PPL Park Beverage Power Rankings (Oh, and a Big Union Game)

PPL Park Beverage Power Rankings (Oh, and a Big Union Game)

Photo and hand by Enrico

The new beer stand in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park might be the city's gold standard for sporting event beverage selection. But PPL Park is a close second, mostly because the Venn diagram comparing soccer "snobs" (like me) and beer "snobs" (also like me) has a rather large overlap.

So if you don't have plans this afternoon, head to Chester and try my rankings on for size (only if you have a designated driver, of course).

5. Bud Light from a vendor: If you need a quick beer and only have a minute before kickoff, the vendors do a nice job of parking in the middle of the concourse. Keep your ears open around the 65th minute, as well, when the same vendors roll through the sections at lightning speed to beat the 70th minute last call. UPSIDE: Fast and easy. DOWNSIDE: It's still Bud Light.

4. Victory HopDevil: I know there is one small kiosk near midfield on the south concourse, and I believe another on the north side. They're set up on the opposite side of the concession stands, closer to the field. UPSIDE: HopDevil is always outstanding. DOWNSIDE: Is it greedy to request Victory Summer Love during these hot-weather games?

3.  Snake & Shield: There's 2 of these permanent stands (one just inside the plaza on south side). Their selling point? Double-size beers. They're selection is somewhat limited to beers available in 24-ounce bottles, but the Blue Moon or Stella Artois is better than the Bud heavy, and with no stoppages until halftime for a refill, you'll appreciate the big cup. If you're a season-ticket holder, add some money to your card and use it to buy beer. A $14 "premium" beer becomes $12 and change.  UPSIDE: They even have gluten-free beer, if that's your thing. DOWNSIDE: On a hot day, you're left with warm beer at the end of the cup (drink faster).

2. Boddington's: There's at least one of these stands on the south side, and I assume another on the north. The guy working the tap knows how to properly pour it, and even (politely) corrected a customer in front of me last month who INSISTED that he should tilt the cup while pouring. UPSIDE: No beer screams "I'm at a soccer game!" like Boddington's. DOWNSIDE: The line can get a little long at halftime.

1. Parking Lot Beer: It's cheaper, it's colder and it's usually accompanied by grilled meat. I'm partial to Lot A myself, but if you're drinking beer in a parking lot with a river view on a summer day, you're doing something right. UPSIDE: Philly's best tailgating scene. Hands down. DOWNSIDE: Eventually, you'll actually have to go into the stadium.

TODAY'S GAME

Philadelphia Union (7-5-4, 25 points) vs. FC Dallas (8-3-5, 29 points), 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network

This will likely be the last game for Jack McInerney until August, after being called up to the U.S. National Team for the Gold Cup. The Union will miss his finishing touch, but if Sebastien Le Toux and Conor Casey keeps playing like they have been of late, the Union should be able to survive until his return. Expect McInerney to get a big send-off from the crowd today, and expect him to find the back of the net at least once.

Prediction Sure To Be Way Off:

McInerney gets at least one, and Casey gets another. Whether the Union can keep Dallas off the board will be the real question. But I think they do just enough to get stay hot heading into a tough mid-week game in Salt Lake City.

Union 2, FC Dallas 1.

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left it in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

Find great deals on Philadelphia Phillies tickets with TicketIQ. Buy cheap Phillies tickets with no hidden fees for all games on their 2016 schedule.