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.

Once again, Phillies can't measure up to rampaging Cubs

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Once again, Phillies can't measure up to rampaging Cubs

CHICAGO –- For those who called this a measuring stick series, well, you’re going to need a bigger ruler.

The Phillies are still miles upon miles from being able to match up consistently with baseball’s elite clubs.

They’ve encountered one of them the last two days and the results haven’t been pretty: Two losses to the Chicago Cubs by a combined score of 10-3. The Cubbies have pounded nine extra-base hits in the two games and four have been home runs. The Phillies have just three extra-base hits, all doubles, and one was a pop-up that dropped in because of a communication breakdown in the Cubs’ outfield.

Saturday’s 4-1 loss was the Phillies’ sixth defeat in the last eight games and fourth in five games on this challenging trip that started in Detroit (see Instant Replay). Like the Cubs, the Tigers can mash the baseball. The Phillies can’t and it’s catching up with them. They are averaging just 3.22 runs per game, second-worst in baseball. Saturday’s loss marked the 18th time they’ve been held to two or fewer runs in their 49 games. It’s a tribute to their pitching that they’re still three games over .500.

Something must be done to spark the offense. Management has basically said it wants to take more time to evaluate the team and its place in the standings before it decides whether to pursue a bat in the trade market. And even if club officials decide to pursue a bat, they won’t compromise the rebuild — i.e. trade away the prospects it has worked to accumulate — to get one.

So what you’re looking at in the short-term is more of Tommy Joseph — that’s a move that has to be made as Ryan Howard is down to a .154 batting average— and maybe Cody Asche, who could join the club during the coming homestand.

Not too long ago, the Cubs were a rebuilding team, just like these Phillies. Now, they are baseball’s best club, leading the majors with 33 wins and outscoring opponents by 126 runs. (The Phillies, by the way, have a run differential of minus-38.) The Cubs have one goal for this season: Snap their 108-year World Series drought. Anything less will be a disappointment.

There’s more to this Cubs team than offense, though. The Phillies have seen that over the last two days. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs two starting pitchers, have allowed just two earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.

Hendricks came within one out of a shutout Saturday. The right-hander was not overpowering, but he threw a lot of strikes and the Phillies did nothing with them. He scattered five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven. The middle of the Phillies' order — Maikel Franco, Howard and Cameron Rupp — went 0 for 12 with four strikeouts.

Manager Pete Mackanin tipped his hat to Hendricks.

Sort of.

“Let me say this,” Mackanin said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Hendricks because he’s a damn good pitcher and I like him a lot, but I feel like we took pitches we should have hit and we swung at pitches we shouldn’t have swung at. He gave us just enough, not a lot, but just enough, pitches out over the plate to hit and we didn’t capitalize. We took too many pitches that were hittable. That being said, I really like the kid. But I think we should have been more aggressive early in the count.”

Why weren’t the Phils more aggressive?

“Who knows?” Mackanin said. “They just didn’t look aggressive at the plate.”

The Cubs, in turn, were aggressive. They came out of the gate pounding baseballs. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler homered in the first inning against Jerad Eickhoff and Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist both had doubles as the Cubs took an early 2-0 lead.

Eickhoff got better and gave the club six innings, but the bats couldn’t bail him out.

“Eickhoff started off real shaky and didn’t show command,” Mackanin said. “The ball was up in the zone and it looked like it might get ugly when they scored early. But after the second inning, he settled down and pitched well, the way we’ve seen him pitch, using all his pitches.”

Said Eickhoff: “They’re a good team, but all good teams can be manipulated and controlled. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that.”

Vince Velasquez gets a chance to try to control the rampaging Cubs on Sunday.

Andrew Bynum's new hairdo will haunt your dreams

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The Associated Press

Andrew Bynum's new hairdo will haunt your dreams

Of all the questionable decisions in Andrew Bynum’s career, this might just take the cake as the worst. No, it definitely does. 

Just look at that hair. What was he thinking? Was he even thinking at all?  

Bynum, who is no stranger to bad — I mean really bad — hair, looks to be enjoying his retirement. But let’s dig a bit deeper. Put on your polarized sunglasses and look past that bright yellow hair, because there is much more going on in this picture.

Forget his time as a member of the Sixers, smiling in a picture with a Penguins’ fan might be the biggest travesty Bynum has committed against the city.

And where was this picture taken? It appears to be a casino or arcade. Wherever it is, for the sake of Bynum’s precious knees, let’s hope it’s not a bowling alley

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

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USA Today Images

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

NEW YORK -- The Mets have found help at first base following Lucas Duda's injury, acquiring veteran James Loney from the San Diego Padres for cash.

Loney has spent this season in the minors, playing well for Triple-A El Paso. He was batting .342 with two home runs and 28 RBIs over 43 games in the Pacific Coast League.

Always a fine fielder, the 32-year-old Loney hit .280 with four homers, 16 doubles and 32 RBIs in 104 games with Tampa Bay last year. The Rays released him April 3 and he signed with the Padres on April 8.

Duda was put on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his lower back that is expected to sideline him at least four to six weeks, probably longer.

Until Duda returns, Mets manager Terry Collins says Loney, a left-handed hitter, will mostly face right-handed pitching in a first-base platoon with Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell. Flores is close to returning from a strained hamstring.

In a corresponding move Saturday, the team selected the contract of right-hander Casey Fien from its top farm club.

Dodgers send lefty Urias back to minors after brief debut
NEW YORK -- Following a brief major league debut, the Los Angeles Dodgers have optioned 19-year-old pitching prospect Julio Urias back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says the team wanted another arm in the bullpen after Urias lasted only 2 2/3 innings Friday night. Los Angeles used five relievers in a 6-5 loss to the New York Mets.

Urias, one of baseball's top prospects, threw 42 of 81 pitches for strikes at Citi Field in a much-anticipated big league debut that lasted 59 minutes. He became the first teenage pitcher to start a game in the majors since Seattle's Felix Hernandez in 2005.

The left-hander gave up three runs, five hits and four walks while striking out three. He was on the hook for a loss until Los Angeles rallied for four runs in the ninth to tie the score (see full story).

Royals: Catcher Perez hurt, helped from field
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez had to be helped off the field in the ninth inning Saturday against the Chicago White Sox after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching Adam Eaton's foul popup.

Cuthbert came sliding in and struck Perez's lower legs. Perez went down in pain as trainer Nick Kenney and manager Ned Yost rushed to the field.

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon collided Sunday while chasing a foul ball at Chicago and both landed on the disabled list. Gordon has a broken right wrist and is out for three to four weeks, while Moustakas tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is likely out for the season.

Drew Butera replaced Perez.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter activated from paternity list
WASHINGTON -- Third baseman Matt Carpenter has been activated from the paternity list by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carpenter missed two games after being placed on the paternity list Thursday. His wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on Wednesday.

Carpenter leads the Cardinals with nine home runs and 32 RBIs.

To make room for Carpenter on the 25-man roster, St. Louis designated infielder Ruben Tejada for assignment on Saturday. Tejada was batting .176 over 23 games with no homers and three RBIs.

If Tejada is released, St. Louis would be responsible for the remainder of his $1.5 million salary this year, which was $1,049,180 entering Saturday.