A Vacationer's Impressions of Cliff Lee's Acquisition and First Start

A Vacationer's Impressions of Cliff Lee's Acquisition and First Start

I've been coming to the southern Maine coastal area nearly every summer of my life for an annual family vacation. When I was young, we stayed in a cottage that didn't have a TV (rough on a kid who loved Ninja Turtles, Transformers, etc.), but we kept track of baseball by reading the local and Boston papers and listening to Red Sox games on the radio, and sometimes, I BS you not, we could pull a Phillies broadcast from all the way up here. 

Things have changed a lot since then, and not just the domnipresence of Red Sox regalia on every store front, truck window, and child's t-shirt—before they won the WS, this stuff was nowhere to be seen. But we've also moved from the aging Cape cottage to a series of beach houses in Kennebunk Beach, each with stunning and glorious cable television and even some hot WiFi. In a huge week for the Phillies, I've missed little if anything. Beat writers' and bloggers' twitters kept me posted on every development of Cliff Lee Trade Day, which was particularly tough for me. The first day was tough though. Try spending every day tapped into twitter, sports talk radio, Comcast SportsNet, Philly.com, The700Level, TheFightins, Beerleaguer... and then get in the driver's seat of a car for 8 straight hours on the day the Phillies trade world finally explodes. Luckily I got to hear a not-yet-traded Lee on Jody & Harry before getting out of Philly radio range, then had a patient girlfriend riding shotgun to read me the comments on the aforementioned sites, and a sports-crazed uncle in the back seat getting calls from my cousins with every update. I have no shame in saying I'm an unabashed Phillies information junkie.
Pulling into our house in Maine, my brother-in-law met us on the front yard and yelled, CLIFF. LEE. Ruben Amaro's amazing heist was the topic of the next hour of conversation. What an age we live in. And throughout the first few days of Lee's new life in Philly, I haven't missed much. 

Hell, I even know what Andy Martino was wearing before Thursday's game (I agree with him, if Sarge gives you a hat, you WILL wear it, and that's not a bad Adidas track jacket, Martino). 
By far the best element of this tech Renaissance is MLB.tv, which has had my family huddled around a laptop watching the Phils in damn-near HD. This beats the hell out of Slingbox for watching games, although the first two games of the series weren't really worth watching, we got to witness the beginning of an amazing Phillies career last night. 
It hasn't all been great though, this info-crunch. Leading up to the Lee trade and yesterday's final deadline, there was definitely an overwhelming sense that the elements and means of new media were being dominated by stories that had little likelihood of actually coming true. How tired were we all of hearing what "baseball sources" were saying? What the hell is the difference between a source and baseball source? It certainly didn't prove to be veracity. But with so many "outlets," the more something was repeated, the more likely it seemed, which is obviously absurd. The trade deadline became a great illustration of whose info you could trust, and where individual sources placed their filters. 
Our group of Phillies beat writers are a relatively conservative bunch when it comes to what stories to report, and I'm increasingly appreciative of that. If you want rumors, there are plenty of places to find them. Although at times our guys can blend together, I can't recall a time when one of the current bunch led us astray. For the past two weeks, that's been huge. They even got a good laugh when some "sources" were reporting there was a "32" jersey hanging in the Phillies clubhouse during the height of the Halladay talks. There's a 32 hanging on wall in the outfield too. I was at the Vet when they retired it.
I'll be returning to my vacation now... the weather is perfect up here, as is the food, beer—everything. But the second I want to know what's going on at Eagles camp, I can pull up a report on how Weaver and McCoy look. Hope you'll all keep me posted on what happens with the Phillies rotation. 

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).