The700Level

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

If there's anyone in the world I could sit next to for hours and listen to talk about baseball it would be former Phillies manager and World Champion of baseball Charlie Manuel.

Charlie is still very involved in the Phillies organization to this day and we're lucky enough to have 45 minutes of his time talking ball with longtime Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury.

Those two know the Phillies just about as well as anybody, so there's plenty of meat on the bone to chew on. The duo chatted for a recent episode of Sully's "At The Yard" podcast.

The story that caught my ear the most was Charlie's telling of how Jim Thome came to have that somewhat-goofy stance before he hits. It was a timing mechanism that Manuel stumbled upon in the strangest of ways.

This was when both Charlie and Jim were working for a Cleveland Indians' affiliate in the minors. 

"We were playing in Scranton and it was a Phillies triple-A team at the time. I kept thinking of a timing mechanism of some kind, a waggle or something, what Thome could do with his bat where he wouldn't tense up, where it would help him to relax and everything."

"I came into our locker room early," Manuel said. "I didn't let my players turn the TV on after a certain time. I came through the clubhouse that day, they had 'The Natural' on. I told 'em to turn it off. Some of the players said, 'Hey, Charlie, we're watching The Natural can we watch the end of The Natural? I said, 'Not really, what's the rule?'

"I saw Robert Redford standing there pointing the bat with one hand, bringing it back. I looked over at Thome, I said, 'you can finish watching the movie. From now on that's going to be your load.' I took him down in the cage and worked with him. The game started and the Phillies had a left-handed pitcher named [Kyle] Abbott. He was pitching that day. I told Jimmy, 'From now on that's your stance.' He gets up there the first time up, Abbott throws him a breaking ball away and he hit a home run to left center... I mean a longways. He come up the next time he hit another one to right center. I think he had three hits that day."

"That's a true story," Manuel added.

It sounds to good to be true. So we did a little research and Thome has told the same tale on a television special out in Chicago last summer.

"We were in Scranton and I was a guy who held the bat still and would go from a standstill and swing," Thome explained. "(Charlie) was watching The Natural and he saw that (Hobbs) kind of had this little wiggle to his stance, and I remember the day. We went out the next day, we worked early and he said 'Do me a favor and try holding the bat out there (pointing towards the pitcher) and get a little rhythm with your swing.' And from that day I never looked back. The following day we played a doubleheader and I hit two home runs."

You can listen to the whole podcast with Jim Salisbury and Charlie Manuel right here.

Giants WR Brandon Marshall allegedly spit on Eagles fan

usa-brandon-marshall-giants.jpg
USA Today Images

Giants WR Brandon Marshall allegedly spit on Eagles fan

Odell Beckham pretended to urinate on the Eagles’ home field, but it was Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall who may have crossed the line with his use of bodily fluids on Sunday.

Video shows the unidentified Eagles fan accuse Marshall of spitting on him amid a heated verbal exchange during pregame warmups. It’s unclear what compelled a six-time Pro Bowl selection to have words with some guy wearing a Randall Cunningham throwback jersey, but if Marshall did spit, it was after he was repeatedly challenged to a fight.

There is no visual confirmation as to whether Marshall spit on the man, either, as the footage appears to be shot on the first smart phone ever made. Marshall’s head does make a forward motion as if he were spitting. Then again, some people just have trouble controlling their saliva when they’re yelling, too, leaving open the small-percentage chance this was accidental spittle.

You be the judge.

Spit or not spit, it will be interesting to see if the Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field rethink their policy on allowing fans on the field before certain games after this little – ahem – spat.

(h/t Sporting News)

The 4 best non-Joe Buck calls of Jake Elliott's walk-off field goal

usa-jake-elliott.jpg
USA Today Images

The 4 best non-Joe Buck calls of Jake Elliott's walk-off field goal

Sometimes the internet is a wonderful place.

Since basically, no one wants to listen to Joe Buck call a thrilling Eagles 61-yard game-winning field goal, we scoured the web to find four other amazing versions of Sunday’s sensational ending to the Eagles' 27-24 victory over the New York Giants.

1. Merrill Reese and Mike Quick on 94.1 WIP
The legendary voice of the Eagles since 1977, Reese, along with former Eagle Mike Quick, delivers a call that will shoot shivers up your spine.

2. Spanish Broadcaster Ricky Ricardo
A longtime voice of the Phillies and now the Spanish voice of the New York Yankees, Ricardo delivers with this enthusiastic call.


 
3. Celine-a-Scene
A phenomenon that has taken over the web, adding inspirational music from Titanic makes everything just a little bit better.


 
4. *Record Scratch* *Freeze Frame*
A staple movie cliché from the '80s and '90s, the record scratch, freeze frame plays itself perfectly in this moment.