When news broke Tuesday that prized free agent Manny Machado would be suiting up for the San Diego Padres this season, Villanova men’s basketball coach and lifelong Phillies fan Jay Wright was on hold ahead of an interview on Jim Rome’s syndicated sports radio show.
Wright, who spent Tuesday morning with his staff preparing for 'Nova’s Wednesday game against Georgetown (airing on FS1 at 6:30 p.m.), hadn’t heard the news until Rome announced on his show that “everyone in San Diego is happy” minutes before his segment with Wright.
“Who did the Padres just sign?” Wright asked.
“Manny Machado,” Rome replied.
“No! The Phillies don’t get him? I’m dying!” a disappointed Wright responded, later telling Rome he thought the team was going to land both Machado and Bryce Harper.
“You’ll get over it, Jay. You always bounce back fast,” Rome said before shifting the discussion back to basketball.
During another interview on Tuesday on 97.5 The Fanatic, Wright, who spent several years early in his career as an assistant coach for Rollie Massimino at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said he followed Harper’s rise during high school and the College of Southern Nevada and would love to see the slugger end up with the Phillies.
“Maybe not getting Manny means we get [Harper],” Wright said.
Eagles host and team reporter Molly Sullivan wants to test the notion that sports and politics don’t mix.
Sullivan, who has a bit of idle time on her hands thanks to the NFL offseason, has teamed up with lawyer and conservative media pundit Erin Elmore to launch a new podcast called the Political Postgame Podcast that promises to jump headfirst into an area of sports most commentators happily choose to avoid.
Sports have a long history of being linked to social activism, from Muhammad Ali’s criticism of the Vietnam War to Colin Kaepernick’s protests against racial injustice. Of course, President Donald Trump ratcheted things up over the past two seasons by railing against players who chose to follow Kaepernick’s lead in protesting racism and police brutality during the national anthem, going so far as to disinvite the Eagles from celebrating their Super Bowl victory last year at the White House.
According to Sullivan, who has a very public role with the Eagles, the decision to go down this potentially controversial road with Elmore was a spur-of-the-moment idea the two came up with after taking a SoulCycle class together.
“Erin represents the political angle and I will bring the sports,” Sullivan said. “The catch is we don’t really know each other yet so listeners will be on this journey with us from the beginning.”
The duo recorded their first podcast yesterday, with WIP host John Blanchard acting as executive producer. The episode is expected to drop today on iTunes, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.
• Speaking of podcasts, our Phillies team — Matt Breen, Bob Brookover and Scott Lauber — discuss what Machado’s decision means for Harper during the debut of our new Extra Innings podcast. On the Sixers front, my colleague Keith Pompey and special guest T. Will break down the hype surrounding the team in the latest Locked on Sixers podcast.
• Jessica Camerato, who covered the Sixers for NBC Sports Philadelphia for two and a half years before being shown the door last July, will be returning to Boston to cover the Red Sox for MLB.com. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Camerato covered the Red Sox and other Boston teams for WEEI, Comcast SportsNet New England, and Boston.com.
• New York Times writer James Wagner recently profiled Sean Forman, a former professor at St. Joseph’s University who runs the highly popular family of Sports Reference websites along with 11 full-time employees out of Summit Presbyterian Church in Mt. Airy.
• Television ratings on FOX for Sunday’s Daytona 500 were ... not great, finishing with a record low of just 9.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen. It’s an astounding drop since its peak in the mid-2000s, when the event drew ratings that rivaled the NBA Finals and challenged the World Series. As For the Win’s Michelle Martinelli points out, NASCAR has a big problem, and drivers aren’t sure how to fix it.