One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

J T. Ramsay is a local baseball geek who has started a movement dubbed "Bring Your A's Game" in an attempt to lure the Oakland Athletics back to Philadelphia. We chatted with him to see what his motivations were and how exactly the plan was coming along.

Enrico: Tell us a little bit about what exactly you're trying to do.

J T.: I'm trying to bring the A's back to their rightful home, here in the
City of Brotherly Love. It sounds crazy at first, but then when you hear
what's going on with the A's franchise, it's not that farfetched.
Oakland can't afford to keep them and San Jose can't afford to move
them, unless the Governator's cool with one of the cities in his
cash-strapped state okaying a half a billion dollar loan.

Will
the A's just be this tempest-tos't franchise, doomed to wander smaller
and smaller markets? I feel they deserve a better fate and thought, "Why
not move them back here?"

I know you're a diehard Phillies fan. What made you think Philadelphia needed a second baseball team?
Also, would you change your allegiance?

You're right. I bleed fire-engine red. My wife and I have practically raised my son in Section 143. 

I
love the Phillies, but I love Philadelphia and baseball so much that I
think we'd be a great home for the A's. They're the kind of working
class heroes Philly loves. Guys like Jack Cust and Dallas Braden would
be hometown favorites overnight. When I think about how few people saw
Braden's perfecto in person, I want to weep. The overflow crowd from
Citizen's Bank Park on Mother's Day would've been bigger than the 12,000
paid in Oakland that day. We're
a sport-crazed city. Of any city that doesn't have two baseball teams,
Philadelphia seems perfect for it. It'd be a beautiful homecoming.

As
far as allegiance goes, I don't think anything would have to change,
really. Philadelphians could have an AL and an NL team. It'd be another
opportunity to root against the Yankees and Red Sox. Who doesn't want that? They put up a new "With Love Philadelphia" billboard dedicated to them overnight!

One point Matt mentioned that I hadn't thought of is that most cities with
multiple fanbases have a rivalry, but those fanbases tend to hate each other.
Is that something we really want in Philly? Two different fanbases not liking
each other?

Yeah, I get that question a lot. Philadelphia fans don't have the
greatest reputation when it comes to anger management, but I don't think
a crosstown rivalry would be that bad. Rivalries rise and fall. I mean,
think about the Phillies-Mets rivalry. Isn't it a little sadder now
that they've folded like a deck of cards? The A's would have such a
honeymoon in this city that it would take a generation before anyone
felt animosity toward them. Heck, we'd finally have a winner in this town!

Look at what's happened to baseball rivalries today. The MLB has
tried to legislate new rivalries based on what will market well. None of
them, with the exception of Red Sox-Yankees and Cubs-Cards, seem all
that natural. Factor in interleague and you have some of baseball's
worst contrivances. It's a disservice to the fans. Don't Orioles fans
have it bad enough? Do they really need to watch a series against the
Nats when they play in the AL East?

A move like this restores order. Sure, you miss the
Battle by the Bay, but you'd revive a great tradition in Philadelphia,
which the A's and Phillies observed as far back as 1883, when the
original A's were still around (link) It's like the Big 5, but for professional baseball. Get rid of the On-Deck Series and play these games instead!


I think we can all agree a ball park located closer to Center City
would be pretty awesome. Did you have a particular location in mind?

I disagree with the downtown location, actually. I think there are
too many headaches involved in trying to do something downtown. The
Convention Center really crowded that opportunity out. Why not find a
location that's still convenient to regional rail and the Broad Street
line, closer to the A's original home? I think it would reintroduce the
concept of an actual neighborhood stadium, not just a neighborhood-style
stadium built alongside the interstate.

What can fans do to help with your cause?

Join and tell their friends. Find creative ways to bring their
A's games. You know how the Phanatic is all over town right now? I want
to see people take pictures with White Elephants all over town and share
them on Facebook and Flickr. Be creative! Show everyone just what a
great baseball town Philly is and how we miss our A's. Show your support
and join us for the first official Bring Your A's Game meet and greet
at Memorial Hall Field on September 19th. Details here.

Links:
Save the White Elephants. Join Bring Your A's Game
Share photos in our Flickr group
Follow Bring Your A's Game on Tumblr

Shibe Park image via

End to End: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

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End to End: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End this week are Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone, all producers/reporters for CSNPhilly.com.

The question: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

Dougherty
Scott Laughton will be given every opportunity to prove himself, and if there is any single player under contract on this Flyers roster with the most to prove, it's Laughton.

Laughton, the 20th overall pick in 2012, is coming off his first full season with the Flyers and he left much to be desired. He struggled to stay in the top nine and found himself a healthy scratch for seven games during the most crucial stretch of the season.

What concerns me about Laughton is Dave Hakstol struggled to find a position for him. Laughton is a natural center and the original thought process was he would play center in the NHL, which he still very well may. But Laughton ended up playing some wing this season, too. It was similar to what the Flyers were doing with Brayden Schenn in 2014-15.

Still, Laughton, who turns 22 on Monday, failed to show much at either position. He finished with seven goals and 21 points in 71 games. He found his way into the lineup for three games in the playoffs because of Sean Couturier's shoulder injury and showed little before suffering a scary injury that left him motionless on the ice for a few minutes.

We've said it before — Laughton will have every chance to earn his spot on the opening night roster in training camp. The Flyers won't give up on him after one disappointing season, but Laughton has to come to camp in shape and with an edge we haven't seen yet.

Looking into our crystal ball, the orange and black could have one or two more forwards from outside the organization in camp come September and Travis Konecny will be hungry to crack the lineup. Laughton is going to have competition for his spot on the roster.

And he has to prove to Hakstol, general manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers he deserves it.

Hall
There will be no shortage of pressure for Jakub Voracek next season.
 
Not much went his way this past season, the first after signing an eight-year, $66 million extension following his career year in 2014-15.
 
He started slow. He changed positions. He got hurt and then played through it.
 
It all culminated in a taxing and disappointing season.
 
So, if anyone, Voracek has the most to prove in 2016-17. He’ll want to show that his career season was no fluke, that he can produce near that clip and is worth the hefty deal doled out by the Flyers.
 
Voracek’s health/production will be one of the hottest storylines to start the season.

Paone
No player on the Flyers’ roster has more to prove next season than Voracek.
 
Remember how great he was in 2014-15 when he finished fourth in the NHL with 81 points after leading the league for much of the year in that category, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and earned a massive eight-year, $66 million extension shortly thereafter?
 
Those contract numbers are important because what Voracek has to prove this season lies in those numbers. His play last season wasn’t necessarily befitting of someone with that type of contract.
 
Voracek put up solid numbers last season with 11 goals and 44 assists in 73 games, but he just didn’t have the same effectiveness that he did in the prior season. If you recall, it took him 17 games to net his first goal of the season, an overtime winner in Carolina on Nov. 14. His ineffectiveness caused Dave Hakstol to move Voracek up and down the lineup and even send him over to the opposite wing, a position Voracek had rarely ever played before.
 
It just so happens that contract extension kicks in this season.
 
The soon-to-be 27-year-old forward holds himself to incredibly high standards. He’ll be out to prove to himself this season was an anomaly and make sure people know he’s a star worthy of those contract numbers.

Today's Lineup: Ryan Howard still starting against a righty

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Today's Lineup: Ryan Howard still starting against a righty

One day after a rain-soaked 6-2 loss to the MLB-best Cubs, the Phillies look to steal a game against Chicago's fifth starter Kyle Hendricks Saturday afternoon (see game notes).

And with a right-hander on the bump for the Cubs, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has decided to give Ryan Howard the start at first base instead of Tommy Joseph.

This has been the subject of debate in Philadelphia. What to do with first base? Mackanin has used a platoon at first all season long, first with Darin Ruf and now with Joseph.

But with Howard's struggles at the plate continuing, many have called for more playing time for the 24-year-old Joseph, even against righties. Both played in Detroit.

Now it appears the platoon may continue on. Or at least one more day. Howard gets the call for Game 2 of a three-game set Saturday at Wrigley Field against Hendricks.

Howard is sporting a .159 average in 132 at-bats with .224 on-base percentage and is hitting .172 in May. Additionally, the lefty is hitting .162 against righties this season.

Still, Howard is tied for the Phillies' lead with eight homers. He's not making much contact and the case against playing him may be stronger, but he still has some pop.

Chicago is scheduled to start another righty Sunday with John Lackey. Joseph, who's hitting .290 with two home runs and four RBIs, might find his way into the lineup then.

Joseph faced four straight righties before Friday's game in Chicago. Against Atlanta last Sunday, he went 0 for 4 but in Detroit, Joseph was 4 for 11 with a homer and three RBIs.

What the Phillies do with Howard-Joseph at first base will continue to be a storyline until the situation is resolved. At least for Saturday, the discussion lives on.

In other lineup notes, Mackanin has given leftfielder Tyler Goeddel the day off, giving David Lough the start in left and batting him seventh. Cameron Rupp is back behind the plate, catching Jerad Eickhoff.

Here are today's full lineups:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. David Lough, LF
8. Jered Eickhoff, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

Cubs
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jayson Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Jorge Soler, LF
7. Miguel Montero, C
8. Addison Russell, SS
9. Matt Hendricks, P

Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere excited to represent Canada, North America in World Cup

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Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere excited to represent Canada, North America in World Cup

Flyers captain Claude Giroux has a word of advice for rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere when the two meet each other as opponents in this fall's World Cup of Hockey.

"The last few weeks, I told him to keep his head up," Giroux said Friday night on a conference call after both players were added to World Cup rosters.

"I'm pretty excited to go on the forecheck against him. It's pretty impressive what this kid has been able to do this year. To see it right beside him, he's got so much potential.
 
"To be on this team will only help him be better."
 
Giroux was named to Team Canada's roster, while Gostisbehere, the NHL's top rookie defenseman, was penciled in on Team North America (see story).

You may recall Giroux was overlooked by Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
 
"That was a little disappointing," Giroux said. "Any time you have a chance to represent your country and go play for them, you hope to get the call. I was a little disappointed for that. To be able to be on this team, I'm excited and I"m ready for the challenge."

Team North America is a unique blend of age 23-and-under players who will compete in the eight-team tournament starting in mid-September.

Whether the veteran athletes competing for other countries take this young stars contingent seriously on the international stage is subject to debate.

"I hope some teams would take us seriously," Gostisbehere said, "because I think we're pretty darn good. It's a different dynamic.
  
“You don’t have the veteran presence per say, but some of the guys on the team have been playing in the NHL for three years already. It’s definitely going to be a fun experience.”
 
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was also named to the tournament, playing for Team Europe.
 
“I am really surprised and excited,” Bellemare said in a statement. “I am happy that the way I played with the Flyers has helped me get a chance to play in the World Cup for Team Europe. I think this is going to be a celebration of hockey and it is surreal that I get to be in the middle of it.”
 
Both Giroux and Gostisbehere have been rehabbing at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, since their hip and abdominal surgeries on May 17.

Bellemare will go into the tournament fully healthy, while Giroux and Gostisbehere will not. Giroux had reservations about undergoing surgery if it meant his exclusion from the tournament, sources said.
 
“The surgery was a little question mark,” Giroux said. “Maybe not so much for me, but for them. I don’t know what they were thinking. The rehab has gone very well right now. There’s no issue as to why I wouldn’t be ready for that tournament.”
 
Gostisbehere is no stranger to serious rehab from surgery. He missed nearly all of the 2014-15 season as a Phantom with a torn ACL in his left knee.
 
“It’s the same sort of rehab I did with my knee,” Gostisbehere said of his current rehab.  “We’re going to keep going down the line knowing something is at the end of the line for us. We gotta really focus.”
 
The 23-year-old Gostisbehere, who is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which will be announced in late June, said he was humbled by the selection.
 
“It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “The whole format of the tournament is pretty cool to see. … It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
The Flyers have eight players competing. Chicago has an NHL-high of 12.