Philly No Longer Has The Answer

Philly No Longer Has The Answer

Sure I had various players' jerseys as a kid, but as an adult, I've
only ever purchased one uniform of a professional athlete.  It's a
retro red, white, and blue; it reps our city with PHILA on the front, a
number 3 and Iverson on the back.  I never wear my one jersey, but it
makes me feel like I'm a better Philadelphian for having it hanging in
my closet.

I never thought trading Allen Iverson would make me feel so
emotional.  When I think about my love for Philadelphia sports, there
are two guys that immediately come to the front of my mind: Allen
Iverson and Donovan McNabb.  Sure I have memories of my dad taking me
to watch Sir Charles and The Doctor, but it was Allen Iverson whose
entire career as a Sixer I followed from start to finish.

I was 15 in 1996 as I watched Pat Croce go nuts at the NBA Draft
Lottery show when the Sixers found out they'd get the rights to draft
the scrappy guard out of Georgetown.  The Sixers drafted Allen Iverson with the first pick,
and my hope in a championship coming to Philly was fueled by the
lightning quick skills of the barely six footer.  Basketball was my
first love back then, and The Answer was wearing a Philadelphia
uniform.  A.I. gave me hope.

It doesn't matter right now what the Sixers got in return, although Bill King did alright.  Allen
Iverson no longer wears a Sixers uniform.  It's a sad day for
Philadelphia.

My last chance to see Iverson in personnwas a preseason game against the Knicks. A.I. didn't do anythingnincredibly noteworthy, but a couple youngsters a few rows in front ofnme chanted, "Allen.. Allen.. Allen" for pretty much the entire thirdnquarter hoping to get their glimpse of greatness. Everybody wanted tonwatch Allen. My real last memory of watching A.I. play in person wasnlast season. I was lucky enough to watch Bubba Chuck drop 47 in a hard fought victory over Gilbert Arenas and the Wizardsn. nA.I. did one of those sick crossovers on Antonio Daniels, and thenexcitement he brought to a half-full Wachovia Center sparked me to penna post titled Don't Trade Allen Iverson, Ever.

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My last chance to see Iverson in person
was a preseason game against the Knicks.  A.I. didn't do anything
incredibly noteworthy, but a couple youngsters a few rows in front of
me chanted, "Allen.. Allen.. Allen" for pretty much the entire third
quarter hoping to get their glimpse of greatness.  Everybody wanted to
watch Allen.  My real last memory of watching A.I. play in person was
last season.  I was lucky enough to watch Bubba Chuck drop 47 in a hard fought victory over Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards
.
A.I. did one of those sick crossovers on Antonio Daniels, and the
excitement he brought to a half-full Wachovia Center sparked me to pen
a post titled Don't Trade Allen Iverson, Ever.

nn

I'll remember the crossover on Jordan, the high arching kiss off thenglass, the step over Tyronne Lue, the cupped hand to the ear, thensleeve, the tattoos, the MVP. I'm not talkin' bout practice, I'mntalkin' bout the warrior.

nn

Allen Iverson had his flaws. Philadelphia loved him anyway. Thanks for the memories.

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I'll remember the crossover on Jordan, the high arching kiss off the
glass, the step over Tyronne Lue, the cupped hand to the ear, the
sleeve, the tattoos, the MVP.  I'm not talkin' bout practice, I'm
talkin' bout the warrior.

Allen Iverson had his flaws.  Philadelphia loved him anyway.  Thanks for the memories.

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

The Phillies are a lifeless team right now.

For a while the starting pitching was the biggest issue, then it was the bullpen, now it's the offense. The Phils have hit .224 since May 12, which was when their 2-7 road trip began. 

Their .268 on-base percentage over that span is worst in the majors and their .613 OPS is better than only the Mariners.

Players up and down the lineup are slumping. Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP since the ninth game of the season. Michael Saunders hasn't given them much at any point. Maikel Franco had an eight-game hit streak snapped Monday, but even still is hitting .221 with a .281 on-base percentage. 

At this point, why not bring up Roman Quinn and play him every day? It makes too much sense right now.

Daniel Nava went on the 10-day DL Monday with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury, but why not use the open space as an excuse to bring Quinn up for at least a few days and see what he's got?

Quinn could infuse some energy and life to the top of a sputtering lineup. Bat him second, play him in the corner outfield and see what happens. At the very least, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Saunders. At the most, Quinn's hunger to stick in the majors could result in a hot streak that sparks the top of the order the way Herrera does when he's hot.

Quinn is hitting lately at Triple A, batting .333 with a .424 OBP over his last 15 games. He showed last September that he can be an offensive catalyst with his ability to beat out infield singles, bunt for hits and spray the ball. Yes, he strikes out too much for a leadoff-type hitter, but it's just hard to see the downside of a call-up right now.

The argument against bringing Quinn up now is that it's too early to sour on Saunders, a player the Phillies signed in hopes of trading at some point. But think about how much Saunders would have to do to have worthwhile trade value. Yeah, you could flip him somewhere for a negligible return or some salary relief, but he'd have to be extremely productive for at least a month to get a team interested in trading a minor-leaguer of any value for him.

Pete Mackanin has tried many things to spark the Phils' lineup, moving Herrera and Franco down, sitting guys, challenging guys. The best solution, perhaps the only solution right now, might be a move made over his head to promote the Phils' speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who has a future with them so long as he stays on the field, which he has this season.

As for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who have also hit very well at Triple A, they just happen to play the same positions as Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, who have been the Phillies' most reliable bats the last few weeks.

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce is aware of the rumors and reports that have surrounded his name this offseason. 

As much as he might try to avoid them, the Eagles' veteran center does not, presumably, live under a rock. So he's heard for months about the possibility of his long run with the Eagles coming to a close. 

After all, the Eagles have stockpiled an abundance of interior offensive linemen who can play center, and trading Kelce would save the team $3.8 million in cap space. 

So it all makes sense, but Kelce is trying to keep it out of his mind. 

"I think you'll drive yourself crazy if you're reading too much into what's going on," he said on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off their voluntary OTAs. "My whole offseason has just kind of been really the only thing I can control is my game and the way I play and what I've been doing. So I've just really tried to hit the weight room, work on technique, work on things to try to get my game back to where it used to be."

How is he able to put it out of his mind? 

"Because worrying about it doesn't do any good," he answered.

While the Eagles have Isaac Seumalo and Stefen Wisniewski ready to play center if necessary, head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday that Kelce is still "the guy." 

Kelce, 29, was named to his second career Pro Bowl team last season, which might be a surprise to those who watched the Eagles throughout the year. Kelce wasn't as bad as some people think, but he also probably wasn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player. 

He got off to a very slow start in 2016 but did seem to get better as the season went on.  

"I feel at times last year, there were times I was dominant and games where I didn't really do a great job," he said. "You go back and watch film and try to make the corrections, try to make sure that moving forward I'm the same player I was in the past."

Kelce attributed many of his problems early last season to lousy technique. He's been trying extra hard to work on that part of his game as well as in the weight room. 

Often characterized as undersized, he said weighed 295 pounds on Tuesday morning. That's also his listed weight on the Eagles' website. 

All last season, Kelce said he played in the 290s, which was heavier than he had been in a long time. His goal this offseason is to make it up to 300 pounds by training camp, and then he hopes to keep the weight on. 

"I would certainly think so," he said. "As you get older, it gets a little bit easier to put on the weight and hold it on. I think everybody kind of finds that out."

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Eagles to keep Kelce around this season is the development of quarterback Carson Wentz in his second year. Kelce, as his center, might be integral to Wentz's growth. Although Kelce said he doesn't think of it like that when asked if that relationship gives him an advantage over others.  

Kelce has been with the Eagles since 2011 when he was a sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati. He's played and started 78 games in six seasons. 

He admitted last season he needed to play better or he knew he would become expendable (see story). So the rumors and reports this season likely aren't a shock to him. 

He's still not going to pay attention to them. 

"The reality is, we always have guys coming in, coming out," he said. "Now we happen to have a lot of really good depth at interior line. But like I said, it doesn't do me any good worrying about the what-ifs. All I can control is what I can control and that's how I go out and play, how I go out and prepare and how I try to get back to the player I've been in the past."