'Thank You, Pat' -- Remembering Pat Burrell

'Thank You, Pat' -- Remembering Pat Burrell

As far as I'm concerned, Pat Burrell retired the day he rode those Clydesdales down Broad Street. It's how I'll always remember him. So, really, today's news that the long-time Phillie and WFC has decided to call it a career is totally fine by me.
Not that I begrudge Pat his final seasons and additional World Series ring with the Giants, but watching he and Elvis lead the parade to the Citizens Bank Park will always be my lasting memory of the end for Burrell.
I remember sitting at the corner of Broad and Federal waiting for the parade. I remember that after Geoff Jenkins poured champagne onto the crowd as his float went by, a few friends and I came up with the idea of following Burrell all the way to the stadium. 
We ran through the streets to catch up with him and -- from Federal to Packer -- did our best to start as many "Thank you, Pat," "Bring Back, Pat," and "Re-sign, Pat" chants as we could. The practicality or intelligence of re-signing Burrell aside (hint: for baseball reasons, it was probably better that the club parted ways with its long-time left fielder), Burrell was not only the longest tenured Phillie, but he had helped to bring this city its first championship in 25 years. Hell, I would have given every member of the team an extension that day, including the aforementioned Jenkins.
Still, given that 99% of his career as a Phillie came prior to his winning a title, "The Bat" leaves somewhat of an amusing legacy here in Philadelphia for any number of reasons. Of course, before his send-off following the 2008 championship, Burrell had taken his fair share of flack from the fans who felt as though he had never lived up to his early hype or the money he was paid.
That said, when you think about it, Pat Burrell really has become the quintessential Philadelphia athlete, even if this designation is usually thought of differently. There's almost nothing about his persona that isn't somehow memorable. From the infamous striking-out-on-one-knee pose to the legitimate successes as a member of the Phillies to the legendary stories of his off the field "antics," Burrell honestly runs the gamut of everything you could ever expect in following a player from his days as a rookie to his final farewell. 
In short, Pat Burrell was a ballplayer, one in every sense of the word. And he was a ballplayer who understood us, just as we ultimately came to understand him. 
Who will ever forget the full page ad he took out in the Daily News to thank the fans for his time here in town? Who will ever forget his double off the wall in Game 5? Who will ever forget some of the insane stories you heard about his late-night hijinks? 
As the Broad Street Bullies continue to hang around the complex in South Philadelphia and glad hand with the fans, I wish the same for this crop of Phillies, especially Burrell. There's obviously a difference between the athletes who played in the 1970s and those of today, but it's hard to believe Burrell didn't see the lasting impact of those who had come before him and understand it fully. As he once famously told Jayson Werth, "If we can win it here, it'll be better than anywhere."
One final personal story, on the night (of the second half) of Game 5, I packed in front of a television in North Philadelphia with some of my closest friends -- as I'm sure many did with friends, family and loved ones around the Delaware Valley. Shortly before the lot of us made our run from Broad and Cecil B. Moore to City Hall and eventually the memorial base pads left in the CBP parking lot where Veterans Stadium once stood, someone had the presence of mind to start playing Burrell's walk-up music, also known as Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry." Five hours later, when we finally returned to the apartment, it was still playing as loud as ever. It had been left on all night.
It should be played at least once more today:

Could Flyers have trade partner in Avalanche or Kings?

Could Flyers have trade partner in Avalanche or Kings?

The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. next Wednesday.

As usual, the number of scouts at Flyers home games again reached double digits during a 4-l loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night (see game story).

Two clubs that have been in Philadelphia quite a bit this month are the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.

The Avs, who are dead last in the NHL, have been trying to move Gabriel Landeskog and/or Matt Duchene for quite a while. They would love to do a deal with the Flyers, according to an NHL source.

Colorado is looking for a top forward and defensive help. A number of NHL clubs realize the Flyers have a slew of young upcoming defensemen and not all of them are going to be able to play here, certainly at the same time.

The Kings are in search of a left wing who might be a nice fit with Anze Kopitar, but the Flyers don’t have a left wing they can part with and, frankly, would love to have a scoring winger themselves to pair with Claude Giroux.

Some of the 10 clubs here on Wednesday night are in need of a backup goalie for a playoff run. Perhaps even the Kings, if Jonathan Quick doesn’t return soon. L.A. waived Jeff Zatkoff on Wednesday.

Scouts say there is a market for Michal Neuvirth right now if the Flyers want to move him. He’s been playing a lot and he’s been very sharp and healthy, which is always a factor when talking about him.

Neuvirth made his fifth consecutive start in Wednesday’s game against the Capitals and is expected in net Saturday night at Heinz Field for the Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers need a goaltender under contract to expose in this summer’s expansion draft and both Neuvirth and Steve Mason can be unrestricted free agents.

Zatkoff could be that guy if the Flyers claimed him and moved one of their goalies now.

If you’re general manager Ron Hextall, the Flyers' numbers offer a compelling reason to be a seller: 3-6-1 since coming out of the All-Star break and 9-15-4 since the club’s 10-game win streak in mid-December.

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on