Chase Utley is one of the greatest players in Philadelphia Phillies history, yet suddenly, with a season going nowhere and an aging roster in need of a serious reboot, Utley has become one of the most polarizing players as well.

The summer is slipping away in Philadelphia, and there are months to go before a meaningful football game will be played. There is only so much talk of the offseason moves by the Flyers and Sixers that Philly sports fans can take. The Phillies, and all their warts, dominate the airwaves.

The hot topic has shifted from "buy or sell" to "who can we sell," with Utley being one of the top names—and hottest debates—on the list.

The Phillies have been the alpha dog in town since winning the World Series in 2008, mostly because the fans believed the baseball team had the best chance to bring another title to a city that has hosted just one parade in the last 30 years. People in Philly will never forget that parade, in part because it meant so much to the town and in part because of Chase Utley's epic "world f*cking champions" speech on the dais.


The victory for Brazil in the Confederations Cup, dominating Spain 3-0 in the tournament finale, felt like a throwback to a previous generation in the footballing nation's illustrious history. 

Not only did Brazil win a (relatively) major trophy, but the Samba Kings did it with panache, decimating a stalwart Spanish side and sending a message to the rest of the world that Brazil plans to do more than just host the 2014 World Cup.

It intends to win it. And that's where Neymar comes in.


The Brazilian Rebirth


Ask an NFL fan which was the bigger news on Wednesday: that Aaron Hernandez was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder or that the New England Patriots cut him. 

I'm not trying to be glib; that's a serious question. The NFL, despite a litany of arrests and growing off-field issues from its players every year, continues to trend upward when it comes to its growth and popularity in this country.

And despite being sued by a number of its own players for unsafe regulations that have ruined—or, as research is suggesting, in some extreme cases ended—former players' lives, the NFL continues to grow with every turn. 

It's long been my contention that an NFL player could sustain a hit that would kill him right on the field, and fans—horrified as they may be in the moment—would still come back to watch. The NFL would still roll along, getting bigger and bigger.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

For a player who has never needed to apologize for her dominance on the tennis court, Serena Williams certainly seems to be apologizing for her mouth a lot lately. 

For someone so great at winning, Williams comes off like a loser time and time again. 

Williams was recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine and managed to turn a fluff piece about the world's greatest female athlete (ever?) into her latest public relations tour of contrition.

Most notably, Williams has apologized on multiple occasions for her on-the-record comments about the victim in the Steubenville rape case, telling the article's author, Stephen Rodrick, "I'm not blaming the girl," before ostensibly blaming the girl, going so far as to call her "lucky" that worse didn't happen to her.


It is human nature to want to better oneself. We strive to be better at our jobs, to get a better salary or a better promotion. We go to school for nearly a quarter of our lives to become better at the skills we spend the rest of our lives trying to better every day.

We work for better houses, better cars, better vacations, neighbors and friends. We want to be better. The American dream is not about having everything; it's about getting everything and working every day to be better than the day before in an effort to collect the things that make life…better.

Of course, things don't always make life better, and things don't always make people better, either. Aaron Hernandez is not better than he was yesterday.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for the Patriots tight end, embroiled in scandal and a police investigation surrounding his involvement in the murder of his associate, Odin Lloyd.


ARDMORE, Pa.— Somewhere along the eighth fairway on Sunday, I looked down at my phone and saw a complaint about how horrible the golf was, with players on almost every hole dropping shots left and right. 

These are supposed to be the best players in the world, and it seemed like none of them could do anything to beat Merion Golf Club. That probably made those in charge at the USGA smile, but maybe it shouldn't. Maybe Merion was just too hard for its own good.

Early in the week, the buzz was that Merion could play short and soft, a low-scoring dream and a veritable nightmare for the USGA, which prides itself on being the toughest test in golf year after year.

Four rounds later, with a champion in Justin Rose who finished one over par for the tournament, Merion was indeed the toughest test in golf. It was too tough a test.


ARDMORE, Pa.—Phil Mickelson didn't get a U.S. Open Championship for his 43rd birthday like he wanted. He probably should have asked for a new putter first. 

Through his 18 holes on Sunday, Mickelson used his putter 37 times on the greens. Well, he used his actual putter 36 times, as he had to use his wedge to get the ball over a ridge on the 15th hole that, technically, still counts as a putt.

Thirty-seven putts. What a horrible birthday present that was.

There comes a time in a round of golf—four rounds, if you think about Phil's entire second-place finish at Merion—where the lip-outs and burned edges on putt after putt go from making a player feel great with his putter to wanting to throw it in the quarry.


Ardmore, Pa. — Phil Mickelson takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open, but there are still nine players within five strokes of the lead heading into Sunday.

It's hard to win any major championship, but the combination of the major-championship pressure and the diabolical course conditions of this year's U.S. Open at Merion make the field fairly wide open entering the last day of competition.

Sure, Mickelson leads the tournament, but that doesn't mean he will still be in the lead by the time he finishes the first hole. With six players within two strokes of the lead, there is certainly no guarantee Mickelson will even have the lead by the time he tees off on Sunday.

Surely, given the way he has played this week and the fact he is leading by a stroke, Mickelson has to be the favorite heading into Sunday. That said, Phil has a pretty nasty history with the U.S. Open, finishing second five times with no victories. Heartbreak is all too familiar to Mickelson, even if Sunday is his birthday.


ARDMORE, Pa. — Phil Mickelson is writing this story for us. Not literally, of course, as the man is probably too tired to come down to the media center at the 2013 U.S. Open to write a few hundred columns after shooting an even-par 70 in the third round to take a one-stroke lead into the final round on Sunday.

Actually, get your rest, Phil. We don't even need you to write this story for us. The story writes itself.

Mickelson is leading the U.S. Open after 54 holes with a chance to finally win the major championship he's always wanted to win but never could.

Mickelson will tee off in the final round of the U.S. Open on Father's Day after spending the early part of the week jet-setting back and forth to California to attend his daughter Amanda's eighth grade graduation.


ARDMORE, Pa.—Phil Mickelson nearly holed out his approach shot on the par-four eighth hole on Friday, settling for a quick but incredibly makeable birdie putt instead.

Phil missed the putt. He wasn't happy about it at all.

Usually smiling as he cascades through the gallery, Mickelson was brooding, muttering to himself the entire walk to the ninth tee while carrying his putter, practicing strokes on the tee box as he waited to hit his next shot.

Phil hit a fantastic tee shot on the long par-three ninth. He missed the putt again.