Today in Philly Sports History: "Groundhog Day," 1995

Today in Philly Sports History: "Groundhog Day," 1995

The Dallas Cowboys weren't exactly in the business of losing games in the mid-90s--they won three Super Bowls in four years, on their way to dynasty status and a recapturing of the "America's Team" moniker. But on December 10th, 1995, they were facing the Eagles at the Vet, and the Eagles had them tied at 17-17 late in the fourth quarter. With the ball on their own 29-yard line, coach Barry Switzer made the Belichickian decision to go for it on 4th-and-1, handing the ball to star back Emmitt Smith. Smith was stuffed and the ball turned over--except that the whistle had already sounded the two-minute warning, and the Cowboys got a mulligan.

Except that when the Cowboys re-assembled after the warning to run the play for real, they neglected to heed past mitsakes, and went for it once more--even running the same play by handing it back over to Smith. The Eagles D stopped him short of the marker a second time, and this time it was the Eagles' ball for certain. Gary Anderson ended up kicking a 42-yard field goal, and the Eagles won the game, 20-17, moving them to 9-5 for the season and giving the Cowboys just their fourth loss of the season.

Almost as famous as the play itself was of longtime Birds announcer Merrill Reese's recounting of the events. An incredulous Reese memorably referred to the play as "Groundhog Day"--referencing, of course, the Bill Murray comedy classic where the same day keeps repeating itself over and over again. (Merrill would eventually rank it as his #8 all-time most-memorable Eagles call, still apparently no competition for Wilbert Montgomery running for a 42-yard touchdown in the 1980 NFC Championship--another game against the Cowboys).

Of course, the 'Boys' revenge would be swift and merciless, as they soundly dispatched the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs by a score of 30-11, on their way to their third Super Bowl. But the Birds would take their victories where they could get them against Big D in the 90s, and this was undoubtedly one of the sweeter ones.

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration. 

A source tells Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.

Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.

Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.

General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.

Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored. 

Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.

Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.

Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs. 

After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career. 

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P