All Star Saturday Night:This Man Is Your Dunk Contest Favorite

All Star Saturday Night:This Man Is Your Dunk Contest Favorite

Rumor has it that Blake Griffin is going to dunk over a car tonight. Personally, I'd like to see him try to dunk Nate Robinson. You know, actually have Griffin pick up Robinson and slam him through the hoop. That I'd be into.

It's been years since I paid attention to the dunk contest. How many times can you watch someone count out their steps, mistime their self bounce pass, and then head back to half court to repeat the process? It's been awful.

This year has the potential to be different.

How will it differ? Well, this year Blake Griffin is involved, which means I may have to tune in to see the dunk which actually causes the internet to collapse upon itself. Griffin is scheduled to dunk against JaVale McGee, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka.

How big of a favorite is Griffin? As of this writing Bodog.com has Griffin listed at -300. DeMar DeRozan is next at +350. Griffin, the NBA's newest superstar, the most powerfully spectacular dunker since Shawn Kemp, dunking at home in LA at the Staples Center? Yeah, -300 sounds about right.

The three point contest features returning champion Paul Pierce. He's up against Celtics teammate Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson, James Jones, and Dorell Wright. Craig Hodges wasn't invited?

There's also two events on the undercard. There's something called the Shooting Stars, which apparently involves one NBA player, one WNBA player, and one NBA "legend" in a shooting competition. The NBA "legends" are Steve Smith, Steve Kerr, Rick Fox, and Kenny Smith. Perhaps the NBA does not quite grasp the meaning of legend?

The other event is Skills Challenge. Yeah, I won't be watching that one. Bounce passes through a tire don't do it for me.

Lastly, I am setting the over/under for number of colors in Craig Sager's suit jacket at 127.5.

Phillies call up Taylor Featherston to replace injured Andres Blanco

Phillies call up Taylor Featherston to replace injured Andres Blanco

After quietly producing at the plate and in the field for four months at Triple A, infielder Taylor Featherston was called up to the majors by the Phillies on Monday. He'll replace Andres Blanco, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a fractured left index finger suffered on Sunday.

Featherson, 26, is not a prospect. He's a slick-fielding utility infielder the Phillies acquired from the Angels in exchange for cash on Feb. 10. After hitting .162 in 101 games with the Halos last season, Featherston hit .264/.320/.446 with 20 doubles, four triples, 12 homers and 32 RBIs in 385 plate appearances for the IronPigs this season. 

Featherston, a right-handed hitter, can play every infield position except catcher, though the bulk of his professional time has come up at second base. 

Blanco was injured when he was spiked on the hand by Pirates rightfielder Gregory Polanco on a play at third base Sunday. It's a tough loss for the Phils — Blanco is a key figure on the Phillies' bench and in the clubhouse. A journeyman before he arrived in Philadelphia in 2014, Blanco has hit .283 with an .817 OPS in 206 games with the Phils. He has 40 doubles and 12 home runs in those 482 plate appearances.

Altherr moves up
Outfielder Aaron Altherr, out since spring training with a wrist fracture, moved from Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley on his rehab assignment. The Phillies have until Wednesday to decide whether to call up Altherr or option him to Triple A. It's likely they'll bring him up and play him regularly in right field, which was the plan for this season before he was injured on a diving catch attempt early in camp.

Eagles training camp Day 1 notes and observations: QB reps, Agholor and more

Eagles training camp Day 1 notes and observations: QB reps, Agholor and more

Day 1 is in the books. 

The Eagles practiced on the fields at the NovaCare Complex at 8:40 a.m. on Monday in 90-plus-degree weather. It was the first practice under new head coach Doug Pederson, who said he had trouble sleeping Sunday because of excitement and the massive thunderstorm that rolled through the area. 

For now, there are just 38 players (out of 90) in training camp. The rest of the team won’t report until Wednesday and the first full-team practice isn’t until Thursday afternoon. Pederson said the team will be in pads for the first time Saturday. The plan is to have pads on for three days, then off one, on three, etc. 

Here are some notes and observations from Day 1: 

Figuring out the reps
Four of the 38 players in camp right now are quarterbacks: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz and recently-re-signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson. During the spring, while Bradford, Daniel and Wentz worked with the first, second and third teams, respectively, they did split reps evenly. 

Eventually, the bulk of those practice snaps will need to go to Bradford, as he prepares to be the starter. But does Pederson have a plan during camp? 

“Well, I'm not officially there yet,” he said. “I do know this: Your first two preseason games, typically your starters don't play a ton; you're trying to save them for that third game and get them ready for the regular season. So we'll focus on the twos and threes probably a little bit more early in camp, probably give them the bulk of the reps. Then we’ll ramp the guys up who we think are going to be the starters opening day, we'll get them more reps towards the end of camp.”

Pederson on Agholor
Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor won’t be reporting to camp until Wednesday, at which time he’ll finally be asked about his involvement in an incident at a gentlemen’s club in June. He was accused of sexual assault, but the district attorney decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him. 

Pederson said he hasn’t spoken to Agholor since the incident; he didn’t think it was necessary to speak to him at the time. Pederson did say the two of them will have a private chat once Agholor returns. 

“I'm still not going to comment too much on it,” Pederson said. “I just know this, that everybody, we all make mistakes, we learn from them, we move on, and we just look forward to him getting to camp and getting ready to go.”

The first three days
Training camp won’t really look or feel like training camp until Thursday, when the entire team practices together. Until then, it’s just a bunch of rookies and quarterbacks. 

Boring. 

But what does Pederson hope to accomplish during these days? 

“First of all, it's a great three days to get acclimated, number one, to the schedule,” he said. “It's great for the coaches to kind of get back into the swing of football and thinking football before we get the rest of the team in here. And then I think thirdly, just getting the quarterbacks in here and getting their arms loose and kind of getting into a full lather before they really get cranked up Friday, Saturday and the rest of camp.”

Observations
Not a ton of observations thanks to the lack of numbers in camp right now. But here are a few: 

• Credit Quentin Gause for the first kinda-hard hit of 2016 training camp. He popped Wendell Smallwood after the rookie running back caught a pass from Bradford during 7-on-7s. 

• Aaron Grymes, the former CFL cornerback, made a nice play down the left sideline to break up a Daniel pass to Marcus Johnson. Grymes has a little edge during camp right now because of his professional experience. 

• Johnson couldn’t haul that one in, but the wideout from Texas had a pretty good day, eventually grabbing some long balls. 

• Wentz, like he did in the spring, showed off the deep ball again Monday. He doesn’t always hit those passes — and some of them are ill-advised — but he likes to throw it deep more than Bradford and Daniel. 

• Former Oregon running back Byron Marshall, who missed all of OTAs thanks to the NCAA/NFL graduation rule, had a pretty nice day aside from a fumble. He is especially good catching the ball out of the backfield. 

• Because of the small numbers in camp right now, quarterback Bethel-Thompson played some tight end Monday and didn’t look great. At one point, a pass came his way and it looked like Gause might have interfered with him, while taking him to the ground. That red jersey doesn’t mean much when Bethel-Thompson lines up as a tight end. 

• A good sign for Smallwood: Saw him pick up a blitz without hesitation Monday. That’s important because that’s probably the area of his game that needs the most improvement. 

• The difference in the pace of practice between Pederson and Chip Kelly is shocking. There’s just a lot fewer plays run under Pederson, who chooses to do his coaching on the field instead of in the meeting room. At one point, there was about a 30-second delay between snaps. If that happened under Kelly, his head would have exploded. 

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

phanatic-dailyshow.jpg
Daily Show Instagram

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

Welcome America! The 2016 Democratic National Convention rolls into Philadelphia today and that means the national media's spotlight is squarely on our beautiful and angry city.

It also means thousands of media types will descend onto Philadelphia to sample our cheesesteaks and ... I'm not sure what else, maybe check out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

The Daily Show took this opportunity to show their love -- and totally normal obsession - with the Phillie Phanatic.

So kudos to the Daily Show for being the leader in the clubhouse of DNC peeps pandering to Philadelphians. This is solid.

Watch out, Philadelphia. @desilydic has a dark secret... #DNCinPHI #Phanatic

A video posted by The Daily Show (@thedailyshow) on