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Winter Classic Review (Part III) January 9, 2012

Posted by Sean in Beards (and other aesthetics), Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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This is the third and final installment looking back at the Winter Classic that was.  Part I (the Flyers sweater) can be found here, and part II (the Rangers sweater) can be found here.

Citizens Bank Park is an excellent, beautiful ballpark (I mean, come on! Look at my background!). And as we found out Monday, it makes a kickass hockey venue, too.  Continuing in the festivities, the Adirondack Phantoms (the AHL affiliate of the Flyers) played the Hershey Bears at CBP in what the AHL is calling the “Outdoor Classic” Friday night, a game in which I was glad to take part in.  Take a look at a select few of my pictures and tell me that this isn’t a beautiful venue for both baseball and hockey:

Hershey Bears at Adirondack Phantoms, January 6th, 2011. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia.  Taken by the author.

Self-taken. All credit goes to me, Sean Maguire

Hershey Bears at Adirondack Phantoms, January 6th, 2011. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. Taken by the author.

Self-taken. All credit goes to me, Sean Maguire.

Hershey Bears at Adirondack Phantoms, January 6th, 2012. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. Taken by the author.

Self-taken. All credit goes to Sean Maguire

Hell of a game that was (4-3 Phantoms win in OT).  Hell of a venue, too.

An interesting note about the AHL: I found it interesting that, while the NHL uses colored jerseys at home, AHL teams wear white (or “white,” as it were) at home (or “home,” as it were).  As you may know, the NHL designated white as the home jerseys from 1970/71 through the 2002/2003 season (a reversal of precedent, actually; colored sweaters/jerseys were worn at home from ancient history to 1970), and my guess is that the AHL followed suit, but did not followup on the return to colors at home in 2002.

#9: Jim Thome January 9, 2012

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Jim Thome (via Wikipedia)

via Wikipedia

Jim Thome. When I first started watching baseball, it was 2002. It was pretty cool watching guys like Burrell, Glanville, and Rollins play everyday but the team was kinda mediocre. But then that winter I started hearing rumors about the Phillies signing some guy from Cleveland who hits a lot of home runs. Now I didn’t know a lot about baseball yet, but home runs are always exciting to 11 year olds. Skip ahead however long, and then he has that press conference where he choked up a little about leaving Cleveland (and then he made a joke afterward!), he instantly became my favorite player. And then he went out and almost hit 50 home runs! And single-handedly made the Phillies playoff contenders! I really couldn’t like him any more, it was impossible.

The next year I started middle school, and they always have this book fair thing every fall. One time I was in there and I saw a Thome poster, and I knew I had to have it. That night I put it up over my head above my wall, and it’s been there ever since (I even brought it with me to college). It makes me feel safe at night. Even though he’s not a Phillies anymore, Jim Thome is still easily one of my favorite players, and that poster will stay above my head right up until the day it falls apart.

That day this winter when he signed himself back, I couldn’t have been happier.  I was walking to the wood shop that night, and I literally danced on my way for awhile (no one was looking, of course).  The fact that my boyhood idol came back to my team for a very, very good chance at his first ring really makes me giddy for this spring.

Even though it wasn’t in Philadelphia pinstripes, I’m glad he got to 600 home runs. The twelve year old me hopes he stays with the Phillies long enough to hit 700 (how cool would that be?), maybe even 763 (!!!), but the 20 year old me knows that won’t happen. I’ll just be glad if he finally gets his ring.

#8: High-cuffed Pants and Stirrups January 8, 2012

Posted by Sean in Beards (and other aesthetics), Burritos (and other awesome things), Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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Baseball is an old-timey game. A relic, if you will. That’s part of the charm of it– baseball is virtually the same as it was when our grandparents’ grandparents saw it, and it will be the same when our grandchildrens’ grandchildren watch it (unless blurnsball takes over by then). Part of the charm of today’s game is when players still dress in that “traditional” look, the high-cuffed pants and stirrupped-socks. There’s no way you can possibly say that this:

Jim Thome (courtesy Wikipedia)

via Wikipedia

The sultan of swat, the titan of terror, the colossus of clout, the king of crash, the GREAT BAMBINO

via Wikipedia

Alex Rodriquez

via Wikipedia

looks worse than this:

Ryan Howard (via baseball-ladies.com)

via baseball-ladies.com

Manny Ramirez (via ESPN.com)

via ESPN.com

David Wright (via NY Daily News)

via NY Daily News

It’s just not possible.  You’re wrong.  No offense to Ryan Howard, Manny or David Wright, but that look just isn’t right.  It’s interesting that I found that picture of Wright, in fact.  If you do a quick Google search for him, there are some images of him with stirrups, and some without (like above). I wish I knew the answer, but perhaps it’s an institution of the new Mets regime?  For their sake, I sure hope so.  They may play like crap, but at least their legs will look good.

#7: Talking Heads January 7, 2012

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Stop Making Sense
via Wikipedia

I’m not even sure how it all started.  I think it was the time my dad brought a Stop Making Sense CD on vacation one year. Or maybe it was the time I later found that same CD lying around and decided to load it to iTunes.  Whichever it was, Stop Making Sense was my gateway to the awesomeness that is Talking Heads.  The first couple times I listened to that CD, I only listened to my favorite songs, “Psycho Killer,” “Burning Down the House,” “Life During Wartime,” and later, “Take Me to the River.”  It wasn’t until high school that I started listening to the CD the whole way through (this was also around the same time that I really got into Green Day, like I mentioned yesterday), but once I did, I never looked back.  Literally every single track is a kickin’ song in my opinion, except for “Swamp” (I hate that song).  I listened to that album in high school so much, in fact, that my friend Zach pretty much said that’s all I ever listened to on the bus home (which was probably right, honestly).  At some point, I moved past Stop Making Sense, and started listening to other TH albums.  I’m not sure in what specific order, but I obtained physical copies of Remain in Light, Speaking In Tongues, and Talking Heads: 77 all within the span of four months and fell in love with all of them.

(This is the point in the story where you learn that I may or may not have OCD).  Knowing that I only had a portion of the group’s recorded discography never sat well with me.  By the end of that four month period, I *ahem* downloaded the remaining albums: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads (the other live album),  Little Creatures, True Stories, and Naked.  Having all these satiated my Heads thirst, but only for so long.  It was that summer that I went to *ahem* places online and downloaded as many TH shows as I could find.  I wound up with all kinds of shows, ranging from the early days, to the Stop Making Sense tour, to the bitter end.  It was pretty much a place where nothing ever happens heaven (see what I did there?).  Eventually I downloaded the SMS movie, and later the True Stories film (which is very good, by the way).

(This is the point in the story where you realize that, regardless of my real/fake OCD, I’m probably a lunatic and definitely too obsessed with this band).  My Talking Heads search didn’t stop there, however.  At some point in my freshman year at college, I decided to download everything I could find that the four main members of the band (David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison) ever recorded. This included Harrison’s pre-TH days as a member of the vastly-underrated Modern Lovers and his post-TH, unspectacular solo career; Frantz and Harrison’s continuing adventures as the Tom Tom Club, and Byrne’s journey through music (which is a very interesting study on its own– each album has a different flavor, and if you study them close enough and know a little about him, you can trace where the influences came from, and even who worked on it with him).  It’s a very good playlist, and it even inspired me to do it with a couple other bands/artists I have (I highly recommend this activity if you really enjoy music).  But the point here is that I’m a lunatic and I currently have 451 Talking Heads songs and counting, as well as 284 other songs (and counting) relating to the band.

#6: Green Day January 6, 2012

Posted by Sean in Burritos (and other awesome things), Talking Heads (and other music).
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International Superhits!

Image via Wikipedia

I have a love/hate relationship with Green Day.  Back in middle school, I used to love them.  Then all my friends hated them, so I decided I did too. When I started to listen to them again, it was 10th grade and I started to explore more and more music styles. But like a fool, I decided I didn’t like Green Day, so back on the shelf they went.  I never really got back into them in a big way until the middle of my freshman year at college, and man are they awesome!

Let me back up a little bit.  My first taste of Green Day was a sixth grade Christmas present from my mom.  It was the compilation album International Superhits! and I loved it right away.  In fact, it’s been my favorite Green Day album, and it’s easily in my top 10 albums that I own.  My favorite songs off that CD are “Maria” and “Welcome to Paradise” (not that you asked).  I loved this CD all the way up until my friends decided Green Day wasn’t cool anymore.  When was that, you ask? Right around the time American Idiot came out.  I was still in middle school, and I admit, I liked it at first when I heard it.  But for whatever reason, my friends decided Green Day was “too emo” (whatever that means) and a “bunch of sellouts” (though that one I agree with).  So I stopped listening.

Skip ahead a few years to the 10th grade.  I’m exploring music, and take a trip to the heavier side and eventually meander back to Green Day.  I browse to it on my iPod, turn the volume up, and drift off into my music. Tune in, drop out, as it were.  Suddenly, the guitar riff comes blaring in, followed by: “Dear mother, can you hear me whining?  It’s been three whole weeks since that I have left your home…”  Holy CRAP I forgot who awesome this song was! “This sudden fear has left me trembling cause now it seems that I am out here on my own and I’m feeling so alone….”  You better believe I turned that shit up, man!  Green Day was back into circulation, if you would.

For the sake of brevity, let’s skip ahead to my freshman year at college.  It’s winter, and architecture school  had gotten me down.  One night in design, my design partner Chi (I forget what his real name is now; we always called him “Chi” because his last name was something ridiculously Polish. Chajkouski, or something like that.) puts on a song I know, but hadn’t heard in awhile.  It seemed so distant.  I listen closer… “Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken homes…” Sure enough, it was the same song as that one day so many years ago.  Fuck yeah, man!, I thought.  The Green Day love had started again.  Except this time, it lasted much longer.  I kept listening to Green Day (and some other punk rock) for a couple months, and I even went out on a bender and downloaded their entire discography online, as well as a physical copy of Dookie (which happens to be my second favorite Green Day album) at one point.  I was in a full-scale Green Day swing.

Later on that summer, I came down with a bit of a cold (which was weird, because, who gets sick in the summer?), so I stayed indoors for a couple days.  One night after I was feeling better, I was skyping with my best friend who had just gotten back from some concert.  We got to chatting and I found out it was a Green Day concert. Hoo boy, that must’ve been fun, wish I could’ve gone.  Too bad I was sick.  I don’t really like anything they’ve done since Dookie (coincidentally, right around the time they “sold out”), but who knows what would’ve happened?  Maybe Green Day would be higher on this list… 🙂

Winter Classic Review (Part II) January 5, 2012

Posted by Sean in Beards (and other aesthetics), Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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This is part two of a three-part series about the Winter Classic’s aesthetics.  Part I can be found here.

Rangers Winter Classic Jersey (via Sports Logos)

via Sports Logos.net

Unlike the home team counterpart, I’m a little disappointed in the Rangers’ duds.  Both teams looked really great on the ice, and the orange Flyers looked amazing against the cream/”vintage white” Rangers, despite there being no reason for the Rangers to wear that color.  I’ve said it before (I’ll say again), going retro does not mean vintage white, and vintage white does not mean retro.  I hate that trend, it’s become nothing more than a cheap gimmick.  Initial grade: C+

These jerseys actually really bug me.  A few issues: just like the Flyers, the Rangers didn’t directly draw from any one era, but rather drew inspiration from several.  The only problem is, the Rangers are one of the Original Six and have been around since forever (not really; they were founded in 1926).  And except for three seasons, the Rangers have had “RANGERS” spelled out in diagonal capital letters across their sweaters.  It’s what they’re known for! So why would someone give complete disregard to that and put a new/old crest on the front instead? It doesn’t make any sense.   They’re also known for the distinct number design, the block font with the drop shadow, why just abandon the shadow, even if it’s for one game?  This was an ill attempt at honoring history, but they look nice.  Final grade: C-

Thing I like about this sweater:

  • The hemstripes.  They’re very American, and if there’s any hockey team that I think of as “America’s Team,” it’s Tex’s Rangers, even if I hate them.
  • The shoulder yoke.  It provides a nice balance to the waist stripes, and gives the sweater an even feel.
  • The yoke stripe.  I don’t know of any other sweater that has a striping pattern like that on the shoulders, it makes it unique, and relates back to that balance thing I just talked about.

Things I don’t like about this sweater:

  • The crest. The Rangers don’t wear crests. Get rid of it.
  • Vintage white. GRRRRRRRRR
  • Inconsistent striping. Why are the sleeve stripes blue-white-red-white-blue if the waist and shoulders are blue-white-red?
  • No number drop shadow.  Except for a little hiccup in the 70s, they have always worn dropshadowed numbers since the 40s.  If the point of this sweater was to draw from history, why would they go against history and leave it off…?
  • Vintage white. I just hate it so much.
  • It’s from New York.  Just thought I’d throw that one in there.

Bottom line, this sweater would make a fine fashion jersey, or even a solid alt if there was no claim to be historical.  But since this is a Winter Classic sweater where everything is based on history, it’s not very good.

#5: Hitting a Baseball as Hard as You Can January 5, 2012

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Tying into yesterday’s post, the next awesome thing is hitting a ball as hard as you can (fresh new bat optional)…

I was never very good at baseball (that’ll be a recurring theme here, I’m sure), but I still loved to play it all the way up until the very end.  My favorite thing to do up at bat was to swing as hard as I could, which was probably one of the reasons I wasn’t very good.  I’m a big guy, so I always pictured myself as being the team slugger, or the cleanup hitter.  Jim Thome, if you will.  So I always would go up and try to mash the ball.  When it worked, it was fun (even if I never hit it out of the infield), and the team always got a thrill out of it.  When it didn’t work, I looked like a free-swingin’ doofus who rode pine more than stepped on a field.  But I had fun, so who cares if I was more Travis Chapman than Jim Thome?

#4: The First Hit With a New Baseball Bat January 4, 2012

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I never had much of a future playing baseball, but the one time a year I did get a hit, it was always a great feeling.  The swing, the feeling you get reversing the ball’s trajectory, the ping of the metal bat, the roar of the crowd…  It’s all wonderful.  But it’s almost as if the feeling is intensified with a new bat.

My last year of playing baseball (I was in 7th grade and I played for the Red Sox in a local league, but that’s a story for another day), I didn’t get a hit in my first five games.  Hoping to reverse the trend, I asked my dad if I could get a new bat.  I did some browsing around online and I decided that the best bat for me would be one that was really long (so I could get an even sweet spot on inside and outside pitches), but really light (so I could get better bat speed on it).  I wound up with this bat from DeMarini:

All in all, it was a pretty nice bat, even if I couldn’t hit the side of a barn with it.  I remember my first in-game hit with that bat pretty well (mostly because it was my only hit that season)…  We were playing the Mets, and they didn’t have a good pitcher on the mound.  It was the middle of the game (4th inning?) and I had gotten out to a 2-0 count (which was rare). The next pitch was high and outside, I thought.  The ump called it on the corner, 2-1.  I was feeling pretty good here, I never got on base.  The next pitch looked like it was coming right down the middle–right where I wanted it (…the only place I could hit it–seriously, why would you throw it there? I swing at everything, so you gave me something to hit? Don’t pity me). I could feel my heart beating, I could see the stitches on the ball… Was this it? Was this going to be my first hit of the year? I blinked. I swung. Ping!  Right on the sweet spot!  I ran as hard as I could.  The ball bounced past the pitcher, the shortstop running towards it.  I ran harder.  The shortstop gobbled it up.  I ran harder still.  Plop! I landed on the bag. Pop! The ball landed in the first baseman’s mitt.  I did it! I had finally gotten that hit I had been searching for all summer!  The parents were cheering, the bench was excited! My first base coach low-fived me!  It was the greatest thing that had happened to me in a long while.  And it was all because of my special bat.  It was GLORIOUS.

Winter Classic Review (Part I) January 3, 2012

Posted by Sean in Beards (and other aesthetics), Sports (and other things relating to sports).
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So the Flyers played that Winter Classic thing yesterday.  Despite the ending, it was a pretty exciting (and beautiful) game.

Flyers Winter Classic Jersey (via Icethetics)

via Icethetics

In a vacuum, I LOVE the sweaters/jerseys.  Both teams looked really great, and the Flyers’ orange really popped off the white of the ice, and played really well against the cream/vintage white of the Rangers.  I give them a B-

However, the whole point of the Winter Classic is that it harkens back to days of old, and is supposed to celebrate the heritage of hockey.  Reflecting this, the sweaters have usually been directly inspired by previous designs.  More times than not, they’ve been combinations of eras, evidenced most clearly by the Penguins’ 2011 threads.  But because the Flyers have only been around for about 50 years and  basically wear the same design they first wore, the team didn’t have too many styles to choose from.  I mean, the design they wore from roughly 1982 to 2007 would have been a good start, but I guess 2007 is too recent to harken back to…  With all of that in mind, I still give the Flyers a B-, but a lesser one at that (more 80% than 82%).

Things I like about this sweater:

  • The bright orange of the body
  • The existing hemstripes
  • The keystones behind the Captain’s C/Assistant’s A
  • The colored nameplates (I don’t like the ones on the white roadie sweater, but I can’t get enough of it here or the home orange)
  • The vintage white (I’m not usually a proponent of using vintage white as a retro gimmick, but it works really well here against the orange)
  • The black yoke.  It really provides a great focal piece and works well as a contrast to the orange

Things I don’t like about this sweater:

  • The hemstripes look unfinished (why are there two, unbalanced stripes?  It looks like either the black should be thicker, or there should be another thin black stripe around the bottom)
  • The white outline around the back numbers is way too thick.  This is also an issue I have with the rest of the Flyers’ set
  • Shoelaces.  I usually think hockey laces are pretty nifty, but the Flyers have never worn them, why start now?

All in all, I think this made a very good one-off sweater.  I’d rather not see it as a regular third, especially since it would create color redundancy with the home sweater (which isn’t always a bad thing, however), but I wouldn’t object if they gave it limited (indoor) ice time.

#3: Baseball January 3, 2012

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Baseball is… Where do I even start?  Baseball… Baseball is everything.  I live for baseball, I sleep baseball, I watch baseball, I play baseball… Baseball is everything.   I follow the players, the coaches, the managers, the teams, the GMs, but I really enjoy the logos and uniform changes.  Baseball is everything, man!  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been around baseball.

When I was little, I played T-Ball, then Parent Pitch, then Little League.  When I realized I wasn’t all that good (I went something like 4-248 over three years as a hitter), I quit.  That allowed me to watch MLB even more than I already did.  Of course I watched the Phillies (this was around 2004), but they weren’t very good. Yet.  It seemed the more and more I watched them, the better they got.  Except for a minor hiccup in 2006, they always finished better every year then they did the year before, culminating in the awesomesauce we’ve had the last couple years.

Oh man… This is only the beginning.

#2: Paper Clips January 2, 2012

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Paper Clips, courtesy Wikipedia

Paper Clips.  When I was younger, I used to collect them (OK, I lied, I still do that).  I mean, they’re so fascinating!  It’s a piece of metal strung out to such a small diameter that we can bend it with such weak force, sometimes covered in coating (which was amusing to scrape off) that’s used in an ingenious way to hold papers together.  Sometimes I wonder who first thought of keeping things attached using small pieces of metal.  Wikipedia gives off a couple names, but the guy(s) who patents something is not always the guy who first thinks it up.  It’s also pretty cool to think that we’ve progressed so far that we can use metal (a material that has to be manufactured in a relatively arduous way) to keep papers together

#1: Magnets January 1, 2012

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Magnetic Field, courtesy Wikipedia

Magnets are awesome.  They’re so common, and yet we can’t fully explain them.  I mean, yes, we know they attract and repel, there’s a north side and a south side, a “field” around it that makes a curvilinear shape (seen above), but we can’t say with 100% accuracy why certain metals do this and how.   Yes, we know that magnets are metals that have electrons all spinning in the same direction (or at least that’s my understanding. But I’m wrong a lot), but we don’t know much else.  For as ubiquitous as magnets are (among other things, they are used in motors, VCRs, tapes, headphones, speakers, toys, and refrigerator magnets (obviously)), we don’t have an explanation.  And that’s part of the allure, really; we may never be able to understand them, yet we continue to use them.  Which I think is awesome.

 

To Be Updated! November 16, 2011

Posted by Sean in Meh (other things off the top of my head).
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So, I’m going to try to start writing on here, we’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully it ends well.

PS, new title!

‘Sup June 28, 2011

Posted by Sean in Meh (other things off the top of my head).
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I was gonna write this big long post about greetings, but I didn’t like it.  So I threw it out.  Don’t judge me.

Instead, I’ll just ramble here about this being my second blog, and how my first one was dead before it started.  I usedto was on Phillies.tk, but I got tired of that, and I never really found my voice anyway.  This site is pretty much the successor to that, and hopefully this one will turn out better.  I doubt it, nobody knows who I am, why should they come here?

But for those that do, this site will be about what ever crosses my mind.  I really like sports (baseball, especially), so expect to see a lot of that.

PS, I’m still working on the layout of the site.  But you don’t care because you haven’t seen this site.

All the posts dated before this one (28 June, 2011) were originally hosted on Phillies.tk/philadelphiaphillies.wordpress.com, and I migrated them here. Frankly, I’m embarrassed at them all (I was so stupid!), but I was young.  I moved them over here for the sake of completeness.

I <3 Jayson Werth’s Beard May 5, 2010

Posted by Sean in Beards (and other aesthetics), Phillies.tk Archives.
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It’s so awesome.  I love it.  Don’t you?

P.S. we’re back

This Week Is Special November 23, 2008

Posted by Sean in Meh (other things off the top of my head), Phillies.tk Archives.
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It’s the one year anniversary of Phillies.tk.  Starting Monday, we will bring out our top-rated posts, and make new ones, all while partying it up.  Monday brings you top post #5, Tuesday (November 25th) is the site’s birthday, so Tuesday will bring an extra-special surprise, in addition to the  fourth-highest post, Wednesday the third highest, Thursday the second, and then we’ll end the work week with the best-rated Phillies.tk post ever.  I can hardly hold my excitement.

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