Tolley Sunshine or: How I Made it Through the Birds' Preseason Game

Tolley Sunshine or: How I Made it Through the Birds' Preseason Game

I grew up here, so I am more than familiar with Don Tollefson's body of work. By all accounts he's a terrific guy who tirelessly supports and promotes local charities. He's also, by a wide margin, the most optimistic person to ever walk the face of the earth. He makes Pat Croce seem depressed.

He has a unique ability to find the silver lining in any, and I stress any, situation. For years my friends and I have dropped "he's an alllllllll arounnnndddd gooooooood guy" references in our best Tolley/Quagmire voice.

His sunny disposition was once again on display last night during the Eagles/Chiefs game. He was so happy and so positive that he inspired me to tweet a bunch of "If Tolley Called (insert tragedy here)". I've copied/pasted them after the jump.

-Don Tollefson calling Katrina disaster: "What a great, great job by FEMA. The levees stood tall in adverse conditions.Thanks, Mother Nature"

-Don Tollefson calling the Hindenbug disaster: an achievement in engineering. the germans are truly talented. a terrific bit of pyrotechnics.

-Don Tollefson calling crash of Titanic: what a glorious majestic iceberg. deck chairs are heavenly. love cold water - gets the blood flowing

-Don Tollefson calling Jonestown Massacre: Guyana's beautiful. Trust me, Jim Jones makes the most delicious Kool-Aid. The cyanide's terrific.

-Don Tollefson calling Lidge's 9th v SD last night: You've got to admire Brad Lidge not taking the easy way out. He craves adversity. Love seeing a balk

Perhaps it's because we're in Philly and optimism like that is so atypical, to the point of being disconcerting. All I know is that Tolley makes Pollyanna seem like a greedy, obnoxious, selfish little brat. Oh Tolley, with your positivity.

I'll leave you with one more fake Tolley call. This is Tolley calling the Monday Night Football game where Lawrence Taylor annihilated Joe Theisman's leg/career: LT with a terrific bit of sportsmanship by leaving Joey T's head connected to his shoulders. He could have decapitated him, but because he treats people so well he held up a bit. LT seems really high...on life. And how about that beautiful bone structure Theisman's showing off? His femur is a work of art. Great job by both guys there.

Feel free to share your best fake Tolly call of any famous event in the comments.

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.