Wednesday, August 31, 2011


So, the next time you are speaking with a Californian and they give you shit about how we here in the East reacted to last weeks 5.8 earthquake ask them when the last time they experienced an earthquake, tornadoes and a hurricane in the same week. They, of course have never had that pleasure. Just because every so often California gets hit with a quake that destroys homes, roads, bridges, and whatever else man has decided to flaunt Mother Nature with, why should I give them a special place in my sympathy box? I do not. I would further ask these folks why they continue to build shit on top of faults. Finally if they persisted in giving me shit, I would ask them how the Giants, Dodgers, Padres, A's, and Angels are doing? That should shut them up, and if it doesn't I might ask how the NFL franchise in L.A. is going to do this season.

I continue to be amazed at how our Phillies are doing. I'm surprised that a roster full of players who have spent time on the DL this season would be a contender for a division title. I marvel at how, when one of the principal players goes down, at how our role players have picked them up. Whether it be Martinez, Valdez, Mayberry, Worley, Stutes, or Bastardo, it seems as if the team doesn't lose a step when one of these guys has to play. Don't get me wrong, I am nowhere close to ordering up a mug of Kool-Aid, but I am enjoying watching this team play the kind of ball they have been playing and am particularly pleased at how they have been able to stay at least six games ahead of the Braves. We play the Braves next week and, if we can win or sweep that series, I believe another division title is in the bag.

How good was Halladay last night? Coming off an eight day break, the guy was simply spectacular. He was, of course, helped by an explosion of home runs - including two by the Moat Man. Howard went in to last nights game hitting an anemic .249 but, if he can continue hitting the long ball in between strike-outs and double play ground balls, I'll settle for that. He isn't worth anywhere near what the team is paying him but as much as I'd rather have a guy like Votto playing first - that ain't gonna happen. All I can do is hope that Howard can contribute they way he did last night, and that he won't succumb to screwing up when the chips are on the line.

The college football season gets underway this weekend with most of the major powers playing schools like Bumblefuck Tech or North Carolina AEIO&U. As an example, I call your attention to the big battle in Ohio which has Akron traveling to Columbus to be fed to the Buckeyes. OSU should lose BCS points for this game no matter what the outcome. And then there is Penn State who opens up against Indiana State. The Lions schedule is insulting. They can find a spot on the schedule for ISU, but not Pitt. Some of the best games ever played were the contests between Pitt and PSU and I miss the rivalry.

For some, the quality of the schedules means not a thing. Let the games begin means it's once again time for ACTION - and I don't mean on the field. Out at the beer store in Strafford, my old buddy Johnny Dollar is probably frothing at the mouth as he digests the point spreads for this weekends slate of games. While his brother Big Tommy (a degenerate gambler in his own right) sits out the first week of action so that he can get a better handle on the teams, Johnny will bet at least a dozen games and will probably pick a team like Akron to cover the spread if Jackie Da Bookie gives him enough points. The games start Thursday night and by Saturday, Johnny will be looking for games to get himself out of the hole he finds himself in after Thursday. Johnny will check out the TV schedule so that he can bet on the late games from the WAC that are being shown on the tube. On Tuesday, Johnny will have to come up with money for Jackie Da Bookie or Jackie will send a couple of his employees to see Johnny on Wednesday. Some things never change.

I hope everybody got through the storm in one piece but, if you still do not have power, remember that Abe Lincoln never had power, and that he managed.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Back in the day, Chicago Cub Hall Of famer Ernie Banks was famous for his love of the game and his call to play two. With hurricane Irene about to sweep up the coast we may have to up Banks by calling for the Phillies to play three games tonight against the Marlins. If they don't then the Phillies quest for another division title will be pushed back by at least two postponements. Just as important, the scheduled contest between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Elizabeth Resolutes has been changed from a ball game to a surfing contest.

Mother nature doesn't seem to give a damn that we have pennant races to deal with or that countless block parties will be wiped out this weekend in the greatest city in the world. The LSF attends many block parties over the course of the summer and this weekend I was scheduled to be at one on Florence Ave in SW Philly. They needed a token Caucasian and I was available.

Wherever Mother Nature lives, she is I'm sure quite proud of herself. Earlier this week she gave us the first earthquake tremors that most of us had ever felt, but that was not enough to satisfy her. No, the bitch was tired of tornadoes in the Midwest and avalanches in the Rockies, and decided that it was time to give the East Coast a weekend to remember. Seriously, if the weather forecasters are even a little bit right in what they are calling for instead of baseball at the Bank we might have to settle for kayak races down Market Street. For those of you who have never experienced the joy of 100 mph winds you are in for some scary shit. 100 mph winds sound like a runaway freight train heading right for your house. The only comparable sound is the swoosh of Ryan Howard striking out with the bases loaded. As bad as that sounds, multiply it by a factor of four when the storm passes your place.

Then there is the rain. When the rain pounds against the side of your house you may think that Tea Party assholes are spraying your walls with fire from an AK-47. It can be loud as shit, as can the sound of that big old tree in your yard that gives up the ghost and joins you in your family room. The rain won't care if you live in a place where the streets flood. If it wants to create a new great lake - it will.

Now some of you will head out to your favorite super market to stock up for the deluge. I can already tell you that the store will be out of bread, milk, and eggs when you get there. The snack aisles will also be bare because everyone knows that the American Red Cross advises everyone to fill their pantries with munchie foods ahead of any large storm. Smart people will also be buying toilet paper - just in case. I mean, would you rather run out of chips or TP? The joke of course is on all of us, especially those of us who cook on electric stoves. During a huge storm with high winds many will lose their power and will be unable to cook up the foods they have just bought. A way around this would be to stock up only on those foods that you don't have to cook, considering that you won't be able to call the pizza parlor to deliver your dinner but you can eat a can of beans. Hey, if you are high enough, cold baked beans can be a real treat, and who among us wouldn't enjoy eating a jar of extra crunchy peanut butter with a spoon right out of the jar. Hell, I've been known to do that even when there is no super storm.

With the Phillies taking the night off there isn't much to report on the sports front. For you green Kool-Aid drinkers the Eagles did beat the Browns in a pre-season game. Don't get to excited about that one - it was the Browns led by Colt McCoy. What the fuck is up with his name? What kind of people would name their kid Colt? Were they disappointed that he wasn't born a horse? Despite the win, I wasn't real impressed with the play of the offensive line. Things could get real interesting for Michael Vick when the games are for real unless in the next two weeks someone learns how to block.

On the baseball front, the Yankees scored 22 runs last night when Cano, Granderson, and Martin all hit grand slams. Three salamis in one game. Wow, I really hate the Yankees and hope the new Yankee Stadium is washed away by Irene. The S.F. Giants lost again - the eighteenth time in the last 26 games and are now three and a half games behind the D-Backs. Finally, Jim Thome was traded to the Indians, the team where he began his career. Retiring as a member of the Tribe is the way to go for Thome and I hope he does retire on a high note after this season.

Good luck riding out the storm and we'll pick up next week after I have finished building my ark.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The LSF does not like heat and humidity - not even a little bit. While watching the Phillies today, I noticed that Roy Halladay was sweating like a whore in church in the first inning - the inning where he gave up two runs to the Nats. If my memory serves me correctly, he has been having his problems in the early innings during these dog days of summer. Should we be concerned? The heat and humidity affects me a great deal, but I am not being paid a gazillion dollars a year to be "the best pitcher in baseball."

The other thing I noticed is that the Phillies are having a lot of trouble beating the Nationals. What's with that? Oh, I know that they have been playing shorthanded with a bunch of guys hurt and all that, but they were certainly able to overcome all the trouble during their recent ten game winning streak. Should we be concerned?

Last year at this time the Phillies trailed the Braves by seven games. As we know, they were able to go on a tear and wound up winning the division. The Braves won today. Should I be concerned? For those who have been gulping down the Red Kool Aid , how do you feel now? Are you concerned? The Gods Of Baseball could be making their move right about now, and they may want to see the Braves do to the Phillies what the Phillies did to them last season.

I know that some of you are thinking that the rain delay hurt us, since Doc could only go five innings and that he had settled down by the time the tarps were brought out. Didn't the Nats have to deal with the same rain delay? The Phillies left six men on base today, and the Nats took advantage of their opportunity in the tenth. Once again, a look at the box score will show a lack of clutch hitting by certain overpaid players. The drama continues.

I have no issue with Ruiz, Utley, or Victorino - and even give a small kudo to Ibanez who found a way to score two runs. Subway's spokesperson, the Moat Man gave us an unproductive one for five, but he only struck out once. Yippee.

The Phillies pitching was consistent in that all four of the pitchers used by Charlie gave up at least one run.

The Phillies still have plenty of time remaining in the season to either get their act together or to give us the greatest collapse since the 1964 edition of the team. Let's take a quick trip on the Wayback Machine. I'll set the controls so that we arrive at Connie Mack Stadium on September 21, 1964 and will arrange to have tickets to that day's game against the second place Reds left at the box office for us.

The Phillies had returned to the greatest city in the world from the west coast the night before. They returned home holding a six-and-a-half game lead over the Reds with twelve games left to play.

Art Mahaffey was on the mound for the Candystripers that day facing journeyman John Tsitouris. The game was scoreless in the top of the seventh inning when the Reds' Chico Ruiz got a hit and managed to get to third base with two outs. As Mahaffey went into his wind up, Ruiz broke for home. He should have been out by twenty feet, but Mahaffey threw a wild pitch. Ruiz scored and the Reds went on to win the game 1-0. The Phils were swept by the Reds, then by the Braves, and finally by the Cardinals. Our fair haired boys ran off a ten game losing streak before winning the final two games of the season. By then it was too late. The Cardinals won the pennant and went to the World Series. This city was in a state of mass depression. The team had been given permission to print tickets for the Series and many fans had already received theirs when the season ended.

Before you find me and call me all kinds of names, I am not predicting the same ending for this years edition. The 2011 staff is much better than the tandem of Bunning and Short, and should not have to endure a ten game losing streak - unless The Baseball Gods decree that it should be so.

Just do yourselves a favor. Put the fucking Kool Aid on the shelf and wait until they have actually won something.

Not much else on my mind except to hope that I don't have to hear Charlie say "We have to do better".

Friday, August 19, 2011


So, there I was watching the Phillies and the D-Backs playing the rubber game. Now, when I saw the home team's starting line up included Gload playing first base I figured it would be a long night against an Arizona pitcher who came into the game sporting a nifty 15-3 record. I knew it would be a long night when I saw that Raul Ibanez was in the line up. Ibanez, after a few weeks of actually looking good, went into last night's game mired in one of his 0 for 19 slumps and was back to sporting a .237 average. Given Ruiz's bad "ball," Schneider was once again behind the plate - so I knew it was going to be a long night. Schneider, who struts to the plate with a solid .185 batting average, had already exceeded his monthly ration of hits so I wasn't counting on him to do much of anything.

My one ray of hope for an entertaining game was that Worley was on the mound, and he has shown himself more than capable of keeping his team in games. Not only did he silence the Arizona bats in the first three innings, he had a lead when the rains came. In an awesome display of lightning, thunder and rain, mother nature proved once again that she was more powerful than anything we mere mortals could conjure up and I was seriously considering building an ark. My ark wouldn't be anything like the one Noah built in the book of Genesis. It would not include animals, Republicans, tea party assholes, or first basemen who promote the foul food served at a place called Subway. My ark would include a variety of beautiful women, plenty of weed, booze and a Direct TV dish so that we could dial up all the games we wanted while we sailed past the top of the Comcast building. My ark would have been a party ark.

So, with the Phillies game in a rain delay, I needed something to watch. I checked my handy dandy Comcast channel guide and found that, despite having hundreds of channels, there was nothing to watch. I wasn't in the mood to do the game on MLB, and reruns of Criminal Minds were out of the question. What was I supposed to do? I could have watched MSNBC where a whole network of folks would be railing against anything Republican, but I wasn't in the mood for that. I ended up doing something I normally don't do - I turned on Fox and watched the first half of the Steelers mauling the Dream Team.

The LSF normally does not watch pre-season football just like he doesn't watch spring training baseball games. Hey, when the games are for real - I'm there. Me and the Red Zone channel become best of friends once the games count but last night I figured I would see how well the starters would do against the team that almost won the Super Bowl last year. I should have done my laundry since the spin cycle would have been more entertaining than the Eagles.

I knew I was in trouble when I tuned in just in time for the pre game bullshit from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. The Phillies parade was being rained on and I was watching Buck and Aikman tell me how great the Eagles were after signing every free agent on the market. Both were effusive in their praise. Aikman stated that free agents wanted to come here because of the stability Fat Andrew provided. He brought up the fact that, under the Lord Of Lard, the Eagles had made it to the playoffs in nine of his twelve seasons as leader of the pack. He was unbearable and Buck, who has never before had anything nice to say about the greatest city in the world, was worse. My solution was to push mute on my remote. I normally watch games with the mute button on since most of the announcers and all of the color commentators are extremely offensive - especially when they are pointing out the obvious.

If you caught any of the game you may understand why it may be a bit premature to call them The Dream Team. The Nightmare Team might make more sense considering that they didn't block anybody wearing a black jersey, causing Vick to get hit and hit and hit. They showed no ability to run the ball (not that Fat Andy would ever want them to) and Vick completed more passes to the Steelers than he did to his receivers. By the end of the first half he had thrown the interceptions, making me think fondly of McNabb. It's nice to see that the D-Mac tradition of playing sloppy may live on. The Steelers methodically took advantage of the Eagles' poor play and took a 21-0 lead into the locker room at half-time. Oh, and how well did our All-Universe defensive backfield play? Well I'll tell you. They were more offensive than the Eagles offense was.

I understand that it is only the pre season and there is still time to "work the kinks out of the system," but it is still the pre season for the Steelers as well, and they looked sharp as shit. Look, football is a simple game. If you don't block, don't tackle, don't protect your QB and don't run, you usually lose. I'll be kind and say that the Eagles are still a work in progress, but the seeds of my discontent were planted last night. Mercifully, the rain delay ended after the first half so I was able to do what I wanted to do - watch the Phillies take the series with some timely hitting and relief pitching. Given that I watched the baseball game I missed the Eagles postgame show, but I'll bet those of you who saw it were treated to the first utterance of "we have to do better" from the round mound of coaching. Hell, he needs to practice his delivery too.

Finally, good luck to all of you fantasy football freaks who took Michael Vick as your number one QB. If last night is any indication of things to come he'll be garroting offensive linemen instead of dogs - and who could blame him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


So, with the Phillies being rained out on Sunday and with no game scheduled Monday we had to endure two days of not seeing our heroes in action. I don't know about you but I missed them and have been excited to see them take on the surprising Diamondbacks who sit atop the NL West.

Before the season began I can't imagine anyone outside the D-Back organization thought much of their chances, but the Baseball Gods have decreed that, at least for now, these guys are for real. I don't know much about them, but the Phillies are certainly being challenged to play their best ball against these snakes from the desert.

There are losses and there are bad losses. Last night's loss to the D-Backs falls into the bad loss column. The game is the perfect example of why I cannot and will not go all-in with my emotions to your Philadelphia Phillies.

Doc, while not at his best, gave one of the gutsiest performances we are likely to see from a pitcher. He found a way to keep the D-Backs in check until the bottom of the ninth, with the exception of his former Toronto teammate, Lyle Overbay. He equaled his record for most K's in a game and, by all that is holy, should have gotten a win. Had he thrown one more strikeout he would have set a new one game strikeout record for himself and equaled the number of men left on base by his team.

The Phillies left a total of fifteen men on base. You heard me, I said, "FIFTEEN!" You would have a hard time beating a Little League team when you do that, and give the D-Backs credit as they hung in, and found a way to get the job done.

I believe that last night's game was a bad loss because when you are The Best Team In Baseball and you play an upstart team who leads their division it is important to bitch slap them so they will know that, come the playoffs, they don't have a chance against you! The way they lost had to give the D-Backs the confidence to know that they can play with the Phillies. Shit, how could you not gain confidence when you pitch a guy (Collmenter) who has but two pitches and he hogties The Best Team In Baseball and a guy named Putz (Yiddish word for penis), who has played for nearly as many teams as Gaylord Perry did, comes in and closes the Phillies down without so much as a whimper. It would not be a total surprise to me if Arizona not only takes this series, but sweeps.

The very worst was that Lyle Overbay is the guy who basically beat you. He was last seen wearing a Pirate uniform and about to be given his release by the fading Bucs. All of a sudden this bum resurfaces with the D-Backs (with whom he made his Major League debut back in 2001) and makes out like a stud by driving in all three of his team's runs. This he does while the Phillies were striking out eleven times while leaving the aforementioned FIFTEEN men on base.

The failure to hit with men on base was spread throughout the Phillies lineup with Hunter Pence leading the pack by leaving four on base while striking out three times. Rollins left three, followed by Moat Man who left two on base while striking out twice. The offense was pathetic.

Halladay had to feel real good after the game. How the fuck do you strike out fourteen and lose? I would have not been surprised if he had gone postal in the locker room after the game. Perhaps that's what the team needs - a rant from one of the pitchers who pitches a great game and loses because his position players forget how to hit a baseball. All of our starters have fallen victim to the lack of hitting, so maybe they should all go postal - perhaps even beating a few of the position players with bats. Shit, Halladay could have recreated the role of the Bear Jew from Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and no jury here in the greatest city in the world would have convicted him.

If I'm Doc, I go after Moat Man first. I'd be screaming, "You did it again - you suck! Stop taking the time to make commercials and use the time learning how to fucking hit in game critical situations!" Then I would turn my attentions to the rest of this pathetic excuse for an offense. To Pence I would rant, "The honeymoon's over asshole - you played like Howard tonight and that is not acceptable!" Unfortunately Doc was probably a gentleman after the game.

There was an excellent article in this week's Sunday NYTimes about Moat Man. The article basically laid out why Howard is not the elite hitter he and many of you think he is. It points out that, despite all of his RBI's, he leaves far too many of his teammates on base and that he strikes out too many times in critical situations. The article does concede that he is a good player, but that's it.

I have no choice now but to mention Moat Mans new commercial. Have you seen it? The ad opens with Howard hitting batting practice pitches into the ionosphere. The scene moves to Howard telling us that part of his training regimen includes eating at Subway. He implies that eating their overpriced undertasty imitation "subs" is the reason for his success. Give me a fucking break. I have never been a big fan of Subway. Hell, I don't want a "sub" that is healthy. I want a HOAGIE that tastes good and uses ingredients that may very well give me a heart attack. Who gives a shit about that when the craving for a hoagie takes over? And where is Jared? I want the Bear Jew to find him and beat him into oblivion with a petrified roll from Sarcone's or Liscio's. Hell, even Amoroso's makes better bread than Subway! Jared and Ryan Howard make a great combination. May they both choke on what Subway calls bread.

Speaking of Howard's on my shit list, I haven't listened to Howard Eskin for many years. I believe him to be a complete and total asshole who is rude, arrogant and not as knowledgeable as he acts. When he first came on the air, Mike Schmidt was still playing and Howard latched on to him like a remora does to a shark. Eskin had his nose so far up Schmidt's butt-hole that Schmidt treated him with contempt. That made Howard suck up that much more to Schmidt and made it impossible for Eskin to report objectively about the guy.

From Schmidt, Eskin turned his sights south and became a regular sideline groupie with the University of Miami Hurricanes when they were the kings of college football. Eskin could be seen pacing the sidelines in one of his first fur coats sucking up to the likes of Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irwin, and others on the team that Penn State beat in the national championship game. I don't recall Howard ever congratulating the Nittany Lions and remember him distinctly calling the victory a stroke of luck and stating that they could never beat the Canes again because the Canes were the best ever.

The Miami teams of that era were, in fact, a great team, but wouldn't you think that a guy who was on the air in the Nit's back yard would at least give them their props? Not Eskin.

When Schmidt retired Eskin needed another ass to stick his nose in, and he chose Charles Barkley. Barkley has always been one of my favorite players and he treated Eskin like a bitch. Bravo Charles.

The article in yesterday's Daily News pointed out that Eskin has done 6,000 plus radio shows and that he felt it was time to move on. If Eskin, who never attended a class of any kind after his graduation from Northeast H.S., and never played any sport at all had made the decision to leave the air after 3,000 broadcasts it would have been better, but at least his voice will not pollute the afternoon drive time any more. Unfortunately, he will still do the Sunday night Channel 10 show with John Clark and Vai Sikehama, which means I will not watch it. Goodbye Howard, and good riddance.

We had our annual fantasy football draft over the weekend and had a ball. Our league has expanded to eight teams this year with the addition of two teams run by guys who participate in seven or eight other fantasy leagues. The event was held in an empty apartment in my building complete with draft boards on the walls, a stop watch so that you didn't take too long making your picks, and a lot of moaning and groaning when someone else snatched one of your guys before you could make the selection. My first pick was Houston RB Arian Foster who was a top fantasy producer last year. The bitch better not get hurt or I am screwed. I wanted to get Peyton Manning again this year but had to settle for Drew Brees when the guy ahead of me took Manning. The first QB taken was Michael Vick by a guy who also took DeSean Jackson, McCoy, and the new Eagle kicker Alex Henery. This clown showed up in full Eagles regalia and stated that he fully expected the Eagles to cruise to a Super Bowl victory. We'll see what happens once the games are for real.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I do understand that all across America there is great rejoicing that football is back. Millions of the great unwashed masses of protoplasm gathered in front of their televisions last night to catch the first look of their favorite teams playing the first pre-season game of the year. It is the silly season for football - a time when fans of teams that have absolutely no chance of winning anything have the hope that the draft pick from Bumblefuck Tech will be the missing piece that will take their heroes to the promised land of the playoffs.

Here in the greatest city in the world Eagles fans are doubly excited because their beloveds have signed nearly every free agent player on the market. Fat Andrews charges are being called the Dream Team - the stuff that legends are made of. I can only remind them that Andrew is still the coach, and that precludes winning the Super Bowl, and probably means an early exit from the playoffs. You may ask how the LSF can be so negative so early. I am not being negative. I am being realistic. I have watched the Lord of Lard coach the Eagles for enough years now to know that there will be no parades for we the fans as long as he is the coach. He will get us close, but in the end all we will get from him is "we've got to be better".

As to the free agent signings, we need to give thanks to Ruben Amaro, Jr. for that. Given all of the signings that the Phillies have made over the past few years Jeff Lurie has noticed that the Phillies are riding the crest of the fan popularity wave, and it gave him so much concern that his team will remain a below-the-fold item that he authorized the spending of his precious cap money so as to make us the fans drink our green Kool-Aid in the heat of the hottest summer we can remember. Lurie is jealous of the adoration we give to the team with the best record in baseball and the signing of all of the free agents is a ploy designed to get us thinking green, green , and more green. It is his way of reminding us that the baseball season is but a mere event designed to get us from the Super Bowl to the start of the NFL season. It is his way to remind us that now is the time to be buying Eagles jerseys, hats, blankets, and everything else under the sun with a Birds logo on it. It is his way of telling us to put away our Dawkins jerseys and replace them with the jersey of one of his new d-backs. If you want proof of this, go into any Modell's store and you will be awash in a sea of green.

The LSF did not watch a single down of last night's victory over the Ravens, but unfortunately had to listen to the joy boys on Sports Center report on all the games. Stop, I pleaded with them, IT IS STILL BASEBALL SEASON! They listened not to the LSF, so I switched to MLBN and suffered through Mitch Williams and his friends butcher a broadcast - but at least all they talked about was baseball.

My friend Bob, who wore one of his many Eagle jerseys yesterday, asked me why I am so down on the pre-season. He believes it to be a great time to see the new players and find a sleeper for one of his ELEVEN fantasy teams. When I told him that I was not planning to watch the game he reminded me that the Phillies had the night off. Bob was concerned that I would have nothing to watch, that I wouldn't be able to find anything to look at from the menu of over 100 channels that Comcast provides. Bob, you see, believes that TV was invented so that he could watch a game of something every night and that all of the channels not broadcasting a game are for his wife. I told him that there were a lot of reasons for my not watching the silly season games.

I won't bore you with what I told my friend Bob except for this: "You want me to get excited about watching people who will never play a down during the regular season - and I will not." Let me know when the real hitting begins and I will be tuned in. Furthermore, how can you ask me to get excited about something that doesn't matter at a time when I have to fret about Moat Man striking out eight times against Giants pitching? Lastly, how can I deal with statements like the one made by Rex Grossman that was reported on every sports show in Philly. Grossman made the statement that he believed that the Redskins were going to sneak up on everybody this season and would win the NFC East. It's true, I heard him say it. Rex Grossman ought to worry about his status. How can I take seriously the prediction made by a guy who may not even be the starting quarterback for the Redskins. It is the silly season, and I'm not gonna buy into it.

For the LSF it is the best part of the baseball season, and I am focused on the play of the guys in the candystripes. I won't invite a curse from the Gods Of Baseball by praising them, but what they are doing SO FAR this season is potentially the stuff that dreams are made of. I am fighting the urge to be sucked in to the red Kool-Aid vortex, but I don't remember when I ever stayed up to watch games from the West coast like I did last week.

The Phillies may be playing the best baseball I have ever seen them play, but I do get disturbed with the accolades bestowed on them by the pundits, announcers and others. I remind everyone that they haven't won anything yet, and that the season has many games to go, and that the Gods Of Baseball may be setting us up for the big heartbreak. No, I will not yet jump into the abyss. I will not let my emotions take over - at least not yet. I want them to win it all as much as anybody, and I want them to beat the shit out of the Yankees in the series, but for now I will enjoy the games, making notes on who fucks up, how many times does the Moat Man strike out in critical situations, etc. I will say that his bat has come alive of late, but let's wait until the season is over before losing our minds over him and his team.

Friday, August 5, 2011


The deadlines have come and gone and so has my little summer break. Since my last posting our elected assholes have solved the debt limit crisis they themselves manufactured, giving us a shitty law that will probably cause more of us to join the ranks of the unemployed and to further depress both the housing markets and consumer demand. The best part of the debt crisis going away - for the time being - is that Congress is not in session and I don't have to listen to the politicians blowing smoke up my ass. How nice it would be if they just stayed on their summer recess and never came back. That would mean that none of the big issues of the day would be dealt with, but they wouldn't be worsened either by bankrupted ideologies of both the right and the left.

During the weeks prior to The Deal being made, many on both sides warned of dire consequences in the global markets if the U.S.A. defaulted on our obligations. Funny how things work out as the markets have been nose diving every day since the deal was struck. Yesterday's 513 point drop in the Dow Jones average was a sight to behold for someone who once worked as an investment broker. Thank God my phone wasn't ringing off the hook by panicked clients wanting me to tell them that everything would be OK, and a double thank God that I didn't have to tell them that this might be the greatest buying opportunity of a lifetime. A bit of advice, when your broker tells you to send him/her more money during a selling panic - DON'T DO IT!

The more important trading deadline has also come and gone with the result that the pennant races have now begun in earnest. The big boys all got bigger and badder, the pretenders all made moves to try and stay involved (see Pirates), and the teams with no shot at winning anything gave up the ghost, trading many of their decent players for prospects and suspects. Teams like the Astros were able to reduce their payroll while giving their fans less of a reason to attend their games. I mean, why would I want to pay good money to come see the Astros play games that they have no reasonable chance to win, and why would I spend good money to buy MLB jerseys and hats with Astros on them which tells all who see me that I am a fan of losers?

Given the latest gift from former Phils GM Ed Wade, if Wade isn't enshrined on the Phillies Wall Of Fame it will be a major injustice. Thank you Ed Wade for giving the Phillies the right handed bat they needed. Since leaving us you have been the gift that keeps on giving and, if it were up to me, you would be given a spot of prominence in the event that we here in the greatest city in the world get to have a parade.

You may remember that the LSF was not a backer of bringing Hunter Pence here as the final piece of the puzzle. My fear was that Ruben was going to have to give up Dom Brown and or Vance Worley to make the deal happen and I thought that would have been too much for Pence. I forgot that Ruben was dealing with Ed Wade and, in the end, given that Pence was acquired for prospects only, I now am of the opinion that Ruben has indeed pulled off another good trade. The Astros have become the modern version of the old Kansas City A's and their trading relationship with the Yankees. More on that after a brief word about the candystripers.

The Phillies are playing great baseball as we head into August. They have started to hit the ball and are getting contributions from everyone in the line up. Every night seems to bring us another hero, whether it be the previously given-up-for-dead Raul Ibanez, the I'm-in-my-contract-year Rollins, the my-knee-is-fine Utley, and most especially Superstar (The Moat Man). Howard has been hitting home runs like he knows what he is doing, is showing more discipline at the plate than he has since his MVP year, and even hit his first homer of the season against a lefty. Hopefully, Howard and his teammates will continue to find ways to keep winning and help the team cruise into the playoffs. While the LSF is certainly encouraged by what he has been watching, he has been burnt too often to be ready to drink the Red Kool-Aid. It is far too early for me to give the Phillies my heart again, but will certainly chug the shit when the team is one strike away from winning the World Series. I still worry that the Gods of Baseball may be setting us up for a big fall, so I'll stay the voice of reason and clarity while the rest of you lose your souls over the team.

It seems that whenever the Phillies need a player, the Astros are the go-to team to fulfill the need, and to get rid of guys that are no longer needed or wanted (Brett Meyers, J. Happ, Michael Bourne, etc). As good as the Astros have been to the Phillies, their contributions to our cause pales in comparison to the contributions made to the Yankees by the K.C. A's from the mid 50's to 1961. In that period, the teams consummated sixteen trades involving 62 players and wads of cash. Let's rev up the Wayback Machine so that we can get a close up view of the trades these two teams made.

The A's hadn't even played a month in their new home town when they did their first deal on May 11, 1955. In this deal, the Yankees were able to unload the fading Johnny Sain and Enos Slaughter for a guy named Sonny Dixon and cash - Kind of like Ed Wade sending the Phillies cash in the Pence deal. 1956 would bring three deals including the one made on 8/25/56 that had Slaughter (a future HOFer) back to the Yanks for the waiver price. Sending Slaughter back to the Yanks was the first case of several where the Yankees would park a player in K.C. only to get him back when needed. In October of '56, the Yanks sent Bob Cerv to the A's for cash. The deal was made so that Cerv would get to play everyday, honing his skills until the Yankees wanted him back. The deal to bring Cerv back to the Yankees was made in 1960.

The teams made a major deal on 2/19/57. The Yankees needed another lefthanded pitcher, so the A's sent them former AL MVP Bobby Shantz, Art Ditmar, and Clete Boyer in return six players the Bombers no longer needed. Boyer had been signed as an eighteen year old bonus baby in 1955 and the rules then required that such a player be on the big league roster for two years. The Yankees had scouted Boyer, had wanted to sign him, but didn't want to use a roster spot for him until he was ready for the bright lights. The A's were more than happy to sign the younger brother of HOFer Ken Boyer, and were just as happy to send him to The Bronx when the Yankees were ready for him to play everyday. The Yankees believed that the best playing days were behind Billy Martin so, on 6/15/57, they sent him to K.C. in exchange for relief pitcher Ryne Duren, outfielder Harry Simpson, and a few other players not worth mentioning. Duren would help the Yankees win a couple of World Series, and Simpson would play a reserve role until he was no longer needed when he was sent back to K.C. on 6/15/58.

In 1958, the Yankees were smarting from their '57 World Series loss to the Braves and believed that they needed more pitching. They got the A's to send them Murray Dickson, a crafty veteran pitcher who had spent most of his career with the Pirates and the Cardinals, for what amounted to a bag of donuts. Dickson did indeed help the Yankees beat the Braves in the '58 fall classic and, on 5/9/59, was sent back to the A's for the waiver price.

1959 saw several trades of importance between these two teams. Having sent Dickson back to the A's, the Yankees were short pitching and reacquired Ralph Terry from the A's. Terry had been part of the 1957 deal for Ryne Duren and spent a couple of years in K.C. before being recalled to the Yankee staff. The big deal of 1959 happened on 12/11 when the A's gave the Yankees a Xmas present by sending them Roger Maris and Hector Lopez in exchange for 4 players, including Don Larsen and Marv Throneberry. Larsen had done nothing since his 1956 World Series perfect game and Throneberry was still a few years away from being part of the hapless 1962 Mets, where he acquired the nickname of Marvelous for his overall lousy play.

The Yankees finished second to the White Sox in 1959, so they reacquired Bob Cerv on 5/19/60. Cerv helped the Yankees return to glory in '60 & '61.

The last trade made between these two clubs was made on 6/14/61 when the Yankees sent Art Ditmar back to the A's for a guy named Bud Daley.

Throughout the period when the A's & Yankees were doing their business the rest of the teams cried foul and the A's fans were pissed and very unhappy that their team was basically acting like a farm club to the New Yorkers. Despite smelling like day old fish, the teams were not breaking any rules and Commissioner Ford Frick didn't have the power to stop the deals for the good of baseball as Bud Selig could do today. Sometime in 1960, A's owner Arnold Johnson died and new owner Charlie Finley wanted no part of being a feeder team for the Yankees. Finley had grand ideas for the A's - grand ideas that came to fruition after he moved the team to Oakland, but that's a story for another day.

So, as good to the Phillies as Ed Wade has been, he has a long way to go before equaling the largess of the late 50's A's. I don't think that Ruben wants Meyers or Happ back and, with Michael Bourne now a Brave, there may not be anyone left on the Astros that is worth stealing.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the incredible activity shown by the Eagles since the lockout ended. I'll speak to all of their moves in a later post but, before you order your Super Bowl tickets please remember that, with all of their moves, Fat Andrew is still the guy managing the clock on gameday and I'm sticking to my belief that the Eagles will never win a title with the Lord of Lard at the helm.

Have a great weekend!