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Years since a Phillies catcher batted leadoff before Andrew Knapp did so Sunday

Gordon Glantz analyzes the Eagles’ draft, explaining why they made the picks they made and what he would have done instead.

The Greek God of Wrestling explains how A.J. Styles capturing the WWE Championship enhances Survivor Series. Achilles Heel also updates the Raw and Smackdown teams for Survivor Series, previews the San Antonio showdown between Ring of Honor and NXT, reflects on Bound for Glory, and tells you when and where Chris Jericho will return to action in this information-packed edition of Heel Turns.

The Greek God of Wrestling explains why WWE’s Great Balls of Fire didn’t quite reach the heights he expected of it. Achilles Heel also provides a rundown of next Sunday’s Battleground at Wells Fargo Center, reviews a troubling incident involving Alberto El Patron, and congratulates the new CZW champion.

Archive for March, 2018

We have a winner!

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By correctly predicting a Villanova-Michigan final, Ted Williams added to his lead in PhillyPhanatics.com’s Bracket Madness. Williams, who clinched the title last weekend when Michigan reached the Final Four, has 234 points. That’s 23 points ahead of Ari Dardik.

The top five participants all of Villanova as their champion. That means the order of finish will not be affected by Monday’s championship game. Our final order of finish: Ted, Ari, Kevin Walder, Chaim Galfand and Steve Asbel.

Hope you had fun playing Bracket Madness. Once again, congratulations to Ted for winning the championship. Until next year’s Bracket Madness, keep checking out PhillyPhanatics.com for the best in local sports coverage. Enjoy Monday’s championship game!

(Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out all of the excellent columns and articles on PhillyPhanatics.com.)

*****

What: PhillyPhanatics.com Bracket Madness!

Cost: $0

Deadline: Thursday, 11 a.m. (Those who submit their brackets earlier may make changes in their brackets until Thursday at 11 a.m. And nobody else can see your bracket until the tournament begins!)

Rules: Please submit only one entry per person (multiple entries from the same person will result in all of that person’s entries being disqualified)

Scoring: See below or click on the site link

Tie-breaker: Total points in championship game

Web site to enter: http://phillyphanatics.mayhem.cbssports.com/brackets (you will need a CBS Sports log in.)

***Upper Moreland High School students should use a personal email, NOT your school email.***

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SCORING

As stated earlier, we’re going to skip the play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Once the field is whittled down to 64 teams, the scoring will be as follows:

1 point for each correct team in the round of 32;
2 points for each correct team in the Sweet 16;
4 points for each correct team in the Elite 8;
8 points for each correct team in the Final Four;
12 points for each correct team in the championship game;
15 points for correctly picking the champion.

Furthermore, there are bonus points based on seeding for teams you correctly pick to advance.

For example, if a No. 15 seeds upsets a No. 2 seed in the first round, you’ll earn 1 point for the win and 15 bonus points! If a No. 11 seed upsets a No. 6 seed in the first round, you’ll earn 1 point for the win and 11 bonus points!

Upsets pay off, but you risk losing points from higher-seeded teams down the road.

Good luck!

(Please check back in this space every day of the tournament for scoring updates.)

Local teams on the rise

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

This is an exciting time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. As if the Eagles winning their first Super bowl weren’t enough, it appears that all of our major professional teams are on the rise.

It’s difficult to say the Eagles are on the rise when they’ve already reached the mountain top. But the presence of Carson Wentz, with just two seasons under his belt, provides reason to believe that the Eagles can be contenders for the next decade.

The 76ers are overflowing with young talent. After several years of horrific basketball, the Sixers are on the rise. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric are terrific young talents. If Embiid can remain healthy, he might win an MVP Award. That trio is the core of an up-and-coming team that – if Embiid recovers from a concussion and broken left orbital bone – could make some noise during the postseason.

The Flyers also are receiving plenty of contributions from young players as they make their final push for the playoffs. The defense is anchored by the top pairing of Shayne Gostisbehere, in his third NHL season, and Ivan Provorov, in his second NHL season. Throw in rookie defensemen Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg and it’s easy to see why the Flyers are optimistic about their future. Defenseman Sam Morin could join that group next season.

Meanwhile, second-year forward Travis Konecny is providing an important spark on offense. Forward Oskar Lindblom has also provided plenty of energy since being called up from the Phantoms. Although he seems as if he’s been around forever, leading scorer Sean Couturier is only 25.

The Philllies aren’t quite at the same stage as the Flyers and Sixers – or are they? It’s not out of the question that the Phillies make the playoffs this season. Although they have brought in some veterans during the offseason, the core of the team consists of young players reaching the big leagues. Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams and Scott Kingery provide plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Phillies’ future.

Fans get to watch this youth movement play out across multiple stages. You can watch it in the stadium, on the court, on the ice or in the ballpark.

It’s exciting to watch a club build from the ground up. The Sixers were nearly at historic lows just a few years ago. Today, if Embiid gets healthy in time for the playoffs, they might be favored to win their first-round series and could be considered a threat to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Flyers still need to make the playoffs, but it has been fun to watch the young defensemen take tremendous strides this season. The improvement of Konecny since he was moved to the top line alongside Couturier and Claude Giroux has been remarkable.

We hope to see similar growth this season from the young Phillies. Seeing some young pitchers join the young position players as building blocks for the future would be a welcome sight.

Although it’s cool to watch a team rise up from the bottom, none of our teams is quite on the ground floor any more, but it’s not too late to catch the elevator to the top.

What’s truly exciting is the possibility that the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship between a golden era of Philadelphia sports, much as the Broad Street Bullies winning the Stanley Cup did in 1974.

The Flyers won the Stanley Cup again the following season and reached the finals four more times during the next 14 years. The Phillies became perennial powers in the National League East, finally winning the franchise’s first World Series title in 1980. The Sixers appeared in the finals three times during the next decade before finally winning during the 1982-83 season. The Eagles didn’t win a championship, but they took a giant step forward, by advancing to Super Bowl XV.

There aren’t any guarantees in sports, but, with so many talented young players on our local professional teams, it’s possible that the Eagles’ Super Bowl champion could usher in another golden age of sports for our local teams.

Justify captures Triple Crown