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Al Golden, You are the Man!

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On November - 24 - 2009

Al Golden, you are indeed the man. You have led Temple Football back to respectability in a very short time. Your Temple Owls are a game away from going to their first ever MAC Championship game.

You’ve preached accountability and taught these players how to win the right way. The team may not be on the top-level of College Football, but it’s certainly headed in the right direction, thanks to you. You showed how dedicated you are to this program after withdrawing your name from consideration of the UCLA job in 2007. And with the steady improvement season to season of this squad, it’s only furthered the support you’ve been given from the Temple faithful.

A few short years ago the Temple Owls Football Program was a laughing-stock, an embarrassment. Worse yet, they were a non-factor in the minds of Philadelphia area fans.

The Owls hired Al Golden, a former Penn State Alum, to try and turn this program around. From day one it was obvious he had a plan. The Owls made strides, although subtle, almost immediately. And now the benefits are finally paying off with the Owls posting a 9-2 record 7-0 in the MAC.

In an area dominated by Penn State, Golden has made it ok to once again rock the Cherry and White. Singing “Hail to Old Temple,” all the way to a MAC Championship and a Bowl Game in 2009.

-Mike Santa Barbara

*** Follow me on Twitter @Mike__SB ***


Jimmy Rollins, You are the Man!

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On October - 27 - 2009

Jimmy. That’s all you have to say in the Delaware Valley and most everyone knows who you’re speaking of. That’s right Jimmy, you’re “the Man” this week, and you’ve earned it. Your double in the clutch clinched a second straight National League Championship for the Fightin’ Phils.

Jimmy, you’ve predicted the future before, and you did once again this year as your Phils are headed to the Bronx to face the New York Yankees in the World Series.

No matter what may be said or written about you, we all know what type of player you are. The best part about that is you know exactly how we feel, even when we act in haste.

We have seen Jimmy grow from young and inexperienced athlete, to veteran, who leads his team on the field and in the locker room. Defensively Rollins is up there with the best, makes the routine plays look routine, and he makes the highlight shows with the tough plays. Jimmy has also shown how clutch he can be at the plate, adding to the juggernaut that is the Phils line-up.

Jimmy, you may not be the typical lead off hitter, however, what you do on the field isn’t looked over by the real Philly fans. We may scoff at you when you swing at the first pitch. Then again when you slap it in the gap for a double we say to ourselves, “that’s our Jimmy.” We know you as well as you know us and that’s what will forever bond us, that and a second straight World Series Championship.

Honorable mention goes to the newly acquired Will Witherspoon.

Could you have had a better debut than the one you had Monday night against the Redskins? An interception for a pick six and a forced fumble that led to more points, incredible. We already knew you were a pretty solid player but being thrown out there virtually blind, we didn’t expect much.

Witherspoon intercepted a tipped pass by Redskin QB Jason Campbell and returned it for a Touchdown. Later in the game he rushed up the middle and forced a fumble which also led to points.

A great debut no doubt, but for now the Phils own this town Will, the prize goes to Jimmy.

Go Phils!!!

-Mike Santa Barbara

***Follow me on Twitter @Mike_SB***

Carlos Ruiz, You are the Man!

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On October - 19 - 2009

Chooch, You are the Man! Sure there were other contenders, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, maybe even Shane Victorino, but you stand out. While being brilliant behind the plate as always, you’ve found the time to be red hot at the plate. After having a great post season last year, I guess batting .625 against the Dodgers this NLCS is the start of  your encore performance. So far you’ve topped it off by recording the final out Sunday night in true Chooch fashion, in foul territory reaching into the Phils dugout.

Carlos you play true Philly style ball. You have helped lead Phils starters to great starts virtually the entire playoffs. Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Pedro all showed great stuff, but you were calling the games. Contributing a little from the 8 hole would be a pleasant surprise, in fact if given the chance most managers would be thrilled with average production. However, you’ve shown you want to shine under the big lights of Post Season Baseball. It’s true the Phils are filled with superstars, but your role is never over looked, and you haven’t allowed it to be these Playoffs.

When you take a look at Chooch’s numbers, they really speak for themselves.

AB: 8

Hits: 5

HR: 1

RBI: 4

AVG: .625

SO: 0

BB: 3

SB: 1

SLG. 1. 125

OBP: .727

Not to be forgotten is how clutch Ryan Howard has been lately. He showed it yet again in the first Inning of Sunday nights Game 3 against the Dodgers at CBP with a two run double. When Howard is going like he’s going now, batting .400, it makes the rest of the vaunted Phillies offense that much tougher to contain. What really brings it all together is the production from Carlos Ruiz out of the 8 hole.  Howard and the others aside, if Chooch is putting up the kind of production he is now, the job of containing this offense becomes nearly impossible.

So you see, there were plenty of other worthy choices for “You are the Man!” this week, but Chooch takes it. Looking at things objectively, Carlos Ruiz means an awful lot to this team. Being known for his steadiness during the regular season, Chooch seems to turn it up a notch during the Post Season, and believe me that suits the Phils just fine.

-Mike Santa Barbara

*** Follow me on Twitter @Mike__SB ***

“Pedro Martinez, You Are the Man!”

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On September - 14 - 2009

Pedro I’m more than happy to give you this award, you’ve earned it. If being undefeated as a Phillie wasn’t good enough, you went ahead and dominated your former club the Muts. And they thought you were finished ? 

From day one in Phils pin-stripes you’ve been a class act and a great teammate. Your expectations were just as high as ours coming in and so far you’ve come through. I can’t say I ever imagined you in a Phils uniform but I’m sure I speak for all Phillies fans out there when I say we’re happy as hell to have you.  

The poise and professionalism you show on the mound can be compared to very few pitchers now or in the past. You command respect on the bump, and intimidation is your weapon of choice. Poise, professionalism, commanding respect, and intimidation, that sounds like Philly to me. 

With the ups and downs of a baseball season it can be hard for us fans to give your Fightins’ the proper attention. On top of that you had to contend with an Eagle blow out, Donovan injury news and the start of Flyers training camp.  With your lights out performance yesterday I guarantee everyone’s paying attention now. 

So what else do you have to prove? Could a spot in the playoff rotation be next for you? 

Now many people may have expected to see Sean McDermott’s name on the top of this page, but he comes up just short. Don’t get me wrong Sean McDermott did a fantastic job Week 1. The key is it’s only Week 1, sure it was a dominating performance but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s a long season and if this defense continues to play well, you’ll be sure to see Sean McDermott in this column. JJ would be proud of his boys, I know they were thinking about him all week long while preparing for the Panthers and on the field yesterday too. 

I was glad to see McDermott switch up his schemes yesterday as well. They were certainly from the Jim Johnson tree of coaching but Sean added his own spin to things. I believe it’s the most important part to him being a successful defensive coordinator. Use what Jim taught him but carve his own niche, he can’t try to be Jim Johnson, he has to be himself. 

So while the Sean McDermott’s defense was spectacular yesterday, Pedro takes it this week. Not bad for an “old goat” right? 


-Mike Santa Barbara

*** Follow me on Twitter @Mike__SB ***

“Jeremy Roenick, You Are the Man!”

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On August - 17 - 2009

JR being JR.

JR, you already knew this but “You Are the Man!” After 18 NHL seasons your hanging em’ up. It’s certainly been a Hall of Fame career for you. And I mean that in so many ways. Your one of the most beloved players among all fans of the NHL, not just of the teams you played for. Sure you’ve stirred the pot a little but what great influential person doesn’t?

I think I can speak for every Flyer fan when I say that you’ll be missed and never forgotten. We loved you in this town for so many reasons, most of all though, you were just like us. We felt a bond with you that we feel with very few players. In a business dominated by million dollar contracts and ego’s you let us know we were important to the sport, to you.

From the press conference when you were introduced as a Flyer giving Ed Snider a big bear hug live on television, we were hooked. Don’t get me wrong the prospects of you playing for the Flyers in the first place was exciting enough. To see how pumped you were to be wearing the Orange and Black, and how badly you wanted what we wanted was an extra bonus.

I remember seeing you at many Flyers games after you had sustained a concussion. And no you weren’t sitting in the team box, you were down by the ice leaning up against the glass by the Zamboni door. Cheering along with us, slapping hands with fans at ice level.

And yes you stirred it up with fans, teams, media, and even the NHL itself. And you may not have always been right, but what it showed was your passion for the sport. Passion is an adjective that describes Philly fans best, and one we have in common with you, JR. Something that will link us together forever.

You’re one of a kind JR. I thank you for what you’ve given the sport of Hockey, the NHL and to Flyer fans everywhere. And one more thing, hope to see you on Versus covering the NHL this upcoming season!

Honorable mention this week was not that hard, considering the options.  The Eagles? Nope. Michael Vick? Yikes. How about Primoz Brezec? See what I’m saying?

Cliff Lee has had a tremendous start for the Phils. With a record of 3-0 and an ERA of 1.12? Somebody pinch me, is this what an ace is like?

Yeah Cliff, you’re having one hell of a start wearing red pin-stripes. And maybe you’ll help lead the Phils to another World Series. It’s just not enough to beat out a future Hall of Famer this week.

*** Follow Me on Twitter @Mike__SB ***

-Mike Santa Barbara

“Ruben Amaro Jr. You Are the Man!”

Posted by Mike Santa Barbara On August - 3 - 2009

Ruben Amaro Jr. you are most certainly the man. You did it with the swagger that personifies the WFC’s. Man, did I have my reservations about you when first hired. I was so afraid you’d be another Ed Wade. I mean you did pretty much learn all you know about the front office from the man. Should have known you were smarter than that, Pat Gillick was your real teacher.

Anyways, how did you do it Ruben? Well by pulling off the deal of the century for the Fightin’ Phils. In true Philly fashion you said “screw you,” to Toronto and soon to be Ex-GM J.P Ricciardi, who wanted the moon for ace Roy Halladay.  Then pulled off a deal for reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, while also filling a need with Ben Francisco. You did all of this without giving up our most coveted prospects. Well done Rube! 

Not lost in this is the passing of a legend, former Eagles Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Johnson was never a big talker, he let his defense do his talking for him.  Even though he never seemed to show it, we all felt like Jim Johnson was like a favorite Uncle. His demeanor and professionalism were second to none and he will be missed patrolling the side-lines at The Linc.

It’s been a rough year for Philly teams and fans alike, watching our legends sail into the sunset. However, this should not be a time of sadness but of celebration and thankfulness. We should celebrate their lives and accomplishments and be thankful we were able to enjoy them for so long. 

Part of showing how thankful we are is making sure we enjoy our lives to the fullest now. What better way then to enjoy America’s Past Time and our reigning World Champions making a huge deal to try and repeat? 

Knowing how much Jim Johnson loved the fans I know he’d want us to be focused on the Phils and excited for Eagles Training Camp like we normally are. 

So in honor of our fallen hero’s whether they were on the sidelines, in the booth, on the field or on the ice, Ruben Amaro Jr. You Are the Man! And don’t you forget it.


- Mike Santa Barbara

*** Follow Me on Twitter @Mike__SB ***

“Ryan Howard, You Are The Man!”

Posted by Chris Shafer On May - 5 - 2009

howard3Howard, it’s your turn to shine. Victorino got the first award, Ibanez got the second, and now you are officially the third man of the week. You know it’s the offseason for the Eagles, Flyers, and Sixers when the “You Are The Man” segment can be dominated by the Phillies. That’s not necessarily a knock against the Fightin’ Phils who have demonstrated that their offensive power is about as deep as their entire lineup.

Before we get into what Howard accomplished this week we have to go over the runner up. It’s the offseason for the Flyers now, and this usually means it’s General Manager Paul Holmgren’s turn to shine for the orange and black. Everyone knows what he has done over the past two seasons to keep the Flyers tradition alive and well. Unfortunately this week all he did was look into the NHL’s prodigal son netminder, Ray Emery. It’s not that Emery’s intensity during the game that drives people away, but his locker room attitude helped destroy the Ottawa Senators brilliant lineup, earned him a bought out contract, earned him a ticket to the KHL, and ended with him hating it in Russia even more. Along the way he has been caught partying far too much, fighting with teammates, and yes, even beating up his trainer in Russia over wearing a hat. It’s safe to say that Holmgren’s not the runner up this week. In fact the Flyers currently have nothing going on. Richards’ surgery was successful, Powe was deemed okay, Jones is going to be out for a while with hip issues hurting his value, and Holmgren is waiting on word of the 2009-10 salary cap ceiling to begin his major wheeling and dealing with Biron. It’s all quiet for the Sixers as well, and the Eagles just went through a mini-camp with hardly a peep.

Honorable mention was pretty tough this week to say the least. I didn’t want it to be all baseball so I thought I’d give a runner up a nod for a “You Are The Man” that is nine years overdue.

Keith Primeau nine years ago yesterday started his Philadelphia playoff legend with something incredible and unbelievable. This was before he nearly willed the Flyers on heart alone to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004. No, this was the beginning for Primeau as an orange and black legend. As a kid three days away from his 13th birthday it was the best present I could ever ask for. It’s safe to say that I didn’t go to school the next day. I carried the moment in history into an awesome three-day weekend and my birthday. So here it goes. Please by all means ignore the chatter about how great an organization the Penguins are. And to answer your question, yes it is still an NHL record for a playoff game.

The only current Flyer on that roster back in 2000 was Simon Gagne. Even though it seems like 2000 was only yesterday it’s been a long time.

And so, back to you Ryan Howard. You didn’t have the greatest week stat wise, but your Grand Slam on Monday to change a 1 run lead into a 5 run lead that the Phils would hold through the end made up for a loss against the Mets. You have officially tied Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for the all-time team lead in bases loaded, going yard. Anytime you get put in the same sentence as a guy like Schmidt you’re obviously doing something right, and now with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs in the 16 games you’ve played at Saint Louis you’re certainly earning the title of Cardinal Killer. Ryan Howard, you really are the man.

“Raul Ibanez, You Are The Man!”

Posted by Chris Shafer On April - 29 - 2009

ibanezAh yes, Raul Ibanez you sure are the man. Better late than never right? I apologize for the delay, but as the Flyers writer for a couple websites on top of some of the other NHL teams I cover the end of the NHL season marked the beginning of my busy season with articles on top of articles. But rest assured Raul! You deserve the title of man, and so you are going to get it.

But first Raul, even though you have clearly waited long enough I need to go over the honorable mention for the week. So who was it that actually came close to unseating your hot streak? That would be of course a man who does not actually play for a Philadelphia team.

Andy Reid is never going to throw on the midnight green jersey or the helmet and strap it up with the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles. That goes without question, but this week was the week when he is at his best; the week of the NFL draft. Sometimes it doesn’t go as the fans would like, but no one can argue with the results he’s produced since he took over befor his very first draft day selection, Donovan McNabb. No one can argue with first round choices like Corey Simon, Lito Sheppard, Shawn Andrews, Mike Patterson, and Brodrick Bunkley. Jarome McDougle was out of his control, and nobody wants to discuss First-Down Freddie. Still the selection of Brian Westbrook alone makes up for both of them not to mention AJ Feeley, Correll Buckhalter, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown, LJ Smith, Todd Herremans, Jason Avant, Desean Jackson, and an ongoing list of players who were at least moderately successful with the Eagles.

This weekend during the NFL draft he saw a player he really liked fall nearly into his lap. When he began getting phone calls about teams trying to move up to his pick to get WR Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri. Andy knew that when he denied those teams the opportunity that they would try to move ahead of him, and so he himself made the move up to get Maclin. He then watched the board fall once again into his lap and managed to get a Westbrook-esque running back with LeSean McCoy. This of course was after he used another first rounder weeks before to acquire pro-bowl tackle Jason Peters from the Bills. He then traded down acquiring picks later in the 2nd day as well as some next year, and at one point had six 5th round picks. He used two of them to acquire starting cornerback Ellis Hobbs from the Patriots adding to the elite depth at secondary, and then got a tight end that before a season ending injury his senior season at Florida would have likely been a late first rounder to early second in Cornelius Ingram.

It was incredible weekend for Eagles fans that begged forever to get more offensive weapons for McNabb. He now has his weapons. They aren’t fully developed yet, but if they turn out to be good pick ups there’s not many teams who will be able to compete with this offense at the skill position. On top of that Andy revamped the offensive line and added secondary depth. That’s hard to beat as far as a week of Philadelphia sports is concerned.

Still Ibanez can top it. He gets a little help because the “week” for the You Are The Man segment was extended through Tuesday, but that doesn’t take anything away from the amazing week he’s had. It’s already well known how much he is doing with the Phils to help us forget about our beloved Pat Burrell. A quick rundown of Ibanez’s stats for the extended week, and you’ll know exactly why he’s the talk of the town in Philly. In nine games in 10 days Ibanez came complete with 9 runs scored, 12 hits, 3 homers, 9 RBIs, and a 0.351 batting average. Not all that bad for a week the Phils go from a record of 4-6 to a record of 11-8 which happens to be much easier on the eyes for Phillies fans hopeful for a repeat.

Oh by the way. Can you guess when most of this magic was going on? It just wouldn’t be the Phils unless they made it interesting. They had more comebacks late in the game this week than many thought was humanly possible. Ibanez of course was at the very center of this “new” Philadelphia trend sweeping the red at Citizen’s Bank Park. On Friday at Florida they score 7 runs in the 9th to win 7-3. The next day they tie Florida in the 9th and win in the 10th with 2 runs. Then they clean up the Marlins for the 3rd straight day to the tune of 13-2. Finally, in back to back games Monday and Tuesday at home against the Nationals, Ibanez sums up the Phils’ week with a brilliant offensive display.

For this extended week you are the man Raul Ibanez. You lead the team in runs, you lead the team in hits, you are tied for the lead in home runs, and you’re 2nd in RBIs. Not bad for the “old man” that Philadelphians saw you as when you got signed here in the offseason.

“Shane Victorino, You Are the Man!”

Posted by Chris Shafer On April - 20 - 2009

600_shaneharrythekshoutWelcome to the first ever “Harry Kalas, You Are the Man!” This will be a new weekly segment to come out every Sunday or Monday recapping the Philadelphian that made the biggest noise during the previous week’s events. It’s not always going to be the player who puts up the most on the stat sheet either. It could be the guy who does nothing all week, but gives us that one moment that we will remember forever. This happens to be such a case.

I could’ve gone with Simon Gagne who has 3 goals in 3 postseason games as well as the game winning goal tonight at home against the Penguins, or I could’ve even gone with Raul Ibanez who is absolutely tearing it up for the Phils. Unfortunately this week has not been kind to Philadelphia sports, but today the 76ers, Phillies, and Flyers all get some huge wins.

That being said, honorable mention goes to Claude Giroux for his Gordie Howe hat-trick against the Penguins tonight which includes this little moment that won’t soon be forgotten:

While his goal, assist, and fight were huge he didn’t have the best week. In the game 2 overtime he hit a Penguin stick that shattered (they seem to do that a lot lately) and got called for the automatic slash. The resulting 5-3 gave the Pens the win in OT during a game that if it wasn’t for some reffing the Flyers wouldn’t have even been in that situation, but would be up 2-1 in the series. I hold no grudges with Giroux for that incident. It was a total fluke.

Shane Victorino though, this week wasn’t your best week either, but you did it the only way you could. When the city of Philadelphia needed you the most you were right there to bring us into a new era of Philadelphia baseball; an era sadly without legend Harry Kalas. The ball you hit was nearly as beautiful as the point to the booth. You gave us hope in one of our darkest hours.

That’s not all you did though. The Phils were on a 4 game losing skid after Tuesday’s win for Harry, and thanks to Ibanez the slump was broken. You didn’t hit the run yourself, but you were definitely there to officially welcome him to the city of brotherly love:

Shane Victorino, you are the man!

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