Welcome To The700Level.com 2.0

Welcome To The700Level.com 2.0

Veterans Stadium was the place where many of us first fell in love with Philadelphia sports. We loved that rat-infested pile of concrete. And while we were sad to see it go, we also welcomed in the shiny new ball park and state of the art football field across the street.

After over seven plus years running this website on our old software, we've upgraded to something different in hopes of making the overall experience of following Philly sports more enjoyable here on The700Level.com.

Yes, it's a bittersweet day. I don't have a pet, but I'd guess my feelings today are a bit like having to put the trusty old family dog to sleep. Plenty of good memories with that old guy, but he was starting to walk a little funny. That said, we're stoked to get to play with our new puppy.

We didn't just put makeup on the old site, we switched to an entirely different back end and software tool. At the same time, we kept the blog layout The700Level has followed since day one, with plenty of added bells and whistles to make it even better. You'll still get the newest main stories front and center every day, but we'll also have some top stories we pick at the top of the page everyday for easy browsing, as well as unique content areas for each of the teams we cover.

What's new? Top Stories! Team Pages!

In addition to the row of top stories with accompanying photos at the top of the page, we now have customized team pages set up for all of the squads we love to cover: the Flyers, Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Union, as well as one for NCAA coverage.

What's the point of these Team Pages?

Well, they're a quick and easy way to find all of the news on whichever team you may be interested in all in one place. But additionally, there were plenty of times we may not have posted on a topic in the past because we didn't deem it "newsworthy" enough or "frontpage-worthy" while we had another story in the main column that we didn't want to bump below the fold. Now, we'll have the ability to post smaller news items such as injury updates, photos, or videos from a game solely to the team-specific pages if we so choose. Basically, it gives us more flexibility to cover the Philly sports scene the way we want to do so. Plus, if you're more into one sport than the others, you can bookmark the team page and have that be your front door to The700Level. Basically, with the team pages, you'll get more content, more efficiently.

Facebook! Twitter!

One of the things you'll notice is that each post on the main page now has its own Facebook Like button. Please don't hesitate to use this button. If you enjoy a post here on The700Level.com, use all of that energy in your fingers to click on the Like button giving us a virtual pat on the back while also spreading the good word of Philly sports. It's always appreciated and often a good barometer for the type of posts you'd like to see. The more you like it, the more we can try and bring you similar stuff in the future. Also, tweet us if you're into that.

Custom Feeds, New Tagging, and Search

If you look on the new left rail, you'll notice a couple of custom feeds for Interviews, Athletes Behaving Badly, Fans Behaving Badly, Ladies, etc. These are kind of like the team pages, but organized by popular blog fodder categories. Again, just something to help people find something they may be looking for.

Also, we'll be learning a whole new tagging system which should help us make the content you're looking for easier to find. Or maybe find content you didn't even know you were looking for.

There's also a very visible Search box in the masthead. Give it a whirl.

Bylines

Every article page now has a very clear Byline at the top of the post. The old site tended to hide the author name way at the bottom. This will be more prominent and easier to find.

Will we be required to register to comment?

No. You currently do not need to register in order to leave a comment on any post.

Can I register if I want to anyway?

Currently, no. But we hope to have a way for regular commenters to gain the benefits of registering with such things as avatars, etc. We're still working on it at the moment.

Where are all of my old comments?

When porting the old content over, we were unable to include comments from the old site, but you can always go back and read them here.

Mobile Site!

This has been a very frequent request in the past, and understandably so as the the computing world moves from desktop to laptop to tablets and smartphones. It's an upgrade we put off for way too long. Now, if you access The700Level.com on your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, you'll see a special mobile version. Be sure to email us your feedback if you have any suggestions on how we can optimize this version for you.

Let us know

Finally, if you see any glitches, or just something you really, really dislike, please don't hesitate to email us: the700level at gmail dot-com. We've been working on it for months, but this is all new to us too now that it's gone live. We'll try to fix everything that's not perfect, and bring you new features that may not be currently available. Be cordial in your criticisms and we'll try to do our best to make the site as user friendly as we can.

This is only the first step.

Thank you

This redesign wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of several people at CSNPhilly, including Jason Weitzel, godfather of the famed Beerleaguer.com. Thanks very much for your patience with us through all of our requests and indecision.

Follow us on Twitter @The700Level and join our Facbook page here.

Stephen Colbert mocks Phillies, introduces Hilly Phanatic

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Stephen Colbert mocks Phillies, introduces Hilly Phanatic

The only surprising thing about Stephen Colbert making fun of the Phillies with the Democratic National Convention in town this week is that it took until Tuesday.

Colbert used our beloved Phillies as the brunt of a joke last night and then invited out the "Hilly Phanatic" instead because the real guy was unvailable.

"Unfortunately the Phillie Phanatic wasn't available for the convention because it belongs to some baseball team and they can't spare him because he's the only entertaining part," Colbert said.

As you can see below, the Hilly Phanatic has the personality of Mike Pence compared to the real Phillie Phanatic. This one looks like the Phillie Phanatic's second cousin from overseas, not from the Galapagos but rather from the land of Smurfs.

Union sign prospect Derrick Jones to homegrown contract

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USA Today Images

Union sign prospect Derrick Jones to homegrown contract

Midfielder Derrick Jones has made Union history.

On Wednesday, the club announced Jones, 19, has been signed to the Union first team as a Homegrown Player. Currently playing with the Union’s USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel, Jones is the first Union Academy graduate to make the move from Union Academy to Union first team.

“Derrick’s progression through our system has been quicker than anticipated and it’s evident that he is ready for the next step of his career,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in the team’s official release. “This is a testament to Derrick’s commitment to his trade, and it should be considered a tremendous accomplishment to become the first player to come through our Academy, to Bethlehem Steel, and finally to the first team.”

Jones, who moved to Philadelphia in 2012 from Bantana, Ghana, and worked his way through the Union Academy before joining the Steel in 2016, made his Union debut in a friendly match against Crystal Palace on July 13 at Talen Energy Stadium. 

The 6-foot-3 rangy midfielder, who doesn’t have a set position, showed well playing the entire second half, presenting his on-the-ball poise at the attacking mid position.

“Derrick has now set the benchmark for every player in our youth system,” Stewart said. “That there is a pathway to the professional level, and that it is achievable if you remain committed to your goals.”

Jones is the first Union homegrown signing since 2012. Homegrown status means the player avoids being submitted into the MLS SuperDraft. The Union Academy has been around since 2013 and is located at the YSC Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania. 

“I’m delighted that Derrick is our first and that the work of our staff has come to fruition in this way,” Academy director Tommy Wilson said. “This is a proud moment for Derrick and his family. I would like to congratulate them and everyone else who has played a part in his development.”

In final stage of rehab assignment, Aaron Altherr eager to return to Phillies

In final stage of rehab assignment, Aaron Altherr eager to return to Phillies

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The Phillies can be forgiven to some extent for their failure to get consistent production out of their corner outfielders this season. After all, they've been without one of their projected starters since spring training.

The good news is Aaron Altherr is on the verge of returning after missing almost four months with a wrist injury. The 25-year-old reached the final stop of his rehab tour through the Phillies' minor league system Tuesday, going 1 for 3 with a double in a 4-2 victory for the Triple A Ironpigs.

Needless to say, Altherr is feeling better.

"It's going good," Altherr said of his recovery. "It gets a little tight every now and then. Just gotta loosen it up. I'm good to go."

Altherr suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist attempting a diving catch in a Grapefruit League game back in March. The injury was expected to keep the righthander out four-to-six months, possibly even ending his season.

If the current rehab assignment is any indication, it turns out he's about ready to rejoin the Phillies. Through 12 minor league games, which includes stints at Reading, Clearwater and in the Gulf Coast League, Altherr is 13 for 34 (.351) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. He's also walked seven times to six strikeouts and stolen two bases. Yet while clearly enjoying himself, he feels as though he's ready to rejoin the big club.

"It's been fun," Altherr said. "Was just down to (Double A) Reading, good crowd there. It's gonna be another good crowd up here (in Lehigh Valley) I'm sure. I always enjoy going to these places and seeing people again, so it's definitely fun.

"Mentally and physically, I think I'm ready to go. My timing is there. I'm just ready to go and get after it and play some games up there."

As for what he could bring to MLB's 29th-ranked offense, which too often this season has seen little impact from its corner outfielders, Altherr will do what he can to provide a spark for the Phillies.

"I hope so," Altherr said. "I'm not gonna try to do too much though. I'm just gonna go up there and do what I know I can do and hopefully help out the team any way I can."

A ninth-round draft pick in 2009, Altherr got his first serious look with the Phillies last year, batting .241 with 19 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in 39 games. It wasn't nearly enough to anoint the German-born prospect as part of the franchise's rebuilding effort, but the organization was hoping to use 2016 to evaluate his potential as an everyday player.

"I wouldn't say missed opportunity," Altherr said about the poor timing of his injury. "Things like this happen. I'll get back stronger than ever and show what I can do. It is what it is. I've worked hard every day and tried to get back as fast as I could."

He's right, of course. It's not like all is lost in that sense. Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos and Tyler Goeddel have had their moments, but none has cemented his role moving forward. Outside of likely September call-up Nick Williams posting quality numbers at Triple A, there isn't exactly a long line of players knocking down the door for one of those two spots.

"There's always going to be competition no matter where you are in life, so I definitely don't really think about it too much," Altherr said. "I just have to go out there and control what I can control and play the way I know I can play."

Altherr's opportunity is coming any day now. A 6-foot-5, 215-pound athlete who also happens to be a plus-defender could bring a lot to the mix for the Phillies right now. It may be too late to find out this year if he has a long and bright future with the club, but he could certainly provide some excitement down the stretch.