Philly March Madness: (7) Lenny Dykstra vs. (10) Dave Poulin

Philly March Madness: (7) Lenny Dykstra vs. (10) Dave Poulin

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(7) Lenny Dykstra

Dirt. Nails. The Dude. Leonard Kyle Dysktra was one of the most feared hitters in baseball during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Despite being a key part of the Mets’ World Series run in 1986 and success over the next few seasons, Dykstra was traded to the Phillies along with Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel in 1989. His career in Philadelphia was a wild ride, sadly in more ways than one. He made the 1990 All-Star team, his first of three Summer Classics as a Phillie, batting .325 with 192 hits and 33 steals from the leadoff spot. The Dude could work a count with the best of them, earning a lot of free passes and wearing down opposing pitchers. He’ll best be remembered (on the field anyway) as a key member of the 1993 Macho Row team that went to the World Series, leading the league that year in runs, hits, and walks. He continued his tear in the playoffs. hitting at a .348/.500/.913 clip in the World Series, with four homers and eight RBI in six games.

Of course, Dykstra was also the drunk driver in a 1991 accident that would considerably injure both he and Darren Daulton, and we later found out that he, along with some of his Macho Row teammates, were using performance-enhancing drugs, with Dykstra ultimately being named in the Mitchell Report. Then there’s his whole post-career life, which includes being considered everything from a financial genius to a common criminal. Dykstra’s downfall is well-documented and will unfortunately be his most enduring legacy. But the Dude was a Phillies great, and those who watched the team in the early ‘90s will always remember his fearsome fearlessness in the box, his cheeks full of tobacco (and the stained centerfield carpet at the Vet), and the crazy passion with which he played the game. -Matt P.


(10) Dave Poulin

After a distinguished career at Notre Dame, Dave Poulin skated as a Flyer from 1982-1990, making his mark early and often in Orange and Black. Poulin scored on the first shift of his NHL career, and would tally 160 more as a Flyer, along with 233 assists. He served as the team’s captain for six seasons and lived up to the C on his chest as a great leader on the ice and in the locker room, despite being just 25 years of age at the start of his captaincy and having to immediately succeed Bobby Clarke in #16’s second stint as captain. As if that shadow weren’t large enough, he was also the captain of a Mike Keenan-coached team, a mantle that comes with fiercely voiced expectations, and later helped guide the team through the sudden and tragic death of goaltender Pelle Lindbergh. The Flyers won the Patrick Division and made it all the way to the Finals in Poulin's first season as captain. He battled through a series of significant injuries, but kept getting himself back into the lineup, earning his reputation as a team player with an intense drive to win. His breakaway goal against Quebec Nordiques goalie Mario Gosselin while the Flyers had two men in the box was one of the great moments in the franchise’s history, helping to win the decisive game six of the conference finals. The play highlighted Poulin’s abilities as a leader, a goal scorer, and an outstanding two-way player—something we’ve come to love and expect from our forwards in this town.

Not surprisingly, following the 1986-1987 season, Poulin was awarded the Selke Trophy, given annually to the best defensive forward in the game. Unfortunately, his Flyers career ended unceremoniously during a down time for the team, with Poulin being stripped of the captaincy midway through the 1989-1990 season, then traded to the Bruins. But his career in Philadelphia will be remembered for leadership and clutch playoff performance—everything we expect of a captain. -Matt P.

Who should advance to the next round?Market Research

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

There were just two things on Paul Turner’s mind as he sprinted across the field early during the third quarter on Sunday, anticipating his first career NFL catch. 

Turner relayed them on Wednesday: 

1. “Make sure you get in [Carson Wentz’s] vision.” 

2. “You better catch this ball.” 

He did both. 

Turner, the 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, who has become a fan favorite since his stellar training camp and preseason, caught his first NFL pass during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and it went for a big gain of 41 yards. 

On his first catch, the Eagles used the play-action to tilt the defense and Wentz threw a dart into a small window to hit Turner on an over route. Then, the rookie turned upfield with a ton of space in front of him. 

By the end of the afternoon, he caught six balls for 80 yards. It was the best receiving day for an Eagles rookie since Jordan Matthews in 2014 and was a better day than last year’s first-round pick, Nelson Agholor, has ever had. 

“It's always good to catch a few balls,” said Turner, who has been on the 53-man roster and active for just the past two games. “It gets your motor going and gets your confidence going. It just gets you more into the game and gets you excited. I think it does a lot for a person's confidence.”

Turner played 41 snaps against the Bengals in large part because Matthews was out with an ankle injury. Matthews predominantly plays in the slot, which is where head coach Doug Pederson and his coaching staff like Turner. 

“Honestly, that wasn't really my mindset going into the game,” Turner said when asked if he knew how much opportunity he’d have with Matthews out. “My mindset was to go in there and if my number was called, just go out there and make a play. Even if my number was called, just take care of my assignment and take care of the little details and I knew everything else would just take care of itself. I knew that if I got the ball, I'd be excited. But even if I didn't, just to go out there and just block, and give up myself for my teammates. That was my goal coming into the game and just try to stay focused on that.” 

It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner. 

“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”

The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either Agholor or Matthews were out. 

“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I'm prepared when I go out there in the game.” 

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

OXON HILL, Md. -- Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen -- a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever -- that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

Rangers: Gomez reaches deal to stay with team
OXON HILL, Md. -- Carlos Gomez is staying with the Texas Rangers.

The outfielder agreed to an $11.5 million, one-year contract, a deal subject to a successful physical.

"Many of the objectives of the Rangers for Carlos go beyond one year," his agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday. "Certainly Carlos really enjoyed the team and the environment and feels he's got a great chance to win. So I think both parties' objectives were met by that deal."

Gomez, who turned 31 last weekend, figures to play center as general manager Jon Daniels structured an outfield that includes Shin-Soo Choo in right and Nomar Mazara in left. Ian Desmond left Wednesday for a $70 million, five-year deal with Colorado.

Gomez batted just .210 with five homers in 85 games this year for Houston and was released by the Astros in August. He signed with Texas and hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games. An All-Star in 2013 and '14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average and 116 home runs in 10 big league seasons.

"J.D. was very clear from the onset about them wanting Carlos back, and we've had communication since the season's end to pursue that," Boras said. "So it was something in our minds and in their minds. It was just a constant dialogue."

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

Red Sox: Sale not worried about being ace
BOSTON -- New Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale says he isn't worried that he might not be the ace of the pitching staff after being traded from the White Sox to Boston.

The 27-year-old lefty told reporters on Wednesday, "We play for a trophy, not a tag."

Sale was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday at the baseball winter meetings. He was the top starting pitcher on the market, and the Red Sox gave up touted prospect Yoan Moncada as part of a package to land him.

Sale has been an All-Star for five straight seasons and finished in the top six of the Cy Young Award voting each time. He joins a staff that already includes 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and '12 winner David Price (see full story).