Ryne Sandberg to Third Base Coach Among Changes in Phillies Dugout

Ryne Sandberg to Third Base Coach Among Changes in Phillies Dugout

When the Phillies announced several changes in their coaching staff roughly an hour or so after the season ended, speculation was Triple-A manager and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg would be hastily promoted to the position of bench coach.

On Thursday, Sandberg was indeed hired by the big club, but reportedly to be the team's third base coach. Nothing further -- for now at least.

Sandberg replaces Juan Samuel after one year over there, though unlike several others, Samuel retains a job (for now). Bench coach Pete Mackanin, first base coach Sam Perlozzo, and hitting coach Greg Gross were all left go. No word just yet on what Samuel will do for the club, but taking over for Perlozzo would be my guess.

Also promoted from Lehigh Valley were hitting coach Steve Henderson, who will presumably replace Gross there, and Rod Nichols.

The hires no doubt will be seen as a way to placate Sandberg, who many believe could be the next manager of the Phillies. Charlie Manuel has one year remaining on his contract, and whether it's due to his team potentially under-performing again, or at age 69 this coming season he simply chooses to step down after next season, it could be his last in the organization.

Many see Sandberg as his replacement. The IronPigs made their first ever playoff appearance under Ryno in 2011. Of course, there is nothing keeping another team from swooping in and naming Sandberg their manager now, as at least in Philadelphia he is viewed as hot candidate.

Sandberg has interviewed with the Cubs in the past -- the team he spent the majority of his big league career with -- but for now seems content biding his time with the Phillies organization. That's good news, as one way or the other, Charlie can't manage forever. He will manage at least one more year however, just with a barrage of new faces around him.

6 years after last appearance, Eric Lichaj's crucial goal lifts U.S. in Gold Cup win

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6 years after last appearance, Eric Lichaj's crucial goal lifts U.S. in Gold Cup win

Six years after his last appearance with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Eric Lichaj finally opened up his international scoring account in a 2-0 win over El Salvador in Wednesday night’s Gold Cup quarterfinals match (see story).

Lichaj earned his first international appearance under previous USMNT coach Bob Bradley, only to fall out of favor with Jurgen Klinsmann during his tenure. Now with Bruce Arena at the helm, Lichaj has been given an opportunity to prove himself throughout the Gold Cup.

Despite getting off to a rocky start Wednesday night, the defender found himself streaking up the field into the opposing third, getting his foot on the receiving end of a Clint Dempsey assist.  

“I wasn’t having the best of times in the first half. I think I ended up going forward and having a good run. It was a good play down the left and Clint ended up turning and slotting me in and it was just a good goal, and I needed it because my performance in the first half is something I don’t want to repeat ever again,” Lichaj said. 

A full body slide celebration soon followed, along with congratulations and hugs from teammates.

“I’m delighted for him”, roommate and Union midfielder Chris Pontius said. “I told him he’d get one this tournament, he ventured forward a couple times in the first half. I don’t know how he ended up the left side as a right back, but it was a great finish though.”

A finish his family was able to enjoy with him, as Lichaj had 10 family members in the stands on Wednesday night. His wife and two daughters have traveled across the country over the last couple weeks, attending every game this tournament. 

The Lichaj’s will once again be packing their bags as they follow their favorite defender and the USMNT to Texas this weekend. Up next for the Red, White, and Blue is a semifinal match against Costa Rica on July 22nd. It’s a showdown that will certainly bring up some past emotions, for players and coaches alike. 

"Certainly they're a good team, we know that," Arena said of Costa Rica. "They beat the U.S. by four goals in November, right? Hopefully, we can remember that."

First tease of Sixers' new Nike uniforms pops up on Twitter

First tease of Sixers' new Nike uniforms pops up on Twitter

Nike kicks off an 8-year exclusive partnership with the NBA and will be the official provider of all jerseys, shorts, and basically the classic parts of the basketball uniform.

A number of team's have already released what their new jerseys with a Nike swoosh will look like. The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings have shared images of their new jerseys.

Notice the swoosh on one side with the sponsorship logo on the other. The Sixers will have StubHub on their new Nike jerseys.

Chris Heck, the Sixers' Chief Sales and Marketing Officer best known for tweeting images with only a #OnBrand hashtag, shared what appears to be the first look at the new Sixers' gear with a Nike logo.

As you may or may not be aware, Nike is doing away with a traditional "home" and "away" uniform, instead producing four different uniforms for each team that they can choose from. Here's how NBA.com describes it:

Another significant change coming this fall involves adjusting the nomenclature of what were formerly known as “home” and “away” uniforms. Beginning with the 2017-18 season, home teams are not automatically assigned to wear white uniforms, and instead will be allowed to choose which uniform they want to wear for each home game. Visiting teams will then choose a contrasting uniform from their available options.