Concerts I saw in 2005

Concerts I saw in 2005

We all get bored of sports so I like to throw in a little something about music on occasion.  I didn't start talking about music on the700level until the summer, so thoughts from the first half of the year are not documented.  A few of the shows I was at in 05:

-I started 2005 off at Madison Square Garden in New York, literally, with Wilco and the Flaming Lips along with Sleater-Kinney.  This was a great show, the perfect way to break in the new year.
June: Saw Wilco at Penn's Landing and got to use perfectly fitting song lyrics that most of my readers didn't pick up on.  This was another show I thought was great.  My Morning Jacket also opened the show.
July 2: Live 8 took place in Philly and all over the world; I was there in the thick of things.  This was a really fun time, but by no means a great concert.
July 4: Right back to the Ben Franklin Parkway to see Elton John sing Philadelphia Freedom with a spectacular fireworks display.  This was okay, but by no means a great concert.
July 25: Saw the Grammy nominated John Legend along with Common at the Electric Factory.  I was impressed with John Legend.  Going into the show I knew very little about him.  Common was pretty decent at working the crows.
July 26: Larry Anderson was spotted at the Allman Brothers show at Penn's Landing.
August 8: Perhaps my favorite show of the year.: Coldplay in Camden.  The seats you have at a show definitely dictate what kind of time you have and it's almost impossible to have a bad time when you could high five Chris Martin.  I took some phenomenal pictures of Coldplay.  They really put on a great show.  Yeah, yeah, I like Coldplay.
August 11: Scott saw Dickie Betts at Maddies.
August 18: I saw the hype of the Internet, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, in the basement of the Church.  Pretty good show.  I was obsessed with their album for a month back then.
August 22: I saw the Rolling Stones at Fenway park in Boston for their tour opener, but I forgot to write about it.  Stones shows are always a fun time.  Old people can be cool.
August 28: I had a crazy weekend in South Philly which included an Eagles game, And1 mixtape game, and a Jimmy Buffett concert at Citizens Bank Ballpark.  Jimmy Buffett concerts always seem to be a fun reason to get drunk and hang out with bikini clad ladies, even in the rain.  Being on the field at CBP was definitely a highlight.
Sep 8: I saw the Phish cover band, Phix, in Manayunk and had an absolute blast.
Sep 12
: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah again at the Khyber.
Sep 28: At the T.L.A. on South Street, I saw Sufjan Stevens along with Denison Witmer.  A pretty good show, I wasn't overly impressed but definitely enjoyed it.
Oct 04: I ended up getting a ticket the day of the show for Pearl Jam at the Wachovia Center which was first row behind the stage.
Oct 08: I had pit seats again in Camden, this time for Beck.  I got some great pictures from this show as well.  This show sparked my re-obsession with Midnite Vultures.
Oct 21: Saw The Roots perform in front of City Hall.  This was a great spot to see Philly's own.  Al Gore invented the internets.
Oct 27: Dr. Dog along with The Stooges Brass Band and CYHSY again at the T.L.A.  I was impressed with the Stooges who were from New Orleans and really put on a fun show for the crowd.
Nov 15: I was supposed to see Trey Anastasio at the Tower but had to go to Chicago for business.  Instead, I listened to some of the show online at xpn.org.
Nov 21: Bright Eyes played at the Academy of Music along with Feist and The Magic Numbers.  This was a great show as well.  I fell in love with Feist and am glad I got exposed to The Magic Numbers.  Conor Oberst is weird yet talented.
Nov 22: By far the worst concert of the year I was at was The Roots at Villinova with Guster and some horrible guy named Michael Tolcher.  I know, I know, I should have known better than to go to a concert at Villanova.  I blame Sid.  The Roots basically put on the same show as they did at City Hall.
Dec 7: Now that you know my great taste in music you can download a Christmas mix I made last year which features zero of the artists I just mentioned.

Not a bad year of music viewing, and I didn't even try to remember what I saw in the first half of the year.  Anyone want to refresh my memory?  Anything I missed that I should have been at?

 

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Bryce Harper (knee) sits for Nats

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Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Bryce Harper (knee) sits for Nats

Bryce Harper is out of the Nationals' lineup Tuesday night after being hit in the knee by a Jeremy Hellickson pitch on Memorial Day.

Big break for the Phils considering Harper has hit .346 against them with three doubles, 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and 21 walks in his last 104 plate appearances against them.

It's an equally big break for Aaron Nola, against whom Harper is 6 for 10 with two homers (see game notes).

For the Phillies, Ryan Howard gets the start at first base against another right-hander, Washington's Joe Ross. Phillies fans are clamoring for more playing time for Tommy Joseph, but starting Howard against Ross does make some sense given how much better lefties have been against him (.295 BA) than righties (.209). Ross throws a ton of sinkers and sliders which make it tough on same-handed hitters.

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Cameron Rupp, C
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Tyler Goeddel, LF
7. David Lough, RF
8. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
9. Aaron Nola, P

And for the Nationals:

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
5. Clint Robinson, LF
6. Anthony Rendon, 3B
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Espinosa, SS
9. Joe Ross, P

The Ryan Howard saga is hard to watch

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The Ryan Howard saga is hard to watch

It's difficult to feel sorry for a professional athlete who will have earned nearly $200 million in salary before his playing career ends at 37 years old. It's hard, but Ryan Howard is doing an outstanding job of making me feel bad anyway.

The statistics speak for themselves. As the calendar rolls over to June, Howard is batting .157 with more than twice as many strikeouts (52) as base hits (22). Debate rages as to whether the Phillies should hang on to the three-time All-Star for locker-room morale -- perhaps also in the desperate hopes they can still trade him -- or if they should just put The Big Piece out of his misery with an outright release.

There's no satisfying answer here. All I can say is I wish for it to be over.

Howard's decline has been one of the saddest to watch in recent Philly sports memory. From 2005 through 2011, he was the heart of the Phillies' order, belting 284 home runs and driving in 859 runs in six-and-a-half seasons, during the most successful run in franchise history. In 2016, Howard's bat can barely catch up to the ball, let alone knock it out of the infield.

Largely through no fault of his own. Howard has never been the same since rupturing his Achilles on the final at bat of the 2011 season. Sure, there were signs he was slowing down or that the rest of the league was catching up to him even then, averaging 32 homers between the '10-'11 seasons compared to 49.5 over '06-'09 -- but he was still hitting the ball at that point.

Since the injury, Howard's power hasn't necessarily dipped dramatically. It's his ability to hit the ball, period. From '04 to '11, he was a .275 hitter. After the injury, he's batting .226. This season has been especially trying, with the month of May bordering on the historic.

Of course, it's not news Howard's career was derailed by injuries. It's no secret he's been particularly awful this season. It's just harder than ever to watch.

Just how ineffective has Howard been in 2016? In retrospect, maybe the numbers don't quite do the struggle justice. Obviously, he isn't hitting, and he's striking out as frequently as ever. What's new this year is the percentage of fly balls that don't even make it out of the infield -- 12 percent, which is twice as high as any season in 13 Major League seasons.

What does it mean exactly? Howard's swing is so jacked right now that even when he does make contact, even when he doesn't hit a ball into the defensive shift, one in 10 times is essentially a harmless pop-up.

To his credit, Howard also has eight home runs this season, some of which have been big at bats or game-winners. He's also been hailed as a positive influence and leader in the clubhouse, an example this young group of Phillies can certainly benefit from.

Nor do I believe Howard really needs anybody to feel bad for him. He's worked hard and accomplished more than most ever will at his profession, and as a result is able to provide for his family and generations beyond. He's built a great legacy both on the baseball diamond, but one that no doubt extends beyond athletic prowess.

Yet none of that changes the fact that Howard's play has deteriorated to the point where he's become a black hole in the Phillies' lineup. It pains me to say that, to use this platform to write it -- just not as much as it pains me to watch it happening.

I'd love nothing more than for Howard to go on a tear and end his final season with the Phillies with head held high. It's the ending a legend like him deserves. Or better yet, improve his production to a level where a contender in the American League would sign Howard and give him one last crack at postseason baseball.

But short of that, I'd love nothing more for it to all be over, to not have to watch one of the great Phillies sluggers flail away every other or third day, or less as it soon may come to. It's not a matter of debate as to when or how that should happen. The sooner, the better.

10 observations from Tuesday's Eagles OTAs

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10 observations from Tuesday's Eagles OTAs

The Eagles wrapped up their Tuesday practice just before 12:30 p.m. under a hot summer-like sun.

Tuesday was the first day of four in the team’s final week of OTAs, which are voluntary. The mandatory minicamp starts next Tuesday and runs through next Thursday.

That’s when we might see Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles, both of whom have been staying away from the team during the voluntary period. And that’s where we’ll start with today’s 10 observations:

1. With Cox still out, Mike Martin was again working with the first team at defensive tackle next to Bennie Logan, as he was last week. Two weeks ago, Taylor Hart was next to Logan at tackle. Martin was a depth piece in Tennessee and that’s how he’ll fit with the Eagles once Cox comes back.

Martin was also involved in the first little scuffle we’ve seen during these spring practices. Nothing too exciting … just a little shoving with left guard Allen Barbre.

2. Sproles is still out, but Ryan Mathews returned. Mathews missed the last practice opened to the media with an illness but participated Tuesday. The interesting thing was that Mathews didn’t get all the first-team reps. In fact, Kenjon Barner actually opened the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions of practice with the first team.

It’s early, but Barner has looked pretty good this spring. It’ll be interesting to see if he fits with the team. He’s ahead of rookie Wendell Smallwood now, but would the team really elect to keep him over a fifth-round pick? Or will the team be OK keeping four running backs again?

Another note: Rueben Randle (gallbladder surgery) is still out.

3. We saw a little trickery from Doug Pederson’s offense on Tuesday against no defense. First, Chase Daniel threw a lateral screen to Josh Huff, who threw down the right to Smallwood. Then, Carson Wentz threw a lateral pass to Nelson Agholor and then Wentz ran a route down the left sideline, but Agholor overthrew him.

Maybe the trick plays are just way to keep practice lighter, but it might also mean the offense is moving along nicely and installing more and more of the playbook. It’s a good sign.

4. Wentz was up and down on Tuesday, but his best completion came on a deep pass down the right sideline to wideout Xavier Rush (who is a candidate for best name on the team). Rush wrestled the ball away from corner C.J. Smith, who should know Wentz pretty well. The two played together at North Dakota State.

Meanwhile, Sam Bradford had a shaky day, throwing several balls that could have been picked off.

5. Again, Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks — the two Jim Schwartz guys in the secondary — were working with the first team. On Tuesday, Eric Rowe was the extra corner on the field in the nickel. When Rowe came in, Brooks shifted into the slot. It still looks like Nolan Carroll isn’t yet allowed to practice during team portions.

On the first play of 11 on 11s, Brooks broke up a pass from Bradford that was then picked off by Rodney McLeod and taken the other way. Not a good throw from Bradford, but Brooks was aggressive and jumped it.

6. Down by the goal line during the team period, Malcolm Jenkins made a nice play to get in front of a pass, but couldn’t pick it off. He’s in midseason form. Jenkins had a great year in 2015, but really struggled to intercept balls that he had in his hands.

7. Jordan Hicks didn’t participate in 7 on 7s or 11 on 11s Tuesday. Two weeks ago, he sat out with tightness in his legs, but returned last week. On Tuesday, with Hicks watching, Najee Goode filled in at first-team MIKE, flanked by Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks.

8. Chase Daniel overthrew two balls badly within a few plays during the 11-on-11 drills, but then capped off a drive by dropping a ball into the hands of wideout Paul Turner in the back of the end zone. Decent day for Daniel.

9. The Eagles ran some scout team looks for the first time (that we’ve seen) on Tuesday. Daniel ran the scout team, which makes sense. Normally, it would be the third-string quarterback, but Wentz probably has plenty on his plate. Not sure whom the offense was mimicking, but the two pinnies were Nos. 88 and 82. Perhaps the Cowboys?

10. At one point on Tuesday, the offense started to use a tempo offense, giving everyone in attendance flashbacks to Chip. Well, not exactly. The up-tempo didn’t last long and it did produce the ugliest Wentz pass since he’s been with the team.

We are seeing plenty of interesting looks from the Eagles. At times they’ve been using formations with three tight ends. And they even showed some designed quarterback runs on Tuesday. The progression and complexity of this offense is starting to be revealed by these practices, and it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stupid Observation of the Day: Punter Donnie Jones has begun to wear a pretty sweet white and blue bucket hat at practice when he’s not wearing his helmet. Only a punter could get away with this. Here, you can see him in the background from last week.