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.

NBA Notes: City officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles

NBA Notes: City officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- Lakers fans packed Los Angeles City Hall chambers to witness the mayor and other officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in honor of the retired NBA superstar.

Councilman Jose Huizar said Wednesday's declaration is the city's way of thanking Bryant for his excellence on the court and philanthropic efforts across Los Angeles.

Bryant attended with his pregnant wife and their two daughters. He called the experience "surreal" and jokingly said someone would have to explain to his unborn daughter why "daddy has a day named for him."

Fans cheered and chanted Bryant's name as he was presented a framed proclamation by Mayor Eric Garcetti and council President Herb Wesson.

Bryant played his entire 20-season career with the Lakers, leading them to five NBA championships.

Lakers: No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, vet Yi Jianlian signed
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have signed top draft pick Brandon Ingram and Chinese NBA veteran Yi Jianlian and re-signed center Tarik Black.

Ingram was the No. 2 overall pick in this summer's draft. The Duke product's rookie contract is expected to be worth more than $23 million over four years.

The 28-year-old Yi hasn't played in the NBA since 2011-12 with Dallas. The former No. 6 overall draft pick by Milwaukee spent five seasons in the NBA, averaging a career-best 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds for New Jersey in 2009-10.

Yi spent the past four seasons with the Chinese Basketball Association's Guangdong Southern Tigers. He is an eight-time MVP of the CBA, winning four championships.

The 6-foot-11 Yi averaged 20.4 points per game for China at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Black has averaged 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in two seasons with the Lakers.

Timberwolves: Towns chosen as face of 2K mobile app
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has been tabbed to be the face of 2K's mobile companion application to NBA 2K17 video game, which is set to launch on Sept. 8.

The reigning rookie of the year will be the icon cover athlete for MyNBA2K17, the latest in a series of high-profile endorsements for Towns. The NBA 2K franchise has been the No. 1 selling NBA video game for the last eight years.

"I've been a dedicated NBA 2K fan since I was young, and being selected as the face of MyNBA2K17 is an incredible milestone this early in my career," Towns said on Wednesday. "Playing MyNBA2K and NBA2K is an essential part of my offseason and keeps me grounded during the season with all my travel. I love that I will have the opportunity to connect further with my fans through MyNBA2K17."

The free app connects players to the NBA 2K17 console game and includes facial scanning technology. That allows fans to design players for the game on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 using their own facial features. The app also allows users to watch 2KTV on their mobile devices and play quick games and season tournaments against users around the world.

Towns also has deals with Nike and Samsung among others and made a guest appearance on the Disney television show "Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything" this summer.

On the court, he is teaming with Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn to try to end the Timberwolves' 12-year playoff drought.

Questions loom for Mark Sanchez entering Broncos' 3rd preseason game

Questions loom for Mark Sanchez entering Broncos' 3rd preseason game

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos face critical decisions two weeks before the Super Bowl champions open the season.

They have more questions than answers heading into the third preseason game, none more glaring than at quarterback. Trevor Siemian was named the starter ahead of veteran Mark Sanchez for the game against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, and the full-time job appears to be his to lose.

Siemian, in his second year out of Northwestern, said he isn't looking beyond the Rams.

"I'm not reading too much into it," he said of his second straight start.

Siemian was limited in practice Tuesday because of a bruised right shoulder but he was throwing Wednesday. Coach Gary Kubiak said Siemian did 80 percent of his usual workload and is still on track to be the starter against the Rams.

"He looked good," Kubiak said. "I think he was a little sore coming out but he worked through it and hopefully he'll be better (Thursday)."

Siemian was 10 of 14 for 75 yards and led the Broncos to a touchdown on their first drive of Saturday's game against San Francisco. He dinged his shoulder when he tried to make a tackle on safety Ed Reid, who intercepted him and returned it for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

"I was a little sore and it got a little more sore as it went on. I didn't feel anything right away," Siemian said. "I've gotten better each day. If I'm playing (Saturday) I won't be holding back."

Sanchez struggled in last Saturday's loss to San Francisco. He was 10 of 17 for 120 yards, fumbled twice and was nearly picked off. He said after the game that he "squandered an opportunity" to separate himself from Siemian as the No. 1 quarterback. He clarified that comment Wednesday.

"Squandered an opportunity that game," he said. "It wasn't like, `OK, that's it, throw in the towel.' A lot of people interpreted it that way. That's never been my attitude. I don't quit. I'll take this thing down the wire if that's what it takes, and that's what it looks like, so let's go."

Sanchez wouldn't speculate when asked if this is his last chance to be a starter in the NFL.

"That's a big-picture question," he said. "I'm still in the moment."

The offensive line is still unsettled, most notably right guard. Ty Sambrailo was the projected starter but a hyperextended elbow has sidelined him for most of training camp. Darrion Weems was playing well in place of Sambrailo but suffered a concussion against San Francisco.

Sambrailo is still wearing a brace and has not taken part in practice. Weems is in the concussion protocol.

C.J. Anderson is the clear No. 1 running back but veteran Ronnie Hillman's spot on the roster is in jeopardy because of the play of rookie Devontae Booker and second-year back Kapri Bibbs.

Hillman led the Broncos in rushing last year with 863 yards but Anderson was the main back in the postseason. Anderson rushed for 90 yards and a score in the Super Bowl while Hillman had just five attempts for no gain.

Hillman has responded after being pushed by Booker and Bibbs.

"I thought Ronnie had his most productive game and week last week," Kubiak said. "Ronnie is pushing hard. Kapri has been consistent and Kapri has been a really good special teams player. Those are the things that are really important."

Notes
WR Bennie Fowler had the brace removed from his fractured right elbow and did some work on the field before practice Wednesday. Kubiak said Fowler could be ready for the season opener against Carolina. ... C James Ferentz is out for a few weeks after having a knee scoped Monday. ... DE Derek Wolfe missed his second straight practice to deal with a family issue, Kubiak said. ... CB Aqib Talib returned to practice after missing Tuesday due to illness.

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph both start

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph both start

Wednesday's matchup against floundering White Sox righty James Shields is a rare opportunity for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin to have both Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph in the same lineup (see game notes). In an American League ballpark against a right-handed starter, Howard (DH) will bat cleanup and Joseph (1B) will hit sixth.

Howard, who is hitting .378 with five homers and 13 RBIs in August, sat out Tuesday's 9-1 loss (see game recap). The Phillies managed only five hits, as White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon stymied the team's offense.

Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera also return to the lineup. Herrera has four hits in six career at-bats against Shields. Overall, the Phillies have a .297 batting average against the veteran Sox starter. 

With Herrera and Hernandez back at the top of the order, Aaron Altherr moves down from second to seventh. Out of Altherr's 95 at-bats this season, only four have come from the seventh spot. Here is the full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Aaron Altherr, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Peter Bourjos, RF