A team that shall not be named (in this title) won the Stanley Cup

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Anyone who knows me knows I love sports.  So much so that I chose to make it my career for 10+ years.  It’s not just a hobby or a casual thing for me.  It’s a passion.  Because of that I will root for a lot of different teams and players.  I will find a reason to root for a team if my favorite team is not playing.  I will root for the underdog.  Root for a former Philly athlete who has found success somewhere else. or maybe root for an aging player who could go out on top.  There are any number of reasons why I WILL root for someone.  But there are literally only two teams on the face of the planet that I WILL NOT root for!  These two teams quite literally make my skin crawl when they win.  They make me absolutely furious.

The first is the Clemson Tigers.  I graduated from the University of South Carolina.  GO COCKS!!  The Clemson Tigers are the most hated rival of Carolina.  Therefore, I cannot possibly root for them for any reason what so ever!  I will go out of my way in daily living to avoid using the combination of orange and purple for any reason.  Their football team recently played for the National Championship against Alabama.  Now, I have little love for Alabama, but on this particular day I yelled “Roll Tide” as loud as any backwoods Bama local yocal!

The second team is the Pittsburgh Penguins.  God, I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins!  I am a diehard Flyers fan.  I bleed orange and black from September to May.  As I said, I can usually find a reason to root for a team or a player, especially during the Stanley Cup. But tonight, I just couldn’t do it.  There’s not a single player on that team that I am happy for winning.  No possible reason what so ever.

I have watched every Stanley Cup finals since the Flyers lost to Detroit in 1997.  I have watched every team hoist the Cup.  It’s something that I love watching.  It’s the best trophy in sports and to watch the winning captain hoist it over his head and then pass it on down the line and watch as each player puts a gentile smooch on the side… it’s magical!  But watching Sidney freaking Crosby and those god-awful penguins… it totally ruined it for me!

I have a healthy respect for the Penguins.  I am fully aware that they were the hottest team in the league going in to the playoffs.  They outplayed the Sharks.  They outshot them and they blocked shots like mad men.  Matt Murray is going to be a special goalie in the future.  20-something years old and wasn’t even on the team until halfway through the year.  Ties the NHL record for wins in the playoffs by a rookie.  SHOULD HAVE won the Conn Smythe trophy!!  At no point have I said or will I say that the Penguins didn’t deserve the Cup.  I wished the would have lost and I hated watching them win, but they did deserve it.

Until next year…

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Ryan Howard is not the Villain!

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Every time I try to defend Philly fans for their passion, they go and totally destroy all credibility.  Some idiot threw a beer bottle at Ryan Howard last week!  First of all, didn’t your mommy teach you any manners??  If she had taken the time to put the Bon-Bons down and taken her eyes off “her stories,” maybe she would have seen what a little douchebag she was raising!  Second, your memory must be a little fuzzy!  Ryan Howard is one of the reasons you are able to even root for the Phillies in your nice lower level seats at a beautiful ballpark like Citizens Back!  Without Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels, this team would still be at the bottom of the barrel and we’d still be buying tickets for Veteran’s Stadium!  I don’t know if you legitimately have Attention Deficit Disorder or you’re just the most ungrateful fan in history, but either way, you no longer deserve to be a Philly fan! I say Go away, I here the Cubs bandwagon still has room for you!

A three time all-star, a Silver Slugger award, a Hank Aaron Award (voted best hitter by the media), 2005 Rookie of the Year, 2009 NLCS MVP, and the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player.

1,512 games, 1,433 hits, 1,155 RBI, and 366 homeruns, ALL as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Second on the Phillies’ all-time home run list and third all-time for RBIs.  He averaged 50 homeruns and 140+ RBIs for four years!  Now let’s throw in Five Division titles, two National League Pennants, and a World Series.

No, Ryan Howard is not the villain here!  Howard has done nothing but represent our team and our city with class.  You never hear of Ryan Howard being arrested for hitting his wife in an elevator, or partying until 4 am in Vegas, or driving drunk.  His career has been one of integrity and 100% heart.  Even knowing that his playing time is going to decrease, he still comes to the ballpark everyday, ready to do whatever is needed for his team, and to be there to support his teammates in the clubhouse.  Oh by the way, so far this year he is second on the team in homeruns and third on the team in RBI, despite hitting a dismal .150.

I know his numbers have slipped… ok, nose dived… since his big contract extension.  And many people have said that he is stealing money from the Phillies, but can you blame him?  Would you turn down money??  Would you say no to a contract that practically guarantees you a paycheck and a place to work until you are ready to retire??  I don’t blame him for signing that contract!  I don’t blame him for being past his prime!  No one out runs Father Time (especially a guy who only has 12 stolen bases in 1512 games).

I say nay-nay! Ryan Howard doesn’t deserve this treatment.  And he certainly doesn’t deserve to have a bottle thrown at him on the field!

You wanna be mad at somebody, you had better hop on a plane and take your anger up to Boston.  Buy a ticket to Fenway (have fun, I hear tickets are expensive), on the first base side, and boo your pretty little head off at Ruben Amaro!  He is the one you should direct your anger at.  He is the one who thought it would be a good idea to sign a 32 year old to a six year contract and pay him $20+ million a year to the point that now his contract makes him unmovable!  Ruben Amaro did a lot of good early on for this team, but he lost his ever loving mind when he thought that was a good idea.

Certain ESPN writers claim the Phillies don’t owe Howard anything.  WHAT?!?!  Did they not read what I just wrote at the beginning of this post?  Howard has earned the right to go out on his own terms.  If he wants to retire a Phillie, than the organization needs to respect that.  Give him the opportunity to not only save face, but go out with dignity and his pride intact.  If he wants out, than both sides are going to have to compromise to find a way to move him.  The problem is, no general manager with half a brain is going to take anything less than the Phillies eating a LARGE portion of the contract.  An outright release is always an option, they’re going to pay him his money anyway.

Yeah, Ryan Howard probably deserves better from the organization, but he damn sure deserves better from the fans!!