Welcome Back, Young James

Welcome Back, Young James

Jimmy Rollins is back and boy did we miss him. In case you didn't catch it, the reigning NL MVP returned to the starting line up last night in San Francisco and went 3-5 with a HR, a double, and 3 RBIs.

The Phillies won 7-4.

Seeing Jimmy back and fairly healthy surely brings a smile to Phillies fans everywhere. But that's not where Jimmy's influence ends. The Daily News' David Murphy, who spends more time with the team than just about anyone not named Todd Zolecki, thinks Rollins return will have huge implications on the club.

Murphy writes:

But I'm convinced that Jimmy Rollins is one of those rare athletes
whose presence really can invigorate a team. It's why I disagree with
those who say he shouldn't have been MVP last year. By now, I'm sure
you all know he singled, doubled and homered in his first start in over
a month. But beyond that, I'm convinced his presence made his teammates
better. Not in a concious way. Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs didn't walk
up to the plate thinking, "I'm going to single now because Jimmy
Rollins is here." But baseball is a team sport, and sometimes we forget
about it, and a good baseball team is a beautiful thing to watch. The
past month, the Phillies really haven't been a complete team. They've
ridden some spectacular individual efforts by guys like Pat Burrell and
Chase Utley. Werth got hot at the right time. Eric Bruntlett gave them
everything they could have asked for.

But there's just something about this offense, this team, when
Rollins is in the line-up. Everything clicks. Shane Victorino gets to
hit second instead of first. That's where he belongs. Werth gets to hit
sixth and bring some speed to the middle of the order. Pedro Feliz gets
to hit seventh. Carlos Ruiz gets to hit eighth.

Why not get one more experts opinion. How bout Cole Hamels? 

I asked Hamels if we make too much of the impact Rollins brings to the entire team.

"Absolutely not," he said.

Murphy also thinks Jimmy's attitude can help get The Big Guy out of his wretched slump. Howard did get some good wood on a few pitches last night.

We tend to agree with everything Murphy is saying here. Jimmy is simply one of those guys you'd want on your bowling team even if he's never bowled a game in his life.

Good to see him back on the field.

>>How much does Rollins mean to this team? [Daily News]

 

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Haason Reddick started the next chapter in his success story Thursday night.

The Temple product was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft. He becomes the second highest selection ever for a Temple player.

Reddick will call a new coast his home next season, but he has plenty in common with his new head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was Temple's head football coach from 1983-88.

"To play for a fellow Temple guy, that's special," Reddick said through a smile at the podium sporting a red tie to match his Cardinals fitted hat.

But that's not all of the ties Reddick has to Arians.

While Arians was at Temple, he coached running back Paul Palmer, a former Heisman Trophy runner-up who was selected 19th overall in the 1987 NFL draft. 

Palmer is an assistant coach at Haddon Heights High School in Camden, New Jersey where Reddick went to high school. Palmer witnessed the transformation Reddick went through from a cornerback at Haddon Heights to a dominant edge rusher for the Owls. 

"Coach (Palmer) coached me and now (Arians) is going to get a chance to coach me as well," Reddick said. "It's just like a generational thing. It's being passed down, passed down, passed down from Temple alums. That's special right there."

For Reddick, the process of walking across The Philadelphia Art Museum steps and hearing his named called in the city he played college football in was a long one. At one point, Reddick thought he was going to be a "regular college student."

Reddick walked-on to Temple and was told he wasn't being brought back by then-head coach Steve Addazio in 2013. 

But when Addazio left North Broad Street for the head coaching job at Boston College and Matt Rhule became the head coach, Francis Brown, the defensive backs coach, fought for Reddick to stay on the team.

Rhule trusted Brown and brought back Reddick, who helped Temple win its first conference championship since 1967. 

"I never thought what could come out of it until my junior year in college," Reddick said. "And I put in even more work the senior season and continued to grind, continued to work hard. And now that I’m here, I finally got my name called and it's still sinking in, man. It's still sinking in. I'm being overwhelmed by emotions but it's still sinking in."

Prior to getting a scholarship at Temple, his mother took out a loan for him to have a meal plan. His father was also always there to support Reddick when he was uncertain of his football career.

Reddick has often talked about getting his mother a house where the sun shines in the lead up to the draft. Somewhere in Arizona might be a good spot.

"It was beauftiful," Reddick said on getting the phone call from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. "I'm glad I had the people I had around me. Most of the people there are people that stuck with me throughout this whole journey. And to be able to share that moment with them, I wouldn't want to spend that moment any other way."

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

MILWAUKEE -- DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and the Toronto Raptors squandered a 25-point lead late in the third quarter before holding on for a 92-89 victory Thursday night over the Milwaukee Bucks to take their first-round playoff series in six games.

Cory Joseph had five points in a 9-0 run in the final 2 minutes, including a 3-pointer with 1:27 left, to help stave off the pesky Bucks.

The Raptors move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a series that starts Monday. They'll need to work on finishing off opponents in the second half.

Jason Terry's 3 with 3:06 left gave the Bucks an 80-78 lead, completing an unlikely comeback from the 25-point deficit with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Raptors looked as if they were on cruise control after DeMarre Carroll's 3 gave them the 71-46 advantage.

Giannis Antetokounmpo spearheaded the second-half rally for Milwaukee. He had 34 points.

But the Bucks finished one comeback short.

The furious effort appeared to sap the energy of the young Bucks. Even Antetokounmpo, a renowned gym rat, looked tired with his hands on hips as he caught his breath during fourth-quarter breaks. He played 47 minutes.

Antetokounmpo finished 13 of 23 from the field but was 2 of 6 in the fourth.

The Raptors could finally breathe easy after DeRozan went 2 of 2 from the foul line with 3.1 seconds to play for a three-point lead. Tony Snell's inbounds pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by DeRozan (see full recap).