton - Fifth Starter, Artistic Muse


I have no idea who created this phenomenal Joe Blanton inspired nod to Shepard Fairey's "Andre the Giant Has a Posse", but it's kind of amazing (I wish I did know who created it so I could give proper credit, but perhaps in keeping with the street artiness of it the artist prefers to remain unknown?). How long until they start popping up all over Northern Liberties?

The timing of this is spot-on as fans have rallied around Blanton since the Phils pitching staff held their State of the Rotation press conference this week. Blanton was pretty much a forgotten man during the media session. At one point Cole Hamels had to remind a reporter that, yes, Blanton helped win a World Series back in 2008.

Between the belly, the awful chin beard, his status as the forgotten man of the staff, and the way he rocks his cap brim angled up like a truck driver you'd think that Joe has major Phillie cult status potential. I know I get a kick out of him using his glove to wipe his brow between every pitch in the same sort of way I loved when Charles Barkley would grab a towel, wipe the floor, and then wipe his face.

Based on nothing other than appearance he's the one guy on the roster who looks like he'd fit in with the '93 Phillies. When he was here Matt Stairs would've too, but at this point Joe B. is the lone guy who wouldn't look out of place hanging out with Dykstra, Daulton, Kruk, Incaviglia, and the rest of that team. This fact alone is enough reason to give the guy cult status.

Regardless, the fact remains that the Phils won a World Series with a playoff starting rotation of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton. Yeah, it's beyond amazing that one through four they'll trot out Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels, but at the end of the day they're guaranteed nothing.

I've been a fan long enough to remember the Jose de Jesus, Bobby Munoz, Shawn Boskie, Jeff Juden dark days. The fact that Joe Blanton, who won Game Four of the '08 World Series (and also homered in that game), is now the fifth starter is nothing short of miraculous.

Joe Blaton, 6'3", 245 lbs. of Fifth Ace. Bottom line, Joe Blanton has a posse.

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).