Usually, I want the summer to last as long as possible. It’s relaxing. It’s a time for vacations. I enjoy working outside. There are countless reasons why I enjoy the summer.
But this summer has been a bummer. At least from a sports perspective.
The Phillies were supposed to be in position for a playoff spot. We were supposed to be debating which team we’d rather have the Phillies face in the playoffs. We were supposed to be debating whether the Phillies should go with a three-man playoff rotation or include Vance Worley in a four-man rotation.
Instead, we’re supposed to be excited because the Phillies are just one game behind the third-place Mets. Even if they pass the Mets, the Phillies are still 10 games behind the Pirates for the second wild card berth. And they have to pass five teams, not including the Mets, to secure that wild card.
At least there is a second wild card berth this year. Otherwise, the Phillies would be staring at a 13-game deficit to overcome in order to catch the Braves.
This summer also has not been kind to the Flyers. It started out OK, with the NHL Draft and the trading of James van Riemsdyk to Toronto for defenseman Luke Schenn. Then the summer went downhill.
All you need to know about the Flyers’ summer is that when they acquired Schenn in June, he looked like a nice addition to solidify their third defensive pairing. Now, he’s going to be counted upon to play major minutes as one of their top four defensemen.
The Flyers’ bids for free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were rebuffed. The Flyers then made a huge offer to Suter’s Nashville teammate, Shea Weber. The addition of a defenseman of Weber’s caliber would have made the Flyers one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. But the Predators’ matched the Flyers’ offer, so Weber, a restricted free agent, will remain in yellow, gold, mustard or whatever you call the color of Nashville’s uniforms.
After failing to acquire Weber, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said the pursuit of Weber was about adding a valuable piece rather than an indication he wasn’t satisfied with the team’s defense. He said that even though Matt Carle left via free agency.
But Holmgren’s statement was made before Andrej Meszaros tore his Achilles tendon. It was made before Andreas Lilja’s hip surgery. All of a sudden, the Flyers have a depleted defense that will rely heavily on rookies and veteran Kimmo Timonen, who would benefit from less ice time, not more. They also lost veteran forward Jaromir Jagr, one of the feel-good stories of last season, to free agency.
The Union also have had a crappy summer. Last year they were a team in playoff contention. This year they got rid of many of their stars, fired their coach and remain on the outside – way outside – looking in at the race for playoff berths.
The story that dominated the headlines for much of this summer involved Penn State and the ongoing Jerry Sandusky mess. June brought us the trial and conviction of Sandusky. July brought us the Freeh Report, the debate over whether to remove the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium and the NCAA’s draconian sanctions on Penn State and its football program.
As much as the Penn State administration and a segment of its Board of Trustees want this story to go away as quickly as possible, it’s not going away. The Paterno family wants to appeal the NCAA sanctions. Several members of the Board of Trustees have expressed a desire to appeal the sanctions. Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier is planning to have a news conference to rebut what his lawyers describe as inaccuracies in the Freeh Report. Joe Posnanski’s book on Paterno comes out next week. This story is not going to fade away for a long, long time.
The worst story of the summer, of course, was the tragic death of Garrett Reid. With the exception of the damage done to Sandusky’s victims, nothing else I’ve mentioned compares to the death of Andy and Tammy Reid’s oldest son.
The rest of the stuff I’ve mentioned is fun and games. The loss of Garrett Reid is real life.
Speaking of fun and games, the one game the Eagles played also didn’t go well. It’s only preseason, but the Eagles lost one quarterback to a broken left hand and received a scare when another quarterback banged his left hand off center Jason Kelce’s helmet.
Fortunately, x-rays of the second quarterback’s hand were negative. Even more fortunate is that the first quarterback is Mike Kafka and the second one is Michael Vick, not the other way around.
Some may point to last week’s Sixers trade as the turning point for the summer. Although I like the trade, we should wait to see how Andrew Bynum’s knees hold up and whether he resigns with the Sixers before proclaiming the trade a success and anointing it as the moment the summer turned around.
The best thing I can say about this summer from a sports perspective is it is almost over. Thank goodness.