R.I.P. Brindy (Image c/o Amy Irvin)
While this has been a rough year for Philadelphia sports, we here at Pattison Ave did not have to dig very deep to find things for which we are thankful. The thing is, though, I never bothered to ask anyone. Whoops! So, I’m just going to go ahead and shoot from the hip here and give thanks.
- Ron Hextall, obvs. Holy shit this guy has done a spectacular job at building a gorgeous ship in a minuscule and fragile bottle. Right now, that bottle has been corked in by Paul Holmgren’s contracts but Hexy is being patient. He’ll uncork that ship in due time and it will whoop the NHL’s collective ass.
- Shayne Gostisbehere’s shot. This scrawny 22-year old could blast a puck clear through a brick wall and that has opened up opportunities for the offense to make its mark.
- Most of the defensive aspect of this team, except for most of our defense. Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth have been stabilizing forces in net. The bottom six has been pretty damned good when healthy. Claude Giroux is the best faceoff guy in the league. Scott Laughton, Sean Couturier, so on and so forth.
- The first overall draft pick in 2016. It’s pretty sad to start off with that but that’s kind of where we are right now. It is the light at the end of the tunnel, the promise of the future.
- The last trade deadline. It was painful to look at the Phillies prospect pool but I will give Ruben Amaro Jr. and the front office credit for doing a pretty damned good job at filling up that pool in a short period of time.
- Maikel Franco. It hurt to lose Franco to injury for a good portion of the season but he picked up right where he left off when he returned to the lineup. I expect big things from him next season.
- J.P. Crawford. It still seems surreal that the Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins era is over. Crawford will help us get over that.
- That moment when it was announced that Amaro would be first base coach for the Red Sox. Good for him for taking a job that would keep him in the sport he loved but man it was kind of satisfying to see his smarmy ass taken down a peg.
- That moment when Sam Bradford cut off contract extension talks. Man did he shoot himself in the foot there. It goes well with his knee and ankle injuries, I guess.
- Jordan Hicks. Hicks’ importance to this team became painfully apparent when the Eagles lost him to injury. Philly’s future is bright with him in it.
- Fletcher Cox. Damn it’s fun to watch him play football.
- Ryan Matthews. Wouldn’t it be nice if Chip Kelly properly utilized his running backs and handed the ball off to Matthews and Darren Sproles more?
- Jahlik Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Swoon.
- I’ll write more about them in a few years. Trust my process.
- I am ridiculously thankful for the Pattison Ave family. There are a lot of dedicated, hard working people who give up free time on their days, nights and weekends as writers, editors, podcasters, photographers and more for the betterment of this site and I want them to know that effort does not go unnoticed. No matter how big or small of a part of this you believe that you are, you are an integral part of this site and it goes without saying that PA would not be the same without you.
- I am thankful that some of our writers throughout the years and various incarnations of this site have had the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things (NBC Sports, Broad Street Hockey, ECHL Assistant GM, Courier Post, etc.). We strive to make this the best site that we can but also want the best for those that are a part of it. For those who want to make some aspect of sports a part of their career, I would love nothing more than for PA to be a stepping stone that helps boost you up on your way to that goal.
- One thing that I think goes unnoticed is just how strong the sports blog and sports fan communities are in Philadelphia. There are a lot of great blogs and really smart fans out there. I am very thankful for that. It makes being a part of both the fan and blogging communities much easier during tough sports years like this one. And we are a community. No matter what the domain name, we are in it together and should not view each other as competition. Like the West Coast Rap All-Stars, we’re all in the same gang.