This week in sports has left me in a bad way. It’s not really a funk I’m in—more like a slow-boiling rage. The young, exciting Flyers got bounced by the relentless (and boring) Devils. The Phillies look like they get a salary bonus for blowing games—the more excruciating the loss, the bigger the payday. The Sixers provided some relief, but only after laying an egg on Tuesday and nearly blowing a double-digit lead last night. This list could read like a George R.R. Martin novel, but here are just a few of the things that are driving me insane as a Philly fan right now.
1. Ilya Bryzgalov’s Puck-Handling Skills
When you’re Ron Hextall, there were enough memorable moments in your career that we’ll forget the time you mishandled a backhanded clearing attempt from the red line that ended up in the net. But if you’re Roman Cechmanek, your time with the Flyers will forever be defined by your playoff meltdowns—getting chased by Buffalo and screaming at your teammates against Ottawa. Ilya, don’t be Roman Cechmanek. Make us forget about that own goal next season.
2. The Terrible Inevitability of the Sixers Postseason
Yes, that was a thrilling finale last night. I’m happy for Doug Collins and the young guys like Holiday and Turner who are getting playoff experience. And as infuriating as it was to watch Andre Iguodala hoist six treys on Tuesday, I’m glad he finally came up big in the clutch. But they barely beat a Bulls team whose two best players were injured. I will watch every game against Boston. But unless Dougie has a Celtics voodoo doll, it’s going to be a short series. Congrats to the new owners, but this squad is far from being a title contender.
3. Chase Utley’s Knees/Ryan Howard’s Achilles
If not for you, we wouldn’t have endured Pete Orr’s two-error night against the Mets and the Phillies wouldn’t have their worst record since 2007. Didn’t think it was possible to hate a specific body part on a professional athlete, but here we are.
4. Rooting for the Phoenix Coyotes
I’m not big on relocated sports franchises in nonsensical towns—like the Winnipeg Jets moving to the desert—but I’m howlin’ for the Coyotes now that the Flyers are golfing. That Devils series left me with some PTSD from the 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs that resurfaced. I can’t cheer for the Rangers or Caps. And I’ll tie a case of Bud Light Lime to my ankles and jump off the Sea Isle bridge if the L.A. Kings—led by Dry Island escapees Mike Richards and Jeff Carter—show up at the Shore this summer with the Cup. Go Wolfpack!
5. Idiot Fans Who Jeered Jayson Werth
Wanna chant “Worth-less” from right field in Washington? Go right ahead. But Werth says that as he hobbled off the field with a broken wrist on Sunday, he heard “You deserve it!” and “That’s what you get!” True, it was probably only a handful of morons among thousands of Phils fans who showed up in D.C., but they’re the asshats who keep the stories about snowballs at Santa and booing Michael Irvin alive.
6. Jayson Werth
You’re getting $126 million from the Nationals. Worry more about underperforming and less about hecklers and sticking it to Phillies fans. Most of us don’t blame you for taking the money, but now you’re pledging to make sure we never party on Broad Street again? Rumors of you being a jerk appear to be greatly accurate.
O captain, my captain—how we missed you these playoffs, Chris Pronger. Get well soon.
8. Sports Talk Radio
Considering I can identify certain callers by their vocal tics—like the annoying dude who punctuates every line with a Philly accented “o-kay”—I probably listen to too much sports radio. This week, I could only take a few minutes at a time before my ears bled from all the ledge-jumpers who know what’s wrong with their teams. Dudes: Charlie’s doing the best he can with what he’s got, which ain’t a lot. Ruben didn’t do much to shore up the offense in the off-season, but no free agent would have made up for losing Utley and Howard. Peter Laviolette didn’t go to sleep before Game Two of the Devils series and wake up as a horrible coach.
9. Cole Hamels’s Contract Status
For God’s sake, Ruben, give us something to cheer for and sign the man.
10. Eagles Training Camp
Because it’s still two months away.