The Antivaxx Phillies are a Disgrace

On June 8th, 2007, a wild storm blew into Denver while the Phillies were playing the Colorado Rockies. 

The Rockies grounds crew tried to put the tarp down, but the wind was gusting uncontrollably, and the tarp flipped over and started whipping wildly, the men getting knocked around by it. Then suddenly the Phillies team came galloping out of the dugout, grabbing the corners of the tarp, allowing the grounds crew members who were stuck under it to escape, and making it possible for the crew to get things back under control. (You can see the video here).

The display showed them not to be out of touch wealthy athletes, but human beings rushing to help their fellow man in need. And when the team got hot later that season, and made a furious run to overtake the Mets and win the division, it was made all the sweeter by the fact that we really, really liked these guys. 

The Phillies are once again in the mix with the Mets for the Division, but it’s almost impossible to imagine this year’s team lifting a finger to help anyone. Marcus Hayes reported a few weeks ago that about half of the 2021 Phillies were vaccinated, a jaw-droppingly pathetic number that meant the Phillies lagged behind essentially every other team in Major League Baseball. As Matt Gelb wrote in the Athletic:

“…there is a contingent of Phillies players who have hardline stances against taking the vaccine no matter how much management encourages the shot.”

A hardline stance against helping to lower the r0 number that will in turn help the fans whose support pays their enormous salaries. A hardline stance against decidedly overwhelming science, a hardline stance for know-nothingism. It is depressingly dumb and stunningly selfish, this ignorant insistence to treat the people who pay to come to the games like garbage. Their excuses just made it worse. Aaron Nola, the team’s star pitcher, said that not getting vaccinated was a “personal decision” (which was supported by Joe Girardi). Nonsense. Choosing to not get vaccinated is as “personal” as sending your kid to school with the measles or holding up a 7-11. It is reckless, it is anti-social, and it is potentially deadly. The Phillies don’t care. 

There is a dark humor to the fact that the Phillies started winning, for basically the first time in a decade, almost immediately after the vaccine story broke. And it leads us to our current and rather unique conundrum. After a year in which we sacrificed for each other, a year in which we stayed out of the ballpark, what could be better than being together and experiencing the communal joy inherent in rooting for America’s Pasttime together? But how can we do so when the very team we’re rooting for is so anti-social that that they have no interest in our health? How can we root for a team that is quite willing to lose players down the stretch to COVID, making it clear that they are losers who would rather blow the division than get a simple shot in their arms? We root for our athletes to win, and our team has flat out declared that they don’t care about winning, they only care about the pseudo-scientific nonsense that they read in memes. 

One of the lessons we should have learned in 2020 was that role models tend to work in hospitals, not on baseball diamonds. As much as I love baseball (and I do), at the end of the day these men get paid a lot of money to excel at something rather arbitrary, and perhaps expecting them to do so much as lifting a finger otherwise is asking too much. Nonetheless, baseball players, like all people, are capable of showing great displays of humanity. The 2007 team did that, running onto the field in a storm to save the day. When the proverbial winds started howling in 2021, the Phillies did the opposite. When the opportunity came to help their fellow man, they did less than nothing. 

So I’ll watch the games sporadically, and I suppose I’ll still cheer for the Mudville 9, albeit with less enthusiasm than I did before. Watching them tank the past two nights to the worse team in baseball while in the midst of a division race sure doesn’t carry the sting it would have before I knew how much they hated their fans.

Regardless of what they do on the field for the final 40 games, their legacy is now secure. When the time came to be a part of the community in the midst of the greatest challenge to America in our lifetimes, they failed. Miserably. They are simply mercenaries in baseball uniforms, men paid to wear the letter P on their hats. The Philadelphia Phillies are absolutely, positively, not one of us. 

EXTRA: Listen here to my Shibe Sports podcast interview with the Athletic’s Matt Gelb about this topic and other Phillies questions.

Taco Night on Friday!

The Phoenix are not going to the playoffs this year. So this, then, is essentially our playoff game, against the New York Empire. Speaking personally, I don’t like the New York Empire. They’re arrogant, they’re obnoxious, and they were impossible to work with when we had to reschedule this game. And you know what else? I like not liking them. I like seeing them as our rivals. I like the fact that this game is more than just another frisbee game. This is our Cowboys game, the one that will determine if we can call the season a “success”.

And it’s gonna be damn fun. It’s Taco Night, and we’ll have delicious tacos from Tacos Los Catrines, mariachi singer El Mau, and a halftime pinata for the kids. Tickets are extremely reasonable ($12 ahead of time, $14 at the door) and the action is fast paced and fun. If you haven’t been to a game yet, come to this one. We need a big and loud crowd if we’ve got any hope of beating New York. Doors at 6, game at 7. See ya Friday night!

Come Watch the Phoenix!

We’re headed down the stretch with Philly’s Team, the Philadelphia Phoenix. The games are an absolute blast for fans, as the action is high flying, we’ve got great food from Porco’s, and we’ve got beer from Second District that costs half as much as crappy beer at the ballpark. And unlike a CERTAIN local team, our squad is 100% vaccinated. It’s also great for kids, as we’ve got a Kid Zone that is chaperoned by a local teacher. So feel free to drop the kids off to do activities while you watch the game. After the game, the party continues…we grab post game drinks at the Black Cat Tavern.

Tonight is the South Philly Olympiad. We’ll have activities on the track during the game, with kids taking part over the halftime show with a 100 yard dash, a distance throw, and a limbo contest. We’ll have Greek specials from Porco’s including a Gyro and a Greek Salad BLT. The whole thing will be run by our good friend Chip Chantry and his podcast partner Jeff, who host Junk Miles.

Next week, August 13th, we’re having Viva La Mexico Night with Mexican food, drink, and music! That’s also the game against New York, and as I’ve stated earlier; I sincerely do not the New York team. No details yet, but when my autobiography comes out I’ll give you all the insider stuff.

And on August 21st, we’ll wrap up the season with Fan Appreciation Night.

Wanna know more about the league we’re a part of? There was a great article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week.

There was also a great photo essay in the Washington Post about the league a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s an interview with the head owner of the team, Christina, who is a total badass.

If your’e not already, be sure to follow the Phoenix on instagram, twitter, and Facebook.

Oh, and I’ll be DJing tonight and next Friday. Trust me, I wouldn’t steer ya wrong when it comes to a good time; get down to one of these games! You can buy tickets here.

Coat Drive at Shibe Sports

50709905_10161646019275599_6328570839629299712_n

Hey gang, just wanted to let you know that we’re doing another charity drive at Shibe Sports to help our friends at PPEHRC. Anyone who brings in a lightly used coat between now and the Super Bowl gets 40% off all Eagles gear in store. It’s a great deal, and a great way to help out our fellow Philadelphians in need. If you’d prefer to have a coat mailed, you can mail it to:

Shibe Sports
137 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Just let me know and I’ll send you a code for 40% off. Finally, if you’d prefer to donate money and have me pick up the money, that’s fine too. Just shoot me a line at johnny @ johnnygoodtimes dot com or you can give me some cash at quizzo this week. Thanks!

And be sure to follow us online:

Facebook. 

Twitter.

Instagram. 

The Bandwagon Fan’s Guide to La Salle


If you’re like me, you’re quickly falling in love with this La Salle basketball team. Yeah, sure, the fact that they’re in the Sweet 16 is the impetus for my bandwagonism, as is the fact that I’m a frontrunner, just like Jimmy Rollins said. But the more I watch these guys play, the more I read and hear about the guys on this team, the more I just sorta like them. This is a school that hasn’t been to a Sweet 16 since 1955 (I wrote about that 1955 team here), and there is definitely a cool feeling of the Big 5’s red-headed stepchild getting its moment in the sun.

All through the season, I’ve been made aware of this squad by the nonstop rantings of local comedian Gregg Gethard, a La Salle superfan (and LaSalle grad) who constantly raves about them on his facebook wall. Basically, he was a fan of this team waaaaay before it was cool to do so. He also knows his basketball…he used to run a very amusing basketball podcast called Holding Court. So I thought I’d ask him a bit about this year’s team so you and I could sound like we know what we’re talking about on Thursday night, tricking people into believing that we, like Gregg, hopped on this bandwagon way before it was cool.

JGT: Who is the MVP of this years La Salle team?

Gregg: The team’s leading scorer and heart and soul is Ramon Galloway, who grew up within walking distance of the campus on Bringhurst Street. He used to play at the rec center right behind our dorm complex.

Anyways, he has had the most troubling life. His dad was shot in the head and is blind. He has two brothers in lock-up. His grandfather needs a liver transplant.

Ramon ended up going to Florida for high school to get out of Germantown. He went to South Carolina for two years but then his grandfather’s health issues worsened and he came home to La Salle.

JGT: Do you have any “in” with the team? Do you know what these guys are really like or is this more from a “Superfan” perspective.

Gregg: La Salle is such a small school that you just know people who know people. I also worked on campus for a few years and have a bunch of professor friends. EVERYONE raves about the kids. They’re the most fun-loving bunch of kids. They’re really funny and silly and everything that’s good about college sports. You gotta see their behind-the-scenes videos of the tournament (The Sweet 16 one is above. The first round game is here. Both well worth a watch.).

JGT: The team is very Philly heavy, which is really exciting, I think. It seems almost quaint. How did they come to have so many Philly guys on the team? I know Ramon Galloway and Tyrone Garland are both transfers, but has this coaching staff really heavily invested in scouting locally?

Gregg: Oh yeah man. La Salle’s athletic budget isn’t big at all, even by mid-major standards. They’ve got to focus on Philly kids. And there’s certainly enough talent in the area to land those kids.

There’s Galloway and Garland. Tyreke Duren played at Roman (but is from Yeadon, I believe). Jerrell Wright’s a Philly kid, too.

JGT: So how do you explain their success? This is a team that was on nobody’s radar, with zero height down low, and now they’re in the Sweet 16.

Gregg: Their guards are great. They have a five guard rotation — everyone talks about the four guards but there’s actually five they run who are all good and work perfectly together.

Ramon’s the star — he shoots from anywhere within half court and also has universal athleticism. Tyreke Duren’s the most underrated PG in the country. He’s a smooth and steady floor general who has made less than five mistakes his entire career.

Sam Mills, from Florida, is the defensive ace. He’s also a very good shooter. But his defense is unreal. Ty Garland’s the sparkplug off the bench and unreal getting to the rim. And DJ Peterson’s the unsung hero — he’s 6’5″ and just guards the hell out of everyone.

They also have two bigs. Jerrell Wright’s the one playing now. He was a Philly player of the year and is just a beast down low, particularly going to the left. The other is Steve Zack who is unfortunately hurt. Zack’s a 7 foot white kid from out near York. He can PLAY. They run a lot of offense through him since he’s a really good pick setter and deft passer.

JGT: Who is your favorite player on the team?

Gregg: My favorite player is Taylor Dunn. He’s a little used guard. But the reason why I love him — he’s the first guy off the bench to give hugs and handshakes and the like. Every team needs that. You can just tell that even though he doesn’t play too much that he’s a team centerpiece.

JGT: What should we know about coach John Giannini?

Gregg: Dr. G is a character. Off the court, he’s a really charismatic and enthusiastic guy. He’s a terrific spokesperson for the school and is incredibly well regarded as a recruiter. I’ve talked with him a few times and he is very genuine and nice. Just a very fun, loose guy.

On the court, he has a history of being a lunatic. He’s legitimately frothed at the mouth. He’s the only guy I’ve ever seen capable of getting a technical foul for yelling at his own players. He’s calmed down a LOT this year though — he attributes it to having kids who finally get what he wants and pay as much attention to detail as he does.

JGT: What should we look for on Thursday night?

Gregg: Wichita State’s a tough team. Greg Marshall’s a great coach. They’ve got size and are really tough. It, once again, is going to come down to our guards versus their size. There’s talk that Steve Zack might return but no one knows for sure. If not, I still think they’ve got a really good chance. But there’s just a feeling I have that this is going to have a Friday Night Lights Season 1 ending.

JGT: Is it all gravy at this point, or do you desperately want a Final 4 appearance?

Gregg: It’s been gravy for me since Selection Sunday. I can’t even begin to tell you how great this past week was for the school. It was La Salle’s 150-year anniversary so all of these things coincided brilliantly.

I legitimately believe they will win this thing. If they don’t, I am nothing but ecstatic and thrilled for the week they gave me. I’ll never love or think about sports in the same way again. There are so many little stories that are going on with the team that are so wonderful.

Fastball Pitcher Bob Gutierrez and Other Sports Stuff

The above video was one Steve K, Fastball Bob, and I put together recently and was featured exclusively on Zoo With Roy yesterday. If you’re a Phillies fan, I think you’ll dig it. And if you dig it, spread the word. If we get enough views, we’ll make it a recurring thing.

Here’s the latest podcast from Lee and I. We make our playoff predictions, and discuss whether or not the Chiefs made a good move by hiring Reid.

Make sure to make your playoff picks on our facebook page.

How is Andy going to do in KC? Well, if previous Eagle coaches that went to coach elsewhere are any indication, not very well. Other than Vermeil, previous Eagles coaches went 78-138 when they went to a new town. Of course, most of them were not as good as Big Red.

1929 World Series Starts Today!

Last year, I had a lot of fun carrying the 1911 World Series as if it were live. This year I’m fast forwarding a few years, to 1929, when the Mighty A’s took on the Chicago Cubs, who were trying to break a 21 game World Series drought. Analysis, interviews, and awesome photos, the goal is to cover the Series as if I had a sports blog at the time and was covering it live. If you’re a baseball fan, I assure you, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Click here to see our “sponsors”, how much tickets cost, and who the unlikely hero of Game 1 was.

And be sure to like Philly Sports History on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

A Few Thoughts on the NFL Ref Lockout

The NFL is a $9 billion dollar industry. They are locking out the refs over $3 million. To put that math in perspective, here’s a hypothetical equivalent: Let’s say you make $50,000 a year. And let’s say you hire a local teen (let’s call him Greg) to cut your grass for $14 a week for 17 weeks. And Greg does a solid job. He has a weedeater, he cares about the work he does, and you’re quite pleased with the result. But the next year he says he wants a raise. A raise to $15 a pop instead of $14. You are outraged. How could he? Who does he think he is? And so you tell him that until he returns his price to $14 a cut (or $17 a year extra out of your $50,000), you’ll find someone new.

And so you do. You hire Timmy, the kid down the street who doesn’t really know anything about grasscutting but has played some car video games and likes grass. So you hire Timmy, because hey, screw Greg. And Timmy comes over, and he almost immediately runs the grasscutter into the side of the house. He doesn’t have a weedeater, and he gets tired and takes a lot of breaks. He gets halfway finished and decides he’ll come back tomorrow. And so you come  home from your job, and you see a grasscutter in the side of the house, and a job half done, and weeds sticking up everywhere, and you think to yourself, “Well at least he didn’t burn the house down.”

Your yard is a joke. You had a nice, well-manicured lawn, and now your house looks like a backdrop on Honey Boo-Boo. Your neighbors are embarrassed and mad because you’re driving down home values. People are screaming at you to stop this madness, just pay Greg the extra $17 a year. You can certainly afford it. But you need to teach Greg a lesson. Being called a disgrace and a fraud and joke doesn’t really bother you. You only listen to one thing. And that’s money. And right now you’re thinking about using that $17 you saved to buy yourself a burger and a beer.

You are Roger Goodell. $50,000 is $9 billion. $17 is $3 million. And everyone in the country thinks that you’re a slimey, money-grubbing, soulless, braindead moron. That burger better be delicious.

Right Now in Sports

  • First off, Chip Chantry and the rest of the Bird Text fam dropped this little jewel (above) yesterday. Thought you might dig it.
  • I will be on WIP 94.1 tonight at 12:20 to discuss my column in the Philly Post.

Right Now in Sports

We’re down to the Finals of Philly’s Most Infuriating, and remarkably, they both come from WIP. It’s Eskin vs. Cataldi to see who is most infuriating. You decide! Vote, and please spread the word!

We’ve been working on a project of Philly’s Most Underrated Athletes, and the new one should cause some controversy. The much maligned Bobby Abreu checks in at #6.

Cliff Lee pitched brilliantly on Wednesday and came away with a ND. The last Phillie to throw 10-shutout innings? Lefty, of course. And the Phils lost that one 1-0 as well.

The latest podcast for Comcast where we talk NFL schedule, the Bobby Valentine disaster in Boston, and Lee takes the Robots quiz.

In case you missed it last week, I wrote a pretty interesting piece on the history of Negro League baseball in Philadelphia for Hidden City Philly.

Here’s my latest for Philly Mag: 10 Things You Don’t Know About the Current Phillies.

Phillies Facts, Baseballs Dipped in Horsecrap, and a Great Trivia Question

A lot going on in sports right now that I think you guys are gonna dig.

  • Great trivia question: Who is the only person to play for both the Phillies and the Eagles? Find out here.
  • I went on WIP on Tuesday night to talk some baseball and ended up telling a quick story about bringing Kobe Bryant into the water with dolphins. Click here and then click on the “1 a.m. hour” part of the podcast to give it a listen.

VOTE: Who is the Most Infuriating Athlete in Philly Sports History?

TO? Von Hayes? Lindros? Eskin? You decide in our first ever Philly Sports History Bracket Challenge. We’ve matched up the 64 most hated athletes, managers, and personalities in Philly history, and now you’re going to determine who advances to the next round. Here are the full brackets. You can vote for 8 first round games today by going to the Philly Sports History Bracket page. Some of our Round One matchups include McNabb vs. Gregg Jefferies, Howard Eskin vs. Lance Parrish, and Billy King vs. Ed Wade.