Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Governor Fast Eddie decried the postponment of the Eagles - Vikings game because of a few snowflakes stating that we have become a nation of wussies. The Gov, who was in the house last night had plenty of wussies to observe - and they were wearing midnight green.

In his postgame presser, head coach Fat Andrew was able to use his favorite cliches stating that the effort tonight was pathetic and that we have to do better. The man has amazing insights doesn't he? His team played as if no effort would be required to send the Vikings back to Minnesota, and the Vikings made the big green machine look like a car stuck in a mound of snow at the side of the road.

Michael Vick who had earlier been named as the NFC starting QB in the pro-bowl turned in a hauntingly McNabbesque performance, while his O line blocked virtually nobody allowing the going-nowhere Vikings defense to sack Vick 6 times while hitting him on almost every play. Vick's passing accuracy which had improved ten-fold this year left him last night as he threw the ball to Viking defenders as often as he hit his own men. And where was Jackson? Well he was a no show, so maybe he'll keep his mouth shut today.

This was a game the Eagles needed to win. This was a game that, if won, would have kept alive the possibility of a play-off bye. Instead, this was the game that all but insured an early exit from the playoffs by our hometown heroes. The Vikings, subject to all sorts of drama and disappointment this season and led by a guy nobody in the world had ever heard of showed up and played the game. The big green wussies left their hearts somewhere and in my opinion should have lost by more than ten points. Yes Andrew, you and your charges have to do better. Let's see what they do this week against the hated Cowboys. The long suffering fan no longer bets (It didn't take me long to realize that I couldn't do it well.) but if I did, I would place my dead presidents on the Cowboys.

I didn't watch the last quarter because I was fed up and knew that there would be no last minute miracle like we saw the week before against the Jints. I was tired of hearing Collingsworth tell me that the Eagles have the ability to mount a comeback. Collingsworth didn't even believe what he was saying, but I suppose his bosses told him to keep the fires of hope burning so that people like me would not pick up their remotes and leave the wussies to their own misery. The long suffering fan watched "True Romance" which is always a treat, especially the scene where Christopher Walken visits Dennis Hopper. If you haven't seen this Tarentino-written film you ought to check it out, especially if violence is entertaining to you.

It wasn't just the poor play by the Eagles that pissed me off last night. I could have dealt with that. Some of my least favorite commercials were shown repeatedly - making me wishing that I could hurt whoever dreamed them up. Funny, but the worst offenders were all car commercials.

First on my list is the one where a snotty kid and his father are shopping for a guitar. The father who appears to be the guy with the credit card holds up a guitar and tells the brat that the one in his hand is as good as the one the kid really wants. The kid who has a girls haircut and an obnoxious tablecloth looking shirt says in a nasty tone, "No it isn't." Instead of the switching to the guy in the BMW store the commercial would have had a happy ending if the father would have beaten the kid.

The next most offensive commercial is the National Car Rental spot where the business woman tells me that she is getting an "upgrade" The way she says that word tells me that she too deserves a beating. "Nana na na I'm getting an upgrade," just presses my buttons. A happy ending to that ad would have the bitch pulling out of the parking lot and getting whacked by an 18 wheeler.

Lexus has a commercial out there that makes no sense and is stupid to boot. You know the one where the wife is dragging her sleepy husband into their living room to show him the new red Lexus she is giving him for Xmas. How did the car get into the living room without the guy knowing. Did she drug him? Stupidity reigns supreme.

Lastly I want to clear up a matter from my last posting. Ed Romero was a journeyman MLBer who had a 12 year career with the Brewers, Red Sox, and the Tigers. As a career part time player he hit .247 with 8 HR's and last played in 1990. I meant to post that Ruben had signed J.C. Romero, but somehow gave up Ed Romero. One can only hope that J.C. performs better than he has in recent outings - since even with our starting staff Charlie will have the need for a left-hander out of the pen.

When I hear the name J.C. I immediately think of a dog of the same name that my parents had. This dog ate better than anyone you know, never being given dog food. The dog ate corned beef, lox, and whatever else my parents were having. The dog, a miniature spitz, must have weighed 200 pounds when she went to doggie heaven. The dog loved $12.00 a pound veal. So much for all the starving people in the world.

That's it for today, except to remind everyone that Jos. A Bank is having their second sale of the week. You betcha! Buy any suit and get 2 for free! You have to love it.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I trust you all had a very Merry hauling in piles of gifts and good cheer. But now the jolly fat guy is wherever he goes to rid himself of the aromas of reindeer farts and we have some issues to discuss.

Actually, the real jolly fat fellow is at the Novacare Center counting his blessings. Yesterday, due to a loss by the NY Football Giants (why the sporting press still refers to them as the football Giants has me confused. Back when there were baseball Giants it made sense, but as you know there hasn't been a baseball Giants team in NYC since 1957. I guess some things just die hard.) propelled Fat Andrews team to another NFC East Crown.

In this season of gift giving NY was the gift that just kept on giving. What a day yesterday was - both the Giants and Jets went down to defeat. For those of us like the long suffering fan that's about as good as it gets. NYC is a great city which is made that much greater when its teams suffer the fate usually reserved for cities like Phoenix and Buffalo. The gift of seeing the various looks of contempt on Tom Coughlin's face will be a keeper for me. The man looked like he had been suffering from terminal constipation combined with some anger issues. It was great to see. Rex Ryan, whose team got into the playoffs even though they lost yesterday, parading the sidelines desparately wanting the game to be over so he could catch a flight home so he could cuddle with his wife's feet (Whatever works for you).

There is an expression used by every broadcaster of NFL games that I can no longer tolerate. Playoff implications is the expression and it should be outlawed. In every booth and postgame set some moron who happened to have played the game speaks to what has to happen for the Decateur Staleys to make their first playoff in 76 years. They have their charts and logos and are quick to point out that if so and so does this and such and such does that, then so and so will win the division knocking out the other guy. Then one their colleagues breaks in to inform us that the Pussycats faced this same scenario back in '97 when Joe Brainless was able to overcome 7 concussions to lead the team into the playoffs.

I love when the obligatory bimbette sideline reporter corners the star neanderthal of the game to ask him about the playoff implications of his teams 4th quarter comeback in todays victory. The stock answer of course is the same throughout the league - "I want to thank God and my teamates, and we will come out next week and try to win." The bimbette asks her questions as if she were interviewing somebody important about something that matters - you know like why do you insist on paying for unemployment benefits, but not the tax breaks for Jeff Laurie. I'd feel a lot better about these sideline mavens if they dealt with important shit like asking if the neanderthal is aware that his team didn't cover the spread and that as a result a bunch of fans may now have their kneecaps damaged by a guy named Vinnie who collects for a guy named Sal.

It can no longer be said that the NFL doesn't care about the fans. The league didn't want the fans to get stuck in a blizzard so they postponed yesterdays Eagles game until Tuesday night. That was the reason they gave for the postponement, but I say not so fast. The game was moved to Tuesday so as not to interfere with the Monday night game. They tried that last week when the roof collapsed in Minnesota and the networks went wild. Now NBC and ESPN each get their own night and everybody makes the money they were planning on. Roger Goddell could care less about fans getting stuck in parking lots - he cares about the dead presidents the league extorts from the networks.

To me, the postponement stinks. Playing football in the snow used to be the norm, and I agree with Ed Rendell who said he was disappointed as he was hoping to watch an old-fashioned football game. If the 1948 championship game could be played in a blizzard here in Philly (a game won by the Eagles) then they could have played here yesterday. Governor, I want old fashioned football back again, including being able to hit people the old fashioned way. And to hell with the fans who would have gotten stuck. If you are dumb enough to leave the warmth of your home with its flat screen 82" TV then you deserve to freeze to death in a parking lot. We all have been given "free will" and if you choose to use it stupidly, then take the consequences like a man.

There is some baseball news to report of local interest. The Phillies are about to sign LH Ed Romero to a one year deal. This is the same Romero who couldn't get the job done last year, and who managed to walk more batters than he struck out - not considered a good thing if you are a set-up guy.

It isn't too early to start thinking about Valentines Day 2011. I'm not talking about getting the lady another gift (they love jewelry), I am of course referring to the day pitchers and catchers report which this year coincides with another big day for companies like Hallmark and Godiva. Looking outside at the white shit makes me long for Feb. 14 so maybe I'll tune in to MLB and dream about what might happen to the visiting Astros when the face 3 out 4 of our aces during the first series of the season. Just thinking about Brett Myers & company playing the candystrippers is keeping me warm. Having the heat on is helping too - and I have no plans to go outside.

Enjoy the snow, and remember it isn't as bad as being a NY football fan!

Friday, December 24, 2010


I started writing todays piece yesterday. About half way through I realized that I shouldn't be anywhere near a keyboard so I saved what I had written, planning to finish early today. So much for the best laid plans of mice, Republicans and men. They sometimes have to be changed to accomodate a crazed female who discovered that she had forgotten to buy a gift for her best girlfriend. Since she had to work today, my phone rang this morning at 7:00 Am. After being told that I would be going to the mall today - again, I made the mistake of suggesting that a pre-paid Visa card would do just fine. My suggestion elicited nothing but dead air. The dead air was followed by the lady giving me my marching orders - I was going to the mall to buy a gift for someone I like only a little bit, and I knew when I was getting ready that no matter what I picked out - it would be wrong. I knew that I would have to play the twenty question game, that would end poorly - for me. But being the nice guy that I am I made the trip. It wasn't as bad as yesterdays trip.

Thursday is normally my friends day off. We usually just chill out, relax, and have a nice day. Wednesday evening the lady called me to inform me that we would be spending her day off at the friggin mall! Going to the mall on Dec. 23rd is not my idea of a good idea, and since everyone knows that real men don't even think about shopping until the 24th, I wasn't happy. Not going was not an option presented to me, so I figured that I would make the best of a bad situation, smile and go along with the madness.

When the lady picked me up yesterday morning I was handed a piece of paper. She had made each one of us a list of things to buy, which stores to buy them in and times that we should meet up to compare the progress being made. I asked why we weren't going to shop together - why the split up? "You walk too slow (my wheels are sometimes compromised from the sugar). This way we'll get done sooner." She had gone to the mall website and knew where every store was located, and had written it all down on my list. Fortunately I was given the task of shopping for her brothers and her son, so at least I didn't have to put up with missy and fat lady departments where crazed female types would be fighting each other for the right to purchase the latest and greatest fashions.

So we get to the mall to begin our quest to find the perfect gifts. Walking into the place told me right away that this was not going to make my top ten list of favorite things to do. At the entrance was a lady reading the riot act to one of her kids. The kid had made the mistake of reminding his polyester clad mother that she had promised him that they would stop for a snack after they had finished with the shopping. The kid now knows that the promise was only made to shut him up, and that he could never trust his mother again. I certainly understand making a false promise to a kid in order to shut him/her up, but it did disturb me at how joyful the ladies face looked as she was smacking his butt. I hoped that he would be the only screaming kid I would see here. He wasn't.

When we got to the main part of the mall and went on our separate missions, all I could see were throngs of wild eyed women rushing about. There were the posses of teenagers doing their shopping while holding phones to their ears. They don't talk, they just hold the phones to their ears. What is that all about?

Weaving my way through the maddening crowd I was able to find the first stop on my list - Modells. My task was to pick out a jogging suit for brother Ray, who wears nothing but athletic apparel. He doesn't ever jog or work out, but like a lot of guys, he likes to create an image. The right image is important where he lives so I wanted to find somethin' special for him. The store was crowded, but I found where the jogging outfits were and was able after a period of time to match up a top and bottom. That was the hard part since the racks looked like a grenade had gone off. The smalls were where the XL's were supposed to be; the Nike's were hanging with the Addidas and it took some doing, but with the help of a rather cute young lady I was able to find something I thought he would like, and under budget.

The lines to pay were long and it took longer before I heard "do you have a Modells card" than it did to find the outfit. I said that I didn't have one and didn't want one. The kids at the register must be trained not to hear no, because I had to hear why I should get one. When I said no for the second time the kid finally rang my purchase up and I was able to scratch off Rays name from my list and move on to my next assignment.

My lady had done a good job making up my list and her directions were right on. My next stop was at a Gamestop. Gamestops are a problem for a non-gamer like the long suffering fan. When I am king - all games will work in all of the game systems unlike now when you have to know what kind of system you are buying for. It is very confusing. I wanted to get this right because if I brought home a game that didn't work in the kids system it would mean I would be making another trip to the mall. I was under strict instructions to buy nothing with a violent or adult content. Good luck with that. That could mean buying Madden football or some other sports game, but the kid isn't into sports. Like most 13 year olds he would rather have a game where he could slaughter hundreds and save the world. This was a set up since whatever I picked out that would please the lady - the kid would hate. Not being able to find anything on the $30.00 section I settled for a game based on Star Wars - movies that he likes. Games shouldn't cost $69.00, but they do.

One more stop before our first meet up. Stop number three was easy and I went to the rendezvous point to wait for the lady. She arrived a few minutes later and was in a full state of craze. After that we both finished our shopping and headed for the car to try and exit the mall. It took almost a half hour to get out of the parking lot, but out we got and headed on back to her place where the real madness started - the wrapping.

Aside from the crowds - which I don't care for - the thing that completely messes with my mind is the Christmas music that one is forced to listen to while shopping. Do the merchants really think that making me hear Bing Crosby sing White Christmas will make me want to spend all of my money at their store? It doesn't. Listening to a choir of eunuchs singing about riding in an open sleigh makes me want to scream, not spend money for that very special gift. No, rather it makes me want to point the business end of an AK 47 to every speaker in the store and in the mall.

Anyhow, there I was back at the friggin mall today buying her best friend a new bathrobe. Why a bathrobe you ask? It was a bathrobe because that is what I was told to buy. I was told to pick out a nice one - a special one, because she is my best friend. What women will never understand is that on Dec 24 anything you buy is special to any real man. The merchants have stores full of special shit - just ask them. I had no problem finding that "special" robe. Shit, there were at least three for me to choose from, and it happened that the least expensive one was the most special of all.

After buying the robe, while I was walking out of the mall I couldn't help but admire how many men were walking around doing their shopping. They didn't look crazed. They didn't seem to care that in a few hours the stores would all be closed, and whatever hadn't been bought wasn't going to make the trips home. These are my heroes - the real men who wait until the last possible moment, and still get the job done. It's kind of like waiting until the night before the important term paper is due before you write it. No problem, as long as you get the job done.

So anyway. I drive back to where my lady works - tell her of my success - return her car keys to her and head on home. I suspect that she will call when she sees the robe, now safely ensconced in her trunk, to ask me if it was the nicest one I could find. I won't want to play that game, so I plan to tell her that it was indeed the nicest one they had in size 5XL, and that bright red will cover her rather large derriere very well (I won't really say that because I hope to stay alive a bit longer).

So after I got home I read some of the stuff that I enjoy and watched the videos that are allegedly of Jets coach Rex Ryan's wife playing with her feet. If you haven't heard, a story surfaced the other day that a video of Michelle Ryan was making the rounds on the internet and that a man sounding very much like the coach was heard in the background "coaching" her on her fetish techniques. When asked about this by the ultra-professional NY sports press the coach said that what he and his wife are into is personal and that he wouldn't answer any questions regarding the alleged fetish.

The long suffering fan is not into feet. I certainly wouldn't want to hang out or play footsie with a lady who has foul smelling tootsies, but if the coach and his wife are into such things - I could care less. I got no delight from the videos showing the lady playing with her toes - and who knows maybe all she was trying to do was count to 20. I would have paid attention if the videos showed the coach on his hands and knees playing sucky face with her toes, but they didn't so let's move on to more interesting topics. Although, he is a FOOTball coach, and maybe he is looking for new techniques to teach his kickers. Just a thought gang (You can find the videos at

That's about all for now, except to wish everybody a Merry Christmas. For those of you who like me do not celebrate this holiday, enjoy your Chinese food.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


So i'm reading the Washington Post this morning where the big news is the announced benching of our former guy D-Mac in favor of Rex Grossman. Not only will D-Mac not start the rest of the season, but he has been designated as the third string emergency QB.

Head Coach Mike Shanahan states in one of the articles that McNabs team option for next year will probably not be exercised which means that Donnie Boy will become a free agent. You talk about a fall from grace in record time!

Donnie was at the top of the world when he was moved to Washington last April, telling anybody who would listen that he would be leading the 'Skins back to the promised land under former two time winning Super Bowl coach Shanahan. Shanahan who had been anointed as one of the top coaches in the league by the pundits was the man who would install a winning attitude on both sides of the ball - completely revamping the offense and the defense who would now play a 3-4, instead of the 4-3.

Shanahan I must point out hasn't won squat since he had a guy named Elway under center. (Well at least he won twice unlike our boy Fat Andrew who has yet to collect a Super Bowl ring.) So here he comes, with a newly installed offensive coordinator (his son) and a plan from plan land. His first problem was a rebellion by his highest paid D-lineman who did not want to play nose tackle. The guy had been signed for $105,000,000, but wanted no part of the new scheme.

Trust me, if you give me that kind of gelt, I would play anywhere you wanted me to, but this clown said no I won't. Well he reports to camp out of shape and Shanahan puts him through all kinds of hell -in public - regarding passing a fitness test, not allowing him to practice with the team. Shanahan who has an ego larger than Donald Trump was going to show Albert Haynesworth who the boss was, and the result was a sub par performance by the defense and the ultimate suspension of Haynesworth.

Albert Haynesworth has been a top lineman for several years, and while I don't excuse his antics, I understand why he wanted no part of playing nose tackle. Nose tackles get the shit beat out of them without a lot of glory. They are double teamed on every play by guys who want to hurt them, and by the end of the season they have aged more than Obama has this past year.

When I played, a lot of teams played with a 5 man D-front, including both my high school and college teams. Whenever you use an odd man front line you need somebody to play nose tackle, or what was back in the day called nose guard. It was while playing this position that I was run over by one Reggie Jackson. I hated the position because I got the shit beat out of me on every play. It was a great day when I was moved to defensive tackle.

Shanahan being the stubborn egotist that he is was determined to install the 3-4 front despite not having the personnel to play it well. So much for his genius.

Despite the drama going on with Haynesworth, there was the excitement of the new offense which would be led by Donavan McNabb. Shanahan, a devotee of the west coast offense had in McNabb a guy who had played his entire career in the west coast system, had played in several pro bowls, and wanted to prove something. Redskin fans were sure that the glory days were coming back. Not so fast 'Skin people. Yes D-Mac had indeed played in a west coast system, but as the faithful soon found out he couldn't get the ball to his receivers without bouncing it on the turf, could no longer run the ball, and seemed to want to throw more interceptions than any quarterback who had ever laced up a pair of cleats. Part of the problem was that McNabb had trouble learning Shanahans system, and wanted to do things his way. According to reports in the Post he and the coordinater had problems from the beginning and of late hardly speak. Not a good situation for the quarterback who holds the Super Bowl record for puking in the huddle, when the coordinater and the head coach are father and son. Bottom line - adios D-Mac!

Now McNabbs agent states that D-Mac is being treated disrespectfully by the Redskins, and that a guy with his credentials deserves better. McNabb always seems to feel disrespected when he screws up and is benched for the good of the team. McNabb's mom thinks her son has always been picked on by the media and the fans. Oh well. The guy will have been paid in excess of $10,000,000 for wearing the Redskin colors this year and hasn't made anyone forget Sonny Jurgenson, Billy Kilmer, or Sammy Baugh. He has stunk up the field with his inaccurate passes and interceptions- just like he did here, and should just shut up and count his money. I for one am tired of his attitude and drama, and as far as I'm concerned he should join Brett Favre and pout while counting his money. Good riddance.

Now, Rex Grossman won't make anyone forget the aforementioned Redskin greats, but the team has nothing to lose by giving the former Florida Gator a shot.

Nothing going on on the baseball front of any importance to report, except that Reyes will not be joining the Phillies after all. He failed his physical, so Amaro is going to have to find a lefty for the bullpen. Maybe Bobby Shantz can still pitch.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What a week for the long suffering fan. The other night, when I was informed that it was being reported that Cliff Lee was going to sign with the Phillies, my first reaction was to dismiss the story as a cruel rumor made up by the dwarf Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal, as you know, has been known to make shit up. So, when he was identified as one of the sources of the story I ignored it. Well, even the proverbial broken clock is right twice a day and Rosenthal was finally involved in something that came true.

I was excited, like I was supposed to be as a loyal fan of the candystripers and, when it became apparent that Ruben wasn't going to trade one of the other guys, I almost allowed myself to be ebullient. I held back my joy until yesterday when I got to see the Lee announcement press conference with Lee in a Phillies jersey sporting #33. Seeing that, I knew it was for real, especially with the smug grin Ruben sported. Ruben does smug as well as anybody I have ever seen.

When he was asked if he had spoken to Werth, Ruben said that he had, but couldn't repeat most of what was said. Then Lee told of speaking to his friend Jayson and that he was good and pissed. My my, I can show the guy 126 million reasons for not being pissed, but what do I know about such things?

Amaro did indicate that he had told Werth that he could have stayed with the Phils had he accepted arbitration. (Werth's agent Scott Boras has never heard of that word.) Ruben was telling the truth on that one, and I'll bet he enjoyed telling Werth that more than Werth will enjoy batting against his former teammates in 2011. Werth does improve the Nats, and I believe that with him they might even contend for 4th place in the NL East. Have a good year asshole!

Making the rounds in his new town, Werth was seen at a Wizards game. Also at the game was Donny Boy McNabb who was booed lustily by the fans when his picture appeared on fanavision. It didn't take long for Redskin fans to learn to hate this career loser. Who would have ever thought that the Eagles would be contending for the NFC East lead with Mike Vick, who the other day said that he missed having a dog? Somebody needs to have a long conversation with Vick about that one.

I'm sure that most of you have been hearing various pundits proclaiming the 2011 Phillies staff as one of the best of all time. Here's a little cold water to dampen those thoughts. They haven't pitched a game yet. They certainly have the potential, but as John Smoltz said the other day - they have to do it on the field before claiming the best ever title. Smoltz, you might remember, pitched for a pretty good staff himself. All of the BS got me to thinking of the 1954 Cleveland Indians staff who have been mentioned as one of the greats. So, lets get out the Wayback Machine and travel back to the mistake by the lake (I lived there and can say that. When I lived there the Cuyahoga River caught fire).

The '54 edition of the Tribe won over 100 games and had a pitching foursome that created fear and dread throughout the AL. They also had a damn good line-up and ran away with the AL pennant only to lose the series to the NY Giants. More on the line-up & the series a bit later.

The staff was led by 3 future HOFers, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Bob Feller. Also in the starting rotation was Mike Garcia, and Art Houtteman.

Wynn: 23-11 2.73 era
Lemon: 23-7 2.72 era
Garcia: 19-8 2.64 era
Feller: 13-3 ( in 19 games)
Houtteman: 15-7 3.35era

In relief the team had Ray Narleski who led the AL in saves for 2 seasons and Don Mossi.

By the '54 season, Bob Feller was at the end of his career and didn't get a start in the series. This HOFer, who died yesterday pitched in his first ML game at the tender age of 17 after being signed out of Van Meter, Iowa. Despite serving 4 years aboard the U.S.S. Alabama as a gun crew chief, Rapid Robert was able to win 266 games. It is said that his fastball approached 100mph on a regular basis. He spent his entire career with the Tribe and was an AL all-star 8 times.

Bob Lemon had the distinction of both following and preceeding Billy Martin as New York Yankee (Blanton is available) manager. He had greater distinction as a pitcher for the Tribe. He played his entire career with Cleveland and featured a nasty fastball. Ted Williams called him one of the greatest pitchers he ever faced. At one time Lemon coached for the Phillies.

Mike Garcia was a husky Mexican-American who hailed from California. This 3 time all star first appeared at the end of the 1948 season and finished up in 1961 with the Washington Senators. He was a 2 time 20 game winner and was named to 3 all star teams.

Art Houtteman was a journeyman who had his best season with the '54 Tribe. He later pitched for the Tigers.

I've saved my favorite Indians hurler for last. I suppose when you are from Hartman Alabama, the name Early is considered normal. Maybe having the name Early pissed the guy off and gave him a nasty disposition, because he was extremely nasty when pitching. Early Wynn once said that if he were in a jam, with men on base and his mother was going to bat that he would knock her down. I don't even know if Bob Gibson was that cold.

Wynn began his career in 1939 for the Senators. His last appearance came in 1963. He had a blazing fastball and did indeed pitch with an attitude. By many accounts, Wynn hung around too long. He was determined to win 300 games and when he finally did it, it came 9 months after his 299th. After number 300 Wynn retired.

He appeared in several all star games and was elected to the HOF in 1976.

The '54 edition of the Cleveland Indians had several regular players worth mentioning. On that team was Lary Doby, a HOFer, who was the first black player in the AL, coming up a few months after Robinson. Vic Wertz, who had survived polio as a child, hit the ball that Willie Mays made "THE CATCH" of at the Polo Grounds during the '54 series. Dale Mitchell, a reserve on the '54 Tribe made history when he appeared as a left-handed catcher later in his career.

The '54 Indians had many connections to the greatest city in the world as well. Several players, including Hank Majeski, Joe Ginsberg, Wally Westlake, & Dave Philley, played with the A's and Philley played for both th A's and the Phillies.

I loved slugging 3B Al Rosen, because I had a Grand Pop & Grand Mom Rosen who I loved dearly.

The Wayback Machine is bringing me back to our time so I'll say so long for now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I wish I could take credit for todays title, but since it is Todd Zolecki's work he gets the credit. It is so appropriate in that Cliff Lee wanted to come here. He wasn't here a long time, but those few months showed him why Philly is the greatest city on the planet, and he viscerally needed to come back.

Some of the sports pundits are making a big deal about the money he left on the table by spurning the Yankees offer. Before we give Lee too much credit, let's understand that he is going to be paid a shitload by the Phillies. $20,000,000 a year ain't chopped liver although at the $9.00 a pound I paid this past weekend for the stuff he should have enough to buy 2.2 million pounds of it a year.

I have hated Ruben since he sent Lee to the Mariners for what amounted to some chopped liver, but atonement has been achieved and all is forgiven unless he trades one of the other studs to be able to pay for Lee. Since Ruben keeps his own counsel we won't have any idea of such a trade until it happens, and then I can hate him again. Now, if he sends Blanton or Kendrick somewhere I could care less, but this long suffering fan wants to hold on to all of our studs.

Can you imagine how tight the sphincters of the other teams will get when they see the candystripers on the schedule? Unlike facing most teams that may have one or two top pitchers on their staffs they have to face a foursome that some are already hyperbolizing as the best rotation in history. To have to go righty, lefty, righty, and then lefty again will leave all but the best of the best feigning injury in hopes of getting a few days off.

As far as them being the best of all time - we'll have to wait and find out, but we have to take a trip on the wayback machine to 1971 to see anything like the potential of our top four. Please fasten your seat belts because the wayback trip to Baltimore might have some turbulence. Ok, here we are on 33rd street about to go into Memorial Stadium to watch the Orioles take on the world. Memorial was a great place to watch a game as no matter where you sat you were close to the field. That team had Brooks Robinson at third, Boog Powell at first, with Frank Robinson patrolling the outfield. More importantly was the rotation of Jim Palmer (20-9 2.68 era), Dave McNally (21-5 2.89 era) Mike Cuellar (20-9 3.08 era), and Pat Dobson (20-8 2.90 era). Four guys winning 20 games may never be seen again, especially in the era of set-up guys and closers. How lucky I was to be able to see them play. They were of course managed by the great Earl Weaver who led the team to 107 wins and the AL pennant.

Weaver was a highly volatile guy who got tossed out of more games than some managers ever manage, and he fought with his star pitcher Jim Palmer constantly. Weaver wanted Palmer to develop a third pitch or at least use something other than his awesome fastball and curve combination. Palmer refused, and could usually be seen laughing at Weaver while Weaver was reading him. It was a sight to behold.

The Orioles lost the series that year 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates who used to be more than a holding pen for other teams.

The Orioles back up catcher that year was none other than long time Phillies backstop Clay Dalrymple. Dalrymple, who played on some of the worst Phillies teams of all time, managed to hit .204 with 1 HR and 6 rbi's in 1971.

As I expected, the NYC tabloids are besides themselves with the news that the Yankees have lost out on Lee. The back page of the NY Post stated: Cliff Stiffs Yanks! One of the writers penned, "The Phillies stunned the baseball world last night when they STOLE Cliff Lee from the Yankees." A typical NY attitude of entitlement - we stole him, because the Yankees wanted him, and the Yankees always get who they want. NOT this time, assholes. In the NY Daily News, Mike Lupica wrote, "The Yankees swing and miss on Lee again." (He was referring to the two gems Lee pitched against in the post-season). Andy Martino writes,"Cliff Lee chases the memory of the series run made in Philly, but he may regret his decision." Martino speaks to the age and eroding skills of the Phillies. Sure, but if you can't hit our guys we won't need a lot of runs to beat you now, will we!

For me this is better than taking all the good stuff out of your kids Halloween trick or treat bag and leaving him with hard candy and Mary Janes. That's right, I inhaled the chocolate and the Good & Plenty. [Editor's note - He owes me about a million peanut butter cups.]

The euphoria of getting Lee back is still not enough to get me to sip the red Kool-Aid, but I've made a list of where to buy it. No gang, despite the awesome rotation (assuming it is kept together) there are still some holes to fill in the pen and a place they call right field. There are still some moves to be made. The talk is that the Phillies are shopping Blanton, Kendrick, and Ibanez. (They ought to call Brian Cashman, as the Yankees need some pitching.) What can be obtained for that unholy trinity remains to be seen, but Blanton could help some teams who need a decent number 4 or 5. I always liked the effort Blanton made, but the goatee has to go. I don't know why anyone would want to pick up Ibanez at the money he makes, but he might look good to a team like the Royals or even the Rays who have seen their line up gutted this off season.

Ruben, you sneaky bastard, you blew me away on this one, so I'll be a gentleman and say thank you lantzman. And thank you too to the gang of seven owners who in the past have tossed money around like it was man-hole covers.

Looking at the calender I see that we still have more than two months to wait until pitchers and catchers report. It will seem like an eternity, but oh how sweet it will be to have a former world series MVP as our number four.

There will be a matter the Phils will have to deal with. What if Lee wants his number 34 back? I don't think MLB will allow two guys to wear the same number. A duel is out of the question, so perhaps we can conjure up a non-lethal contest between the two uber studs to see which one of them gets to wear the number. And think about how each one of them wants to be considered the man, the guy, the juice, the truth, the ace of aces. That competition should have both of them pitching better than before - which will be a treat to watch. I can't wait - can you?

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Deja Vous All Over Again!

I wish I could take credit for tonights title, but the credit belongs to a master of malapropism, Lawrence "Yogi" Berra.

But, yeah, I've been here before - over and over and over again. During the past baseball season I warned all you red kool-aid sippers not to give your heart to the candy stripers, well gang tonight I am issuing a major alert regarding sipping green kool aid. Don't set yourself up for the heartbreak of the Fat Andrew finding a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Don't think that I am not extatic over tonight's win over the Cowboys. When the Eagles go to the house that Jerry built and beat them there, you have had a good day. And despite my misgivings about Reid, I have to give him credit for having McCoy run during last 5 minutes. AND HOW 'BOUT THE O LINE, who for my money are the heroes of the night. Sure it looks great to the skilled guys do well - but tonight the holes were big enough to drive Jerry Jones ego through it.

Herrmans was a bulldozer out there tonight. He was knocking guys to the ground - pancaking them on running plays. The suffering fan was an O lineman in both high school & college, when I watch a game I watch the line play. I can watch the replay for the total picture. My game ball goes to the Big Uglies!

I would be remiss if I didn't praise Michael Vick. The guy is significantly better than the guy who got all the headlines. He used to be as inaccurate as McNabb, but this season he has been tossing lasers. He is playing with a lot of heart and with an aplomb never shown by McNabb.

I'm not talking about Vick's character, because the only thing I believe he is sorry for is having been caught which made him have to "go away". His handlers are slicker and smarter than dog poop and if he does what McNabb could not do here - he will be able to name his price, and Lord Jeffrey will have to pay up. I mean even after beating the 'Boys' at their house would you hire Vick to walk your dog? Next issue!

If you haven't seen the film of the Metrodomes roof collapsing - you need to. The symbolism is priceless. I mean the ex-coach sends guys down to beg Favre to come back, and he stinks things up so bad that the coach gets fired, the team can't do shit, and then the roof caves in. There is a god!

Favre is a pathetic, self indulgent asshole who truly believed he could find the magic one more time - despite the bad ankle, and the fact that he is 41. Favre is still the Friday night hero who was the small town hero. He still thinks that he is in high school back in Mississippi. I love all 17 of his 2010 interceptions - every last one of them. Bret needs to go back to Mississippi and stay there. I hope and pray that no network gives him a broadcast job. How bad would that be?

But again, please don't drink the green kool-aid yet! As I write my sources confirm that the football gods are meeting to plan how to make Andrew The Large blow it again. I mean, maybe they'll have him name Kolb the starter for the play-offs stating that he has been saving this deadly weapon to use at just the right time. Whatever, the gods have been creative in the past, and who knows what they may be able conjure up this time. Having McNabb puke in the huddle during the Super Bowl was a nice touch, and maybe they'll be able to top it this year.

I was hoping to be able to write about the candystripers tonight, but there is n't anything to write about. Oh yeah, they picked up somebody in thew rule 5 draft. Of course I can't remember the guys name or anything about him. Sure, they signed some spare parts, but I'd feel a lot better if they would sign Durbin and maybe another outfielder. I guess Ruben will make some moves, but they won't involve any body of any real importance.

The Cliff Lee saga is almost over, and suspect he has already made his mind up. I'm hoping that my beloved Kansas City Royals man up and offer him all of the Kaufman family's money, but I'd settle for him to stay in Texas. If he does that I will make it a point to read the NYC tabloid press. It will be awesome!

The more I think about Jason Werth getting paid $126mm to sign with Washington, the more I am convinced that utter madness has descended upon us from some alien culture. Werth isn't worth that kind of money, but he got it. Stephen King couldn't make this up, and that boy has a rather interesting imagination. At least I hope it is his imagination we see, and that he doesn't have a nasty pooch telling him to bring Michael Vick to Maine.

More musings soon, but for now this long suffering fan is out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

BAH HUMBUG!!!!!!!!!!!

I wasn't planning on writing tonight. Normally on a dance night, I am too tired when I get home to write, and my feet hurt. Given my current state of mind I probably ought to just padlock the fridge and go to bed, but I'll give it my best shot - and am not responsible for typos, misspellings, poor grammar, or for swearing!

So I get home, and am told by a certain friend that I will spending my day tomorrow shopping. I don't want to face the crowds who are starting to froth at the mouth, and I certainly don't want to have to hear Xmas music all friggin' day. I can't tell you how much I hate hearing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry. Jingle Bells is another one that annoys the hell out of me, but I'll do my best at not screaming when the music loop has assaulted me two or three times.

The ironic thing about me and Xmas music is that a few years ago I started selling a Xmas CD of R&B Xmas songs, and I have been burning CD's to fill some orders. While I'm doing this I'm listening to MLB network to see what Ruben didn't do today and I hear that the Yankees have offered Cliff Lee $140,000,000 to play in the Bronx. That one didn't make me crazy since when I heard of that offer I hadn't learned of the cruel fate that awaited me tomorrow.

When I heard that the Red Sox had signed Carl Crawford for a gazillion dollars, euro's, pound sterlings, or whatever I lost it. Carl Crawford is a very nice player, and he would have looked real good in candystripes, but he isn't anywhere near deserving to be the highest paid player in baseball. He just isn't!

In the past 36 hours, the Red Sox have committed to pay over $300,000,000 to 3 players. Sox management has definitely jumped all in, and the gang in the Bronx must be soiling their shorts thinking of how much more they are going to pony up for Cliff Lee. If I'm Lee's agent I've already called Hank Steinbrenner to ask him what it was he didn't like about a 7th year.

I just heard that Crawford is the now the highest paid outfielder in MLB history. That is so sick.

Back to the Bronx. The Yankees have to know that if they don't get Lee, they are truly in deep doo-doo. Are they wondering why they just spent what they did to bring back an aging shortstop and a 41 year old closer who might start losing some of his magic because of age. The joy of the stress in the Bronx almost mitigates tomorrows agony. I said almost.

The whole thing is getting out of hand - it really is. I mean I just heard Clint Hurdle (or whoever is the new Pirate manager) say that he is excited about the core players he has, and that they plan to be creative so they can be competitive. Who the hell is he kidding? The core players will be gone before the trade deadline, the team will finish 103 games out of first and will have an average attendance of about 1,534. Or, how would you like to be Joe Madden, having to watch every good player on the Rays being allowed to leave? He is already reserving tee times for late August when he figures he'll be fired because the team is 12 - 74.

All this started because the schmuck in Washington decided to grossly overpay Werth. Crawford and Lee and Gonzalez and a few others need to put Werth on their Xmas card list. The guy who will need to really thank Werth is Pujoils. He must be laughing his ass off, because if Werth merits $126, and Crawford does the $140 thing, then he knows that his number will be large enough to fund NASA.

The Cardinal brass must be on life support by now, because they have no clue how they are going to pay Puljois. They don't have the beer money to tap into anymore, and while Puljos (maybe I can spell his name right and choose not to) might give the Cards a hometown discount, he'll still rightfully be able to demand a contract that would make him the highest paid player ever.

I've normally been ambievelent about the Cards, although I showed the proper Philadelphia hate towards Drew and Rolen. St Louis, however is not one of my favorite stops. There is no way I could ever feel good about a city that allows both Bob Costas and Joe Buck to call it home.

Now, as I write, Ruben Amaro is sitting in his hotel room muttering obscenities under his breath. If Ruben drinks he is probably shit faced, and plans to stay that way until his wife makes him check into rehab.

He is running out of decent players to try and get to play RF, and the issues with the pen are still hanging over his head. Ordonez is still available, but Ruben doesn't have the kind of money to pay him to leave Detroit (but the Angels do!). Even Francoeur got a one year deal with KC at a price Ruben can pay. (Now starting in RF for your NL East Champion Phillies is Ross Gload/Ben Francisco) Amaro is probably afraid that people will start throwing stuff at him, even though he doesn't decide how much to spend. He'll take the heat. Shit, he's probably so desperate that he started scouting the reenactors.

If I just landed at PHL from another planet and the first thing I did was to turn on Sports Center I wouldn't believe you when you told me that the country was in the throes of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. How could I? Baseball mirrors the society in general in that the rich keep getting richer, while the rest of us fight for the crumbs. At some point the whole thing will collapse like the house of cards that it is, but until then LET"S PLAY BALL ALREADY!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Last night I was watching the MLB network when none other than our man - Ruben Amaro was interviewed by the clones of the guys who were doing the interviews during the previous hour. Ruben spoke like the true politician he is and basically said nothing during his 5 minutes in front of the camera. He did, when asked about Jayson Werth, say that the Phillies had made Werth an offer, but nowhere near the numbers he got from Washington.

Before I roast Amaro I must say that he and his bosses would have been crazy to pay Werth the kind of money he is going to get from the Nats. Hey look, Werth is a nice player who has basically only played three seasons because of his various injuries; has hit over .300 once; and has only exceeded 30 HR's once; and has been named to one All-Star team once and that was because Charlie Manuel picked him. He is not worth Ryan Howard kind of numbers, even though he got it.

I wish him well in the District. I hope he hits about .234 with 14 HR's and drives in zero runs from the beginning of July through the end of August when the team will be buried in last place.

As for Amaro and his bosses., the one thing Amaro did say was that the Phillies fan base has the expectation that the club will make a big free agent or trade move every year. Ruben quashed that one pretty quick by flat out stating that it wasn't going to happen. It isn't in the cards.

Despite all of the money the team has spent, and is committed to spending over the next few years I feel that we fans have the right to expect them to try and keep the team on top - by any means possible. I don't believe that the proposed two-headed right field combo of Francisco/Gload will allow the team to compete for the title and it appears that Domonic Brown is not quite ready for prime time. Amaro said that his focus would be the bullpen - well I haven't read where Durbin has been re-signed, now did I? Durbin's re-signing would be a good start. They need a left-handed reliever desperately - so maybe Ruben ought to make the necessary moves.

The Phillies certainly do not have the resources of the Yankees, Red Sox, or even the Mets, but this is not a team that can honestly cry poverty as they are making money hand over fist. The faithful have crammed the stadium to overflowing for over a season during a time when ticket prices are starting to become unaffordable for many fans. They charge $4.00 for a bottle of water that can be had at any convenience store for 50¢, and could retire the national debt of Peru with what they charge for a 7,000 calorie sandwich which should be served hot - but isn't.

There is another matter I must remind you of. This is the same team that told us before they got their new stadium that they would not go after free agents until and unless we the people gave them a new stadium. They cried poor while they were blackmailing us. Well guess what - if you live and pay taxes in the Commonwealth you are currently and will for most of your lifetimes be paying off the bond issues floated to give the Phillies their new playground.

Fairness requires me to acknowledge that they did put some money up to sign and keep players, but it isn't our fault that Ibanez turned out to be a stiff, or that Rollins and Utley would begin a slide towards mediocrity. I certainly didn't agree to give Blanton the money he is making, but now I feel that we are being asked to suffer the consequences by having to watch what I believe will be a team that has seen its last playoff for quite a long time.

As long as they are playing in front of sell out crowds in a stadium they didn't have to pay for, the least they can do is continue to put the best product on the field - and they are not going to do it - and that pisses me off. Sure, we have a very good 1-2-3 starting rotation (Did you hear that Hamels?), but the rest of the staff is suspect at best and that includes Lidge.

If I'm right that the team, despite its pitching at the top is on the downslope then they need to make some moves like getting rid of Rollins and Utley so they can bring in some younger players who can produce. Hell, I'd even get rid of Hamels if it meant I could bring Lee back. No, I am not high, and I know that none of this is going to happen, but at least it's a plan that could keep the club competitive for years to come.

What set me off today was a rumor that the Nats were not finished shopping. It is said that they are going to make an attempt to sign Cliff Lee - that the Lerner brothers are prepared to go all in to bring a winner to Washington. Can you imagine how pissed we would all be if that happened, and how much better the Nats would be in 2012 when Strasberg comes back.

Ruben, it is time for your smug Mr. Cool act to end and for you to do something to justify the latest hike in ticket prices - and by that I don't mean signing Jeff Francouer. Give Carl Crawford a call, I hear he's available.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Carl Crawford says "Thank you, Jesus!"

According to Bill Conlin in todays Phila Daily News Carl Crawford is now on his knees saying, "thank you Jesus". Crawford, the Tampa Bay free agent star ought to put Scott Boras on the top of his Xmas list for setting the free agent market with the 7 year $126mm deal secured for his client, Jayson Werth. Crawford, who is younger than Werth and who is considered at the top of the free agent market should benefit greatly from the Werth Deal.

This long suffering fan is glad that the Hot Stove stuff is starting to get interesting as I was getting tired of nothing happening and having to listen to the fools on MLB talk about pretend deals - especially those proposed by Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal is in the HOF for making shit up, and should be tasered every time he lies - which would be every time he opens his mouth.

But lest this turns into a screed on the media, lets talk about the deals announced this weekend.

The Sawx made their move with the deal about to come down with the Padres which will bring Adrian Gonzalez to Boston for a bunch of prospects that most of us have never heard of. (Kind of reminds me of the guys we got for Cliff Lee.) The Yankees, as expected did deals with both Rivera and Jeter, and Jeter will now make less than Werth.

All of the above happened before the winter meetings even started - so maybe we will be entertained with a deluge of deals and gross amounts of money being paid to guys who could never even make the minimum in the real world - but MLB is not the real world.

Our boy Ruben has stated that the Phillies had made a signifigant offer to Werth - reported to be in the neighborhood of $60mm. (This is the same Ruben who a couple of weeks ago tried to tell us that Ibanez and Werth were comparable players. Uh huh!) Sixty million dollars is a lot of money, but $126mm is a whole lot more. Ruben now has a problem which I'll speak to in a bit.

For his part, Werth said that the negotiations with the Phillies made him feel unwanted here, and that he no longer felt part of the teams plans for the future. Poor baby felt unwanted! Gang if anyone ever offered me any amount of money to play in the show I would feel very wanted.

Werth now gets to play for the Nats, which means of course that he goes from first to last and will play in front of a more than half empty stadium in front of Ryan Zimmermans family and a few lobbyists who go to the park to celebrate bribing a few congresspeople to let the banks do what ever they want. Contrast that with playing in front of a packed house of true baseball zealots which include tons of women who thinks he has a nice ass. The bottom line of course is that the Nats made Werth a godfather offer - which Werth had to take. Yes, it's that simple - money talks and everything else doesn't matter squat.

That Werth signed the 13th largest contract in MLB history doesn't bother me in the least. The fact that he will be playing against our beloved candystripers 18 times a year doesn't bother me either, especially since we still have the aforementioned Raul Ibanez, and the untouchable Domonic Brown.

You remember Brown. He was the guy that Ruben said was absolutely untouchable as far as trades were concerned. Ruben told us that Brown had all the tools and the potential to be a superstar for many years. I wonder if this is the same Domonic Brown who went 2 for 29 in the DR, and was just sent home due to his being tired and exhausted from playing so much baseball over the past year. (Duh) The guy coming back from the DR can't be the same guy who was going to be our right fielder for the next ten years and make us forget Jayson Werth. No, this must be someone else, because our guy could hit, and this guy showed when he came up this past season that he can't hit ml pitching, and had no clue how to play defense. No, our guy is in hiding somewhere because so far this 2 for 29 guy hasn't shown this long suffering fan that he can replace Eric Bruntlett let alone Jayson Werth.

So now our boy Ruben has his work cut out for him. Let's see.....a right fielder, some middle relief, and more suckers to pay 5.00 for a friggin Hatfield hot dog. The challenges are daunting for Ruben, and we'll just have to wait and see just what he'll come up with. I know it won't be Carl Crawford.

On other fronts. I watched my NFL Red Zone yesterday and saw several players get penalized for making horse collar tackles. The mamby pamby league ought to just outlaw tackling all together and fit everyone with a flag. I, like most who watch the NFL look for and want vicious hitting. I live for a good chop block, and have a hard time with the whole concept of protecting "defenseless players". It's bad enough I have to watch grown men run around in silly looking uniforms, but if I can't see guys go down like they have been shot I'll look for something else to occupy my time on Sundays.

On a high note, while I didn't see it, I was thrilled to see Tiger go into the last day of his tournament with a lead and have him blow it. Tiger, you remember is the guy who likes waitresses and has until yesterday never lost a tourney when he had the lead going into the last day. His loss yesterday meant that for the first time since turning pro in 1996 he went through an entire season without a victory. Makes me believe that there are gods of golf out there somewhere.

Growing up in the greatest city in the world when I did meant that you got to see some of the greatest basketball on the planet. I mean we had it all.

There was of course the Big Five. Big Five doubleheaders were played at the Palestra twice a week in front of capacity crowds. Nationally ranked teams would come to the Palestra and go home wondering what the hell had just happened to them. To go along with the colleges, the Philadelphia Public League was fielding some of the greatest teams of all time with the likes of Overbrook, West Philly, Gratz and Bartram. Graduates of these schools could be found all over the NBA.

Then of course we had a 76ers team that not only featured home grown talent like Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain and Wally Jones, but also contended for championships every year. It was a special time, and no one loved it more than a guy named Phil Jasner. Phil Jasner grew up in Wynnefield, attended Overbrook High School and Temple University at a time when both 'Brook and Temple played great basketball. Phil couldn't play the game very well, but he could sure write about it and became the 76ers beat writer for the Daily News, a post he had since 1981 until his death the other day at the all to young age of 68.

I met Phil back in the early 80's when we joined the now defunct Gamma Swim Club. Most of the members were people who had grown up in West Philly, Wynnefield, or Overbrook Park, and most of us knew most of the members since childhood. While Phil and his wife were not part of our inner circle of friends, everybody knew the guy from school or the old Jewish 'hood we grew up in.

Phil was always approachable and would talk basketball at any time with anyone. I always enjoyed his inside stories of Wilt, Billy C, and the Doc. He never gave up dirt, but always humanized these stars. As a writer, Phil had an integrity not always found by sportswriters today looking to make a name for themselves. Unlike fools such as Gonzo (a real bad toupee?) or Eskin, Phil's writing wasn't about making Phil look good. Rather it was about reporting the facts and getting them right. If you read something in Phil's column you might not agree with him, but you knew that he had done his homework. He didn't print it if he couldn't verify it.

For most of his tenure, the Sixers sucked, but he never let that get in the way of his reporting, and unlike people like Stephen A. Smith who wrote angry, Phil stuck to the facts and always gave up quality reporting. I'll miss his columns, but I'll miss the man more.

Phil and I were not close friends. He was always cordial whenever we bumped into each other long after the swim club days were over. I'd bump into him at the Genuardi's in St. Davids from time to time and always enjoyed our 5 minute chats while picking out tomatoes. Phil's wife suffered from Lupus and despite his grueling travel schedule he found time to do the grocery shopping and other such mundane chores for his family.

The sports world and the human race lost a mensch the other day, but this long suffering fan is glad that I had the opportunity to know the man just a little.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


When we were kids we usually had a favorite number. We might have loved the number 20 if we were Mike Schmidt fans, or perhaps it was 44 if we adored Hank Aaron or Reggie. Both of those numbers have been worn by many great athletes, but neither approach the number of superstar athletes who have worn the number 32. I have discovered 16 members of various HOF's that have worn that magic number, and a few who will join them when their careers are finished.

For the sake of my point let me list them. (Take notes as there will be a quiz later)

Baseball: Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Dave Winfield, Elston Howard, & Chuck Klein.
Football: Jim Brown, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, O.J. Simpson,
Basketball: Magic Johnson, Bill Walton (w/Portland), Julius Erving (w ABA Nets), Kevin McHale, Shaq (w/ Magic), Karl Malone, Billy Cunningham
Soccer: David Becham (I hate soccer)
Other: Roman Chechmanek (I needed a hockey player), a former Flyer will not be in the HOF, & Johnny Gray, a pitcher with the 1954 Phila A's, also a non HOF player, but I wanted a Philly A's guy.

The above list is quite formidable, and I was fortunate to have seen many of them play in person.

It was very sweet when Philadelphia had a pro basketball franchise. I was privileged to have been able to watch Doc and Billy C lead the Sixers to two separate titles. Cunningham was called The Kangaroo Kid for his ability to jump. This product of Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall H.S. could shoot, rebound, pass, and play defense like a man possessed. It was said that he was only white on the outside. Doc was Michael Jordan before Jordan was Jordan. He could practically fly, and nobody could do the acrobatic dunking thing like he could. In one game to avoid a Celtic defender he actually went into the air traveling behind the pole only to emerge on the other side of the basket to score without ever touching the court. Jordan never did anything like that. (I loathe Jordan)

And who could forget the artistry that Steve Carlton practiced with his slider. It was sick how much the ball broke when he had the going right. There were nights when hitters begged a game off so that they wouldn't be made to look bad by Lefty. Sure, Carlton was whacked out of his head, but he was the greatest pitcher ever to wear the candystripes - and that includes Halladay and Roberts.

Dave Winfield deserves mention (despite having played for the Yankees) as being one of the greatest athletes of all time. The guy terrorized the AL for years, but how many know that he was a three sport star at the U of Minnesota and was drafted by both the NFL & the NBA? Elston Howard (also a hated Yankee) was the first black player to play for the Yankees and he forced Berra to become an outfielder because of his catching ability.

Before turning to the running backs I must mention just how great Magic Johnson was. After leading his Michigan State Spartans to an NCAA title over Larry Bird & Indiana State he became one of the top 5 NBA players of all time in my not so humble opinion. He was the first of the 6'9" guards. How sick is that - a guy that big who could put on the moves of an Oscar Robertson and be the floor general for the great Laker teams of the 80's and who, by the way, could shoot and rebound with the best of them. Yes, Virginia the Magic man COULD play defense. (Sit down Jordan - we have Magic - your services are not needed)

The only game I could play with any amount of skill was football, so I've saved the gridders for last. Sometime I'll tell the story of being run over by Cheltenham's Reggie Jackson in a H.S. game in 1963.

There may one or two of you wondering why I have not anecdoted David Beckham's greatness. Quit while you are ahead. He is a soccer player, which means I have never seen him play - nor will I ever see him play. I know that billions of people around the world love and play the game. I know that 79 pro soccer leagues have attempted to make a go of it in this country failing in each attempt. I know that Philadelphia now has a team called the Union, and I know that they sell out and that they suck. They don't even play in Philly for heavens sake - they play in Chester where the locals' favorite sport is to shoot at each other. David Beckham has movie star looks and probably gets laid more than any of us, but so what. The only good thing about the whole sport is Andres Kantor, who has never scored a goalllllllllllllllllllllllllll
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll !

Last comment on soccer. I know that there are a lot of youth leagues out there, especially out on The Main Line. All that proves is that a bunch of spoiled parents are afraid to let their spoiled kids play the real game of football. My god, Kyle might mess up his $12,000 orthodontics work. Screw Kyle and his parents. I hope he gets hit in the head with a soccer ball.

Now back to a real game and real superstars. There are 4 members of the football hall of fame that wore the number 32. I'll start with Marcus Allen who came out of USC and tore up the NFL for years. The guy was fun to watch as he could at one instant remind one of Gayle Sayers before turning into a bruising heads on runner who had deceptive strength. He was as graceful as a ballet dancer and played for the Raiders when the Raiders were the Raiders - when Al Davis knew he owned a football team.

Next on our list of running backs is a guy who is now starring in a real-life remake of the Longest Yard. Juice was a "slashing" kind of runner (I couldn't help myself). He was as quick on the field as he was with a blade in his hand, and like Allen played collegiately at USC. Putting his several personality and behavioral issues aside the guy was a joy to watch on the field. Playing in the hellhole of Buffalo - neither rain nor sleet nor snow could stop the guy. He was the first runner in NFL history to run for over 2000 tards in a single season. That was a truly amazing feat.

Our third HOFer to sport #32 was a kid out of Rancocas Valley NJ. For college he chose to wear the most beautiful uniform in college football history. His running style for the Nittany Lions was as no frills as was his uniform. Plain and simple - you gave Franco Harris the ball and he ran over people. The fancy running was done by his teamate Lydell Mitchell, but Franco was the bull. He never got hurt and he helped lead Penn State to not one, but two undefeated seasons.

Not satisfied with the great success he had at PSU he the had an amazing career as the feature back for the great Steeler teams of the 1970's. Trust me when I say that those guys could win today in the NFL even though they were much smaller than the players of today. They were hard core hitters and could beat you with Franco running the ball or with a passing attack that had Terry Bradshaw throwing to the tandem receivers of Stallworth & Swan. I still enjoy watching films of these guys beating the Cowboys in two Super Bowls. (I do hate the Cowboys) My Italian friends always had a bit of a problem with him because he is half Black & half Italian. As such he wasn't fully embraced as a hero by some Italo-Americans who are a bit sensitive to their own genetic heritage (see Dennis Hopper for more information). Whenever Harris is brought up many invoke the "one drop" rule and change the subject. (They don't like talking about the great Dodger catcher Roy Campanella either).

Our final running back who wore #32 is none other than the greatest collegiate lacrosse player of all time. (Don't even talk to me about some the Gait brothers as they couldn't carry my guy's sticks) Jim Browns first athletic love was lacrosse. His second was football. After tearing up the competition on Long Island Brown went to Syracuse on a combination lacrosse/football scholarship. The lacrosse coach loved him and had no problem playing the first African-American major college lacrosse player. Ben Schwartzwalder, the football coach, was another matter. Big Ben was a racist. He swore that this "nigger" would never take a spot away from one of his boys. True to Ben's word, when Brown joined the Syracuse varsity eleven he was listed as the third string fullback. Being the third string fullback meant that you never had to worry about preparing for a game because you weren't going to play - not even on special teams - unless both of the guys listed ahead of you got hurt.

The Gods Of Gootball were not amused with Schwartzwalder's racism and - lo and behold - arranged for both the first and second string fullbacks to suffer season ending injuries. The rest as they say is history. Brown got his chance and terrorized all he played against. First of all he played at 230 lbs which for the mid 1950's was the size of linemen, not running backs. Secondly, he was fast, quick, and strong. In college he was virtually unstoppable and he parlayed his collegiate success into becoming the first round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns.

Once he hit the playing fields of the NFL he again became the best of the best. He played only nine years for the Browns and was named ALL-Pro in each and every season. He never missed a game because of injury although many a defender had to leave the game after being hit by Brown. Brown could not usually be brought down by one tackler - most often it took two or three guys to get him down.

Brown had the ability of running through you or around you, and he played angry. He was an early participant in the civil rights movement by his own account was not very fond of white folk. He made them pay on the field.

In his nine seasons Brown gained 12,312 yards on 2359 carries. For you non math majors that translates into 5.2 yards per carry. Brown played in only 118 games (the season was 12 games long until 1960, then 14 until the end of his career in 1965 - not the 16 games of today) Again non math majors that translates into a per game average of 104 rushing yards per game. Today's greats can't even hope to average 100 plus yards a game - look it up. He scored 106 rushing TDs and for the cherry on top he added 20 passing TDs. He did fumble from time to time. In fact he fumbled a total of 57 times or once every 41 carries.

It is very clear that Jim Brown was the greatest running back in the history of the game. But wait long suffering fan - how can you say that - Emmitt Smith holds the rushing record with 18355 yards. Yes he does Cowboy fans, but not so fast with the accolade as best running back of all time. Smith played in 226 games. Even good Republican math shows that he played in 108 more games than Brown which means a career per game average of 81.2 yards per game. His per carry average was 4.1 yards - more than one yard less per carry than Brown. Smith also had the advantage of playing on teams with multi-faceted offensive threats. What I mean you closeted Cowboy fans is that Aikman had people to throw to whereas when you played the Browns you knew that Jim Brown was the Browns offense. Emmitt Smith wasn't even as good a running back as the guy who took Browns place when he quit football to make the movie "The Dirty Dozen" (I'm referring to Phillys own LeRoy Kelly).

I've saved my favorite #32 for last. On my wall next to my computer is an autographed photo of a pitcher who refused to pitch on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, even when his Dodgers were playing in the World Series. He hailed from Brooklyn and was signed out of the University of Cincinnati by his hometown Dodgers for what was then a princely sum of $20,000. That amount qualified him as a bonus baby and that meant that the Dodgers had to keep him on the parent club before he was ready to play in the show.

While Sandy Koufax was indeed a member of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers team he didn't contribute to the teams only World Series win while in Brooklyn. The Dodgers were befuddled by his lack of success. Here was a guy with a 90 mph curve ball, a 90 mph change-up and a fastball that observers of the time swore exceeded 100 mph who had a 36-40 won loss record from 1955 until 1960 and never had an ERA below 3.00 with most years coming in above 4.00. The problem was his control, and his pedestrian pitching days ended when catcher Norm Sherry convinced him to throw slower - which allowed Koufax to gain control over his pitches.

The slower throwing (95 mph fastball) Koufax went 129-47 from 1961 through his last season of 1966, and had three seasons where his ERA was below 2.00. How sick is that? During that period he threw 35 shutouts, struck out 1713 while only walking 412, and completed 115 games. (Halladay had 9 this year as a basis of comparison) In three of those magical years he pitched over 300 innings and in 1965 he struck out 382 batters.

The most money Koufax ever made was in his last year when he ws paid $125,000. Today, only the Yankees could afford to pay him, and whatever Cliff Lee gets would be chump change compared to what Sandy would command.

The long suffering fan was a bit long winded today, but how could I not be given all of the great athletes who have worn #32 on their uniforms. Look it up if you care to, but no other uniform number is as represented in the various Halls Of Fame as is 32. There may be others wearing numbers other than 32 who are better than some on today's list, but that is a discussion for another day, on another birthday!

Happy Birthday Son, I love you very much and wouldn't trade you for anybody.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Happy

HAPPY CHANUKAH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, it's December already - which means it's time to eat latkes and spin the dreidel.

Of course it also means that spoiled Main Line Jewish kids will or the most part have their sense of entitlement heightened by the swag they receive over the next 8 days. I imagine a lot of electronic shit being given to kids who won't really appreciate the stuff and will wonder why they didn't get more.

Oh well - "why not," I say. Somebody has to get the shit, so why not Jewish kids? Of course many of them will also do the Xmas thing and will cruise into the new year dreaming of their next big score.

The brighter among you may have noticed that my spelling of the holiday begins with the letter C instead of the letter H. Everywhere I go I see Chanukah spelled Hanukah or Hannukah. In my opinion the newer spelling is a Hallmark-led conspiracy to force we members of the tribe to further assimilate ourselves into the world of Wonderbread, mayonnaise on hamburgers, Republicanism, and other such horrors.

I for one will not bite into that shit sandwich (with Miracle Whip). I don't wear polyester either - so take that DuPont!

I intend to continue spelling this holiday with a C as the first letter. While I believe in maintaining certain traditions and discarding others, the keeping of the letter C in front of hanukah is important for security and identification purposes.

No, the long suffering fan has not slipped over the edge. By placing the letter C in front there is created a CH sound that non-Jews cannot pronounce properly. No matter how hard they try, they find it impossible to pronounce it correctly. I have tried to teach my non-Jewish friends the proper way, but they always fail. Most make the sound of the letter K, which tells me immedietly that they are gentiles (goyim to those who can pronounce it correctly). That doesn't make them bad people or anything like that - it just means that they are of a non-Jewish ethnic group and will be forever CH-challenged. Sorry gang, but there is no medication to fix this problem.

All Jews have a genetic ability to pronounce this sound correctly (unless they have been raised in an ultra-reform tradition which teaches them how to pray like their gentile neighbors. These folks will not pronounce it properly, and almost surely will name their kids Kyle, or Sean.)

The proper pronunciation of the sound allow us to identify other Heebs, especially those who have had their names changed so as to hide the fact that they are from the tribe. We used to be able to check a guys 'junk' (just like Hitler's friends used to do) but now fully 70% of American men have had a snip job, so now we have to rely on the CH test.

Chanukah isn't the only word which gives us a good ID check. My lady friend who is by no means a member of the tribe has known me for 5 years and still calls me a smuk instead of schmuck. She just can't pronounce it correctly, but I do understand that when she mis-pronounces that word it means that there will be no joy in Mudville that night. (Why do women stay pissed longer than guys? Another one of those mystery questions of life.)

I'll close by attempting to teach those of you who are CH-challanged how to properly pronounce it. Good luck. The proper pronunciation has a similar sound as when you are bringing up a big juicy gob of phlegm. The sound begins in the throat, gang, just like the loogie you bring up. Now when I watch people try, they usually can make the phlegm sound, but fail when making it flow into the rest of the word. I urge you to practice because if you get it right you will be allowed to celebrate the holiday and not have to wait until Xmas to get your shit, and can experience the joy of assembling things for your kids twice in the same month.