Random thoughts on a sweltering May afternoon, while saluting those who served our country:
I’ve seen the future, and it’s named Aaron Nola. I drove 70 minutes to Reading last week to place eyeballs on the Phils’ 2014 first-round pick. The kid pitched seven scoreless, allowing just four singles. More importantly, he threw strikes, changed speeds (from 93 to 76) and strutted like he owned the joint. It says here he’ll be up by July and winning 14-16 a year by 2017.
Special question for the blindly loyal Sons of Sam Hinkie fan club: What, exactly, did your Supreme Leader garner in return for Michael Carter Williams? While you danced around last week chanting the, “1-5-11” mantra, you failed to realize that the deferred Lakers pick will likely fall no better than, say, 15th next season. That’s an unworthy return for MCW, even if he was a flawed rookie of the year.
The best TV you’re probably not watching: Broadchurch and Top of the Lake, two binge-worthy BBC detective dramas that will keep you guessing through their final episodes. Both available on Netflix.
Notice how the local TV ratings for post-season NBA and NHL matchups fall lower here than other big cities? It’s not that Philadelphians are less-avid fans. It’s that we’re weary of watching a great party from the outside window. The Flyers and Sixers have each made the finals just once this century – both losing. So, you’ll pardon us if our hearts aren’t into celebrating as LeBron smooches the Larry O’Brien Trophy one more time.
I’m generally a straight beer guy – no lambics, no chocolate-peanut-butter beer. But next time you’re at a good bar, order yourself a Michelada, which is a beer cocktail made with lime juice and hot sauce. You’ll be toasting me by the second round.
Player to watch at Eagles minicamp this week: Eric Rowe. He might settle in at safety, but Chip Kelly wants to first give him a go at cornerback. If Rowe can excel, and start alongside Byron Maxwell, the Birds will have their first solid pairing at corner since Lito and Sheldon.
Back to the future: I made a list last week of the top players in each sport who are currently 25-years-old and younger. Top of the list: Anthony Davis, Mike Trout, Andrew Luck, Steven Stamkos. I went five deep in each league – no one from Philly. Went 10 deep – still, nothing. So, I went 15 deep – hello Nerlens Noel, Fletcher Cox and Jakub Voracek. The point is, if we’re banking on the future, it better come in the form of Nola, Joel Embiid, Maikel Franco, Nelson Agholor and whatever Hinkie might have up his sleeve. All of those guys, to some degree, are unknowns right now.