Phillies College Night Gets Wild

Phillies College Night Gets Wild

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Hamels Gem 1, 04/04/07, originally uploaded by stksave27

Things got out of hand on Wednesday night at the Phillies game and we're not just talking about Tom Gordon and Ryan Madson.  From the Inquirer.

The Phillies said yesterday they would look at ways to improve college
nights at Citizens Bank Park after Wednesday's first college night got
out of hand

Rowdy fans threw objects from the upper deck onto the field and fans
below. There were 31 ejections Wednesday, which is higher than normal.
There also were reports of fights.

"We're very pleased about the increased attendance and interest by the college fans," said Mike Stiles,
senior vice president for administration and operations. "But we have
to curtail college fans or anybody else who engages in misbehavior that
takes away from the rest of our fans' enjoyment of the game. And so
we're going to explore ways to do that, and we have to find the right

And an email from The 700 Level reader Andrew:

So I had the pleasure of going down to the
Phillies night home opener last evening. Yes it was a cold evening but
I wore a double layer of thermal underwear so I was warm.(too much
info) I took the subway and was shocked at the standing room crowd on
the train. McFadden's was packed with drunk shot guzzling college kids.
I saw floody, spoke with him and he told me they had a pre sale of
35,000. When we got to our great seats 8 rows behind the plate my eyes
could not stop checking out the right field upper deck or the left and
center field outfield seats. Fights galore, food fights, beer bottle
throwing fights, fist fights among rival colleges, kids puking in the
bathrooms and hallways.
In a word it was great theatre. When McCann
tied up the game Victorino was showered with beer bottles, hot dogs
tennis and golf balls, they had to stop and pick the debris up and make
an announcement not to throw stuff onto the field. Oh by the way our
bullpen stinks.

It's always sunny in Philadelphia.  Now what kind of reject brings tennis and golf balls to a Phillies game?  Did anyone else witness this?

And the Ladies take on the evening.

UPDATE: When a reader sends me an email this long, I have to pass it along.

I was in the right field upper deck for the opening night game and
dollar dog night.  There was a lot of "asshole" and "you suck" chants
to people wearing everything from braves jerseys, hot dog costumes,
and even a batman costume.  The person who got it worst was some guy
wearing a Giants jersey who was purposely drawing attention to that
fact: he was treated to the asshole chant, then some shoving, and it
got so bad he had to leave.  Unfortunately for him, as he was headed
for the steps he got beers poured on him by what seemed like that
entire section, along with some bottles and hot dogs.  It was like the
beginning of the Pistons-Pacers fight.  Despite the fact that he was
wearing a Giants jersey and acting like an idiot, it got out of hand.
Other than that, there were a few minor skirmishes but no punches
thrown that I saw.

I have to say security did a terrible job.  The hot dog throwing and
debris started from a few drunk kids early on, maybe even the fourth
inning, and security didn't do anything.  Once, security saw the
person who actually threw the hotdog, so one security guard who looked
like Tony Dungee went over to the person and said something to him,
but didn't kick him out.  Once everyone saw that security wasn't going
to take any action, things got progressively worse from there.  Thank
god ballparks use plastic bottles these days.  Security shouldn't be
lenient; if someone is going to throw something, they should not get a
warning.  In fact, the same guy who got the warning earlier was one of
the people that threw a bottle onto the field from the upper deck.

There was definitely a tennis ball thrown onto the field behind 1st
base.  Howard was nice enough to toss it underhand into the crowd.  I
didn't see any golf balls - I think people mistook the balled up tin
foil of the dollar dogs for golf balls.  That doesn't make it any
better unfortunately.  I felt bad for the ball girls who had to pick
up those de-bunned hot dogs.  Even worse, quality, or at least cheap,
hot dogs went to waste.

Obviously the ugliest part was when McCann hit the game tying homerun.
Evertyhing was thrown, even a few hats.  It was a discgrace. Security
can't allow them to conduct themselves like that.  I've noticed this
throwing bottles phenomenon at college basketball games in the past
few years too. I am proud to be a fan, but I am ashamed of a lot of
these college fans recently.


P.S. When the game went to extra innings, I heard the first
E-A-G-L-E-S chant of the year.  That didn't take long.

Josh Huff's acrobatic kick return touchdown sparks Eagles to win

Josh Huff's acrobatic kick return touchdown sparks Eagles to win

For the first 40 yards of Josh Huff’s kick return touchdown on Sunday, he went untouched.

When he got to the Eagles’ 42-yard line, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh was the only guy left in his way.

Huff ran through him.

“Yeah, I can’t let a kicker tackle me,” Huff said. “If he would have tackled me, I really would have been pissed at myself.”

The 170-pound Walsh couldn’t make the tackle and was sent spinning as Huff ran through. Fifty-six yards later, Huff took off from the 2-yard line, flipping into the end zone to give the Eagles their first lead in an eventual 21-10 win over the Vikings (see Instant Replay).

Huff said he knew he was scoring as soon as he saw that he had just the kicker to beat.

With the Eagles’ down 3-0 and with their offense sputtering through the first quarter and change, Huff’s play was a game-changer (see 10 Observations).

“Josh did a great job on the return,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “[Special teams coordinator] Dave Fipp really has those guys ready every single week. You need those things. You need special teams scores.”

After Wendell Smallwood’s kick return touchdown last week, this is the first time in franchise history the Eagles have had kick return touchdowns in back-to-back games. They also have the NFL’s only two kick return touchdowns of the season (see Standout Plays).

“It’s super cool,” Smallwood said. “Now teams have to pick their poison. They can’t go away from one. They can’t say they’re not going to kick to Smallwood, then they kick to Huff and he takes it. I think we’re going to get a lot of teams’ attention.”

Huff also had a role in the Eagles’ offense against the Vikings. He caught four passes for 39 yards, including two that picked up first downs. His 14-yarder in the third helped set up the touchdown that sealed the win for the Eagles.

This season hasn’t been great offensively for Huff. He is clearly the Eagles’ fourth wideout and came into Sunday with just eight catches for 24 yards.

“Obviously, I want to play good on offense, but we have three great guys in front of me,” Huff said. “I’m doing what I can to stay ready and I’m at my best when those guys do need me. At the end of the day, as long as I’m doing my job and as long as I stay ready, today was evident. Whenever they call my number, I’m going to make the most of my opportunities.”

Huff finished off his 98-yard kick return touchdown the same way he finished off his 41-yard receiving touchdown in New England last year: With a flip.

Huff took off from the 2-yard line and did a front flip, landing in the middle in the black end zone on his backside.

“It’s just something that happens,” Huff said. “Everybody says I should have stuck the landing, but I’m not a gymnast.”

Eagles' defense outplays Vikings' top-ranked unit

Eagles' defense outplays Vikings' top-ranked unit

The Eagles’ defense had two challenges on its mind Sunday. First, there was the challenge of outplaying Sam Bradford and the Vikings’ offense. Just as important was the challenge of outplaying the Vikings’ top-ranked defense.

“We wanted to be the better defense out there,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We wanted to match their intensity. That was the whole thing. That’s all we talked about — let’s be the best defense out there today. We wanted to make sure we were the most dominating defense in the game.

“We wanted to get more sacks, get more turnovers … that was our whole goal.”

In a clash of two of the NFL’s top defensive units, the Eagles beat the previously undefeated Vikings 21-10 Sunday at the Linc (see Instant Replay).

The Vikings defense was very good. It held the Eagles to 14 offensive points and forced four turnovers, but also had no sacks.

The Eagles’ defense was better. It held the Vikings to 10 offensive points, forced four turnovers and recorded six sacks.

If you watched this game and had to guess which defense is No. 1 in the NFL, you’d guess Eagles.

They were that dominating.

They outplayed the best defense in the game.

“We think we’re the best defense, but they’ve been playing great, and they were the best defense coming in,” Eagles safety Rodney McLeod said. “We knew it would come down to whichever defense played the best.

“You could see that the first quarter. We’d make a play, they’d make a play. But you’ve just got to keep on chopping. After the last two games, we wanted to get back to playing Eagles defense, and I feel like we did that.”

McLeod, linebacker Jordan Hicks, Connor Barwin and Graham led a ferocious defensive effort that saw the Eagles batter former teammate Sam Bradford, who absorbed his first loss as a Viking (see 10 Observations).

The Eagles sacked Bradford six times, intercepted him twice and mauled him snap after snap after snap. By the time the Vikings got in the end zone, with half a minute left, it was already a three-possession game.

Neither team had an offensive play longer than 29 yards.

“We think we’re the No. 1 defense in the league,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We think we can be that and should be that if we go out and play the way we’re supposed to.

“We have to do that every week. But we think we can hang with any defenses out there. And we have a lot of respect for that defense across the field, and we knew we would have to show up for us to even have a chance to be in this game. Because that defense is ranked No. 1 coming into this thing.

“But we also feel we’re the best defense in the league, even though we haven’t played like it. But this is the opportunity you want. On the main stage, you’re coming into our home, and this was our opportunity to face the best defense in the league, and I think we showed our worth.”

The Eagles, who looked nothing like a top defense the last two weeks in losses in Detroit and Washington, improved to 4-2 and dropped the Vikings to 5-1.

Six games in, the Eagles’ defense is allowing just 13.5 points per game. That’s No. 2 in the league, behind only … who else … the Vikings at 12.8 per game.

“For us, it’s a battle of the defenses,” Hicks said. “And we always want to be the best defense on the field and put our team in a position to win.”

Bradford has been sacked more only once in his career, back in 2011 with the Rams, when the Redskins got him seven times.

And after opening the season with no interceptions in four games, the Eagles picked him off twice.

Whatever it takes to get motivated. If it works, it works. And this Eagles' defense was clearly motivated by that No. 1 ranking the Vikings brought to town.

“It motivated everybody,” Fletcher Cox said. “We knew in order to win this game we had to be good up front, and the last two weeks we weren’t very good up front. But we got back to basics and went out and played a physical football game.”

Hicks had 11 tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and two pass knockdowns in his finest game of the year. McLeod became the first Eagle since Quintin Mikell in 2007 with a sack, forced fumble and interception in the same game and added seven tackles. And Graham picked up his fourth sack to go with five quarterback hurries and a forced fumble (see Standout Plays).

The Eagles got back to the way they played defense the first three games of the season. They’ve now held their opponents to 14 or fewer points in four of six games and won them all. In their two losses, they’ve allowed 24 and 27.

“Pride … call it what you want, we knew we had to play well today,” Hicks said. “This defense has a certain standard, and it doesn’t matter what anybody else does, it matters what we do, and ultimately if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we’re going to be a top, top, top defense.

“For me, it’s not about them. It’s about us and what we do.”