ESPN Spotlighting National League In Its June MLB SNB Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added three big matchups to its Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell MLB broadcast schedule for 2016.

On Sunday, June 5th the San Francisco Giants will face off against the St. Louis Cardinals.  The game will be the last of a long 10-game road stretch for the Giants and the closer in the teams’ 3-game weekend series.  Broadcast of the game is scheduled for 8pm ET.  It will be preceded, as always by ESPN’s pre-game broadcast of Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.  Currently there is no word on who will take the mound for either team or on either tea’s rotation for the night.

The second game that has been added to ESPN’s June Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is a matchup NL Central opponents Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs.  The Cubs currently lead not only the NL Central but the league overall while the Pirates are a distant second in the division and even farther back in the overall league standings.  That game, scheduled for Sunday, June 19th, will be the closer in the teams’ 3-game weekend series.  It will be preceded at 7pm ET by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet on ESPN.

The third game added to ESPN’s June Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule will see the Pirates play host to the Dodgers in yet another National League showdown on Sunday, June 26th.  Los Angeles will be well-rested coming into the game having gotten a day off after a 7-game home stand.  It will be the closer in the teams’ three-game weekend series.  And as with the previous games, will b preceded by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown on ESPN.

Dan Shulman will be in the booth for all three games.  He will be joined by analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will also be on hand for additional news and interviews throughout each game.

As an additional bonus for fans, ESPN will also carry a special double header on Sunday, June 12th that begins at 5pm with yet another NL matchup—this time between the Pirates and Cardinals.  The Giants will play host to the Dodgers at 8:30pm ET to close out the day.  Both games, and the network’s other scheduled games will be simulcast on television on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, on Radio via ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio, and online via WatchESPN.  More information on ESPN’s upcoming June MLB broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

 

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Ken Burns, PBS Hit A Home Run With New Jackie Robinson Retrospective

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Sixty-nine years ago this year Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to join the ranks of Major League Baseball.  When he first signed on with the then Brooklyn Dodgers he did more than just break down a color barrier.  He became an important catalyst for change in America.  He opened the door for countless other African-American baseball players.  He also served as an example for so many civil rights activists around the nation.  He was Rocky before there was Rocky.  He was Atlas on Earth.  In the decades since he first picked up bat and ball, no fewer than two big screen features have been crafted about him, the most recent being 2013’s 42.  Major League Baseball even stops to honor his legacy every year on what has become known as “Jackie Robinson Day.”  Any number of documentaries has been produced about him and his legacy, too.  The thing is that few have ever focused on anything more than his career on the field.  Enter documentarian Ken Burns and his new Robinson retrospective, simply titled Jackie Robinson.  The four-hour presentation is not the first on which Burns has partnered with PBS.  He has also produced documentaries on the history of baseball in America, Jazz, and perhaps his most well-known documentary, The Civil War.  This production is no less enjoyable than his previous offerings.  As a matter of fact it is more proof of why Burns is one of the leading names in his field and why PBS still stands today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  Its story is the main element in supporting both arguments.  That will be discussed shortly.  The elements that were used to help advance the story are just as important to note.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the program in its new home release round out the program’s presentation.  Each element proves clearly important in its own way to the program.  Altogether they make Jackie Robinson one of the year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s top new overall documentaries.

Ken Burns’ new documentary centering on legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s best new overall documentaries, too.  It is more proof as to why Burns is one of the leaders in his field.  In the same vein, it is also more proof as to why PBS still stands today as the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  The program’s central story proves both arguments.  Unlike so many Robinson retrospectives that have come before, this presentation focuses on more than just Robinson’s on-field impact.  Yes, that is there.  But it also focuses on Robinson’s lifeafter baseball.  That portion of the program is just as eye-opening as the rest of the presentation.  Audiences will be surprised to learn that after leaving baseball, Robinson had quite the career change.  He transitioned into the private sector, joining the coffee company Chock Full O’ Nuts.  He also became quite active in the political realm, even shocking many as a supporter of Richard Nixon.  That discussion is one of the program’s most intriguing considering Nixon’s record on civil rights.  Though, interestingly enough, it is also revealed that JFK wasn’t exactly a supporter of civil rights early on, either.  This is just a tiny portion of what makes the program’s story so enthralling.  The story of his career and impact on the field is just as in-depth as the story of his life away from the ball field.
The story of Robinson’s life off the field is in itself very enlightening.  It displays a part of Robinson’s life that is rarely if ever discussed by other documentaries.  It is just part of what makes hits program’s story so engaging.  The story of Robinson’s career and impact on the field is just as important to the story’s whole as its second half.  Most audiences know Robinson from his days as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  But as audiences learn in the first half of the documentary, his time with the Dodgers wasn’t his first professional baseball experience.  He started in the Negro League before moving on to the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ then top AAA team.  In other words, it shows that Robinson’s time in the spotlight might have started in 1947, but his impact was being made felt long before then.  William Branch Rickey’s support of Robinson is equally powerful to note.  Viewers will be interested to learn here of the close relationship between the pair.  It was more mentor/student than owner/player.  There was a reason that Rickey only let Robinson speak his mind after had had truly established himself.  He wasn’t trying to make Robinson a “good black man.”  Rather, he was helping Robinson prove himself to the country.  Because of that, Robinson did indeed change people’s views, essentially—again—making himself Rocky decades before there was Rocky.  Both the story of Robinson’s life and career on the field and off are important in their own right to the story of Jackie Robinson.  Collectively, they show the program’s central story is key to the program’s presentation.  They are only a portion of what makes the story in whole so engaging.  The elements that were used to tell the story are just as important to note in the story’s success.

The story at the heart of Ken Burns’ new Jackie Robinson documentary in itself shows why it is a wholly engaging piece for history buffs and baseball history buffs alike.  That is because it presents not just Robinson’s career and impact on the field, but off of the field, too.  As engaging as the story is in itself, the elements that were used to help tell Robinson’s story are just as important to note as his story.  The elements in question involve vintage footage from Robinson’s playing days and his post-baseball life and photos that are just as old.  Most important to note are the interviews that are used to help illustrate Robinson’s story.  Burns interviewed a number of academics and sports writers to help make clear the importance of Robinson’s accomplishments and other things that he did both on and off the field.  He also interviewed a number of Robinson’s former teammates, his widow, and his daughter in connection with the story.  The first-hand accounts that are shared by all involved make even richer the profile of Robinson painted by the story.  They make Robinson even more of a sympathetic figure.  That is because they collectively show the odds that he faced not just from whites but eventually even other African-Americans.  That included not only his fellow ball players but fans and other members of the African-American community.  Despite people’s view of him he still stood his ground and stood for what he believed in.  Hearing those stories from those that knew him best serves to make the overall picture painted in this program all the richer and more valuable both for history buffs and baseball history buffs.  It’s just one more way in which Jackie Robinson proves itself to be one of the year’s best new sports documentaries and best new documentaries overall.  It still is not the last way in which this presentation proves itself so entertaining and engaging.  The bonus material that is included in the program is just as valuable to the program as its story and the elements that advance the story.

The story at the center of Jackie Robinson and the elements used to advance the story are both important in their own right to the whole of this documentary.  While both are equally important in keeping audiences engaged and entertained, they are not the program’s only important elements.  Now that Jackie Robinson is available on DVD and Blu-ray it also includes a small handful of bonus features.  Audiences get a glimpse into an inner city baseball team known as The Anderson Monarchs in one of those features.  The team is made up largely of African American youths.  The team members discuss the relation of the team’s name to Robinson’s own history.  One of the team’s members—Mon’e Davis—will be very familiar to many viewers.  She discusses being the only female on the team and how that related to Robinson being the only African-American on his team originally.  This is just one of the bonuses included in Jackie Robinson’s home release.  There are also some little outtakes to enjoy and the most important of the program’s bonuses, “A conversation with the filmmakers.”  This program features discussions with Ken Burns and others who worked on Jackie Robinson.  Burns and company share their thoughts on the importance of making this documentary in this feature as well as what Robinson’s accomplishments mean to them personally.  Most notable of the comments shared throughout this feature is the sentiment that Robinson’s widow and daughter had to be included in the presentation.  Every person interviewed noted that it would be wrong to not include her.  Looking back on the program audiences will find themselves agreeing with that sentiment.  She shares some of the deepest insight of anyone interviewed for the end product.  All in all the discussions that are shared in the “conversation with the filmmakers” offer just as much insight and interest to Jackie Robinson as its central story and the elements that advance and illustrate that story.  All things considered, the documentary proves in the end to be more proof of why Ken Burns is one of the leaders in his field.  They also serve to make this documentary more proof of why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.

Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s best new documentaries overall.  It shows once again why Ken Burns is one of the leading names in his field and why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  That is because it paints a picture through its story that far outshines the biopics and other documentaries centered on his life and career.  The elements that are used to illustrate and advance the story help solidify that argument, too.  They include first-hand interviews with those closest to Robinson during his life and those that have quite a deep knowledge of him.  The bonus material that has been included in the program’s home release rounds out the program’s overall presentation.  It shows in its own way to be just as important as the program’s story and related elements.  By itself, each element proves to be hugely important to Jackie Robinson’s presentation.  Altogether they show why every history buff and sports history buff should see this most in-depth Robinson retrospective to date.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=jackie%20robinson&origkw=jackie+robinson&sr=1.  More on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBS

 

 

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Cubs, Pirates Face Off In Key NL Central Matchup Tonight On MNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Pittsburgh Pirates took 2 of 3 against the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, winning 4 – 1 and 5 – 1 Friday and Saturday respectively.  But the Reds got a bit of revenge Sunday night, taking the last of the teams’ 3-game series 6 – 5 in extra innings.  Now after that tough loss the Pirates look to regroup as they are set to face yet another NL Central foe this week in the form of the Chicago Cubs.  The teams face off this week in a 3-game series that begins tonight.  And ESPN will have full coverage of the series’ opener in this week’s edition of Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA.

Tonight’s game (and the series in whole) will have major implications for both teams even this early in the season.  That is because there’s more than just NL pride on the line.  The team’s cross city rivals, the White Sox, currently sit at 18 – 8 on the season so far.  The Cubs on the other hand are 17 – 6 so far on the season.  In the NL ranks, the Cubs are currently trying to hold off the second place Washington Nationals (17 – 7).  A win tonight (and wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Cubs pad their lead over the Nats.  It would also help the Cubs in their rivalry with the White Sox.  On the other side of the ball, a win in tonight’s series opener (combined with wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Pirates as they battle with the Phillies and the Cubs for position.

Gerrit Cole is currently expected to start for the Pirates tonight.  He is 2- 2 so far on the season.  His last time on the mound was six days ago on April 26th against Colorado.  The Pirates routed the Rockies in that game 9 – 4 with Cole pitching six innings.  Cole didn’t have the greatest game, allowing 4 runs and 2 earned runs on 8 hits, and 1 home run.  He walked 2 and struck out 3.  This was all against 27 total batters.  Thanks to good fielding on Pittsburgh’s side and just as many problems for Colorado’s bullpen, the Pirates were able to pull off the win.

Starting for the Cubs tonight will be Jason Hammel.  Hammel is currently 3 – 0 on the season.  He has had plenty of time to rest and prepare for tonight’s game.  That’s because his last time on the mound was seven days ago against the Reds.  The Cubs blanked the Reds in that game 9 – 0.  Hammel was credited with the win having pitched 6 innings.  He was in top form in the game, too, allowing 0 runs on only 3 hits.  He walked only 2 of the 23 batters that he faced and struck out 7 while allowing 0 home runs and 0 earned runs.  Red pitcher Alfredo Simon meanwhile struggled mightily in the game, pitching only 2.2 innings before being pulled.  In that short time, he allowed 8 runs, 8 earned runs, and 2 home runs on 10 hits.  He walked only 1 of the 18 batters that he faced and struck out only 3.  So needless to say that Hammel will be on his A-game tonight.

Adding to the interest for tonight’s game (and this week’s series) is that while Pittsburgh and Chicago are evenly matched in their home records—Pittsburgh is 7 – 4 at home so far this season to Chicago’s 7 – 3—the visiting Cubs are 10 – 3 on the road so far to Pittsburgh’s 8 – 6 road record.  Chicago is 7 – 3 in its last 10 games while Pittsburgh is 8 – 2 in its last 10.  So when all of the numbers are added up, they show tonight’s game to be full of fireworks for both sides.  The same can be said of Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, too.

Dave Flemming will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by analysts Dallas Braden and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.  ESPN Deportes will simulcast the game for the network’s Spanish-speaking audiences.  More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yanks, BoSox Close Out Weekend Series Tonight On SNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Yankees and Red Sox go under the lights live on ESPN once again tonight as they wrap their latest series.

The Red Sox look to finish off the Yankees tonight as they close out their latest series against their long-time rivals live on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.  The Red Sox already already took the first two games in the teams’ weekend series 4 – 2, 8 – 0 Friday and Saturday respectively.  Nathan Eovaldi is expected to get the start for the Yankees tonight.  Eovaldi’s last time on the mound was April 25th against the Rangers.  He was impressive in that game, facing 24 batters and striking out 6 over the course of 7.2 innings.  He also kept the Rangers’ bats relatively quiet over that time, allowing only 2 hits but not one run, no home runs, and only 2 walks.

On the other side of the ball David Price is expected to take the mound for the Red Sox.  Price has been perfect for Boston so far this season going 3 – 0 in his starts so far.  His last time on the mound was April 26th against Atlanta.  Price struck out 14 of 33 batters over 8 innings allowing only 2 runs and 2 earned runs on 6 hits.  He walked only 2 of those 33 batters and kept the ball well inside the park, allowing 0 home runs.

Dan Shulman will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will be on the field with all of the latest in-game news, interviews and more throughout the game.  The game will be simulcast live on ESPN Deportes for ESPN and the MLB’s Spanish-speaking audiences.  And those that won’t be near a TV during the game can also still catch it live as it will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio and online via WatchESPN.

Before the first pitch is thrown, Karl Ravech, Dallas Braden, and Tim Kurkjian will preview the night’s game while analyzing the weekend’s previous games live on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown.  The trio will be live on site in Boston with all of the latest on tonight’s game and a recap of the weekend’s games.  Broadcast begins at 7pm ET on ESPN.

More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

 

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Yankees, Rangers Close Out 3-Game Series Tonight On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s MLB broadcast schedule for this week has official been released.  And it’s going to be another busy one.  It all begins tonight on ESPN and ESPN Deportes with an American League showdown between two teams that are struggling to get some footing right now early in the season.

Tonight on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tire the Texas play host to the New York Yankees live at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.  The game is the rubber match in the teams’ three-game series, which began Monday.  The Yankees took Game 1 3 – 1.  But the Rangers didn’t stay down after that loss.  They stormed back Tuesday night, routing the Yankees 10 – 1.  CC Sabathia is expected to start for the “Pinstripers” in tonight’s game.  He is currently 1 – 1 so far on the season with his last start being on April 16th against Seattle.  Sabathia took the loss in that game.  He pitched a little more than four innings in the game, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 earned runs.  He struck out five of the 22 batters that he faced in that time, though walking only 1 batter and allowing only 1 home run.  The rest of the Yankees’ dugout picked up the slack, keeping the Mariners’ bats relatively silent, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 8 total batters.  Along the way they allowed no walks, home runs, earned runs, or runs.

Martin Perez will get the start for the Rangers in tonight’s game.  Perez has struggled just as much as Sabathia this season, going winless in two starts.  His last time on the mound was last Friday, April 22nd against the Chicago White Sox.  Perez pitched 5.2 innings in the game, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits, and 5 earned runs.  He walked two and struck out just as many.  To the positive, of the 24 batters that he faced in the game, he prevented any of them from knocking one out of the park.  Needless to say he will be looking to bounce back just as much as Sabathia when New York and Texas round out their series.

In the bigger picture, both teams will have plenty more to play for tonight than just the series win.  The Yankees sit at the bottom of the AL East standing at 8 – 11.  On the other hand, Texas is 11- 10 so far on the season, only one game over .500.  The Rangers are 7 – 4 at home so far this season while the Yankees are 3 – 4 on the road.  New York is 4 – 6 in its last 10 games while Texas is 5 – 5.  So the odds would seem to be more in the Rangers’ favor for tonight’s game.

Jon Sciambi will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.  The game will be blacked out in the New York market.  Coverage of the game is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET on ESPN.  Ahead of tonight’s broadcast, Karl Ravech, Alex Cora, and Jim Bowden will preview the game at 7pm ET on Baseball Tonight.  More information on tonight’s game is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bbtn

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Orioles Look To Stay Perfect Tonight Against Boston On ESPN’s WNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Baltimore Orioles are off to a hot start in the 2016 MLB regular season.  The team currently sits at a perfect 7 – 0 so far on the season, leaving the team the only undefeated team so far on the season.  It also means that the team currently sits atop the league standings.  Tonight the “Orange Birds” look to keep their success going when they wrap up a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.  The game will be carried live tonight on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tire.

The Orioles and Red Sox face off tonight on ESPN in the last of a three-game series.  The game Joe Kelly is expected to get the start for the BoSox in tonight’s game.  It will be Kelly’s second start of the season.  His first start of the season was on April 8th.  And it was a rather inauspicious start for the right hander.  He pitched three whole innings before being pulled in the fourth, having allowed 7 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, and 3 walks, and striking out only four of the twenty batters that he faced over that time.  A base-clearing grand slam by Josh Donaldson in the fourth ended Kelly’s night.  Ubaldo Jimenez is expected to get the start for Baltimore in tonight’s game.  His last time on the mound was April 7th against Minnesota.  He was credited with the win in the game having allowed only 2 runs on 8 hits, and striking out nine of twenty-eight batters over seven innings.  He allowed only 1 earned run in that time, too.

Broadcast of tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7pm ET.  It will be live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes+.  Jon Sciambi will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville for additional commentary.  Before the first pitch is thrown, Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Eduardo Perez, and Tim Kurkjian will have a preview of the game on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight on ESPN2 beginning at 6:30pm ET.  Anyone that won’t be near a TV for tonight’s game can still catch the game online on WatchESPN.  More information on tonight’s game and all of ESPN’s scheduled games is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Adds NL, AL Matchups To Its MNB, WNB Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added two more games to its Major League Baseball broadcast schedule.

On Monday, April 18th, the Cubs and Cardinals will face off live on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA.  The game is the series-opener in a three-game set between the NL Central opponents.  The game will also mark the midway point of what will be a six-game home stand for the team.   No announcement has been made at this time in regards to starting lineups or pitching rotations for either team in the game.  The other three games in that run will see the Cardinals host another NL Central opponent, the Cincinnati Reds.  Currently the Reds sit second in the division just behind the Cubs.  Dave Flemming will be in the booth for the game.  He will be joined by analysts Curt Schilling and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.

Also added to the network’s MLB coverage, the defending MLB champion Kansas City Royals will host the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, April 20th on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tires.  Currently the Royals sit fourth in the AL Central, one game back from the division-leading Tigers.  The White Sox and Indians currently sit in second and third respectively in the division.  The game will be the second in a three-game set between those two teams.  Coverage is expected to begin at 7pm ET on ESPN.  Jon Sciambi will be in the booth for the game.  Analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Eduardo Perez will also be on hand for additional commentary.  As an additional note, this game will be a full national telecast.

Both the NL Central matchup on the 18th and the AL Central game set for the 20th will be simulcast on television on ESPN Deportes and online via WatchESPN.  More information on both of these games is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.comphilspicks and “Like” it.