Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Things Never Change

I wrote the essay below back in early October, 2004 and stumbled on it today as I was cleaning up some old files.  As I read it I was first amazed that so little had changed on the Philly sports scene in 2 1/2 year and then I became progressively angrier the more I thought about it.

It's a bit long, but I thought I'd put it up anyway as a touchstone to show how much things stay the same here in Philly

October 2, 2004


My grandfather had to wait 30 years between Phillies’ championships. At least he got to see two. It was 10 years between World Series losses to Baltimore and Toronto. It’s been 11 since Mitch gave up the home run.

Another season has come crashing to its end; another manager fired, another half-full ballpark, another summer of disappointment closes with no fall baseball. It’s baseball in Philadelphia. It’s the only franchise in history that has lost near 10,000 games. Yet somehow springtime always brings the hope that fades in the summer and falls flat as October approaches.

At the ballpark tonight, it was sticky and raining off and on. It was a terrible night for baseball. Kevin thought it was a nice night, but he also probably had hope that the Phils would win the pennant this year. I never held such illusions. I saw them add talent, but not change the attitude. I saw Ed Wade spend the money he needed to spend to fill the new park, but only because it guaranteed a greater return.  

They didn’t pick up ay pitching in July because it would not help the bottom line. They might have made a bit more in ticket sales for the playoffs, but the higher contracts would have eaten that up. They calculated the return on investment and decided that they had maxed out for the year.

They thought that adding three free agents to an average team would bring the fans into the new park. They looked at the Orioles and the Indians and the other clubs with new parks and saw the money that those teams brought in. They saw those guys even contend a bit. But each team had more to start with. They had more than a few good players. And none of them really did all that much. 

So, like every other year in recent memory, about the time the Eagles begin practice, the interest in the Phillies dies off. I know the talk that Philly is a football town anyway, but I remember 1993 when that team took hold of the city and the Eagles were forgotten. This town likes a winner, and the Eagles are the most consistent winners in town. At times this is a basketball or hockey town. It just depends on who is winning. It’s a baseball town every spring until the local team melts like frozen custard on the Boardwalk in July.

What really bothers me about the Phillies is that I am afraid that the futility is contagious. The Eagles can’t seem to get over the hump. They have talent and coaching and seem poised to do it, but injuries and karma always seem to doom them. The Sixers almost slew Goliath after they finally got their house in order only to succumb to internal disaster and lack of talent when they chased a coach away. Hockey is a mystery to me, but it seems to me that the Flyers and Phillies have WAY too much in common to expect a visit from Lord Stanley any time soon

Even our college teams are afflicted.

Temple football? Does the phrase “fallen and can’t get up mean anything to anyone?” St. Joe’s basketball rode two of the best players in the country about as far as you can, but ultimately two just were not enough to push past the Philly Phailure complex. Villanova? The annual phone card or alumni scandal should be announced any time now.

I hear all over the country what a great sports town Philly is. How we have such knowledgeable fans and all of that.  We are knowledgeable fans. We know all about every team in every league because we have plenty of time to study them since our own teams as so terrible. And I don’t know how loyal we are. I have never been anywhere that there are so many Dallas fans, or Denver fans or Yankees fans. We have been disappointed so often and so deeply that we have begun to shift our affections and allegiances elsewhere.

I was 13 when anybody in Philly last won anything. 14 if you count Rollie’s coked-up kids playing a perfect game. At least when I was a kid though, there Phillies were good and the Eagles were good and the Sixers were good and even the Flyers were good. At least I think they were – I never could follow the puck. My interest was cemented early in life.

What about my son? Will he grow up with only the Eagles as a playoff team? Even then will he know that they will never get to the big game? Will he ever grow to love sports, given that the local examples are so thoroughly unlovable?  

Is there a reason to even hope that he will given how little these teams offer us on an annual basis? I used to lament the giant toilet bowl they played in. Or the fact that the entire Spectrum actually smelled like a urinal. Or that the entire world laughed at the Vet turf. Now I see that those issues were trivial. The real problem is that the leaders of these franchises, the real powers there, simply don’t care about my son and me. They are big money guys with big money goals and winning is nice, but money is WAY better.

Are you going to beg Fitz Dixon for another World Series trophy? Why? He has a pile of trophies. The money pays for the private jet to Palm Beach, not the trophies.

If you read all this far, thanks!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Club That Seats 43,647

446132219_90990597e4_m The folks down at Citizens Bank Park have been getting a bit of criticism lately for the the rowdy fans that fill the place, especially for Dollar Dog and College Nights.  There have certainly been some ugly incidents down in South Philly this spring, including hot dog throwing, fights, and general insanity.  I was in the house for the most recent Hatfield Dollar Dog Night, as well as a few other incident-filled evenings this season.  It's not like fights and rowdiness are unusual at Philly sporting events.

We're the guys who threw snowballs at Santa, remember?

But something is different at CBP.

I've had this thought a few other times, but what has happened in the last few years is that CBP has become a key place to go for the young fun crowd. Monday night, there were SCORES of young ladies who were out at the park as their evening recreation instead of going to a bar. That NEVER happened at the Vet.  Of course when the ladies are there, the boys are that much more uhhh ... testosterone-filled.

With cheap prices for the worst seats, good beer and food and a fun team, CPB has become a social destination. 

Basically you end up with a 40,000 seat nightclub. Stuff's gonna happen. The key here is that the CBP folks need to make sure that they have a fun place for the younger crowd, while ensuring that older folks and those of us who go with our kids are also able to enjoy the environment.  More stringent carding by the vendors?  Yes.  Stepped up security presence in the 300 level?  Check.  Family sections with no alcohol?  Probably a plan.

Whatever the solutions, the Phils have to act now or they risk having the crowds start to stay home if the ugliness escalates.

Hat tip to my brother Matt for the post over at TheLevel that got this post started for me.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lindsay Lohan Smashed

2339ll39 Former cutsey child actor turned 20 year old trainwreck Lindsay Lohan wrecked her Mercedes SL-65 on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills last night.  She walked away from the wreck and was treated and released for injuries to her chest (God, I hope she's ok.  She's already had so much work done on that chest.)

TMZ reports that  investigators found 'a usable amount of cocaine' in the car.  Jesus.  she MUST have been destroyed to leave an ounce of blow on the front seat in The Hills.  LAPD charged Lohan with DUI.

Guess re-hab didn't take for her either.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Phils Get back to .500

The Phils scratched out a 8-3 win last night on the strength of 7 strong innings from Jamie Moyer.  Ryan Howard, fresh off the DL and 2 rehab starts for the Lakewood Blueclaws, was 1-4 with a 2 run double.  To make room for Howard, Phils' GM Pat Gillick sent popular utility player Chris Coste down to the minors.

The interesting part of the Coste move wasn't necessarily that he got sent down, but rather that he got sent down to AA Reading, bypassing AAA Ottawa on his way back to the bus leagues. Why Reading?  According to Asst. GM Reuben Amaro's interview on the telecast last night, it was so that Coste could get in some more work as a catcher.  Is the big club so interested in Jason Jaramillo and his .237 average that there isn't room for Coste on the Lynx roster?

Or maybe the Phils want to keep the guy close in case they decide to finally cut loose Rod "Five Hole" Barajas."

Whatever the case, the Phils will take on the Bravos at 4 pm today on Fox, looking to get over .500 for a 6th time this season.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Fantastic Four

Our regular Friday feature continues today!

Commemorating the unofficial First Friday of summer and all of the traffic nightmares that come with it for those who are Jersey Shore bound, we have a special summer topic.

What are your four favorite summer beverages?

  1. Shipyard Sirius Summer Wheat Ale (they've changed the name to Summer Ale, but I'm Old School)

  2. Iced Tea - and here's how ya make it RIGHT - 1 quart of boiling water poured over 3 Lipton tea bags and 1/3 cup of sugar.  Steep 15 minutes.  Remove tea bags.  Add 1 quart of ice.  Serve with Lemon wedge over ice.

  3. Chris's Special Pink Lemonade - 2 oz sour mix, 2 oz 7Up, 1.5 oz Bacardi Limon, .5 oz Chambord, shaken and poured over ice.  Top with 7Up

  4. Genny Cream Ale

Honorable Mentions:

  • Homemade margaritas

  • Sangria

  • Icewine

  • Ice water (Gotta hydrate)

Hit me back with your favorites, either today, or from the distant past.  For all of you planning to battle the Blue Route, or the AC Expressway or who have found that secret way to the Shore no one knows about, please enjoy your weekend safely.  It's shaping up to be the best Memorial Day Weekend in years!  We'll see you at Dollar Dog Night on Monday vs. the Dbacks!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Victoria Day!

Img_7134 It's Victoria Day here in Canada.  For those of us not Canadian citizens, that's like 4th of July in the US.  Most everything was closed, there were crowds down near the Falls and fireworks.  A fairly festive evening.

I spent most of the day at the EASFAA conference in Niagara Falls, NY.  That city is not doing real well with the exception of the casino, though the convention center is brand-new and beautiful.  The downtown mall is eerily empty, shops and all.  It looks like a neutron bomb went off.  A security guard quickly ushered me from the premises when I attempted to take a few shots.  When asked if taking pictures was against the law, he simply said "Yes it is."  I ignored him.

We hit some wineries in the Niagara region of Ontario late this afternoon.  The folks at Caroline Cellars were particularly nice!.  We headed back to the Falls and had a fairly good dinner.  Fireworks filled out the day.

Photos are really slow to upload on the hotel wireless connection, so I will have to wait until I return home to get most of them up. 


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Taking a Rest

Img_6551 Well, after about 4 hours of sight seeing and a really bad lunch, we're back in the room resting up a bit before we head back out to see what Niagara Falls is like by night.  It's an interesting place during the day and I am sure that the night will be fun as well.

The beauty and power of the two falls is simply awe-inspiring.  The air is filled with mist, the sun creates rainbows everywhere and the rumble becomes part o you.

There are people here from all over the world, and the babble of languages seems to be sucked right over the side with the falling water.

There is an amazing array of attractions, bars, casinos and restaurants just steps from the Falls.  It's a mini-Vegas with a natural wonder right out the window.

Plenty of amazing photos up at my Flicker site.  Enjoy!!

I'll have more for you soon!

Reporting Live From Canada

Img_6432 We're here north of the border and very happy to tell you that the weather is fantastic and the views are incredible in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  We're headed out to do some sight seeing.  Photos and stories will be up later!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Fantastic Four

Our regular Friday feature returns today after a breif hiatus. 

Today's Friday Fantastic Four question is:

What were your four favorite things about school?

  1. Recess

  2. Creative writing time

  3. Angel MacIntosh

  4. Sports Activities

Honorable mentions:

  • Drinking Tanqueray and tonics with Dee out of squeezy bottles in journalism class.

  • Cutting at least one class every day of senior year in high school

If you've got some favorite memories, post them !  Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Ok - These are silly - but everyone seems to be doing this one, so I'll jump in!

Two Names You Go By:
1. Chris
2. Cav

Two Things You are Wearing Right Now:
1. Shorts
2. T-Shirt

Two Things You Want in a Relationship:
1. Sanity
2. Sex

Two of Your Favorite Things to Do:
1. Read
2. Take Pictures

Two Things You Want Very Badly at the Moment:
1. Coffee
2. 17-80mm IS lens

Two Pets You Had/Have:
1. Miss Muffett - Cat
2. Goldfish

Two Things You Did Last Night:
1. Hung out with the kids
2. Watched the Phils WIN

Two Things You Ate Today:
1. Nothing
2. Yet

Two Longest Car Rides:
1. Ride home from the Jersey shore - tired, sunburned and work the next day
2. Ride home from Maine vacation - only 450 miles but such a come down

Two Favorite Holidays:
1. Thanksgiving
2. Kids Birthdays

Two Favorite Beverages:
1. Vitamin Water - Revive
2. Prelude Ale

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

As If We Needed Further Proof

247606442_2ffc3b0138_m Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified yesterday on Capitol Hill that Alberto Gonzalez, then the White House Counsel, pressured a bed-ridden John Ashcroft to approve the now-infamous warrantless wiretapping program.

Ashcroft was Attorney General at the time, but had ceded responsibilities to Comey.  Comey and the FBI director went to the hospital to protect Ashcroft from Gonzalez. 

It's hard for me to feel sorry for the priggish trampler of civil rights Ashcroft.  I certainly never thought anyone would make him look good, but Gonzalez makes him look like frigging Alexander Hamilton.

In related news, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel became the fifth Republican Senator to call on Gonzalez to resign.

Since we have not seen any evidence of it, it's unlikely G Dub 43 will do the right thing and can Gonzalez.

Thanks to Flickr member Daquella manera for today's image.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

R51478001 While I am still struggling with my eyes, I could not let Mother's Day go by without a post. 

We all know how important Moms are.  They are the spirit of th family, the emotional anchor of the home and probably the most-called in the Fave Fives across the nation.

Mother's Day is bigger than ever it seems.  Aside from the gas station flower stands all over the northeast, there are a million online florists reminding us every day that May 13th is  Mother's Day.  Even the airlines are in on the act, with Mother's Day sales on flights

My kids will be with their mom today and that is appropriate.  As hard as it is for me to be apart from them, they should be with their mother today. 

Major League Baseball will observe Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness today with dozens of players swinging pink bats.  NASCAR will actually race on Mother's Day, breaking a long-standing tradition

In addition to my great mom, I'd especially like to thank all of the moms who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the military today.  My son John has a classmate whose mom is in Iraq and I am both prod of her service and very sad for the sacrifice she has to make for this terrible war.  Lots of moms spent the weekend protesting.  I thank them.

Thanks Mom!  You didn't protest, but you did so much.  The kids and I love you!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quick Thoughts

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I have been suffering from an eye issue and it's pretty hard to write at the end of the day when you only have one worrking eyeball.

Would Barry Bonds' head fit in Curt Schilling's mouth?

What is Dale Earnhardt, Inc. without Dale Earnhardt?

John's teammates amazed me last night as they were more than ready for 'coach pitch' in T-Ball.

Am I wrong to wonder if there is an insurance scam going on when I am forced to have an office visit to get allergy medication?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Back from Gomorrah

Ac_boardwalk_casinos Or Atlantic City.  Whichever you prefer.  The girlfriend and I headed down to AC last night for our anniversary.  We had dinner at Red Square, wandered through The Quarter at the Trop and had a good day today touring The Pier at Caesars and the outlets.    Lots of photos are up here

Red Square was pretty terrible. We thought that the food was average and way overpriced.  The service was pretty good and the manager did bring me a nice shot of Hangar One vodka.  Other than that, I've had much better meals for much lower prices.

Today we had a great day, primarily walking down the Boardwalk.  Next time you get a chance, stop by Caesars and see what they have done with the old Ocean One Pier.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Myers Notches First Save

Phillies_logo1 Phils pre-season ace Brett Myers notches his first save in his first attempt! The story is posted over on The 700 Level by Uncle Matt.  Amazing that the Phils' starting rotation, believed to be the strength of the team going into the season has 2 guys with 8 point ERAs making 8 million per and one of the other starters is now a closer. Sheesh!

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two different Views on Josh Hancock

478828100_a77dd5bd18_bSt. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock was laid to rest today in his home town of Tupelo, Mississippi.  He was killed early Sunday morning when the SUV he was driving slammed into the back of a tow truck on an interstate.  Marijuana was found in the car and Hancock had been seen drinking before the accident.  It was his second accident in three days.  Some members of the media are making hay with these revelations. 

Of course I am not sure if a guy doing podcasts from home after he "resigned" from Sports Radio 950 is a member of the media anymore.  But I digress ...

The stories covering Hancock's untimely death are everywhere and they are interesting in the same way that a house fire is interesting I guess.  It doesn't happen everyday and a lot of heat and light.  Who cares if some guy got killed, right?  He had it coming if he was drinking, right?

Then comes a very poignant story over at Deasdspin that reminds us that Josh Hancock was a young man doing a tough job who may have had a few problems.  He had parents who are mourning, friends who are hurting and teammates who are reeling.  I hope we all think of both sides when we see tragedies like this.   

Thanks to Flickr member Herkie for the image.


I know - it's a weird headline for a post.  But that string of numbers and letters is pretty powerful.  It unlocks the encryption on the new Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs, making them essentially downloadable.

But that's not why it's really powerful.  When the code became public on May 1st, Digg users started to post articles related to it.  (If you don't know what Digg is, go here.  It lets users comment on articles.)  Digg doesn't allow the violation of copyright, so they pulled it down.  That's where the power of this number and the internet community really kicked in.

Digg users basically shut the Digg system down by posting thousands of articles about the decryption string.  Eventually the founder of Digg relented and decided to let his users has their way, regardless of the consequences.  Some folks have decided that Digg is right on this one.  I would have to agree!

Amazing how powerful this Interweb thingy has gotten.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Corzine Speeds Away From Hospital

I am not sure if Jon Corzine doesn't get it or if the New Jersey State Police doesn't get it.  459300620_ca30aa4f23

Yesterday, just moments after New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine noted that he had set a 'very bad example' his motorcade sped up I-295 to Drumthwacket at about 15 miles per hour above the speed limit.  Granted, it wasn't the 91 miles an hour that Corzine's motorcade was doing when his Suburban practically flew off the road, breaking darn near every bone in his body, but jeez guys, this looks REALLY bad.

Just minutes after Corzine says this:

“I set a very bad example, I hope the state will forgive me. I will work very hard to set the right kind of example.”

The assorted vehicles (including his new transportation mode, a handicapped-equipped van) took off at speeds the rest of us would be ticketed at.  And it's not like he's got a big meeting scheduled.  Was he going to be late for his afternoon nap?  I get the fact that speeding happens.  I do it every day.  But come on! 

No word if the driver was text messaging his girlfriend's husband while driving the guv's van.

Thanks to Flickr member Iirraa for the image!