Phillies

Science Finally Helps Explain Legendary 'Pickle Juice' Massacre in Dallas

Science Finally Helps Explain Legendary 'Pickle Juice' Massacre in Dallas

Sunday September 3rd, 2000 is a day most Eagles fans remember fondly. Not only because the then upstart Eagles destroyed the Dallas Cowboys 41-14, but also because it was reportedly the hottest game in NFL history and the Birds avoided cramping by downing pickle juice prior to taking the field.

A new study finally proves the amazing cramp preventing properties of the deliciously salty mixture.

But first, a refresher on that hot day from a St. Petersburg Times article written the day after the Eagles victory in 2000:

It was amazing because McNabb appeared fresh in what was
reportedly the hottest game in NFL history. The Cowboys and Eagles
played in 109-degree heat, but the Philadelphia players seemed more
energized. The players are crediting pickle juice, which trainer Rick
Burkholder recommended to combat the heat.

"I may start drinking pickle juice when I'm just sitting home
chilling," defensive end Hugh Douglas said.

Vlasic juice and Ciroc is among the former Badassador's fave club drinks.

Ray Didinger's fantastic account of that day actually says the temperatures on the field were closer to 130 degrees when Duce Staley ran for 202 yards in Texas.

As mentioned above, Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder and one of his interns came up with the idea to use the pickle juice and it worked like a charm, but nobody had any scientific evidence to back it up until now.

A study was done in an exercise laboratory at Brigham Young University -- no word on whether it was funded by Andy Reid or not -- to try and prove that pickle juice helps prevent cramps better than water. The results were published last month on the journal of the American
College of Sports Medicine's website and summarized nicely by the New York Times. They basically put college dudes on exercise bikes and made them cramp up. Pickle juice, naturally, worked wonders.

The volunteers rested and did not drink any fluids. Then their tibial
nerve was zapped again. This time, though, as soon as the toe cramps
began, each man downed about 2.5 ounces of either deionized water or
pickle juice, strained from a jar of ordinary Vlasic dills. The
reaction, for some, was rapid. Within about 85 seconds, the men drinking
pickle juice stopped cramping. But the cramps continued unabated in the
men drinking water. Pickle juice had “relieved a cramp 45 percent
faster” than drinking no fluids and about 37 percent faster than water,
concluded the authors of the study ...

So what makes pickle juice so awesome? It may be the vinegar.

Pickle juice may work, Dr. Miller says, by countermanding the
malfunction. Something in the acidic juice, perhaps even a specific
molecule of some kind, may be lighting up specialized nervous-system
receptors in the throat or stomach, he says, which, in turn, send out
nerve signals that somehow disrupt the reflex melee in the muscles. Dr.
Miller suspects that ultimately, it’s the vinegar in the pickle juice
that activates the receptors. In a recent case report by other
researchers, a single athlete’s cramping was relieved more quickly when
he drank pure vinegar (without much pleasure, I’m sure) than when he
drank pickle juice.

While the study doesn't prove any hardcore scientific facts about pickle juice, the lesson to be learned here -- besides always including a Vlasic kosher dill on your turkey sandwich -- is that eating some boardwalk french fries dipped in vinegar may also prevent cramping.

>>Didinger: Game I'll Never Forget: Pickle Juice Game [CSNPhilly]

>>Philadelphia Eagles 41 at Dallas Cowboys 14 [Box Score]

>>Eagles' juice puts Dallas in a pickle [St. Petersburg Times, Sept. 2000]

>>Phys Ed: Can Pickle Juice Stop Muscle Cramps? [NYTimes]

Has Vince Velasquez taken the lead in the Phillies' No. 5 starter derby?

Has Vince Velasquez taken the lead in the Phillies' No. 5 starter derby?

Vince Velasquez, looking to earn one more shot in the Phillies’ starting rotation, might have taken a step in that direction in an intrasquad game Tuesday night.

The right-hander was impressive in four unstructured innings of work. (We call it unstructured because he faced an extra batter in some innings to get his pitch count up.) He gave up two hits and a walk and did not allow a run. He struck out six.

Velasquez, who turned 28 in June, apparently did not just put his feet up and wait for baseball to return during the shutdown.

He spent time adding a cutter and improving his changeup. He used both pitches effectively in Tuesday night’s outing. He still has that power fastball and a breaking ball. A deeper, more consistent mix might allow him to finally unlock the tantalizing potential he has shown since arriving in the organization as part of general manager Matt Klentak’s first big trade in December 2015.

“I thought his cutter was good,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s been a good pitch for him. It’s allowed him to use both sides of the plate.”

Velasquez has had two strong outings in intrasquad action over the last week. He is battling Nick Pivetta for the final spot in the rotation. The runner-up in the competition will start the season in the bullpen.

After Tuesday night’s intrasquad game, Girardi was asked if Velasquez has moved into the lead in No. 5 starter’s derby.

“He’s looked really good his last two outings,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you can ignore what he’s doing.”

Velasquez went 7-8 with a 4.90 ERA in 33 games, 23 of which were starts, last season. Inconsistency and the inability to get into the middle innings with a reasonable pitch count led a move to the bullpen. Eventually, a need arose in the rotation and Velasquez found himself back there. That’s where he wants to stay, but time may be running out. The Phils have Spencer Howard on the way and in a short, 60-game season can’t afford to give Velasquez a long leash if he continues to be inconsistent.

It’s time to cash in on that potential.

A change in pitching coach might help Velasquez. Bryan Price believes in moving the ball up and down in the strike zone. The previous regime, trying to capitalize on Velasquez’ power, stressed pitching up in the zone.

Last week, catcher J.T. Realmuto spoke optimistically about Velasquez. Realmuto sensed that Velasquez was doing more “pitching” than “throwing.”

There is a difference.

“He worked on a new pitch during the quarantine, mixing in a cutter now, and he's using his changeup a lot more than he has in the past, so just the pitchability from him,” Realmuto said. “I was talking with Bryan Price about it. We're not going to be so one-dimensional with him. We're going to move the ball around the plate, pitch up and down, mix the changeup in, mix that cutter in. He's always had that curveball. He’s looked really good. I expect big things from him.”

We’ve heard that before about Velasquez. The clock is ticking. Maybe this is the year something clicks. The Phillies certainly won’t complain if it is.

While Velasquez is trying to win a spot in the rotation, Zack Wheeler’s spot is safe. He faced 19 hitters and did not allow a run in the intrasquad game. He is in line to start the second game of the season — family life permitting. Wheeler is due to become a dad in the next couple of weeks and that real-life event will sideline him for at least a start, maybe two. This is why guys like Velasquez, Pivetta, Cole Irvin and others are having their innings stretched out. There may be starter's innings available even after the fifth starter’s job is settled.

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Is Chris Pronger coming back to Philly for new endeavor?

Is Chris Pronger coming back to Philly for new endeavor?

He wasn’t in Philadelphia for a significant amount of time during his successful career, but Chris Pronger was widely loved by Flyers fans — and still is. 

While his career ended abruptly in the early weeks of the 2011-12 season, his time with the Flyers has always felt unfinished. 

Now, almost nine years later, could there be a possibility of Pronger joining the organization once more? 

The Hockey Hall-of-Famer posted a few clues to his Instagram account Tuesday night, implying that a “big announcement” is coming the next day. 

View this post on Instagram

Big announcement coming tomorrow! Stay tuned ...

A post shared by Chris Pronger (@thechrispronger) on

And one post wasn’t enough to contain his excitement, as he took to his Instagram story as well — now adding that it’s the “best day ever” and tagging the location as the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers. 

Many have taken to the comments section under his post, giving their guesses on possible scenarios, but Pronger isn’t budging.



On July 8, Pronger announced that he stepped down from his senior vice president of hockey operations position with the Florida Panthers. He also noted that he made this decision to focus on his and his wife Lauren’s business, Well Inspired Travels — a luxury travel company that caters to elite athletes, executives and business owners. 

So, what does this recent career decision and posts mean? We’ll just have to take Pronger’s advice and “stay tuned” until tomorrow when the announcement is made. 

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