Jul. 29—Most nights, John Middleton, the billionaire owner of the Phillies, walks among everyday fans, introducing himself simply — “Hi, I’m John.”
He’ll take selfies, upgrade seats, and even order food for fans. It reminds him of days spent sitting in the grandstand at Connie Mack Stadium or the upper deck at Veterans Stadium, and it’s all part of his quest for him to remain authentic.
“I was out there on Saturday when it was 97 degrees,” he said. “I’m in 303. The right-field bleachers, for God’s sake. We had sun on us until like 7:30 at night. I had to take a shower when I got home. But you have to be there because my fans are there. How can my customers be there but not me? What does that look like?”
— Maria McIlwain, Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dissecting Castellanos’ struggles
As the Phillies (and their fans) try to figure out what has gone wrong with Nick Castellanos during his first season in Philly, who better to ask than the coach who knows him best? Matt Martin has worked with Castellanos for seven years as his personal hitting coach, helping to build the right-hand swing that produced the sixth-most extra-base hits in the majors from 2016 through last season. Martin says Castellanos thinks he’s letting everyone down, from the owner on down to the fans. And that has made things even worse.
As the series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates began, interim manager Rob Thomson had a simple message for his team. With 12 sub-.500 teams left on the schedule, it’s imperative for the Phillies to “step on the gas pedal” against teams like the Pirates if they want to end that postseason drought.
Heading into the ninth, it didn’t seem like Seranthony Domínguez would be needed. But he ended up saving the day and preserving the win against the Pirates.
Next: The Phillies continue their series against the Pirates at 7:05 pm Friday (NBC10). Bailey Falter (0-3, 5.18) will be opposed by Pirates left-hander José Quintana (3-5, 3.70).
less is more
Tough, sweaty practices are the name of the game when it comes to training camp. But Nick Sirianni and the Eagles are taking a balanced approach to work and rest, and it’s popular with the veterans.
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco had a lot to say about the College Football Playoff, conference realignment, and even the FBS breaking away from the NCAA.
Meanwhile, Villanova was picked by coaches and media to win the Colonial Athletic Association despite having to replace several key players on defense and its starting quarterback.
Keen on Leon
Leon Flach is definitely the guy the Union counts on to stop attacks, since the midfielder’s defensive instincts are sound and effective. Yet Flach also has been working to provide his worth to the Union’s offensive efforts.
He’ll get the chance against the Houston Dynamo, since a suspension for José Andrés Martínez means another start for Flach.
Next: Union vs. Houston, Subaru Park, Chester (7:30 p.m., PHL17)
Worth a look
Eyes on them: DeChambeau, Johnson can’t escape politics after playing LIV round with Trump, David Murphy writes.
Partnering up: The Inquirer’s Mike Sielski is joining 94.1 WIP host Glen Macnow on Saturdays.
Under pressure: Archbishop Wood’s Deja Evans, an Albany commit, thrives in the spotlight.
What you’re saying about which new Eagle will be most impactful:
Hassan [Reddick] will likely be the most dramatic impact we will see from any of the new players but I do think that the most surprising player that will be impacting games will eventually (but quickly) be Nakobe Dean. Very little pressure on opposing QB’s last year but I really think things will be different with these guys. We may not be headed to the superbowl this year (and wish everyone would calm down about that as the other teams have great players too), but we will be a formidable opponent each week and that’s all we should be able to ask for. We typically only get to hear from the unreasonable fans since they are the loudest but I think (or at least hope) that there are other fans like me out there.
I want Howie to do the best job possible in the off season to make us better — He Did that!
I want dedicated players who care, work their ass off and NEED to win — I think we have that!
I want a dynamic coach not driven solely by EGO who is also very capable — It at least looks like we have that!
I want a QB (doesn’t have to be top 10 of 32 by the way) that is driven and dependable and can WIN with a real good team around him — Let’s see if we have that!
Anything else is gravy.. I’m 73 now and Eagles fan since 1970 (when I arrived from NY Jet’s territory)
(as I type this email) — The wall behind my computer was empty until early 2018 when I tossed all my Eagle skeleton “waiting” shirts away..
I’m good — Love to see another though…
Love your work guys — Inquirer is the first thing I get to every morning in retirement! Thank you ….. — George M.
There’s no question in my mind. All seem to have focused on the offense but my take is their first round draft choice Jordan Davis will be the difference maker. He’s big enough and strong enough to plug the middle, draw double teams and when that happens, it should finally allow Fletcher Cox to do what he’s supposed to have been doing since signing that huge contract 2 years ago! When Davis is not double teamed we may mistake him for a player in our opponent’s backfield because that’s where he will wind up if he’s one on one. Jordan Davis for MVP! — Steven S.
All the new defensive players and the draft picks — Steve T.
[A.J.] Brown—Mark R.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Scott Lauber, Alex Coffey, Matt Breen, EJ Smith, Marc Narducci, Isabella DiAmore, Jonathan Tannenwald, David Murphy, Rob Tornoe, and Joey Piatt.
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