Welcome to the finest Philadelphia sports blog ran from within Temple University. This blog's focus is local sports, including Temple sports as well as news and opinions regarding the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and Sixers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lee's Decision Not About Money

PBR - How many times have you seen it? A highly competitive offseason battle for the market’s top pitching arm that ultimately ends with the New York Yankees overpowering the other teams involved with their unchallengeable payroll and aggressiveness. It’s what makes so many people hate the Yankees and what has created their evil empire. That’s what makes the Cliff Lee deal so special. 

Based on the reported contract he will sign with the Phillies, Lee will have turned down approximately $30 million to play in Philadelphia over New York. You just don’t see that anymore. Regardless of all the reports from last December when the Phillies said they couldn’t resign Lee because of the money he was reportedly expecting, regardless of the mindset that the Yankees and Texas Rangers had going into free agency that they each had to pay the maximum price; it seems as though this is one of those rare occurrences where money simply wasn't a deciding factor.

Lee first came to Philadelphia in 2009 via a trade with Cleveland. He established an excellent rapport with his teammates and the organization during the organization's run and finished the postseason 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA. 

When the organization traded him to Seattle last December to make room for Roy Halladay he was stunned.

“I was devastated,” Lee said. “I wanted to spend the rest of my career there.”

Despite the fact that Lee pitched for two different teams in 2010, including a Texas club that he led to the World Series, his heart was always in Philadelphia.

Lee apparently was willing to stay in Texas if the Rangers accepted the terms of a deal that he and his agent proposed to them that included a contract of seven years. However, the Rangers organization did not feel comfortable signing Lee for a seven-year tenure; the most substantial offer they made him was six years, $138 million.

"In this instance, it was simply a matter of us saying yes," Rangers managing general partner Chuck Greenberg said. "But it would have been us saying yes on terms we weren't comfortable with. This wasn't about Cliff not coming to Texas. He was willing to remain a Ranger, but it was on terms we felt went beyond the aggressive parameters we were operating under. Had we been willing to go beyond the parameters we were willing to go, he'd be here. We needed to act aggressively, but responsibly and we did so."

So while it is true that Lee was willing to stay in Texas if the price was right, it’s obvious that his desire to come back to Philadelphia trumped all other circumstances. 

"In the back of our minds, thinking that experience was something that was going to be meaningful to him,” Greenberg said. “We realized the Phillies had made a positive impression on him."

It is also obvious that Lee just flat-out did not want to go to New York. 

Reports earlier in the free agency season that Yankees’ fans poured beer on Lee’s wife during a Rangers/Yankees game last season likely had an impact on him.

Lee's decision came down to comfort. He enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and developed some strong relationships, and those benefits trumped the extra money tossed at him from Texas and New York.

Lee has emerged a hero of some sorts from this deal. He turned down one of the largest contracts ever offered to a pitcher to follow his heart and return to a city where he felt he was at home. 

It is this kind of attitude that Phillies fans admire, and it’s time for the Phillies’ faithful to embrace him with open arms. 


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TTN Blog: Conlin Receives Spink Award

Temple Alum and former Editor of the Temple News Bill Conlin received the J.G Taylor Spink Award from the MLB Hall of Fame for his work as a baseball writer.
The award, which was announced on Tuesday at the baseball winter meetings, is awarded annually to a sportswriter for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.”
Conlin has been writing for the Philadelphia Daily News for 45 years. He became a columnist in 1987 and has also written numerous baseball articles for the Sporting News.
Conlin graduated from Temple in 1961, where he won the Sigma Delti Chi Award as Outstanding Graduate in Journalism. He was the first Editor of the TTN so be appointed to successive terms and he won the Sword Award in 1960 for service to the university.
Conlin said that in 1960, he worked “longer and harder this year than at any time in my career, including double shifts as editor, then as composing room and darkroom worker. The hands-on experience gave me a real sense of how a newspaper is put together, the teamwork it takes and the rush of pride when you hold the finished product.”
Conlin is the second Temple sports journalist to make national news in the past week. Longtime Philly basketball writer and Temple alum Phil Jasner passed away this Friday. Coincidentally enough, the man that gave Jasner his first byline was none other than Bill Conlin.

Temple News: Ice Hockey goes 2-1 at MACHA Showcase

The ice hockey team waited until the third period of its game against Penn State on Sunday to wake up and play. But the last-minute effort wasn’t enough.
After beating St. Joseph’s on Friday and Rowan on Saturday, the Owls lost to Penn State on Sunday, 2-1, to make their record 2-1 for the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase this weekend.
The tournament is not a major event, but a scheduling opportunity for teams in the conference to play one another during a three-day span.
“It’s a disappointment,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “We expected to go 3-0. Two-and-one sounds great, but we’re at the point now where we know what games we should be winning and it’s not enough just to have a good game. We need to start getting results.”
Despite the loss, the game on Sunday was highly competitive. Penn State controlled the puck at the start of the game and consistently got the puck deep into the Temple zone, forcing the Owls’ junior goaltender Will Neifeld to make some tough saves early on.
“You can’t expect to come out here on the third day of a three-game set to beat a team that’s more talented than the first two teams that we played,” Neifeld said. “So to come out with the same effort that we applied to the first two games just won’t cut it, as you can see by the result today.”
Temple’s offense gained momentum after a Penn State penalty nine minutes, 10 seconds into the game. The Owls set up the power play well, and although they didn’t score, they seemed to find their flow offensively. However, the first period – defined by good defense and solid goaltending on both sides – ended scoreless.
“They willed this game tonight,” Roberts said. “We didn’t quite have that same level of intensity that they had.”
The second period was very similar to the first. Each team’s offense performed well but was stymied again and again by the opposing defense. Temple had a power-play opportunity early in the second where they were again successful in setting up the attack and getting shots on goal. However, the Penn State defense stonewalled the Owls and the Nitanny Lions’ goaltender made four saves to kill the penalty.
“It all comes down to heart,” senior forward Ryan Frain said. “If you don’t have heart, you’re not going to drive to the net, you’re not going to want the puck, and if you don’t want the puck, you’re not going score.”
Penn State’s offense reciprocated the fine play of its defense in the middle of the second period. The Nittany Lions moved the puck into the left slot before Penn State sophomore forward Joseph Zitarelli fired a shot on goal. Neifeld made the save, but a rebound shot deflected off a Temple defender and found the back of the net.
“I made a save, and it deflected off of our own guy,” Neifeld said. “It wasn’t just a clean shot that beat us.”
The Owls’ offense seemed to get an energy boost from the Penn State goal. They controlled the puck for much of the remainder of the period and fired nine shots on goal in the second half. There were some loose pucks in front of the net that the Owls couldn’t bury and some centering passes that missed their targets. The period ended with a one-goal Nittany Lion lead.
“I think we were pretty unlucky tonight,” Roberts said. “There were some missed opportunities.”
Penn State didn’t waste time adding to its lead in the third period. Nittany Lion sophomore defender Alan Clark capitalized on a breakaway opportunity in the second minute after he dove at the puck and deflected a pass over the middle into the net to give Penn State a two-goal lead.
“Their second goal was just a great redirect on the rush,” Neifeld said. “Sometimes you just have to give a team credit when they deserve it.”
Like the second period, the Owls seemed to find a new energy following their two-goal deficit. Their offense sped up and moved with rhythm. With 11:52 left, senior forward Steve Danno fired a centering pass from Frain past the Penn State goaltender to cut the Penn State lead to one.
“Danno took the puck around the net. We had a cycle going around the corner. So Danno flooded the middle, I fed it to him, and he buried it,” Frain said.
But the awakening of the Owls’ offense was too little, too late. Penn State’s defense continued to play well for the remainder of the third period and turned away four Temple shots on goal. The Owls pulled Neifeld with just less than two minutes left, but it proved ineffective.
“You can’t have a team that sometimes wants to play and sometimes doesn’t,” Neifeld said. “It shouldn’t take a team to score to make us motivated and want to make us have intensity and heart. That’s the key to this team – intensity and heart.
“Until we become a team that has intensity and [is] that hungry every game, whether we’re playing the best team in the league or the worst team in the league, we’re still going to continue to struggle.

PBR: Gillick Elected to Hall of Fame

PBR - Pat Gillick, the mastermind behind the Phillies 2008 World Championship season, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the Expansion Era committee.

Gillick was the senior vice president and general manager of the Phillies from 2006-08, and built the club into back-to-back NL East Champions (2007-08).

Gillick currently works as a senior advisor to the president/general manager within the organization, a position he has held since November of 2008.

The 2011 season will mark Gillick's 54th in professional baseball.

Gillick had won a pair of World Series titles with Toronto prior to joining Philadelphia.

"Pat Gillick's contributions to baseball are stored in the memories of fans in Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.