The Phanatic, Mike Trout and a Philly Dilemma For the Ages

The Phanatic, Mike Trout and a Philly Dilemma For the Ages

Last Thursday morning, the WIP Morning Show featured one of those deep, philosophical discussions that's long been synonymous with that show. Angelo asked the question that has dominated the sports discussion in Philadelphia, at the ballpark and at Memorial Day barbecues:

Would you trade the Phillie Phanatic for Mike Trout?

These are the questions that try men's souls. Obviously, we all want Trout. He's a 22-year-old outfielder who can do it all, on offense and defense. And even better, he's a hometown guy, who grew up in South Jersey, a mere 40 miles away from Citizen's Bank Park. Unfortunately, he's signed with the Angels until 2020, so we can't have him until then.

Unless, that is…. we surrender the big green guy.

Would you do it? Tempting as it is… I wouldn't. The Phanatic has two World Series rings, two more than Trout (and indeed, more than any Phillies player ever.) His contract is much more favorable. In all, the Phanatic is more indispensable than any player. Who's going to be the mascot in his place? Swoop? Phil E. Moose?

And worst of all, would you like to be the guy who has to tell the Phanatic he's going to Anaheim? I know I wouldn't.

In a trade for Trout, I'm willing to give up Ben Revere, John Mayberry, and possibly even Cody Asche. But not the Phanatic. No way.

*

I know it's not entirely on him, but I can't help but vent my disappointment at Sam Hinkie, as the Sixers were only able to come up with the #3 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Clearly, they should have tanked more, or at least tanked smarter. Even worse, Hinkie once again refused to answer questions from the media after the lottery. Why can't Hinkie tell us, right now, who he's planning to draft? I think we're entitled as fans to that information.

You know why we got #3? Because the Sixers sent Dr. J, and not Allen Iverson, to represent them. The last time the Sixers got the #1 pick? It was Iverson. Plus, the after-party would have been way more fun.

I'm not sure who the Sixers will draft, but I think it's up to us fans to help them make their choice. So some of us- 30 or so- should get a bus up to New York, go to the draft, and sort of nudge the Sixers in the right direction. I see no downside to doing this.

Anyway, Charles Barkley said this week that he plans to retire from TV in two years and wants to be a GM. Do the right thing, Sixers- fire Hinkie, hire Barkley. Because at least you know he'll talk to the media.

*

You know, now that I've thought about it, maybe we should try the Halladay/Lee thing: Trade the Phanatic for Trout and then, a year from now, re-sign the Phanatic as a free agent for six years and $126 million, and hope his elbow holds up. All right, sounds like a plan.

*

Jon Stewart last week became the latest member of the national media to commit an anti-Philadelphia hate crime, making fun of our fans, cheesesteaks and (yes) even the Phanatic on his show.

I'd like to hear Stewart make those jokes while standing at the 50-yard line of the Linc during an Eagles game. Not so tough now, huh Jon?

Speaking of late night TV, The Tonight Show recently aired a segment in which Yankee fans were told to boo a life-sized cutout of ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, until the real Cano came out, and they all immediately back-tracked and hugged him. Please. Try that bit in Philly, with, oh, Bryzgalov or Andrew Bynum, and we'll keep right on booing the guy to his face.

*

Okay, hypothetically, if we do this Trout/Phanatic deal- will the Angels take Papelbon's contract too?

*

Also on the subject of vicious national media attacks on Philadelphia and its teams- can you believe the Sporting News named Ruben Amaro the worst general manager in baseball? Shame on them- calling him out as the worst general manager in baseball is OUR job.

*

Okay, fine. Trade the Phanatic for Trout. I'll bite the bullet. Now, if we can just convince the Angels to trade the best player in the game for another team's mascot…

Other Philly sports takes:

- I was excited to hear the Phillies are planning to move Cody Asche to the outfield in 2015. Nobody likes to switch around players' positions, but if you're dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Asche, you've just got to find a way to keep his bat in the lineup.

- The Phillies are missing on-field intensity and killer instinct. That's what they get, for failing to invite Mitch Williams as a spring training instructor.

- I can't believe the Mets, in 2014, signed Bobby Abreu. How stupid can a team be?

- Connor Barwin of the Eagles said on the morning show a few weeks ago that he'll soon host an indie rock concert, to be attended by several of his teammates. If I were them I'd tell Riley Cooper the wrong night.

- It's hard to believe the Phils got no-hit, with Cesar Hernandez and Ben Revere in the lineup. Besides the no-hitter, the mysterious Cliff Lee injury, and the general, ever-present air of doom and gloom present every day at the ballpark, I'm actually feeling not so bad about this Phillies season.

Follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

plain-peacock-logo.png

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Increased enjoyment of playing at root of Nelson Agholor's turnaround season

usa-nelson-agholor.jpg
USA Today Images

Increased enjoyment of playing at root of Nelson Agholor's turnaround season

Don't talk to Nelson Agholor about his stats. Don't even try.

He doesn't want to hear about it.

Here we are in Week 7, and Agholor needs 45 yards Monday night against the Redskins for a career receiving high. For a full season.

His four touchdowns are already more than his combined career total of three from his first two years. His 16.1 yards per catch is 10th-best in the NFL and light years above his career high of 11.0 coming into the season.

Impressed?

“Not really," Agholor said. "I just look at how much fun I’m having and team success, and that’s the best part about this situation.

"If somebody came in and told me all my numbers and statistics, all that type of stuff? The best part of it is we’re winning a lot of football games right now and we’re having a whole lot of fun doing it."

Six games into the season, Agholor has 20 catches for 321 yards.

Compare that with the last seven weeks of last year, when a disappointing career turned into a disaster and he caught just 11 catches for just 108 yards.

Agholor just shrugs.

“That’s a great thing," he said. "I’m having so much more fun this year, so that’s the best part. I’m having more fun than my first two years in the league.

"They go hand in hand. The more fun you have, because winning is fun, making plays is fun, but there’s just a feeling about stepping on the field and enjoying the moment and enjoying the opportunity."

In his first two years, Agholor's best games went for 57, 62 and 64 yards. Already this year, he's had games with 55, 58, 86 and 93 yards.

So in just six weeks, he's produced four of his seven-best games as a pro.

We heard about it all spring, and we heard about it all summer, and Agholor has backed up all the talk about becoming a different guy with production.

He really has become a different guy.

Head coach Doug Pederson noticed it the first day of OTAs.

"Part of my message to him, specifically to Nelson, after the season, was just get away," Pederson said. "Get away, clear your mind, clear everything, and when he came back in the spring for OTAs, he was a changed football player. He was a changed person. His confidence level was higher. 

"I would say it wasn't like through the roof as it is now, but it was beginning to build at that point of the spring, and each day that he got a little more comfortable in his new role of playing in the slot helped that. And I think, too, the addition of Torrey (Smith) and Alshon (Jeffery) on the perimeter also took a little of the pressure off of him and diverted it to all three of them."

The move to the slot gave Agholor ownership of a specific position and created matchup problems for defenses that just don't have the speed to cover Jeffery and Smith outside and Agholor inside.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to just run different routes and give a different look," Agholor said. "I like playing outside, inside, wherever. I just like being a guy that you can get the football to, so I want to know as much as I can in terms of the route tree to help myself be a better football player, and Doug decided this was a great place for me to get those targets, and I’m very appreciative."

This time last year, Wentz wasn't even looking Agholor's way. Now, other than tight end Zach Ertz, he's become his favorite receiver.

"A guy like that, I’m just so happy for him," Carson Wentz said. "He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever been around. And so to see him kind of take that step? And really the biggest thing I think we’ve all seen is just his confidence is just through the roof, and that’s really been exciting for him, exciting for this team, exciting for this whole city."

One of the biggest differences in Agholor this year is his ability to make plays after the catch.

With his new-found confidence, he actually looks faster. Through six games, Agholor has 143 yards after the catch, or 7.2 yards per reception. He had 113 YACs all last year, just 3.1 yards per catch.

“It’s a want-to thing," he said. "First is securing the catch and then just the want-to after that.

"I’ve just been in position. Been in position to catch the ball and then grass in front of me and making plays. I just hope to be in position or often."

Here we are six games into the season, and Agholor and not Jeffery or Smith leads all Eagles wide receivers in yards so far this year.

And Agholor and Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs are the only NFL receivers with more than one 50-yard touchdown catch. Agholor had a 58-yarder on opening day against the Redskins and a 72-yarder against the Cards.

None of this surprises Agholor.
 
"I expected to keep on trusting the process and keep on getting better each day and then letting opportunity meet preparation," Agholor said. "And for me, I think like I have a lot more to do and I want to keep on getting better as a football player."