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.

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell is not starting tonight against the Bengals. Maxwell, who the Eagles traded this past offseason, was already seeing his playing time diminish. Now, he will sit in favor of Tony Lippett, who has not seen a single snap for the Dolphins this season.

The Eagles big trade this offseason keeps getting better and better.  They acquired the 8th overall pick in the draft in exchange for the 13 overall pick, Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo. Not only were they able to rid themselves of Maxwell’s awful contract, but they were able to get value for a player who is now not considered an NFL starter. 

The 8th overall pick that the Eagles acquired from Miami was flipped to the Browns among other picks to move up to number two. As you may know, that number two pick became offensive rookie of the month Carson Wentz. 

At the time of the trade, Maxwell originally failed his physical due to a shoulder injury. It was reported that the shoulder was so bad that he could not perform a simple pushup, but the Dolphins traded for him anyway.

The Byron Maxwell trade was the stepping stone for the Eagles to land their quarterback of the future, and this news can only make them feel better about the move. Howie Roseman had an incredible offseason cleaning up the mess Chip Kelly left behind, and Maxwell’s benching will certainly help his case for executive of the year. 

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens (Noel) - Jahlil (Okafor) thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist.