MLB

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

The Oakland Athletics were slated to visit Philadelphia in mid-June in 2020 which, for the A's, would have been a return to the franchise's original home.

But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has Major League Baseball adjusting its 2020 schedule on the fly, so let's take some time to exploring a particularly quirky connection between Philadelphia and the Athletics' whimsical elephant mascot, Stomper.

You know, this guy:

Stomper dates all the way back to 1902, when professional baseball was still finding its footing, according to a neat little video on a slice of baseball from NBC Sports Bay Area.

It was a different time: Philadelphia had a team called the Athletics, and a man named John McGraw was managing the New York Giants. (Yes, the baseball Giants.)

McGraw, during a press conference, said he didn't think the Athletics' decision to buy up expensive star players' contracts was going to pay off, and said they would be left with "a big white elephant on their hands".

Famed Athletics owner and general manager Connie Mack laughed at McGraw's characterization, and decided to make a white elephant the Athletics' unofficial mascot. Eventually it became official, and before the Athletics and Giants faced off in the 1905 World Series, Mack presented McGraw with a white elephant statuette.

What an unreal Philly zinger.

You can watch the video from NBC Sports Bay Area below:

When the Athletics moved to Kansas City, the elephant disappeared (politics) but after the Athletics moved to Oakland, the team made the decision in the late 1980s to have the elephant make a triumphant - tri-unk-phant? - return.

I'm glad it came back, because now we have a reason to remember a sick 115-year-old burn. Connie Mack forever.

The most binge-worthy sports films to watch during a time with no sports

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Disney/Amazon

The most binge-worthy sports films to watch during a time with no sports

It hasn’t even been a week with the sports world on pause, and yet, it seems like an eternity. 

If you’re going through withdraw like many of us are, might we suggest to binge watch some of the best sports films to help pass the time and fill the void?

The list below is in no particular order, but is filled with movies that every sports fan should watch at least once in their lifetime. Hopefully the heartwarming and comedic moments throughout these can help you get through the next few weeks of a sports-less world. 

Remember the Titans 

“The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.” — IMDb

Available on Disney+

Miracle

“The true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet squad.” — IMDb



Available on Disney+ and Netflix

A League of their Own

“Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.” — IMDb

Available to stream on Prime Video

The Blind Side 

“The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.” — IMDb

Available to stream on Prime Video, YouTube and Freeform

Happy Gilmore 

“A rejected hockey player puts his skills to the golf course to save his grandmother’s house.” — IMDb

Available to stream on Prime Video, STARZ and YouTube

Friday Night Lights 

“Based on H.G. Bissinger’s book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, the Permian High Panthers.” — IMDb

Available to stream on Prime Video and YouTube

Iverson

“The ultimate legacy of NBA legend Allen Iverson, who rose from a childhood of crushing poverty to become an 11-time NBA All-Star and universally recognized icon of his sport.” — IMDb

Available on Netflix 

The Sandlot

“In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team, resulting in many adventures.” — IMDb 

Available to stream on Prime Video and YouTube

Invincible

“Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.” — IMDb

Available on Disney+

Space Jam 

"In a desperate attempt to win a basketball match and earn their freedom, the Looney Tunes seek the aid of retired basketball champion, Michael Jordan.

Available on Netflix

Moneyball 

“Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.” — IMDb

Available to stream on STARZ, Prime Video and YouTube

The Mighty Ducks 

“A self-centered Minnesota lawyer is sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team.” — IMDb

Available on Disney+ and Netflix 

Field of Dreams 

“An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come.” — IMDb

Available to stream on STARZ, Prime Video and YouTube

Like Mike 

“A 14-year-old orphan becomes an NBA superstar after trying on a pair of sneakers with the faded initials “M.J.” inside.” — IMDb

Available to stream on Prime Video and YouTube

And don’t forget — if you’re a Philadelphia sports fan, you have to squeeze in the ‘Rocky’ films at least once … aside from ‘Rocky V,’ you can skip that one. With the addition of the two ‘Creed’ films in recent years, that should cover at least a full day. 

How to use YouTube to watch Phillies games while baseball is delayed

How to use YouTube to watch Phillies games while baseball is delayed

This time of year is normally full of excitement for Phillies fans, with Opening Day just weeks away and roster battles heating up.

Instead, with spring training suspended and MLB's regular season delayed, we're waiting even longer for the Phils to grace our ballpark - and our various screens and speakers.

Luckily, the baseball community is collaborating on ways to fill the baseball-shaped void in our hearts, and a popular solution this week is watching old games in their entirety:

The internet really has just about everything, huh?

If you're stuck working from home for the next week or two, or your evenings suddenly have no meaning, you can use this YouTube solution to throw on old games, either as background noise - nothing beats baseball's ambient soundtrack - or as full-fledged entertainment.

Here's how it works, mainly:

You might have to fidget with some of the dates, but I've succesfully found specific games without too much trouble.

I picked a few places to start.

Three Phillies games with great pitching

September 12, 2010: Roy Oswalt shuts out the Mets

I always felt like Oswalt deserved more love as the Phils' fourth ace, and this was a very nice late-season gem. Four hits, just one walk, and six Ks against the Mets in New York? That's good stuff.

Oct. 6, 2010: Roy Halladay postseason no-hitter

This was always going to be here. I don't have much to say that NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury didn't already write here. Go watch the game, then go read the story. Trust me.

July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels no-hitter in his last game with Phils

The ending to Hamels' time in Philly was a bittersweet midseason departure, but this outing gave Phils fans one last look at a guy who gave this city so much of his baseball life - and a ring.

Three Phillies games with great hitting

July 6, 2009: Phils chase Cueto after 2/3 innings

This one feels so rude, a team at the height of its powers just exploding. They chased Johnny Cueto in less than an inning. Six different players had multiple hits, and four hit home runs. Unreal.

September 25, 2011: Everyone hits, and a streak is snapped

Every member of the starting lineup collects a hit - including Roy Halladay! - and the Phils run over the Mets to snap an eight-game losing streak and start a four-game winning streak heading into the playoffs.

July 25, 2012: Walk-off mania

The Phillies put together a four-game stretch in 2012 where they won three of four on walk-offs, including this two-out Jimmy Rollins single over the Brewers at home. The 2012 Phillies were weird, but this was awesome.

After you're done with these games, you can dive into hundreds more. You're going to have plenty of time.

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