Friday, April 29, 2011


I wasn't planning to spend the greater part of an evening watching NFL Commish Goodell make 30 announcements that I was watching the NFL draft. The only reason I was still in front of the T.V. when Goodell announced that with the 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL draft the Eagles had selected offensive tackle Danny Watkins from Baylor was that I had fallen asleep at some point earlier during the event, and when I awoke the Eagles pick was only a few minutes away - so I figured that I might as well stay put and watch what surprise Fat Andrew had for us.

I was grateful that the gods of falling asleep in front of the T.V. had spared me the unholy trio of Boomer, Chucky, and Mel, whose contributions to the show were inane, silly, and downright insulting. They were commenting and parsing every move as if this shit was important. I have been tired of the bumbling, fumbling Berman for many years and he did nothing to change my opinion that he should either retire or move to Belarus to cover that nation's sporting scene. Gruden has proven that he was a far better coach than a commentator. To his credit, he has learned every football cliche as he seems to have no difficulty in putting them all to use. Jon Gruden is a moron and should be sent to wherever Joe Theissman is so they can babble to each other and not offend our intelligence with their nonsense. Mel Kiper, the self-proclaimed king of the "draftologists" should be drafted into the Marine Corps and then sent to Afghanistan as a member of a bomb disposal unit. This clown has made a fortune being wrong and making those who are supposed to know about such things wrong about their selections when they don't neatly fit into Kiper's delusions.

Since the Eagles obviously have no intention of addressing their biggest need, that of replacing their head coach, I have no problem with the selection of an O-lineman as this is an area needing attention. Last year's line blocked nobody, so maybe Watkins will help. The important word is maybe, since His Largeness has a spotty record of picking linemen.

I was still shaking my head when King Andrew The Large was interviewed about the pick by Keith Russell. Prince Roly Poly was so effusive in his praise that I found myself buying in to the Obese One telling me that this was the guy he wanted because he was the best ever and all the rest. Just when I was about to drink some green kool-aid something dawned on me - this was Andy Reid praising Andy Reid's pick, and Andy has a history of not telling us the truth. I screamed at the T.V. I had had all that I could stand so, with the adeptness of the superior athlete that I am, I grabbed the remote and turned the set off in what might be record time.

Watkins may indeed turn out to be the answer for the O-line, but the long suffering fan has more important matters to deal with. With the Sixers now finished, and with little interest in the Flyers-Bruin match-up, my laser focus is aimed at the Phillies. I am concerned and you should be as well.

For whatever reason the Phillies bats came alive in the getaway game in Arizona. The team got some production from guys who had taken most of the month of April and were able to salvage a win against the D'Backs. While a win was nice it certainly didn't erase the pathetic play of recent weeks. The upcoming games against two other shitty teams will give us a better idea if the team slump is over. Time will tell.

One of my concerns is the health of the team. Blanton just went on the DL. Maybe the guy has been hurt all season. That could explain why he has been mostly horrific. Ruiz said "Oy, mein bek," [Editor's Note - I don't think Ruiz actually speaks Yiddish] which means that Schneider will be the starter until Ruiz gets his rest. Rest? This is April. If the guy needs rest in April, what will July and August bring? We still have no idea when Utley will be able to play, and what he will bring to the table when he does. Ibanez continues to deteriorate in front of our eyes and I've heard rumors that he has ordered one of those power wheel chairs one sees advertised.

The long suffering fan is also greatly concerned about the staff. Lidge remains on the shelf, Contreras is right next to him and they both are making room for Blanton. With Oswalt home dealing with the aftermath of the tornado we could be in deep doo doo if the remaining three aces don't win every time out - something that seems unlikely, especially with the early season performance of Lee. Hamels seems to be righting his ship and Halladay is still Halladay. Without Contreras, the closer's role falls to Madson who, despite some success this season, has a history of not being able to get the job done in any inning not called the 8th.

I'll feel a lot better if the candystripers can win the next 6 games against the Madoffs and the Nats. I'll feel really good if Jayson Worthless hears some chin music but, given the way things sometimes work here in Philly, the guy may break out of his season long slump while here.

Let me know how the NFL draft works out tonight because I won't be watching. I'll be watching the newest member of the Phillies, Vance Worley, take the mound against the Madoffs. He might do well since his first start of the season is against what amounts to a AAA team. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


If I have to wear egg on my face because of predicting and believing that the Flyers were a foregone conclusion to be eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, I am happy to do so. I hope that if any of you had a few sheckels on the outcome that you took my advice to bet the opposite side to my prediction. As I have shown the inability to pick winners, betting against me might be a good way to fund your kids education.

As of this writing the Flyers next opponent has not been announced, but you can be sure that no matter which team it is I will see no way for the local guys to win.

I did not watch any of the Fly Fly boys (couldn't have told you what channel they were on if my life depended on it), but I did get to see the Sixers awesome performance on Sunday. They jumped all over the Heat and had a 15 point lead in the 1st quarter. The Heat went on their own tear in the 2nd quarter and led by 1 at the end of the half. During the second half, the game was back and forth with the Sixers hitting a couple of key three pointers at the end of the 4th quarter to force a game five in Miami. This team is one of the younger teams in the league and they have some nice players. Even Evan Turner came up big the other day.

I still don't think they have the horses or the experience to win the series, but they could be very good next year. A nice treat. I really do like games where they play FOUR QUARTERS!

In other sports news, the NFL is holding their annual draft tomorrow evening in NYC. Duh, does anybody give a shit? Seriously, who cares? Fat Andrew and his troops will select someone no one has ever heard of and then trumpet them as the next coming a la Kevin Kolb. I'm sorry gang, but I don't get goosebumps when the Commish announces that the Titans are on the clock. I can't stomach Mel Kiper or any of the other draftologists who make pronouncements like they actually know what they are doing. Instead of wasting air time with these fools sitting next to people who used to be able to make a living being sportswriters they ought to show old Yogi Bear or Tom & Jerry cartoons. It would be more entertaining and their ratings would soar.

If you lived in Arizona or Pittsburgh, or some other place with a truly pathetic baseball team, you would probably become very excited if your team was in second place. If the Bucs ever get that high in the NL Central standings, the kids would get a day off from school and somebody would announce plans to re-open a steel mill. Unfortunately, the expectations here in the greatest city in the world go a little higher than second place - which is exactly where the candystripers reside after last night's loss to the D'Backs. The Phillies are now looking up at the assholes of the Florida Marlins, and I hope they don't get fish shit on their faces. The only word I can use to describe their offense is pathetic.

The next time you go into your local post office you will see Raul Ibanez's picture on a most wanted picture. He is now wanted for Grand Theft Of A Pay Check. Going into last night's debacle he was hitting a buck seventy-nine. I told you last season that the guy was finito. Do you believe me now? Why this clown is still penciled into the line-up most nights befuddles my imagination. The way things are, he gets paid whether he fucks up at the plate or not, so why not give the left field job to Mayberry so we can find out what he can do when playing regularly. Shit, we already know what Ibanez can't do.

La de da, Superstar had a couple of hits last night, but it has been thirteen games since he has hit a home run. If you are going to pose like Babe Ruth before every pitch, then you need to hit some four baggers every once in a while. As it stands now, Superstar is hitting around .275 with three home runs. Sounds like a Dominican shortstop and not one of the premier sluggers in the game.'

The long suffering fan is also seeing cracks in the Four Aces. Remember how excited we all were when Cliff Lee said, "I pick Philly?" It was going to be the best of times, and never the worst of times. So far, it isn't quite working out the way we thought. Lee has occasionally pitched well this season, but looks more like the guy who got tuned up in the World Series last year than the stud he once was. I understand that without the offense providing run support the pitcher's job is much harder, but something is starting to smell a little stale. I can't complain about Oswalt last night as he has been the most consistent guy in the rotation so far. Halladay will probably end up the season just fine, but even he has had his moments this season. Today we get Hamels in an afternoon getaway game. I for one will be glad to see these guys get the hell out of the desert.

That's about it for now. The long suffering fan wishes you all a great day and hopes that none of you are planning to stay up up all night to watch the big wedding. Prince William is taking a bride - yippee doo! If it really means anything to you, I'll get you a plate with their pictures on it, or maybe a toilet seat - there is one with the couple's picture on it. The only royal I like is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He has a great job. He never has to say anything, gets a gazillion pounds a year for being the guy who has to sleep with Liz, gets to wear a different uniform every day, and is worshiped by a cargo cult in the Republic of Vanuatu. Have a great day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Yesterday, during a conversation with my editor/son, I was accused of being strangely silent when certain members of the Phillies rise to the occasion and contribute to a team victory. Why, he asked, did I not write words of superlative praise when the owner of Cole's Cutz stepped on the mound and delivered a gem of a performance? Why, he asked, did I not write words of superlative praise when Superstar stepped into the batters box, did his Babe Ruth pointing to the seats routine, and then delivered a clutch hit to lead the candystripers to yet another victory?

Let me clear the record. I have no problem acknowledging the contributions of either Hamels or Howard, when they make them. Hamels indeed pitched a nice game the other night in front of his hometown San Diego fans. Howard did get the key hit in last night's victory. His two run double, hit with the outcome of the game still in doubt, was clutch and very welcome after he had struck out in his four previous trips to the plate. Shit, the wind created by his "swing and a miss" efforts had meteorologists all over California and Mexico issuing high wind warnings from freak occurrences of the Santa Ana winds.

How do I know that Cole was a native San Diegoan? It is a fact I'll never forget because our two ace broadcasters McCarthy and Wheels mentioned it 428 time during the game. About the only thing they didn't tell us was the name of Hamel's junior prom date. Another fact I will never forget is that Wheels went to Marple-Newtown High School. Apparently he bumped in to a Phillie fan attending the game who hailed from Broomall, so of course he had to do two minutes on what a great place it was to grow up. Duh! Give me a break Wheels. If growing up in a non-diverse community (no blacks) made up of ticky tacky housing developments (lots of post-war split levels) and a permanent inferiority complex of not being on the real Main Line is your cup of tea, then bravo to mediocrity. What Wheels needs is to take off his wig, as it is obviously much too tight. He needs to acknowledge that the only thing more boring than Marple Township is himself.

Back to the Phillies. The mark of a good team is the ability to win games when not playing well. As of this writing, they are still atop the NL East despite hitting below .200 for the past few weeks. Ibanez hasn't had a hit for quite a while and the way he is swinging the bat tells this long suffering fan that if he is lucky he'll get his next hit sometime around Fathers Day. And what about Mr. Contract Year Rollins? He got his second RBI of the year last night! Someone needs to tell Rollins that if his current level of play continues, his next contract will be with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Despite Superstar's clutch hit last night the only record he looks to beat is the one for the most strikeouts in a single season. He not only isn't hitting for average (what a surprise), his power production is pathetic. Every ballplayer has slumps, but he looks terrible at the plate. He is swinging at every low pitch that is thrown and is not making good contact with the ball. Maybe the pressure of having to be the man is too much for him to handle, or maybe he is distracted by something - I don't know - but something needs to be done, and quickly, because if he doesn't hit then all of the pitching in the world won't get this team to the promised land.

Speaking of pitching. I can't remember another time in Phillies history when pitching carried the team the way it is carrying them now. Back in the day, the team could usually find one stud in the rotation followed by OH SHIT. The current edition of the team is winning because of pitching - even the bullpen has for the most part done their job. Lee and Halladay have pitched OK, and Hamels has shown signs of life but, for my money, Oswalt has been the big story. He doesn't get the press or the hype of the others but he quietly goes out there and gets the job done. For me, he is the staff story of the season - so far. I cringe when Blanton takes the hill, but then I remember that he is the 5th starter, not the ace, and in that context even Blanton has performed. Madson and Contreras have basically been lights out. When is the last time you or anyone else has had the thought "I can't wait for Lidge to get back?"

The season is still young so we'll have to see how it all plays out, but being in first place is certainly better than where the Madoffs reside even though the Phillies have only played one good team so far (Brewers), and that didn't work out real well. I'll stick with them at least until I see how they do against other good teams.

Later today, the Sixers season will more than likely end as the Heat looks to sweep our guys [Editor's note - Ha!]. The team is surprisingly entertaining even while losing. Jrue Holiday is the real deal, and if they can find one or two other players to compliment him they may be able to compete with some of the better teams. No, I am not high.

It also looks like the Flyers are about to begin yet another off-season as they prepare for the traditional first round exit from the playoffs (last year was an aberration). The mighty Buffalo Sabres have so far proven to be more than Ed Snider's guys can handle, and I don't see a miracle on the ice this time. I suppose that many members of the team will make their way to America Lite after the next game where they may have better luck ice fishing than they did playing ice hockey.

With both the basketball and hockey seasons about to end we can focus on the candystripers and the upcoming wedding of Kate and William. I've never understood why so much fuss has been made over the royal family, but if that is your thing - have a ball. They are essentially an inbred group of spoiled descendants of thieves, rapists & murderers who give new meaning to the concept of welfare.

Hope you all had a nice holiday, and don't forget that season two of the HBO show Treme begins tonight. Khandi Alexander should be awesome!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Several years ago George Carlin did a bit on chi-chi names. That is to say, he was commenting on the folks in the '80s and '90s who where departing from naming their boys conventional names like Robert, Michael, or George and going with trendy first names such as Ryan, or Kyle. Carlin particularly hated that one, and tonight I join him.

Kyle Kendrick is one of my goats of last night's loss to the Brewers. Not only did the guy allow baserunners, he made a horrible throw to first base that allowed the Brewers to take the lead in the top of the 12th which they held on to. Kendrick pitched like he wanted to leave for Allentown tonight. He absolutely sucked. I'd make him take the Chinatown bus to the Lehigh Valley! If they don't send him down, then he should become Blanton's roomie in the condo at 3rd & Indiana.

Kendrick wasn't the only goat last night. Somebody needs to inform Rollins that it isn't cool to go 0-5 with a walk. Somebody needs to tell him that the guy who bats second needs to be productive. Somebody needs to tell him that he is in his contract year and that the team needs him to play like that. Also, while somebody is talking to J-Roll [Editor's note - This might be a trademark infringement now], they might as well talk to Superstar.

Superstar, as you may have noticed, has stopped hitting. Coming into last night's game he was something like 2-26. Not acceptable for the Superstar. He is most irritating when he steps up to the plate and poses with his bat pointing to the right field seats. He must think he is Babe Fucking Ruth or something. Someone needs to tell him that he is not Babe Fucking Ruth and that we don't appreciate the high drama before he either strikes out or hits into a double play with men on base and the game on the line. Someone needs to tell him that he needs to learn how to hit in the clutch. Until he does, he needn't act so cool. He too can go to 3rd & Indiana.

I must acknowledge that I haven't written these guys off like I did last year - it is far too early for that. I will give them till Mother's Day and then, if they continue to play the way they are starting to play the past few games, I will drop them like hot potatoes.

You may have noticed that Raul came into last night's game sporting a lusty .236 average. You may have noticed that Francisco's average has been dropping like a Stuka after meeting up with a Spitfire in the skies over southern England. You also may have noticed that, once again, they lost the first game of a series. That is getting old. Blanton at least kept them in the game, but when the only guy doing his job at the plate is Polanco and when guys with chi-chi names like Ryan and Kyle serve up runs like they were jelly beans, I say it is at least time to put away all of the Kool-Aid and be prepared to jump on the Pirate bandwagon with the long suffering fan. With Doc taking the ball today against Randy Wolf there is always the chance for a win - we'll have to wait and see.

Ryan Braun should be ashamed of himself. Instead of hitting the Phillies the way he did last night he should have taken the night off and gone to his mother's house for a seder. If he had made mom happy instead of smacking the ball all over the Bank, we might have won the game. Shame on you Ryan Braun (Carlin was so right).

Happy Passover to all of you who are celebrating this holiday. If you are not celebrating, consider yourself lucky that someone who loves you didn't put a plate of the foulest food ever created in front of you. I am speaking of gefilte fish, of course. Seriously, it looks foul (like a gray turd), smells foul (worse than a beer fart), and must taste foul. I say "must" because I have never, to my knowledge, tasted even a tiny piece. I just know that I don't like it, and plan never to eat it. It is a disgusting part of a traditional Passover meal, but do I have a gefilte fish story for you.

Once upon a time ago when my mother would have the family to her house for the first night of Passover, she would make her own gefilte. None of that slimy jarred fish for her family. Nope, she made the stuff from scratch. To make "the good stuff" you needed two freshly killed fish - a carp and a whitefish. Back then there was a store not five minutes from her house that sold "fresh fish." For Passover, they had tanks of fish swimming waiting for their turn to be taken from their tanks to homes far and wide so that they could donate their bodies for the gefilte fish. The key to this story is for you to remember that this store was a five minute car ride and a ten minute walk to her house. This would have been an easy mission for my father, whose job it was to go fetch the fish. Including the time it would take him to park his car and bring the fish into the house the fish would have been dead for less than ten minutes. Sounds pretty fucking fresh to me.

My mother, however, had other ideas. She knew that the best fish were to be found at a store on Bustleton Ave. in Northeast Philly - a one hour trip the way my father drove. That's one hour up and one hour back. She insisted on sending him there for the fish, which would be dead a lot longer when they arrived at her house, and thus less fresh. We all tried to tell her that the fish from the store five minutes away would be fresher, but she would have none of it. Off to Bustleton Ave. he went, every year, until one year I was able to convince him that what he ought to do was to come over and hang out at our house, buy the fish locally about two hours later, and save the trip to the NE. He thought it was a wonderful idea, so on what was supposed to be his annual trip to Bustleton Ave, he came to our house in Havertown and watched cable TV (which they didn't yet have in the city of Philadelphia) and smoked a cigar (which he was not allowed to do at home). A great idea, like a lot of great ideas didn't work.

It was the tape the guy used at the local fish store to seal the package of fish that got us caught. They used plain tape, while the store on Bustleton Ave. used tape with their store name printed on it. She also claimed that the quality of wrapping paper the local store used was of a lesser quality. This was considered a capitol offense by my mother, and she told everybody who would listen the next night at the family seder that if the gefilte fish wasn't up to snuff it was my father they should blame, as she had tried to use all of her culinary magic to make it come out right. It was his fault.

While nobody likes to get caught after committing what they think was the perfect crime, it didn't work out too bad for my father. My mother was so mad at him that she didn't talk to him for days - in essence, giving him time off for bad behavior.

Except for reporting that the Philadelphia A's split a doubleheader on Sunday with "Balls" hitting a double that's about it for now. Later in the week, we'll take a trip on the Wayback Machine. Until then, take care and don't eat too much matzo lest you become one very constipated person.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


It's been a helluva week here in the greatest city in the world, and we don't need any more like the one just passed.

First, Philadelphia icon Tastykake has been sold to a Georgia company, leaving the future of of the local nature of the company up in the air. I can't even imagine Kandykakes and Krimpets not being made here, but that is exactly what might happen. The company has been having financial problems for several years, and the long suffering fan has read that the sale was the only way to keep it operating. Many a fond memory of my childhood revolves around remembering what a treat it was to open the 3-pack of cupcakes and licking the icing off the then wax paper wrapping. That is in the same league as separating the two halves of an Oreo so as to be able to lick the cream in the middle.

Tastykakes haven't been packaged in wax paper in many years and have shrunk in size while costing more, but with the Wayback machine at least I can travel back to a better time and enjoy my Krimpets and the obligatory glass of milk the way God and the Founding Fathers meant them to be enjoyed.

In other is-this-really-happening news, the board of directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra is meeting today to vote on declaring bankruptcy. When the long suffering fan was growing up we all believed that this orchestra was one of the finest in the world, and that may have been true, but declining revenues have put this institution's future in jeopardy. I've only been to see them once or twice and, given the choice, I would prefer to go to a Whispers concert, but it is a sad state of affairs to see this happening.

This past week also saw Rep. Paul Ryan deliver his budget plan. The plan, much heralded before its release, basically offers more tax cuts to those that don't need them and throws Grandma under the bus with health care vouchers that won't even come close to paying for the healthcare insurance she will need as she gets older. It doesn't control costs any better than the current system, but rather just shifts costs to seniors who will get a choice of two health care plans - bad or worse. Way to go Mr. Ryan. Now, the long suffering fan and those who have already reached the upper limits of 'middle age' won't be affected by Ryan's plan, but a lot of you will. Have fun young people because, if Ryan and his cronies get their way, your health care costs will bankrupt you, Pell grants and other means of sending your kids to college will be reduced, and your middle class status will be history. Of course, if we really want to be truthful, we could state that sending the kids may only be a way of getting rid of the kids since the degrees they receive won't help them get jobs that are now in India.

Enough politics. Once again, the Phillies have lost the first game of a series with the 4-3 beating they took last night against Florida. I say a beating because Roy Oswalt had to leave the game with back problems. Oops. Oswalt, who has had back problems before is listed as day-to-day, and any prolonged time away from the rotation can not be a good thing.

I expect Charlie to read from the managers guide and say that others will have to "step up their game," and we'll just have to take it one day at a time. Charlie must be feeling good when he sees that Hamels and Blanton will be taking the ball for the next two games against the second place Fish, who could be the first place Fish after this weekend. Both of these new residents of the 3rd & Indiana neighborhood have stepped up before, but even Johnny Dollar isn't placing any bets on that happening.

Meanwhile, in a shocking Phils-related development, former outfielder Lenny "Dirt" Dykstra was arrested Thursday and charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Dude was charged with stealing or destroying 400K of property from his estate without obtaining permission from the executor of his estate, which is under order to be liquidated. Dirt is being held until he can post the $500K bail the court placed on him.

Dude, say it isn't so!

Meanwhile, 300 miles to the West, my beloved Pirates continue to struggle. After their torrid 4-2 start they have lost five out of six games which may mean that they have begun their descent to the cellar of the NL Central. They travel to Cinncy this weekend for a set against the Reds (a real team) so things could worsen for my beloved guys in black & gold. The big news out there is that Joe Biemel has been called up from AAA. That's kind of like the Phillies saying that they are resigning Adam Eaton.

The Pirates drew over 39,000 fans for their home opener, the second largest crowd ever to see a game at PNC Park. That is the good news. The bad news is that for the getaway game the other day against the Brewers only 10,500 souls were in attendence. I wonder how many of them had traveled from Wisconsin to see the Brewers. Yes, the Bucs lost that game when former hero Randy Wolf struck out ten, gave up three hits, in his six & two-thirds innings. My Pirates make fading journeymen pitchers look like HOFers.

When I write again we'll have a better picture of how the Flyers season is going to end as the guys in orange try and even their series with the Sabres. Somebody please tell them that scoring a few goals would be helpful. The Sixers have the treat of playing the Heat and all of their super players, so the long suffering fan isn't worried about who they could meet in the second round.

As I end today's nonsense I will leave you this. Back in the day, Braves fans used to say, "Spahn & Sain and pray for rain." We candystripe fans can update that one with "Doc & Cliff, and pray for rain!"

Friday, April 15, 2011


On this day in 1912 the White Star liner Titanic struck an iceberg and sank taking nearly 1500 lives with it to the bottom of the North Atlantic. Did the Flyers strike an iceberg last night?

So, as many of you know I am not a fan of the game of hockey. It isn't just because in their infinite wisdom those in America-Lite (Canada) who invented the game forgot to put a 4th quarter into the mix, but rather I just don't like watching a group of thugs skating for an hour and showing no offense for their efforts. They may not all be thugs, but don't most of them quit school when they are 12 to begin playing junior hockey? When interviewed, they sound like thugs, especially when they try and pronounce the word out - saying ooot, or about which they pronounce aboot.

So believe it or not the long suffering fan watched the final 8 minutes of the Flyers 1-0 loss to Buffalo. It wasn't my idea to watch the thing, but my friend Bob called and told me that I was missing a great game - so I turned it on. Duh! The Flyers had a myriad of chances to score (I mean they seemed to take a lot of shots) all of which were denied by the Sabre goalie and defense. Even though I don't enjoy the game, I do usually root for Philly teams so I was hoping that the guys in the Orange & Black could find a way to tie the game up, but as you all know - that wasn't to happen. OK, I thought, maybe I'll at least get to see a drop-the-gloves-to-the-ice brawl where some guy from Moose Balls Ontario would leave the ice bloodied and requiring 328 stitches to close the gash opened by his face meeting up with a stick. Didn't happen and even I knew that, when the Flyers pulled their goalie, the game was over. Shit, back in the day, Dave Schultz would have bloodied somebody. Not these guys.

A bit about my friend Bob. Bob is a super guy who thinks about sports every minute he is awake. He drinks all of the different flavors of Philly Kool-Aid that are made, and owns about a hundred different team shirts, jackets, and other such stuff which he always wears. Bob gets very angry with me when I try to present my views of the local teams, especially when I speak to the deficiencies of our Superstar first baseman. Bob, who did not watch the Cliff Lee complete game last night so he could watch the guys who talk funny lose game one told me that his guy Ryan Howard is the best in the game. (Bob has a Ryan Howard jersey.) When I mention a certain guy in St. Louis, he always tells me that he would take Ryan over Albert, despite Pujols being considered the best by most observers. Bob drinks Phillies Kool-Aid all the time - no matter what.

Bob is also a fantasy person. Last football season Bob was involved in no fewer than 10 fantasy leagues. He also was in a hockey fantasy league; a basketball fantasy league, and is now involved in at least 7 baseball fantasy leagues. His lovely wife doesn't mind because she does a major fantasy league herself. They fight constantly over computer time.

Facts are not always important to my super fan friend Bob. When I asked him the other day which team would eliminate the Flyers in the first round he went ballistic on me. They played in the finals last year he screamed. That was last year I said - adding that my impression was that they lose more opening rounds than they win. No he said, look at all the cups they have won. I told him that they have only won 2 of them - back to back in '74 & '75. You are wrong he screamed - what about the teams of the '80's and what they did. He then made the biggest mistake he could have made by suggesting that we make a wager. How much I said? Let's do it big and make it for $1.00. Since we normally only bet pennies, I had to give this one some time, but finally I said, why not make it for $5.00 if you are so certain you are right? He swallowed the bait, and we looked it up. He wasn't happy with what he learned, but he now owes me $5.00. Bob is probably sipping some orange Kool-Aid as I write. He'll feel better today when he puts his Phillies windbreaker over his Flyers "sweater" and wears his Sixers hat.

With Lee's complete game last night, the Phillies have extended their series winning streak to four, and sit atop the NL East with a 9-3 record and a two and a half game lead over the Marlins. The LSF is of course pleased with this early season record as I await the good guys falling into one of their swoons which will allow a team to sweep them that on paper should be playing in the Sally League (Is there still a Sally League?). Lee was simply awesome last night. He struck out 12 Nats, and his curve ball was absolutely unhittable. It truly acted like it was falling off a table. He struck out Worthless twice making him look seriously stupid the second time.

Now, Jayson Worthless did light up Blanton in game one of the series, but Doc and Lee made him look like the overpaid player that he is.

Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmerman held the Phils in check until Chootz decided to hit a home run. The good guys did score three more runs, but Lee only needed the one run to get the win and redeem his last start where he looked like Blanton who is now looking for a condo at 3rd & Indiana.

So, up next for the candystripers are the Brewers. It would be nice if we didn't spot them the first game like we have against the Madoffs, Braves, & Nats, especially since after Oswalt opens up the series we send Hamels and Blanton to the mound for games two & three - and you wonder why the long suffering fan is not drinking the Kool-Aid yet. I warn all of you that now is not the time to drink the shit. Get a case of Genessee if you have to drink something, and if you have the funds, go to Joe Banks where they are having another one of their super sales. This time if you buy one suit at regular price you get to back up your truck and take every suit, sportcoat, and jacket in your size home for free! What a country.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


April 12, 2011 and our Phillies open up a 3 game series against the Nats. I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling real good about it. On paper, our candystripers ought to sweep the series - even with Blanton scheduled to take the ball in game one.

The Phillies bats have performed very well in the first three series, while the Nats have performed, well, like the Nats. The Nationals are not a good team despite the signing of Jayson Worthless who starts tonight's action batting .200 with 1 RBI which was a home run. The team is hitting .177 with runners in scoring position, so whats the problem?

Only those who have been drinking barrels of Kool-Aid would tell you that the Phillies can and will continue their torrid pace for the entire season. Those of us who have put the Kool-Aid on hold know that the Phillies bats will get cold at some point, allowing a team like the Nats to win games against them. There will be the game where a pitcher no one but his parents have ever heard of will throw a 2 hit complete game while striking out Superstar in 3 out of his 4 at bats. At some point, Contreras will blow a save by allowing a 4 run bottom of the ninth, and Jimmy Rollins will tweak a muscle and have to be replaced by Martinez. All teams have down stretches - I just don't want it to come yet. I want Blanton to pitch Worthless very high and tight, and I want him to feel bitch slapped by his former team. I have no problem with his taking the money (all of us would) but his comments about our team and we the fans must not go unpunished. He needs to have to hit the dirt, early and often.

I am nervous about this series, but I will tune in and will be as optimistic as I can be.

Washington, as you should know, has had other franchises in its history. [There were Olympics, Blue Legs & Statesmen, but mostly just a whole lot of Nationals and Senators. Depending on how you define these things, there have been six different major league teams in DC to call themselves the Nationals and three teams called the Senators - Editor] Primarily, people remember the two Senators franchises that played in the American League. The earliest of the two teams actually recorded several AL Pennants and World Series wins with lineups that featured HOFers Walter Johnson, Joe Cronin, Heinie Manush, and Goose Goslin. The last pennant came in the 1930's, after which the team spiraled downward towards permanent futility. There was a saying that went something like this, "Washington is first in the hearts of America, and last in the American League." I assume the saying was referring to George Washington given the lack of love the city and those who work there have earned throughout the decades. [This teams was actually officially named the Nationals between 1905 & 1957 and, even though everyone called them the Senators, writers would sometimes refer to them as "The Nats" - Editor]. This version of the Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, and were replaced by an expansion team that took the name, but not the records and history of the first team. This new version of the Senators [Who, inexplicably, were also sometimes referred to as "The Nats" - Ed.] featured two time HR champ Frank Howard, and were managed for a time by Ted Williams. In the ten years they played they managed just one winning season and moved to Dallas, becoming the Texas Rangers. The current Nationals happen to be better than the last teams of the former Washington clubs, but they still suck.

I am always nervous when the Phillies play a team that should be easy fodder, and this series will be no exception. Blanton needs to focus and not blow a lead like he did in his last start. If he does, then I will have to dispatch him to 3rd & Indiana for some R&R.

Historically, this is a week to remember. On this date in 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died in Warm Springs GA and, on this date in 1861, Confederates led by General P.G.T. Beauregard shelled Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War. The commander of the fort, a Major Anderson, had been Beauregard's artillery instructor at West Point, and the Confederate stayed at the Point as Anderson's assistant after his graduation. Later this week, on April 14th, we will have the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater, just five days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th. I'm hoping that historians will remember this week as the week that ended the Nationals' hopes for a good season after being swept badly by the team from the greatest city in the world.

Meanwhile 300 miles to the west, my beloved Pirates are fading. The team gave Pittsburghers a few days of hope, but it seems as if they want to have yet another piss poor season. Pay attention to this team as they could very well break the record for consecutive losses before this season is over, providing thousands of empty seats in PNC Park. Maybe we should plan a road trip to see the Phillies play the Bucs and plan to sit behind the dugout.

The greatest athletes in the world are about to play basketball for real as the NBA playoffs get started, and the Flyers now know that it will be the Sabres who eliminate them in the first round. Of course the long suffering fan is being negative, but the last time our team of America-lite players brought home the Cup, many of you hadn't even been born.

That I am writing this at the ungodly hour of 5:53AM means that I woke up way too early. Today begins my second day of attempting to be a non-smoker. Maybe that is why I woke up too early. As of this moment I could smoke a towel, but despite the craving, so far so good.

I was OK yesterday until I came home from teaching the kids how to dance. The voice told me that I was doing good so far, but questioned my strategy of trying the cold turkey trip. The voice told me that I should start by just cutting down. The voice told me that the gradual way could work - that I would feel better, ya-da-ya-da and all that bullshit. The rational me told the voice to shut the fuck up. The rational me knows that the gradual way would cause me to fail, and I do not want to fail.

Anyway, given the nice weather, I took a walk and ended up walking the dog. I walked the little shit longer than he had ever been walked before. Dogs sort of know when their walk is over and almost instinctively know to head home. We ended up sitting on a park bench at 62nd & Cedar for at least half an hour watching the cars drive by. To my eye, every driver had a cigarette, as did every passer by. The hood is not the best place to try and quit smoking.

When I finally got home I was not the happiest or most pleasant person on the planet. I don't expect today to be any better, so I'm hoping not to have to deal with any assholes today. I know the fuse is short, but at least I got through the first day. I even managed to eat properly - meaning that I didn't eat the crap I'm not supposed to in an attempt to mediate the craving for nicotene. Tracee's mother quit cold turkey several years ago and told me that the second day would be worse than the first. I'll let you know. I do know that keeping busy will help, so I'll do some cleaning and walking and hating mankind, but I'm determined to get through the day.

That's it for today. Here's hoping that you enjoy your morning coffee, wherever you get it! See ya.

Monday, April 11, 2011


What a great weekend for the teams in the greatest city in the world. After losing the opener in Atlanta, the candystripers took games 2 & 3 from the Bravos with Cole the Stylist finding a way to pitch what was a fine game. Not only that, but the Phils bats are alive and well so far this season. So far, the home town boys of summer have taken all three series they have played so far and are on pace to lose 54 games. Do the math - winning two out of three equals 54 losses, and a certain division title. I have not been sipping on red kool-aid, and I haven't yet had my bowl of heavenly hash so my math can not be questioned.

I advise each and every one of you to enjoy this fine play, because it is a long season and, at some point, Superstar will stop hitting, Ibanez will play like the old guy that he is and the Flyin' Hawaiian will hurt himself trying to think. Who knows, maybe Jayson and the Nats will be the team that stops our guys, so stay cool and do not, I repeat, DO NOT drink the kool-aid just yet.

I will, however, be drinking some blue kool-aid now that the A's re-enactors, led by Scott "Balls" Alberts, have clubbed their way to the season's first big win. As part of yesterday's contest in the former slave state of Maryland, the teams had a bet that the losers will have to take the shields from their uniforms for the next time they meet. Our A's will proudly keep theirs on after the big victory today.

Back to the Phillies. The other day I predicted that the Phils would take Atlanta, the way General Sherman did during the Civil War. Just like Sherman, whose troops were stalled at Atlanta before finally burning the "Cracker Capital" down on his march to the sea, the Phils got stalled when the Braves beat Ace Lee in game one. The Phils did burn down Turner Field in games 2 & 3, so history did indeed repeat itself.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War - the shelling of Ft. Sumter. We are fortunate to live but a few hours from several of the most important battle sites, and I urge you to make the trips to both Gettysburg and Antietam/Sharpsburg. "Balls" and I have made the trip several times and we enjoyed the visits greatly.

In other sports news, it looks like the Flyers have won their division. All that remains is to learn the name of the team that will eliminate them in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers look like they will be the 7th seed in the east, and it appears that they will have to take on the Celtics. Ugh, that series will bring memories of past failures against the guys from Boston, who regularly beat the Sixers in the playoffs. There were those two magical years when Wilt led the '67 team to the promised land, and when Moses took them to the promised land in '83. I see no miracles this time, but the Sixers have become a fun team to watch, so get on board and sip some hoops kool-aid!!

The Penn State football schedules for the next three years have been released, and this long suffering fan is embarrassed by the number of Little Sisters Of The Poor that are on the slate. This season the Nittany Lions open up against Indiana State. That's right, the same Indiana State that Larry Bird took to the NCAA Championship game against Magic Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans. I didn't even know that Bird's alma mater played football, and I think it a disgrace that my favorite team lowers itself by playing such a game. The following week they have to play Alabama, and I'm afraid that the losing streak against the 'Tide will continue.

On a sad note, it looks like my beloved Pirates are starting to fade. After a fast start out of the gate, the team from Pennsylvania's second city have started doing what they have been doing for the past 19 seasons - they are losing. They now stand at .500, but we all know that that will not last. That is why they are this year's beloved team. I can get you a great deal on black & gold frozen kool-aid as sales of the frozen treat have all but halted along the Monongahela River.

In the world of entertainment, R.I.P. to Sidney Lumet, who was born in the greatest city in the world. Lumet moved with his family to NYC as a young child and worked as a child actor in the Yiddish theater.

In reading his obit I was struck by the fact that he directed some of my favorite films of all time, including 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Prince Of The City, and Dog Day Afternoon. A film festival of Lumet's work would take up the better part of a week.

Speaking of films that I love. Yesterday, while waiting to be picked up I was watching Clark Gable, and Burt Lancaster aboard the Nerka in the Bungo Straits. Run Silent Run Deep may be the second best submarine movie made after Das Boot, and I've seen it more times than I can remember. Given the context of my praise for the film, what I must report is sad.

In the film there is a scene in the forward torpedo room showing a desperate attempt to close a hatch which had been blown open by a Japanese depth charge. Sea water was gushing in, and the boat would sink to the bottom if the men could not get the hatch closed(Since the film still had more than a half hour to go - you knew how it would work out). Lo and behold, in the torpedo room, one of the sailors fighting to get the hatch closed was a black man. This struck me as a mistake on the same magnitude as Scorsese using a 1965 Chevy in a Goodfellas scene that was supposed to have taken place in 1963. I am appalled at the departure of what reality was in the second world war.

There were black men serving in the Navy during WWII. They did serve aboard surface ships as porters and as mess personnel. They did not serve as submarine crew members, even as mess personnel, although that role was sometimes filled by Filipinos who served as stewards throughout the fleet.

Later in the film Burt Lancaster, in his role as Executive Officer Bledsoe, is addressing the crew in the enlisted mess room. Sitting at one of the tables was the same black actor who had helped seal the open hatch. This is a severe violation of reality. It wouldn't have happened aboard a USN submarine of that era.

It wouldn't have been possible until Harry Truman issued an executive order in 1947 which ordered the desegregation of the U.S. military - a full two years after the end of WWII. Even then, desegregation of the fleet took years to accomplish.

I will continue to rank Run Silent Run Deep as one of my favorite WWII films, however I must go on record as being as disappointed with this example of sloppiness as I am with the use of the 1965 Chevy in Goodfellas.

For now, I'll say so long and hope that the Phillies make Jayson Worthless wish his mother and father had never met after the upcoming series this week.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The other day when the Madoffs sent Cole to 3rd & Indiana, the optimism in the New Yorkers' clubhouse must have been huge. After all, they had just trumped one of our aces. The fact that the so-called ace had self-destructed was not discussed, and Mgr. Terry Collins probably thought that his team of misfits could make it two in a row with Blanton on the mound for the next game.

Well they almost did it when Blanton melted down harder than a Japanese reactor caught in a tsunami, throwing away a seven run lead. The candystripers were eventually able to prevail when they came back to win the thing, setting up the rubber match yesterday against Doc. We saw how well that worked out for the gang from Queens, leading Collins to talk of "regrouping."

It is still too early to be drinking the Kool-Aid but after his first two outings, Doc is sporting a 0.69 ERA. To me the amazing thing about that is that he didn't have his best shit yesterday by his own admission. That has to scare the rest of the league because if and when he does get it all together he might give us a 1972 Carlton kind of season. He had lots of help yesterday with Polanco and Valdez combining for seven RBI's. Even Superstar is playing fairly well, and he'll need to continue doing so when the guys take on the Braves - a real team with real players.

You need to remember that the first two opponents would not do well in the International League, which is why the Kool-Aid needs to be kept in the jar. The Braves have to remember the seven game lead they had last year that the Phillies were able to overcome, so they may have some extra motivation at game time. The Cliffster takes the ball for the good guys and I'm looking forward to see him mow down the Braves in game one of the series. He'll need to, since the hairdresser is expected to pitch in the getaway game.

PBS has been showing the Ken Burns Civil War thing this week and last night I watched the part about Sherman's march through Georgia. How nice it would be for the candystripers to do a Sherman thing against the Braves. I want no prisoners taken since we haven't taken our full measure of revenge for the shame of Andersonville. I say burn the stadium down on our way out of town!

In yesterday's home opener at PNC park fans from places like Monessen, The Mon Valley, Butler, Turtle Creek, and Squirrel Hill filled the place to capacity as my beloved Pirates took on the Rockies. The Bucs' Paul Maholm gave up a first pitch home run and that was the one black & gold highlight as the Rockies went on to win 7-1. Yesterday's crowd of 39,000 plus could be the largest crowd of the year, and we could see the usual 18 die-hards in the stands today as the Bucs try and rebound to even the series up.

If you're into golf, this weekend will be a big thing for you as The Masters is underway at Augusta National. The only reason for the long suffering fan to watch would be to watch Tiger blow up his game - again. Gone is his arrogance and his swing, and I don't expect to see him make one of his weekend charges to the top of the leaderboard.

I would like someone to answer a question. Why do Jim Nantz and the other broadcasters whisper? Oh, I know they don't want to destroy the concentration of the golfers with "noise," but that just doesn't cut it with me. Think about when someone is on the foul line at crunch time. The noise from the crowd breaks the decibel meter, and fans are waving towels and other things while the guy is about to shoot the free throw. Are golfers so fragile that they can't do what a teenage kid can do at the foul line? Screw them, I say. I want to hear noise from the gallery and the announcers. Perhaps they ought to hire Dick Vitale to do some commentary while some guy with a strange accent is lining up his putt. A loud screech from someone at the exact moment the ball is struck will be a better test than the current silence.

A final point on this ridiculous "sport" - What's with the outfits the golfers wear? Everything is so coordinated. It's as if these people have found an outlet that sells Garanimals for grown ups. Just once I'd like to see one of these guys put on the plaid bermudas and play with their shirts not tucked in like the way most of the rest of the world plays golf. Sometimes I'll see some fat guy on a course wearing a coordinated golf outfit like the tour guys wear. He just looks pathetic, especially when, after he has struck the ball, the divot goes farther than the ball. The long suffering fan has never wanted to play this game, but I've had a lot of laughs watching others do so.

That's it for today. Today is a perfect day for a nap, and that is what I am going to do after I push the send button. Enjoy the game tonight, or listening to Nantz whisper if that's your thing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


If you were one of the Phillies fans who thought that the Madoffs would come to the Bank and fold up like one of the accounts managed by their namesake, you were wrong. If you were one of the Phillie fans who went to college in New York, and you ranted and raved to your New York friends about how the Mets were going to be slaughtered like General Pickett's division at Gettysburg you might not want to answer your phone, listen to your voice mails, or even think about looking at your Facebook page because, as someone once said, "payback is a bitch." The long suffering fan advises that, in the future, you wait until the ballots are in before baying like a dog in heat. While I do not believe lessons will be learned from our overconfidence about the candystripers - those of you who fit the above description have been told.

Losing to the Madoffs 7-1 at home is an absolute disgrace. To be out of the game against a team that may very well lose 100 games like the Phillies did tonight needs to be addressed by Charlie, tonight. By tomorrow it will be too late, since whatever virus that Cole Hamels has may have already spread to the rest of the team. Hamels looked pathetic in his last spring outing against my beloved first place Pirates - another team that will fade, and he certainly hadn't improved any tonight. In fact he looked worse. Hamels has had a habit of having at least one suicide inning per game(Wait till I'm finished before you boo at the old man!. Since coming to the big leagues he has had his moments of brilliance - even I can't forget his work in '08. But, yo, whas up now?

Hamels has had the benefit in many of those innings of an offense that saved his ass with a major eruption of hitting. He has had a lot of luck along the way. You cannot expect any team to overcome the inning that Hamels gave the Madoffs in the third inning tonight, so I focus most of my venom to Hamels, and I have a plan to deal with him.

As I am the judge jury, and executioner of my rantings I sentence Hamels to the following sentence. Part One: Complete and total shunning by the rest of the staff. Part Two: His fruity hair is to be shorn by Cliff Lee using dull hedge clippers and a rusty razor. This will be a dry shave of course. Part Three: He shall be beaten using a baseball bat wielded by Ruben "El Oso Judio" Amaro, Jr. Part Four: Whatever is left of him will be immediately driven to the intersection of 3rd & Indiana Streets and dumped out on the sidewalk, where he can prepare for his next start against St. Donato's Parish JV squad. It could be worse. I could have sentenced him to be exiled to a suburban Tea Party enclave - we know how compassionate those assholes are.

There is a rumor circulating that Hamels is about to announce his retirement from baseball so that he can open up "Cole's Cuts," a hair salon specializing in the unisex look that Cole believes will come back sometime later this millennium. As soon as I can confirm this rumor I will pass it along to you.

Mr. Hair Salon wasn't the only goat out there tonight. Superstar, who did have a remarkable first weekend of the season went 0-4 with three, count 'em three, strike outs. I thought I detected an uptick of the wind velocity whenever he came up to the plate. Imagine, our guy, our Superstar has one home run so far this season. He trails Pirate McCutchen in this category.

Kendrick did his job when he relieved Hamels but the offense was not to be found, so the Phillies were able to lose their first game of the season in fine fashion. Ibanez did have two hits, proving himself a clutch hitter when nothing is on the line. The "I'm From Obama's Birthplace & I play Center Field" flying man was a perfect 0-5 tonight, but by the time he was asked about it by the Daily Times reporter he had forgotten the whole thing. Blessed are the stupid - they suffer some things less than others. Stop! He seems like a nice guy, but should have a clause in his contract forbidding him to either speak or try to think. If he speaks, he sounds stupid, and Charlie does not want him to have to go on the DL because he hurt himself thinking.

Tomorrow is another day and my favorite Phillie pitcher is taking the mound for his first start of the season. The long suffering fan is sick and tired of all the bullshit about the Four Ace's (maybe I should say three Ace's and a hairdresser) that I will be carrying Joe Blanton's banner all season. The guy looks like he is in the best shape of his life and still looks like anything but an athlete. He looks like the guy from the exterminating company who comes to your house a few times a year to rid you of unwanted pests. He could also be the UPS driver who brings you the overpriced shit you buy from QVC or HSN. Yea, sure, that computer you bought from them is worth 9 payments of $500 when the same machine is on sale at Best Buy for $300. I digress.

Blanton has a lot of heart. Shit, anyone with the guts to wear a beard like he does is probably not someone you want to fuck with, especially with the neanderthal stare that his eyes give off. Regardless, I like the guy, so he is now my guy. I am holding out against hope that the guy ends up as the only 20 game winner on the team and that he wins the NL Cy Young award(Put down the Heavenly Hash old man - you have had enough)!

My highlight tomorrow will be at 1:30 PM when my beloved Pirates will have their game broadcast on MLB Network. Do not call me at that hour, as I will not answer the phone, nor am I open to walking anybody's dog!

I have done some thinking about the post I sent out Sunday regarding the performance of a certain re-enactor. I might have created the wrong impression about the skills shown by Scott and, if you thought I was being negative, I should like to clear this up by inviting you to join me in the Wayback Machine for a trip back in time to watch my only son play little league baseball. Fasten your seatbelts since there is still turbulence from Superstar's 3 Ks and you may need the barf bags found in the seat-back in front of you. Tonight's 8-track entertainment will be James Brown singing ballads and spirituals.

Here we are at one of Scott's little league games. Scott's coach has positioned him in deep right field, hoping that no balls find their way out there since Scott has taken a sitting position so that he can pick the buttercups easier. There I am, a younger me with beautifully tan legs (as opposed to those watching the game who could stand in the sun for days and only get red) screaming at the top of my lungs for the kid to at least stand up, but he ignored my pleas. This was not strictly a baseball-related phenomenon since Scott has always had the ability to turn off his hearing when he didn't like the message being given. We move to Scott taking his at bat. The ball had no need for medical insurance since it was never touched by the lad's bat. Not even a foul tip into the catchers mitt. In his final year of little league, his batting average was .000, although when he did manage to earn a walk, he was fast enough to steal bases and even score a run or two.

At the tender age of 8, baseball was not Scott's game. He played because his parents signed him up to play, and perhaps because he was trying to please us, but regardless, at that point he wasn't the least bit interested. He heard his own drum when it came to playing sports, and would later excel in lacrosse. He was a pretty fair wrestler while he was involved with that barbaric sport. I was as proud as a parent could be watching him set records for goals saved as a lacrosse goalie. He was peppered by lacrosse balls every game, and stopped most of them. He was fearless in the net which was something he had to be since his team (consisting mainly of first-time players as it was a new program) never learned to play defense.

Now that we have returned to the present I hope you understand the progress he has made in hitting the ball, and though I have not yet seen him play the old timey game, I imagine he plays with a reckless abandon that I would be proud of. I plan to catch at least one of the games this year and report my findings at that time.

That's it for tonight. The long suffering fan has to get his beauty rest since tomorrow evening I must teach my line-dance class. You are all invited. We dance between 6:30 & 8Pm at a church on 62nd & Cedar in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philly. Really, everyone is welcome to this safest of neighborhoods in the greatest city in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Who would have thought that after the first games were played that my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates would be 2-1, that the Baltimore Orioles would be 3-0, and that the Chicago Cubs would even show up at the ballpark. That the Phillies are 3-0 after a sweep of the Houston Astros is not much of a surprise since the Phillies are a very good team and the Astros truly suck.

This long suffering fan was able to watch all three of the games played this past weekend, and, while I didn't feel sorry for the Stros, I was amazed at the play of the candystripers. Everybody contributed to the fun-fest at the Bank including Superstar Ryan Howard. Rollins played like a guy looking for his next contract, and the starters did what they were supposed to do - they shut down a bad team. Ben Francisco was a pleasant surprise in right. HELL, he actually looked like he belonged there.

I keep hearing the great Martha and the Vandellas led by Martha Reeves singing their hit "Dancing In The Streets" wherever I go and being the curmudgeon that I am I must caution about lining up for series tickets too soon. WE BEAT THE HOUSTON ASTROS, not the 1929 A's! Calm down everybody, there are still 159 games to be played and a lot can happen. Shit, even in Pittsburgh they are dancing at the Point, and the Inner Harbor has folks from Dundalk to Bel Air looking for crab cakes and suspending their fear of black people which usually keeps them from downtown Baltimore. People in the 'Burgh have put down their Iron City and instead are sipping black & gold frozen Kool-Aid. Here in the greatest city in the world sales of anything red are soaring to record levels. I may even open up a Kool-Aid stand somewhere in South Philly and make a fortune.

Tomorrow, the New York Madoffs come to town for what I hope will be yet another sweep by the hometown team. Normally, the second series of the season features a team's secondary pitchers but, with Hamels suiting up on Tuesday, that won't be the case. The Madoffs are at least as bad as the Astros so even I am optimistic. I predict that the Phillies will head to Atlanta after taking two out of the three games against the Madoffs. What if I'm wrong, and the Phillies lose the series? Kool-Aid sales will plummet and many a tight sphincter will watch us play the Braves - who are a real team with real players. They are a better team than the guys the Phillies bitch slapped at the end of last season, so fasten your seat belts and let's see how well Superstar and company do in what will be their first test of the season.

Later this evening the Butler Bulldogs will attempt to win their first NCAA title when they tip off against the Huskies of UConn. For all you Hoosier types out there I'm afraid that the guys from Circle City will go home as bridesmaids. That isn't to put them down, but Kemba Walker is playing like a man possessed and career cheater Jim Calhoun should win another title. Since I am predicting a UConn win, those familiar with my ability of picking winners may want to call Jackie Da Bookie and put your entire net worth on Butler.

Finally, congratulations to Scott and his band of re-enactors who opened up their season yesterday dropping both halves of a double header. The A's have improved to the point where they even scored some runs. The score in both games were like football routs, but Scott's bat actually touched some pitched balls, something that occurred rarely last year.

I'll write again after the Madoff series so, until then, enjoy this brief taste of Spring. Don't be afraid if you see bright lights walking down the street because we are not being attacked by aliens - what you are seeing are the very pale legs of the long suffering fan wearing his shorts for the first time this year. My legs are truly scary until I acquire some color.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


What's a guy to do? For those of you that have been following my rants you know that this long suffering fan has been counting the days until opening day since the last pitch of last year's World Series. More importantlly, my lady knows that, to me, opening day is like Rosh Hashana, Chanukah, Mardi Gras, Christmas & Martin Luther King Day all wrapped into one. It should be a national fucking holiday!

So there I was at 1pm perched in front of the T.V. waiting for Doc to throw the first pitch when my phone rang. Who the hell would call me at a moment like this. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was the lady. I really did mumble "SHIT" when I saw it was her since I knew that she knew that I was home and the bullshit I would have received for not answering would have been unbearable. Come on guys - you've all been there! This girl is a baseball fan for goodness sakes, she should have known better! She was at work so she couldn't watch the game so I figured she just wanted a score or something. Boy was I wrong.

"Hi Michael, what are you doing?" What am I doing? I'm watching the Phillies! Then she hit with the big one and asked me to leave the comfort of my sofa and go to her place and walk her dog. I couldn't make that up - not ever. Normally she comes home at lunch to walk the thing, but today she wanted to hang out with her friend, a miserable bitch that I have to be nice to.

Had it not been opening day I probably would have had no problem doing her the favor, but IT WAS OPENING DAY!!! What followed was not pretty. This lady is black, but she laid the Jewish guilt thing on me. All women learn that trick - whether they are Jewish or not. When she saw that this wasn't going to work (Hell, who does she think she is - I've had the guilt-bomb used on me by the master - my mother) she turned on the mildly annoyed whine. They all learn that one too guys. "Oh come on, you can watch your game at my place after you walk the dog." "I don't want to have to clean his cage when I get home"[Editor's note - his cage?]. When that didn't work she ended the conversation with "Fine," then hung up. The ending "FINE" lets you know that she is really pissed.

There was no way I wasn't watching the game today. I understand that she will play this out forever (They never forget a thing - ever!) and that certain "favors" could be withheld, but one has to draw the line somewhere and stick to it. My line was the ballgame and I was glad I had stuck to my guns.

Now, from time-to-time, I do walk her dog. If you are ever on Cobbs Creek Parkway and see a white guy walking a little lap dog - that's me. It wouldn't be so bad if she had a regular dog, but no, this sister had to have one of those bougie lap dogs that no straight man should ever have to walk in public. Making matters worse, everybody I know in the neighborhood drives by just when I'm out there. I can't hide and I don't blend in this neighborhood. They all give me a real funny look when they see what I am walking. Making matters even worse, it seems like every nasty Pit Bull or some other breed of dog popular in the 'hood is being walked at the same time. The lap dog isn't smart enough to know that he should not bark at another dog who could eat him in one bite then turn to me and say, "I think I'll have a leg."

She didn't bother me any more and I was able to see the candystripers do the Bear Jew thing to the Astros in the bottom of the ninth. What a great way to win the thing. Shit, even Superstar Ryan Howard managed to not strike out or hit into a double play in a clutch situation! I was thrilled at the way they won the game.

It would have been a terrible thing to lose to Brett Myers.

One of the reasons I love watching opening day games is that you are usually seeing all the aces pitch. Men, not boys, pitch on opening day and it can be a real treat watching these guys do things with a baseball that shouldn't be able to be done. The guys with nasty stuff violate the laws of physics on every pitch and it is awesome. For game two, you still see some decent pitching, but how awful the anxiety must be in the heads of the Astros players who are staring at the ceilings of their hotel rooms knowing that another ace will be pitching for the candystripers, giving them no hope of winning game two.

My beloved Pirates beat the already-eliminated Cubs today 6-3 in their opener. Do we have a juggernaut in the making at PNC Field? Should we prepare for a Phillies- Bucs NLCS? We'll call it The Turnpike Series!