Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman go through rule change ideas and preview an upcoming clash of the champions on the latest Phillies Talk podcast.
• Several intriguing individual matchups
• Two ageless wonders
• Let's talk rule changes
• Expand the strike zone?
• 2 speed-up measures Jim dislikes
• Why MLB needs to extend the exclusive signing window
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One of the beautiful things about following sports is that there are certain people that are a part of your life for decades and you never actually know them. Larry Bowa is one of those people for me. I am not old enough to have seen him play. But I remember him vividly as a 3rd base coach for the Phillies, then later as the club’s manager and eventually a coach with the Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies again.
You can always count on Bowa for a passionate and thoughtful response on a baseball issue. That’s why I stood up and took notice when he told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark that the champion of this Major League Baseball season will require an asterisk next to their name in the record books because of it being shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bowa is hardly alone in sharing that view and the logic is understandable. A 60-game slate represents just over 37 percent of the standard 162-game season. As we all know, even the worst teams in baseball typically put together a fair-to-average 60-game stretch during a normal season. So, there is legitimate reason to worry that a mediocre team or two will make their way into postseason.
But it’s also fair to note that the second wild card, instituted in 2012, has already opened the door to middling teams making the postseason. Furthermore, if we truly want to hold up the value of the regular season, why even have a postseason in the first place? How many times have we seen dynamic teams like the 2011 Phillies or the 2019 Dodgers dominate from April through September only to see their season end in a week’s time because of three losses?
One could easily argue the path to the truest champion would be for each team to play the other 29 clubs home and away in 3-game series. Best record at the end of the 174 games would be the champion.
Of course, if that happened, the majority of sports fans would question how you could crown a champion without having the finality of the postseason. There would be retired player after retired player saying the true test of a team is the pressure cooker of the October tournament.
Ultimately, we all tend to assume what we have known is best and the only legitimate path. But it would be in everyone’s interest to wait and see if this season deserves an asterisk.
Perhaps Bowa will be right and this shortened campaign will not pass the eye or stink test. Then again it might just lead to three months of exhilarating tension as every game matters substantially more than in years past.
Let’s not knock it until we try it.
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In the 2007 offseason, Jimmy Rollins famously said the Phillies were the “team to beat”. Those comments became the motto that helped catapult the Phillies to five straight postseason appearances, including a 2008 World Series title. Guys like Rollins, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were a big reason for that success.
Well, the band is back together.
This time they’ll be paired together on the golf course starting Friday at the American Century Championship in Nevada. This is the first time Utley is taking part in the celebrity event. Other first timers include Chiefs quarterback and new $503 million dollar man Patrick Mahomes.
William Hill Sportsbook in Nevada has placed odds on this weekend’s festivities and the trio of former Phillies are not getting much respect. Then again, for most participants this tournament is all fun and games. Utley has odds of 300-1 ($100 wager will pay $30,000) while Victorino is listed at 1500-1 ($100 wager will pay $150,000). Rollins is part of the field at 50-1 ($100 wager will pay $5,000).
American Century Championship TV, live stream and time
Friday: First round coverage -- 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBC Sports app
Saturday: Second round coverage -- 3 p.m. ET on NBC10, NBC Sports app
Sunday: Final round coverage -- 3 p.m. ET on NBC 10, NBC Sports app
Unfortunately, Rollins, Utley and Victorino don’t stand much of a chance against opponents like former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and two-time defending champion of this event Tony Romo. Romo is an excellent NFL broadcaster and highly skilled golfer who has played in four PGA events so it’s no surprise he’s the even money favorite. He also has zero Super Bowl appearances (just stating the facts). Former Cardinals and A’s pitcher and three-time champion of the American Century Championship Mark Mulder is the second choice on the board at 13/5.
Charles Barkley is an annual participant at this weekend’s events. Sir Charles and his awkward golf swing are a long shot with odds of 7500-1. I think it’s safe to say save your money. Nonetheless, this event is always fun seeing all the celebrities having a good time on the links. Who doesn’t like Steph Curry draining 3’s into the boats docked alongside Lake Tahoe?
- Tony Romo - EVEN
- Mark Mulder - 13/5
- Mardy Fish - 15/2
- John Smoltz - 17/2
- Stephen Curry - 12/1
- Derek Lowe - 15/1
- Aaron Rodgers - 100/1
- Chase Utley - 300/1
- Patrick Mahomes - 400/1
- Roger Clemens - 500/1
- Oscar De La Hoya - 500/1
- Shane Victorino - 1500/1
- Sean Payton - 2000/1
- James Blake - 3000/1
- Field - 50/1
American Century Championship first round pairings, tee times
- 1:55 p.m. ET: Oscar De La Hoya, Michael Peña, Kira K. Dixon
- 2:05 p.m.: Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Patrick Peterson
- 2:15 p.m.: Jerome Bettis, Eddie George, Terrell Davis
- 2:25 p.m: Mardy Fish, Canelo Álvarez, James Blake
- 2:35 p.m.: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Charles Barkley
- 2:45 p.m.: Steve Young, Anthony Lynn, Mike Vrabel
- 2:55 p.m.: Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Case Keenum
- 3:05 p.m.: Stephen Curry, Dell Curry, Aaron Rodgers
- 3:15 p.m: Tony Romo, Larry Fitzgerald, Jerry Rice
- 3:25 p.m.: John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens
- 3:35 p.m.: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino
- 3:45 p.m.: Mark Mulder, Jack Wagner, Derek Lowe
- 1:50 p.m. ET: Doug Flutie, Jim McMahon
- 2:00 p.m.: Joe Don Rooney, Jay DeMarcus, Bret Baier
- 2:10 p.m.: Kyle WIlliams, AJ Hawk, Brandon McManus
- 2:20 p.m.: Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer, Marcus Allen
- 2:30 p.m.: Joe Buck, Jay Bilas, Vinny Del Negro
- 2:40 p.m.: Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Ozzie Smith
- 2:50 p.m.: Eric Weddle, Kyle Fuller, Troy Mullins
- 3:00 p.m: TIm Wakefield, Kevin Millar, Brian McCann
- 3:10 p.m.: Miles Teller, Chace Crawford, Kathryn Tappen
- 3:20 p.m.: Charles Woodson, Kyle Rudolph, DeMarcus Ware
- 3:30 p.m.: Alfonso Ribeiro, Rob Riggle, Ray Romano
- 3:40 p.m.: Larry the Cable Guy, Brian Baumgartner, John O'Hurley