Extras: Why is the NBA losing money?

Extras: Why is the NBA losing money?

David Murphy examines the four biggest questions for the Phillies coming into this season, and declares one month later, they are still exactly the same. We've seen the best of Cole Hamels, and the worst, while Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero have been on the field very sparingly. With the injuries continuing to mount, they'll likely need all three to bounce back to keep this season on track. Antonio Bastardo though? If they were relying on this guy in a spot, they had greater problems than I anticipated. [High Cheese]

The times are official from the annual Broad Street Run... even if they're not. 17 runners complained that a new time keeping system failed to record their times correctly. A chip is normally placed in the runner's shoe which signals when they've crossed the finish line, but this year it was embedded in their race number bibs. Seems organizers are sorting out the errors though. [NBC Philadelphia]

Speaking of Broad Street, a new documentary airing on HBO tonight at 10 p.m. pays homage to the Bullies who once occupied it. "Broad Street Bullies" features interviews from Ed Snider and the players who made up the scoundrels of lore that won Stanley Cups in '74 and '75, punishing their opponents along the way. “There’s nothing like driving somebody’s head through the boards to make you feel good.” Indeed. [NY Times]

Mini-camp reports! Are the Eagles switching to a 3-4 defense? Ray Didinger discusses the front office's tendency to draft the type of undersized pass rushers who are frequently utilized as outside linebackers in those schemes, and suggests some possible alignments with their current personnel. The coaches maintain the base defense is still a 4-3, and while they do tend to find players on the smaller side, guys like Brandon Graham (6-1, 270) and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (6-3, 260) don't necessarily fit that description in my opinion. [CSN]

Are the young Eagles experiencing a "new life" in their first post-McNabb mini-camp? Maybe, maybe not, but things are certainly different. Many photos of Donovan at the Nova Care Complex have been removed, his locker now belongs to Mike Kafka, and Andy Reid is talking about the energy at camp. [Inquirer]

All things being equal, not all of the reports emanating from Eagles mini-camp were positive. Garry Cobb reports the new Kevin Kolb offense was not always firing on all cylinders, as the quarterback forced passes and missed opportunities while receivers dropped balls or failed to get open. Of course it's not unusual for the defense to be ahead of the offense this time of year, and it obviously doesn't mean much in May, but you might like to know not every practice report filed was gold. [GCobb.com]

NBA teams are losing money. Like, all of them. Several franchises are for sale, and Charlotte's Bobcats recently sold for a woefully low figure. The Cleveland Cavaliers require a strong playoff run just to beak even. Is it a sign of the times? There's no doubt the economy isn't helping, but I think it speaks to a larger problem with the Association.

Putting it in local context, the Sixers' attendance problems can mostly be attributed to a lack of interest resulting from their inability to build anything even close to resembling a contender. Poor decision making is partly to blame, but the inflexibility in the system prevents the club from moving bad contracts, making it virtually impossible to rebound quickly. How many teams around the league are in a similar position, with no hope of a significant improvement for years to come?

Granted that doesn't explain why even quality franchises aren't seeing a return on their investments, but how do the Utah Jazz convince fans to come out to see Andre Iguodala when he's in town? A solid business plan like the ones being discussed will only take these individual organizations so far. For any league to thrive financially through this period, a greater percentage of its members has to experience some success, otherwise it risks losing entire markets. [True Hoop]

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

After watching his club get smacked around in a 9-4 loss to the Mets on Friday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has tinkered with his lineup for Saturday's game at Citi Field.

Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.

Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.

In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 two homers and five RBIs.

Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.

Here is the full Phillies lineup:

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

For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite the Soul leading by three touchdowns early in ArenaBowl XXIX, there was little cheering from the their bench.

Given the volatility that is Arena League football and the frequency from which teams can strike, the approach remained resolute and determined. Defensive tackle Jake Metz kept the mindset of a scoreless game and could not stop hearing words coming from Ron Jaworski, a highly vocal partner in the Soul’s ownership.

“He kept yelling that offense gets headlines but defense wins championships,” said Metz, who currently lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and went to Shippensburg University. “That resounded with me, and brought the championship.”

Metz and his defensive teammates then went out and shut down a highly hazardous and explosive Arizona Rattlers offensive unit en route to a 56-42 win (see story). Led by quarter Nick Davila, the only three-time MVP in Arena Football League history, the Rattlers could manage only seven points in a critical fourth quarter.

At the same time, Metz recovered a fumble by Davila with the Soul holding a slim six-point margin with just under six minutes to play. That turnover was the key point in the Soul’s eventual win, and cemented the role of the defense as a shut-down unit.

On the subsequent possession, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku on a 30-yard scoring strike. That created a 14-point comfort zone and the final margin of victory.

“These players deserve this championship,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “This is a first class organization and ownership gives the players a first-class experience. That way, we can attract great players, and with great players comes success.”

In capturing the league title Friday night, the victory was the second in franchise history. In 2008, the Soul and Phillies each won championships, and that was the last time a professional team captured a title in Philadelphia.

Metz remembers the Phillies' win over the Rays, and pointed out, “I went to those games as a kid.” That championship stuck with the 6-foot-6, 265 pounder, and helped to forge a championship mentality.

Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona caught the Soul at 42-42. From that point, Raudabaugh directed two scoring drives, and along with Metz’s important fumble recovery, carried the Soul to the title.

“It’s all about how you respond,” said Raudabaugh, who finished with 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns. “Granted, they have a very explosive team, but we were never out it. They did come back, but we had an answer for them.”

The answer was a strong defense which Dolezel indicated was playing at their peak just prior to the title game.

Defensive back Tracy Belton, the AFL defensive player of the year and DB Dwayne Hollis, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the game was another key defensive play, clearly showed how a defense can carry a team to a league title. That was the effort the Soul brought together in an environment as unpredictable as the Arena Football League.

NFL Notes: Romo has broken bone in back; Kaepernick protests anthem

NFL Notes: Romo has broken bone in back; Kaepernick protests anthem

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says quarterback Tony Romo has a broken bone in his back, and there is no timetable for his return.

Garrett made the comments on Saturday during a conference call. He said an MRI revealed the break, but the coach did not provide further details.

Asked if Romo would be back, Garrett said there's no timetable but that the quarterback would play this season.

Romo, 36, has had back surgery twice before. His latest injury occurred on the third play of Thursday night's exhibition game at Seattle. He was hit by Cliff Avrill and was rolling in pain before taken off the field and replaced by rookie Dak Prescott. Later, Romo said he was OK.

The Cowboys open the season Sept. 11 at home against the New York Giants (see full story).

49ers: Kaepernick refuses to stand for anthem in protest
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Kaepernick sat on the team's bench Friday night during the anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay Packers in an exhibition game. He later explained his reasoning in an interview with NFL Media .

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that "players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

The 49ers issued a statement after Pro Football Talk initially reported on Kaepernick's stand, saying that Americans have the right to protest or support the anthem (see full story).

Falcons: Free agent S Dashon Goldson works out with team
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons have given a workout to veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson, the former Redskins starter.

The Falcons will be without rookie safety Keanu Neal, the projected starter, for at least the first two regular-season games with a right knee injury.

Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that backup Kemal Ishmael would fill in for Neal as the starting strong safety even if the team signs Goldson, 31. General manager Thomas Dimitroff says Goldson also has interest from other teams.

The Falcons cut nine players, including backup quarterback Sean Renfree, to reach the roster limit of 75 players on Saturday (see full story).