Writer Just Your Average Philly Columnist

Writer Just Your Average Philly Columnist

As some of you may have noticed, Inquirer columnist Frank Fitzpatrick wrote a piece on Friday titled "Morning Bytes: Blogger just your average Philly fan" which took a look at the live blogging I did for the Eagles season opener over at AOL's Fanhouse.  I felt Mr. Fitzpatrick was rather off base with many of the things he said, so I wrote him a letter:

Hey Frank,

First off, thanks for writing about me and my blog in the Inquirer.  It's always cool to see your own name in print.  I thought I'd clear some things up for you.  While I pride myself on just writing from a fans point of view, I take some offense to you saying I'm a "prototypical Philly fan" while inferring I was "quick to condemn players" and "always perched on the edge of the bandwagon, ready to leap at the drop of a pass."

I realize you've been writing about sports for the Inquirer for over a quarter of a century.  Hell, that's longer than I've been alive.  While this may give you "credentials" in some areas, it may detract from your "credentials" in other areas, namely the Internet and blogging.  I'm not sure if you really understand the concept of "live blogging" or blogging in general.  Maybe you should consult with your colleague Dan Rubin, while he, like you, may have his AARP card, he seems to "get" the idea of blogging, even if he is a few days behind the curve on some Internet phenomena.

You say "the Bird Blogger quickly revealed himself, not as the next Red Smith but as the prototypical Philly fan."  I don't think you get it.  The last thing I want to be is the next Red Smith, or even a Ray Didinger or Les Bowen (two guys I respect and admire) for that matter.  While you may still get all your info from print papers, they are no longer the only source for sports information.  There are websites and writers out there who are changing the way people watch and care about sports.  I'd rather strive to be Bill Simmons than Bill Conlin, it's just more fun being a fan.  I don't want or try to be objective.  I'm just a Philly sports fan; I'm just not prototypical.  You were close.

Now that we cleared that up, there are a few more problems with your article:

  • You comment on my criticizing Donte Stallworth for dropping a pass in the 4th quarter.  Prior to my comment, I praised Stallworth repeatedly; he had a phenomenal day.  Perhaps you didn't notice the "!@#!" after my comment or perhaps as you get older you just lose your sense of sarcasm.
  • You comment on how I stated earlier in the week that Westbrook should return punts  and how I linked to that post, like people wouldn't really believe me.  This is the Internet, linking is good.
  • Speaking of linking, you pick and choose quotes from my lengthy live blog.  What you don't do is tell your readers where they can get the full context of the quotes.  It's called a URL and you MSM types seem to dislike allowing anyone to go anywhere that isn't your own domain.  Yet you criticize bloggers who are the first to give credit where it is due.
  • You also seem to have no idea about who I am or what my credentials are.  Maybe you should try a search engine. You can find out lots of stuff on there.  I spent about 2 minutes and found out you were nominated for a Pulitzer, wrote a book about the '83 Phillies, hate badminton, and live in West Chester.
  • While I'm not claiming to have any credentials here at The700Level, AOL's Fanhouse is a network of paid bloggers.  Not just anyone can go over and talk about the wings they ate during halftime on AOL's Fanhouse.  I've done something to earn that right, even if it was while I was wearing my pajamas.
  • The live blog you quote is found on AOL's Fanhouse.  Fan + House = place for fans to say what fans think.
  • Also, I'm the biggest McNabb backer out there, I'd link you to it all, but it seems like you don't like links.

So there you go Frank, I just wanted to clear all that up for you.  And I'm probably going to start reading more of your stuff now since I know you've checked out mine.  Everybody likes to be heard.

Sincerely,
Enrico
www.the700level.com
Eagles Blogger, AOL Fanhouse

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- A 17-point game came down to the final possessions. 

The Knicks squeaked out a 110-109 victory, holding on to this one after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to the Sixers on Jan. 11. 

The Knicks squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth as the Sixers slowly chipped away at their lead at the line. The Sixers got within one, 106-105, when T.J. McConnell drained a three after a series of Sixers’ free throws. 

Jahlil Okafor scored a go-ahead basket during a hustling Sixers possession with nine seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 109-108 lead. 

In the end, it was Carmelo Anthony, who had been running up the scoreboard all night (37 points), that nailed the game-winning jumper over Robert Covington. Kyle O’Quinn picked off the Sixers' final inbound attempt. 

Inside the box score
• Okafor finished with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in first half, including a coast-to-coast fast break.

• Dario Saric continues his strong Rookie of the Year push. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. 

• Robert Covington struggled from the field overall (7 of 19, 2 of 11 from three) but filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

• Anthony did what Anthony does. He scored 37 points on 15 of 25 from the field, including the game-winner.

Anderson debuts
Justin Anderson made his Sixers debut in the first quarter. Anderson is a multi-positional player and the lineup reflected that. He first played with Rodriguez, Stauskas, Covington and Holmes. Anderson played 3:47 and went 0 for 1 from three with a rebound and a foul. 

While Anderson said he had learned about the Sixers by watching his first game from the bench, he will get more on-the-court experience on Sunday when he plans to spend time at the training complex on the team’s off day. 

Bigs Convene
Joel Embiid was with the Sixers in New York. After the second quarter ended, he stayed on the court to talk with Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Both Knicks big men also were sidelined on Saturday.

Trust It
T.J. McConnell isn’t the only one to #trustthefriendship with Saric. Check out this no-look pass to Robert Covington. 

Up next
The Sixers have a day to bounce back from this loss. The 48-9 Warriors come to town on Monday. 

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, PA. – Jay Wright finally admitted what we could all see.

The Wildcats are gassed.

No. 2 Villanova beat No. 23 Creighton, 79-63, Saturday at the Pavilion to clinch the Big East Conference regular-season title outright (see Instant Replay).

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the conference, but the last couple weeks their lack of depth has shown.

With Omari Spellman ruled ineligible before the season by the NCAA, Phil Booth out since November with lingering knee pain and Darryl Reynolds out the last five games with a rib injury, Wright has essentially been limited to five starters, freshman Dante DiVincenzo off the bench and a few minutes a night from freshman Dylan Painter.

It's taken a significant toll on the six guys in the rotation. 

Big late leads have dwindled or, in the case of Wednesday’s game against Butler, disappeared. Three-pointers have front-rimmed. Defensive assignments have been missed.

Through it all, Wright refused to admit fatigue was an issue.

Now, with the Wildcats securely the top seed in next month’s conference tournament, Wright is being honest about his team.

They’re exhausted.

“I know you guys have asked a lot, 'Do I think we’re getting worn down with seven guys, 6 1/2 guys,' and I said I don’t think so, I think we can do it,” Wright said Saturday after the Senior Day win over Creighton.

“I gotta answer your question, but it just doesn’t do us any good saying we’re worn out. It’s not an excuse. Other teams have things to deal with. I get we weren’t pretty, we haven’t been pretty, today wasn’t pretty. But I think it just speaks to the leadership of these seniors and I think it speaks to the character of these seniors (that they got through it).

“Are they tired? Yeah. Are they worn down some? Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. Other teams got stuff too. It’s not the reason you lose. It can’t be the reason you lose. Maybe you were tired and you didn’t concentrate or we didn’t defend or we didn’t rebound. That’s what happened and that’s the way we look at it.

“I wasn’t trying to BS you, I was just saying that whether you’re tired or not doesn’t matter, you’ve got to get it done, and we got it done. I’m so proud of them and it’s senior leadership. It’s talented players and senior leadership.”

Villanova now has a week off before an essentially meaningless game next Saturday at Georgetown.

It’ll be the Wildcats’ first extended break since the season began.

“They haven’t had an off week because they played Virginia (two weeks ago in a non-conference game), and now they get it and a chance to get their legs back,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

“It’s a long season and when you don’t really have a chance to catch your breath, especially because he’s riding six or seven guys pretty hard right now? I’m sure this week off will do them some good.”

Sophomore transfer Eric Paschall had a career day Saturday, with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. Josh Hart added 16 points and eight boards, Kris Jenkins overcame another off shooting night from three (1 for 7) to record 15 points, four boards and three assists, and Mikal Bridges had 11 points and eight rebounds. DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson each scored nine points. 

The next meaningful game Villanova plays will be March 9 in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament in New York.

Now it’s time to rest. And heal.

“It’s going to be good for us,” Jenkins said. “We get a couple days off. We’ll still watch film, still learn, still get better, but physically we need a couple days to regroup and get ready for Georgetown and then the Big East tournament.

“Georgetown is first, but we really do need this break.”

On Saturday, Villanova built an 11-point lead, gave it all away, fell behind, traded off seven second-half lead changes, then went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half to finally put away the Bluejays.

With the threes not falling, the Wildcats focused on attacking the rim and scoring in the post in the second half.

Jenkins in particular had an unusual game. He stopped shooting treys and made 5 of 8 shots from inside the arc. That’s the second-most two-pointers he’s ever made and the most he’s ever attempted.

“Just playing off my teammates and adjusting to how teams play me,” said Jenkins, shooting just 30 percent from three the last 10 games.

“They really take away threes and try not to let me get any clean catches so always being aggressive and trying to make the right play.”

For a tired team, backing off the threes was huge.

Villanova outscored Creighton 36-18 over the last 14 minutes after Creighton took its biggest lead – two points at 43-41.

Now comes rest.

“It’s big for these guys,” Wright said. “In my mind, we just had to get to today. We just gotta get through it without getting somebody else hurt and without just being dead.

“Because we’re going to get time off. We’re going to take Sunday off, we’re going to have a light day Monday, and then we’re going to take Tuesday off, because these guys really need the rest. So this is perfect timing for us.”