Friday, December 24, 2010

Hey Santa Claus - NORAD Is Tracking You!

Children wrote letters to Santa back in the day. These days young people post, text, and tweet the big guy. In whatever manner the message below got to him, my hope is that when you read it images of family members, friends, or even yourself, will be found between the lines.

Dear Santa,

(I used spell-check and had a high school friend look this over before I posted it on your page. Cool profile pic of you and Mrs. Claus by the way.)

Last week my elementary school teacher taught us about the NORAD Santa Tracker. As I'm typing this, I'm looking at the notes I took in class to make sure that I get everything right. Anyway, my teacher said that NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. She said that NORAD allows the United States and Canada to work together to protect our skies. Canada is where my cousin Danny lives now, but you already knew that.

I wasn't sure if you knew this, but our teacher said that NORAD tracks you on Christmas Eve! The day after we learned that, my friend Jake told us that his Dad thinks Mrs. Claus is probably using NORAD to keep an eye on you. I later asked Dave's Dad why he thought that, but he wouldn't say. If Mrs. Claus is using NORAD, maybe she just wants to know that you're safe. Sometimes my Mom sends me a text message, when I'm at my friend Amy's house, to see if I'm okay and to tell me what time dinner is.

Mrs. Kevelson said that this all started in 1955, after the wrong phone number was printed in a Sears and Roebuck Christmas advertisement. Instead of reaching Santa, kids actually got through to the Continental Defense Command. After getting tons of calls, Colonel Harry Shoup had his staff use radar to tell kids where Santa was. Mistakes happen with phones all the time. A few weeks ago I called my friend Kelly, instead of my friend Jenny, because I hit the wrong speed dial number on my cell. Kelly talks a lot, so it took awhile to get off the phone with her.
I hope I'm not prying, but who was Santa before you? I'm thinking maybe your Dad owned the family business before you took over for him. My friend Keith's parents own a restaurant. If I'm right, then you must have a son named Nick who is going to take over for you someday. How old is he?

Lying in bed, waiting to hear your sled on my roof are the longest hours of the year. Hopefully, Mom and Dad let you know about all of the good things I did this year Santa. Oh yeah, about your sled, my friend Mike and I want to know how your reindeer stay in shape when they only work one day a year?

Last week in class Mrs. Kevelson taught us about the history of Christmas. In the fourth century, since there was no evidence about the date Jesus was born on, Pope Julius (I) had his staff check into things. After they did that, he was told that December 25th could be set as Jesus' birthday and he decided to make it a holiday. When is your birthday? If you let me know, I'll send you a gift.

Mrs. Kevelson taught us that Christmas wasn't originally celebrated in America. It was outlawed in Boston from 1659 through 1681. But, in Jamestown, Captain John Smith said that it was celebrated by everyone. Later, after we beat England in the Revolutionary War, many new people came to this country. So many of them began to celebrate Christmas each year, that the government declared it a Federal holiday in 1870.

I did some research on the internet about you after learning about Christmas. Just like George Washington, you are THE MAN! I typed a story on the laptop in my classroom and posted it on my school web page if you want to see it. Kelly was aside of me, so it took awhile.

When I did that research, I found illustrations of a whole bunch of guys who look just like you. I think that is because they are related to you, on your Dad's side of the family, way back in time.

Odin was a German god who rode an eight-legged horse through the sky, kind of like your reindeer. Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in 4th century Greece, was famous for his gifts to the poor. He was later named Saint Nicholas. Plus, there was a man in the Netherlands and Belgium called Sinter Klass. If I'm right, your family really moved around a lot.

Well, take care Santa. It's late and you know why I have to get to bed tonight. Thank you for always remembering my family, my friends, and me. We will never forget you.

Your friend,

The letter above, from and old “friend” of mine, was to Santa. The message below is to all of you from me.

Auld Lang Syne (One translation – Days Gone By)
We should be happy when everyone can celebrate their own holidays, because that likely means our own beliefs are being respected. When we are opposed to other people, for whatever our reasons, we should not be surprised when others stand against us.

I have celebrated Christmas with many different types of people over the course of my entire life. All people, of any background, are not naïve for adhering to their philosophies. By tracking and later sharing the tradition of common sense values, we all move together through the anxious night and into an anticipated new morning.

Best wishes to everyone, everywhere.

My article was published by on 12/23/10

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cliff Lee: Another Former Phillie Returns To Ignite Winter's Hot Stove

The reacquisition of Cliff Lee this week was the latest in a series of moves the Philadelphia Phillies have made this offseason that brought former players back to the fold.
Ryne Sandberg, Juan Samuel, and Mickey Morandini, all retired players, have returned after long absences from the team.
Lee, of course, returns to South Philadelphia to expand upon his legendary 2009 season in pinstripes.
Ruben Amaro's admission that introspection played a role in Lee's return should slam the book shut on all past speculation about why Lee left.
Basically the club was unwilling to commit to him long-term last year, saw how the 2010 season ended and decided that they needed him after all.
It is always good when people acknowledge being human.
Carlos Ruiz
Amaro does need to make sure that the outfield and bench are solid, because the team does need to score runs.  While many crooked numbers might not be needed on most nights, Werth's offensive production needs to be accounted for.  Carlos Ruiz has shown every sign that he will fill some of this production void and could be a candidate to move up in the batting order in 2011.
The level of excellence that Pat Gillick inspired in everyone changed the culture of the Phillies brain trust and clearly has influenced his best student, the Phillies current GM.  He deserves credit for being both bold and humble.

Mickey Morandini is the Phillies new Single A manager in Williamsport.
The second baseman on the famed 1993 “Macho Row” team is actually returning for his third tour of duty. He had two stints as a player from 1990-1997 and in 2000.
This fan favorite always exhibited a professional demeanor on and off the field. His depth of character should add to an already strong farm system and help to produce future stars who will play at Citizens Bank Park.
Two former second basemen also returned to the Phillies recently. Ryne Sandberg and Juan Samuel were promising prospects in a rich minor league system.
One that helped the big club to produce numerous summer blockbuster seasons, the sequels to which have not been seen until just recently.
Sandberg played the remainder of his career with the Cubs and retired in 1997. Samuel went on to play with six other teams and retired in 1998.
Both men were key figures in the Phillies fortunes, or lack thereof.
Sandberg, the 2005 Hall of Fame inductee, was involved in a seminal 1980's trade.
The 10-time All Star and 1984 National League MVP was hired to manage the Phils triple A team, possibly preparing for a future role in Philadelphia.
Juan Samuel, the new third base coach, was a dynamic young player who got his chance to play during that same era, in part, because of Sandberg's departure.
Ryne Sandberg
"Ryno" was a minor league infielder, coveted by Dallas Green, himself a former Phillies pitching farmhand in the 1960's. Sandberg only played a handful of games in red pinstripes, before he was sent on a plane to Wrigley Field.
His efforts in the windy city allowed him to write HOF under his signature, because he became one of the greatest second baseman of all-time.
So, why was his vast potential discarded?

Bill Giles
Phillies Chairman Bill Giles provides answers to that question in his excellent book, Pouring Six Beers at a Time.
Giles took a lot of heat during the period when Sandberg and Samuel were Phillies. His group purchased the team in 1981. Fans referenced him as a key source responsible for years of losing seasons.
However, he shares significant credit with a management group that is responsible for four World Series appearances and the 2008 champions; he was also one of the principle visionaries who enabled Citizens Bank Park to become Phillies fan newest friend.
This son of former National League president Warren Giles is an honest guy, whose heart was always in the right place. His sincerity and passion for the game is undeniable.
Like any baseball season, every long reign has its down times. So, any retrospective about his overall legacy deserves to be filled with positive words.

Sandberg's career statistics (1981-1997):
Games: 2,164
Batting Average: .285
Home runs: 282
Runs Batted In: 1,061
Stolen Bases: 344
Fielding Percentage: .989

Dallas Green
Ryne Sandberg was traded with Larry Bowa after the 1981 season. They were acquired by former 1980 World Series champion manager Dallas Green, who had left Philadelphia to become the Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President and General Manager.
He took so many Phillies personnel with him and acquired so many Phillies players, that his Cubs team became known as “Phillies-West.”
Green's exit signaled a new era—one where the Phillies developed little new talent. His departure was one in a series of blows to an organization that was at the tail end of its greatest era.
It set in motion the decline of the team, the Vet and the Eagles rise to prominence.
While the Phillies did appear in the 1983 World Series, their glory was dazed. Gassed after winning Game 1 against the Orioles, the Phillies then lost four straight.
The team failed to reach the playoffs again until 1993. Of course, that was “Macho Row's” one year of wonder.
As Sandberg's career was moving towards its twilight, Mickey Morandini was manning second by then.
Sandberg became a Hall of Famer, in one of the most referenced trades sports fans in this area still talk about. Coming full circle, the 51 year old Sandberg returns to the team where his baseball career was born.
He is also a natural selection to eventually join the major league staff, be mentored by and then succeed Charlie Manuel.
He won the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year award this past season, but was not picked to take over for the retiring Lou Pinella.
So, in a reversal of fortune come full circle, the Phillies now have re-acquired him 28 years after his infamous trade. Pat Gillick used to speak of restocking inventory and this move helps replenish the Phillies future coaching or managerial supply.
Since he was not chosen to replace Lopes on the coaching staff, it would seem reasonable to believe that the organization has placed him on a future managerial path.
Would the organization let him get away again, as it did in the past? With the situations are not comparable, it seems likely that he was specifically chosen with a plan in mind.

Juan Samuel
So, with Sandberg gone, Samuel's position in the 80's infield was set. He starred at second base for the Phillies in the 1980's, earning two of his three All Star appearances.
“Sammy” was eventually involved in a 1989 trade that landed Lenny “Nails” Dykstra.
The San Pedro de Macoris native transitioned into coaching after retiring in 1999. He managed in the minor leagues and was an interim manager for the Orioles this past season.
Samuel, now 49 years old, was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008.
If Samuel were somehow a part of today's team, he would fit in well. Personable, possessing a smile that belies a kind-heart, he made the best of his time and was well-liked because of it.

Samuel's career statistics (1983-1998):
Games: 1,720
Batting Average: .259
Home runs: 161
Runs Batted In: 703
Stolen Bases: 396
Fielding Percentage: .973

Samuel's time starts with the new season. That third base coaching position has proven to be challenging for many, so he will need to remain sharp.
His approach to coaching and overall loyalty are big pluses, so hopefully he fits right in.
With whatever the future holds, it would be great to also see Sandberg in our uniform at some point. Charlie Manuel may have a future opening on his staff, which Sandberg could fill.
He would likely prove to be as strong a coaching mentor for Ryno, as he has proven to be for his players.
This Hall of Famer could, eventually, lead this talented squad.
During the offseason, these are the type of recipes that all of us sports fans enjoy cooking on that old hot stove.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jason Werth Signs With The Nationals

He got 7 years and over $120 million.  Apparently the Phils offered 3 years at around $16 million, with a fourth year option.  Understandable that the Nats would want him, as they need to add power.  Interesting that Werth only wanted the money, as there had to be other suitors who had a better chance of winning more quickly than the DC bunch and may have given him enough $$$ to be happy.

Now, expect Amaro and his staff to get a productive bat who might not be a flashy name.  Jeff Francouer, Matt Diaz, and other names are out there to be had. 

It could be that the Phils mix and match in RF with Dom Brown and do almost as well offensively as they did with Werth, though defensively they "might" take a hit.  Winter Meetings are all this week, which is just the time that things get interesting.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An interview with Philadelphia Flyers' legend Bernie Parent

(Text version that includes my personal notes.)

Today, my philosophy has changed tremendously. Everything comes from what you think about. Whatever you are thinking, you are going to attract. When you are happy, good things will come to you, ” Bernard Marcel Parent.

A week prior to his participation in the Spectrum's demolition ceremonies, I had the chance to discuss hockey, business, and philosophy with Bernie Parent. In doing so, I learned about the man who was a steady rock on those Flyers 1970's Stanley Cup teams. The former goaltender's candor and warm demeanor revealed how he has transitioned from a Hall of Fame sports career to life after the game.

The last time I was in the Spectrum, I went down to the floor and stood where the holes for the net used to be. I was there for about 10 to15 minutes looking at the whole building. I relived the memories one last time. It was a beautiful thing,” Parent said.

Parent, who will be honored by the Flyers on December 8th at “Bernie Parent night”, has remained a member of the Flyers' family, serving as an ambassador for the team.

New book to be released

He also is the author of a forthcoming book, My Journey Through Fear and Risk, which was developed through his experiences, conversations, and motivational speeches that he has given since his playing career ended. The book will be available to corporations, schools, non-profits, and individuals. In it, he discusses life after hockey and how each person can develop a proper philosophy. It also contains a menu of 15 topics to select from which facilitates Parent's in-person presentations.

In addition to authoring a book, he has continued to represent a number of different corporations, and make public relations appearances around the country and in Canada.

Business requests can be made through his manager, Dean Smith, who can be contacted at:
856-988-0001 and through Parent's website.

When I talk with people, I tell them to find out what their purpose is. They need to find what they love to do and dedicate their lives to it. That's when you get involved in fear and risk. You may have to change everything in your life, but risk is a beautiful thing. That is when things happen. All successful people have taken risks,” Parent said.

Learning from the master

Parent's hockey career was partly inspired by Hall of Fame goaltender Jacques Plante, whose sister lived aside of his family home.

I was a shy kid, so when Plante would come to visit his sister I would always watch him. I can see in my mind exactly what his sister's house looked like, how he got out of his car, stood in front of the house smoking a cigar, and how he walked up the steps,” Parent fondly recalled.

My goal as a little leaguer was to get to the National Hockey League and then to win the Stanley Cup. When I was a kid I might have had 200 people telling me that I wasn't going to make it. They said I
wasn't big enough, or strong enough. But, when you have passion and are good enough, the obstacles fade away,” Parent said.

After playing in the junior leagues for the Niagara Falls Flyers, he was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the mid-1960's. Later he was selected in the 1967 NHL expansion draft by the Flyers and played in Philadelphia until he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971. Their starting goalie at the time was none other than Jacques Plante.

When I was traded to Toronto, I had some doubts at first. That was a low point in my career because I wasn't looking at the right side of the coin. I was thinking about the Flyers not wanting me, rather than the fact that the Leaf's did want me. Plus, the person who I admired as a child, Plante, was their goalie. I learned a great lesson from that whole experience,” Parent said.

I was there (in Toronto) for two years. I watched Plante play from the bench. He was incredible! You don't want to copy someone, but take what they have an add it to your own style. So, one day, I said to him, 'Jacques, can you teach me?', Parent said.

In 1972, Parent took a risk and jumped to a rival league called the World Hockey Association. While playing for the Philadelphia Blazers during that 1972-73 season, he faced an average of 55 shots per game, but used that as an opportunity to apply what he had learned from Plante. When the Blazers moved to Vancouver at season's end, he decided to go back to the NHL. Toronto then traded his rights to the Flyers.

Fred Shero

Newspapers heralded his return as a move that could help the team to win the Cup in 1973-74.

The first time I met Fred Shero he came up to me and said that he believed in team work, but didn't know anything about goaltending, so I was on my own. As soon as he said that, I knew I had the right coach,” Parent recalled.

I got a standing ovation when I stepped onto the ice at the Spectrum during our first pre-season game that year. But, ten minutes into the game, the Rangers had scored eight goals against me. I heard a lot of boos and Freddy (Shero) pulled me out. That was my reintroduction to the city. But, when you think you have hit your lowest moments, it doesn't mean it's over. You are just being sent in a different direction,” Parent said.

A few weeks after that Rangers game, Shero had Parent start in goal for the regular season opener against Toronto. He shut them out 2-0. As we know, the Broad Street Bullies went on to famously win their first Stanley Cup that season and have “walked together forever”, just as Shero's locker room chalkboard message had encouraged them to do.

Parent earned many awards after his return to Philadelphia, including winning both the Vezina (an award given annually to the league's best goalie) and the Conn Smythe (an award given annually to the league's best playoff performance) trophies in 1973-74 and 1974-75.

Post-hockey career

A five-time All-Star, he was the toast of the town in the 1970's, adding another Cup win in 1974-75.
But, after a career-ending eye injury against the Rangers, in 1979, his life changed dramatically.

After retirement, the problem is that you can't perform in front of large crowds anymore. That is the biggest adjustment that you have to make. Money is separate adjustment,” Parent said.

He joined a self-help program that he credits with turning his life around.

In your greatest despair, you can have your greatest victory. As long as I was the hockey player, I had a purpose. Once that stopped, that purpose was gone. I went in circles. I wasn't happy and I hung around people who had a similar outlook. I have learned that you become what you attract. So, I like to share what I went through because I want to help people to learn through my experiences,” Parent said.

During that time period he also was a goaltending coach and scout for the Flyers. Neil Little, drafted on Parent's recommendation, went on to win two Calder Cups for the Flyers AHL affiliate and today is the Flyers worldwide goalie scout.

In 1998, he was willing to let a doctor perform a new procedure on his damaged right eye. The procedure worked, restoring his vision to 20/20.

Pelle Lindbergh

Thomas Tynander and Bill Meltzer's book Behind the White Mask, contains a sharply detailed description of Lindbergh's life, career, and the father-son type relationship that he had with Parent. We discussed the book and his remembrances of Lindbergh.

Pelle was here on Earth for a brief moment that was cut a little bit short. We are spiritual people and
I believe that when someone passes away they move onto a new place in their eternal life,” Parent reflected.

During the 1981-82 season, Lindbergh was struggling. When he was sent to the Flyers minor league team in Maine, Parent suggested that he go with him. Through his guidance, Lindbergh returned to the Flyers during that season. He went on to win the Vezina trophy in 1984-85, which Parent presented to him at the awards ceremony.

I opened the envelope and his name was listed as the winner. He came up on stage and gave me hug. It was a big moment,” Parent fondly recalled.

I was very grateful that I was a part of his life. A paradigm was passed from Plante, the master, to me and then I passed what I had learned on to Pelle. He had a lot of good qualities that could benefit us today,” Parent said of his former protege.

Recent pursuits

He has remained an avid hunter, fisherman, and golfer. He values family greatly, having two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren.

It is a different phase that I'm going into now. I love children. When you watch a child, you are seeing happiness. Watch them for a half of an hour and you will learn a lot,” Parent said.

A few years ago one of Parent's sons gave him a popular DVD. He credits what he learned from it (along with it's related book) as helping him to gain a deeper understanding of life.

The Secret helped me to see that we attract good and the bad things in life by how we think. When you have a positive view of life, good things happen to you. The greatest power on Earth is the power to choose. Once you understand the process, you can create anything that you want,” Parent said.

Ed Snider

I believe that he is one of the best owners in professional sports and has built his own economy. He is wise enough to realize that he needs a team. He is involved with his company, but allows people to have confidence in themselves and lets his team perform. Back in 1967-68 (the team's first year) he was sitting at the kitchen table with his wife, trying to determine how they would meet payroll. Now, he is one of the most successful individuals in the Delaware Valley,” Parent said.

Flyers 2010-2011

I think this team has the whole package. They have a great coach (Peter Laviolette) who I really like. They have great forwards and great defenseman. They also have three good goalies, who understand the game. It's exciting because the Flyers have their deepest team in a long time. They aren't hoping to win, they know they can win. If they stay healthy, they have a good chance to win the whole thing,” Parent enthusiastically said.


I consider myself to be a wolf, because I like the freedom of choice. Choice is very, very important to me. A wolf works in packs. So, everyone doesn't have to be like me, because people all have different talents,” Parent said.

He has employed the same strategy in his current pursuits that he did when he studied Plante's goaltending techniques. He studied successful business people for five years, so that he could begin to build his own business pack.

Parent concluded by saying, “Material possessions, like us, will come and go. I am grateful for what I have been able to attract. Life is a wonderful journey.”


Growing up in the 1970's, I was naturally a Flyers fan and spent many great days playing street hockey with cousins and elementary school friends. My uncle created cool foam goalie pads that my cousin wore during our games in his garage. Every Sunday, while my Mom was making dinner, I would put my Bernie-style mask on and fend off shots from my Dad in our own basement rink.

After completing the interview, I began my journey back through the roads that I had traveled on a few hours earlier. As I did so, I could see in my memories that we all wanted to be who Bernie was back then. I also knew that I had just spoken with someone who enjoys being who he is today.

(Thank you to Dan Morroni, who is a custom tailor in the Philadelphia region.)
(My interview was initially provided to

Let's connect on Twitter @SeanyOBthrough Facebook, or on LinkedIn

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In opposition to public behaviors seen during the Vietnam era, overwhelming percentages of the American people support our troops in the current Middle Eastern wars.

This clear evolution in thought, by those who are oppose armed conflict, has occurred since the late 60's and early 70's.  Twenty-first century believers in peace must have realized that their protesting ancestors weren't most effectively promoting their ideas by condemning United States troops publicly.  Current anti-military displays have not been well received by the public and have not been widely seen across the two presidencies.

Certainly those who have family members and friends in armed conflict deserve to have mixed feelings.
Their opinions deserve full respect.

It is often difficult to determine the underlying intent of those who don't have ties to war, but  protest, while claiming to support the troops. 

The current overall attitude of the American public, towards our troops serving in the Middle Eastern wars, reveals deep respect for the young men and women who have voluntarily put their lives at risk for the sake of others.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Davey Lopes

With Davey's departure the team has another hole to fill.

He helped the team effectively use the running game more than any time in recent memory. 
This helped to set up homerun counts for batters and to produce small-ball runs as well.

His also worked with the outfielders, leading them to be in position to attain those generally solid fielding percentages.

We will have to see who replaces him and how that affects the team next season.

Mid-Term Elections - What do you think?

With the mid-terms tomorrow, it is still unknown how the House, Senate, Governor races, etc. will turnout.

So many have been engaged with politics in recent years. 

My hope is that as many people who are able to vote do.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting Ready for Game 6

Click on the word ---Insight-- for more information about this series.

There are only three teams left in the playoffs this year.

Cliff Lee's Rangers beat the Yankees last night and won their first American League pennant.   A la Scott Rolen, Alex Rodriquez struck out to end the series against the team that gave him over $200 million dollars many years ago. 

For the Phillies and the Giants, the series could end tonight if San Francisco wins. 

If the Phillies win, it will be their first game 7 in team history.

Who knows how either team will look, if a fluke play could turn the night, or if an injury might impact the game.

The pressure and anxiety of these games adds so much and only further confirms what a great era of baseball Philadelphia and their fans are living through.

Anything could happen starting at 757pm tonight.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roy Halladay
Extra information about this series is available by clicking on the link above.

Halladay pitched with a minor groin pull that happened in the first inning. 

He earns $20 million a season.  But, that did not cause him to pitch through pain.

He gutted it out because that is what winners do. 

Game 6
Please click on the link above for more information on this series. 

We played clutch tonight and so we won. 

The bullpen also was huge!

Halladay, while not great, put us in a position to win.

Werth - thanks for extending your time with us, as we know you might be elsewhere next season. 

Nice payday coming for the Phillies organzation on Saturday night.  When the product is good, we don't mind paying. 

Oswalt and Sanchez in Game 6.

Can we push it to the brink???   Tune in and find out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Phillies - Game 5

Click on the link about for information about this series.

Halladay tomorrow.  If the Giants win another game with him starting, we will have to hand it to him.

It seems hard to fathom that this team can come back against the Giants.

A number of thoselittle blemishes that the team had this season are on display in this series.

A good team, playing clutch ball, will make you pay for your mistakes.

This Phils team overcame so much this season, it's a shame if we can't get back to the World Series.

But, there is another game tomorrow.

Phillies - Game 4

*Click on the link to see my column on this Phillies series.   
This series has developed its own feel.

The offense in Games 1 and 3 has looked like it did during the Rockies series in '07, when we were swept. 
Tonight's game is so critical, to say the least.

As fans, I know we will all go full out in support of our team today and Thursday.

What are your thoughts on Game 4?

Phillies - Game 4

*Click on the link to see my column on this Phillies series.   
As fans, I know we will all go full out in support of our team today and Thursday.

This series has developed its own feel.

The offense in Games 1 and 3 has looked like it did during the Rockies series in '07, when we were swept. 

Tonight's game is so critical, to say the least.

What are your thoughts on Game 4?

Phillies - Game 4

*Click on the link for my column on this Phillies series.   
We may, or may not, win. 

As fans, I know we will all go full out in support of our team today and Thursday.

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07, when we were swept.  Tonight's game so critical, to say the least.

What are your thoughts on Game 4?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


*Click on the link for my column on this Phillies series.   
We may, or may not, win.  But, let's go full out tomorrow and Thursday.

Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start, as scheduled, tomorrow. 

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07 - where we were swept.  The game tomorrow is so critical, to say the least.

What are your thoughts on Game 4?


Click on the link above for my column on this Phillies series.   
We may, or may not, win.  But, let's go full out tomorrow and Thursday.

Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start, as scheduled, tomorrow. 

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07 - where we were swept.  The game tomorrow is so critical, to say the least.

What are your thoughts on Game 4?

How Many Times Have We Thought The Phillies Were Done This Year?

We may, or may not, win.  But, let's go full out tomorrow and Thursday.

Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start, as scheduled, tomorrow. 

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07 - where we were swept.  The game tomorrow is so critical, to say the least.

All the Phils news you need is in the article below. 

What are your thoughts on Game 4?

Flyers -

Lost amongst the shuffle of the Phillies playoffs and Eagles good start, is the Flyers. (Everyone knows the Sixers are rebuilding, so they haven't been able to get much space anywhere in Philly pop culture.)

Bobrovsky has performed well in the early going.  The team powerplay has been poor.  With Ian Laperriere possibly retiring, they need to replace the moxie factor.  Their coach is strong and will lead them through it. 

It may take this group awhile to gel.  Maybe even until the playoffs.

As the immortal Gene Hart used to say, "Good night and good hockey."  Jim Jackson is great.  Gene's voice will always be missed in any regard.  He taught us all how to be Flyers fans.  That is why it is so wonderful to hear Lauren sing before every home game.

How many times have we thought the Phillies were done this year?

We may, or may not, win.  But, let's go full out tomorrow and Thursday.

Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start, as scheduled, tomorrow. 

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07 - where we were swept.  The game tomorrow is so critical, to say the least.

All the Phils news you need is in the article below. 

What are your thoughts on tomorrow's game?

Phillies - Onto Game 4

Charlie Manuel said Blanton will start, as scheduled, tomorrow. 

This series has developed its own feel, with our offense in Games 1 and 3 looking like the Rockies series in '07 - where we were swept.  The game tomorrow is so critical, to say the least.

All the Phils news you need is in the article below. 

What are your thoughts on tomorrow's game?

Phillies Game 3

Some background on the teams in the attached article.  Cain vs. Cole today.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Phillies - Giants - NLCS Game 3 Tidbit

It has been suggested that Jimmy Rollins might leadoff for game 3, though that is just media speculation.

Hamels has not pitched well in day games in his career, but has been a more focused pitcher and a more mature person this season.  Hopefully he does what he did against the Reds.

Cain might not be the best starter the Giants have, but he is a good second tier pitcher.  The Phils would do well to keep the pressure on him.

Great afternoon start time for many kids who watch baseball!

Did You Know What Ben Franklin Said About England Back In The Day?

President Obama - The Tea Party - And Other Items

The Approaching 2012 Presidential Election

Pete Rose

Charlie Manuel

How Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs Are Shaping Politics and Our World

How Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs Are Shaping Politics and Our World
by Sean O'Brien

The increasing connectivity that social networking allows has transformed our lives. At the same time, use of these powerful tools has been redefining politics. Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs are rapidly supplanting television, radio, and newspapers as information sources of choice.

This computer driven transformation was foreshadowed in author Ray Kurzweil's book The Age of Spiritual Machines. That groundbreaking tome contains sharp predictions that continue to come true. When it was published in 1999 you could purchase the print edition at a bookstore. This very moment you have just read about it on a website. At your preference, that book can be downloaded to whatever media device you own. A far cry from how information was disseminated a few short decades ago.

Television broadcast news outlets still facilitate mass message transmission. Many radio talk shows reach core, sometimes massive, niche audiences. But, with the staggering effectiveness of new technology, political candidates are interacting with their audiences directly. Traditional media outlets are adapting in a way that is similar to how radio adjusted to the rise of television in 1950's.

For generations newspapers and the “Big Three” television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had massive power. That fused box began to short back in the 1980's with the advent of cable television. Through the late 1990's CNN was the dominant cable brand with a worldwide reach.

CNN set a visual trend all would follow by placing their logo directly on the television screen. It helped to distinguish the channel amongst a growing sea of choices and was as distinguishable as a Nike swoosh on sneakers. Companies often borrow from marketing strategies that were first employed by completely different industries. The new 24 hour news cycle took political scandal television to a whole new level.

During the first decade of this century, many television networks began to visually resemble websites, with a constant stream of information moving across the screen and mouse like arrows clicking on information presented on it. The CNBC stock ticker was adapted by CNN and other channels into a news ticker. Obviously people's ubiquitous gravitation to the world wide web was recognized and catered to in order to try and maintain audience loyalty. Many national candidates have actually become nothing more than brand names marketed through all of these various media impressions.

With so many channel choices, cable executives clearly made the decision to specialize and carve their own corner of the market. Each plays to it's own audience segment. MSNBC and HBO reach for progressives, Fox for conservatives, and CNN presents itself as a somewhat centric, never-ending, newscast.

While no longer growing, cable news still has influence over politics. At various points in the day, especially during prime time, Fox News has been pulling in more viewers than the other top cable networks combined. These numbers do reflect how specific audiences are choosing to get their information. So, where Bill O'Reilly draws approximately three million viewers a night, and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann around one million, the other cable channels: CNN, CNN Headline News, and CNBC draw below five hundred thousand viewers. Conservative viewers, more so than progressives, are selecting cable television as their preferred source for political news.

Other cable personalities, like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Chris Matthews, Rachael Maddow, and Anderson Cooper draw sizable viewers as well. On a nightly basis Hannity and Beck reach nearly two million people, with Maddow at just under one million, and Cooper and Matthews around three quarters of a million viewers. Some of these cable personalities have, or had, radio careers as well.

Today, broadcast and cable television networks make sure to inform their viewers that they are also accessible through social networking sites. This shift belies another transition away from traditional media outlets for information. We are all learning how to navigate and tailor these technology trends to our own needs. The dual sources of individual branding and information sharing, known as Facebook and Twitter, are remaking how people communicate and gather information. Anyone who wants to stay current stays connected.

Johannes Guttenberg is widely credited with inventing the printing press, during the 1400's, in Germany. His most famous publication was the Bible. He facilitated a system of delivering information to the masses in way that was effective, efficient, and Medieval user-friendly.

Centuries later Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple) both sparked a revolution that led to public accessibility of the internet through personal computers. The internet is, in its simplest form, a way to transfer information. In the political world, the evolving synergy between voters and politicians is allowing the powerful and the power-challenged to mingle at online cocktail parties.

Guttenberg 2.0 is now in full force. Devices like the iPad and the Kindle allow books to move from print to digital text, press releases to become Tweets, and broadcasts to become podcasts. Everything old is new again.

Current information transformations have also given rise to the “new” newspapers. Paper editions of newspapers have morphed into internet form. Take a great idea, make it current, and brand it with a different name, the Blog.

There are a wide array of blogs for all political persuasions: Typed or clicked destinations such as:,,,, and, amongst many others, represent the newspapers of the 21st century.

Blogs are driving stories onto traditional newspaper cable news headlines. The interactivity actually does give anyone the ability to be involved with news, rather than simply being presented with it. Traditional newspapers, in response, have created their own blogs connected to their online masthead. Political blogs disseminate messages in a powerful way to specific audiences.

In terms of audiences, how many Facebook friends do you have? President Obama has nearly fourteen million on his most populated page. While Sarah Palin has over two million friends. This indicates that the President's supporters are more geared to social networking than conservatives currently are. However, in the Pennsylvania Senatorial race, Pat Toomey (R) has over 14,000 Facebook friends compared to Joe Sestack (D), who has slightly under 10,000. In the California Governor's race over 128,000 people are friends of Meg Whitman (R), compared to over 81,000 for Jerry Brown (D).

So, what does this digital domination translate into for the upcoming mid-term elections and the big one to come in 2012? The power to use social networks to influence statewide elections is yet to be seen, but it could indicate how certain candidates are arming themselves for battle. Facebook friends could translate into many election day votes for the person who is “liked.” Plus, these social networks are used to activate campaign troops in the year-long process that ushers in the primary election.
A few short years ago it seemed as though younger people used the internet and older people watched television. While those comparisons are still not completely off base, the technology use gap has been shrinking about as fast as the number of homes that receive a newspaper on their doorstep. Teenagers are not only contacting their BFF's, they are also texting Grandma. A lady who, by the way, probably has a BlackBerry.

This prosperous age of the new media will certainly continue to evolve. In political terms, candidates who have recognized the new reality are also helping to shape it. The public will stay connected by increasing participation through through posts, tweets, and bookmarked websites of their choice.

This article was the original idea of the author. It was submitted to

Phillies NLCS Preview

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Phils Game 2 Recap

Roy shrugged off NLDS start against the Reds and got it done.  That is why Ruben got him, so he could do exactly what he did tonight!  **Oswalt was the 2005 NLCS MVP while with the Astros.

Charlie leaving Roy going to the mound and then leaving Roy in was classic!  and ----tells you why he is loved by his guys.

Jimmy might have just gotten his groove back.

The crowd was so great tonight and impacted the atmosphere.

Howard seems to have gotten back into the swing of things.

Raul makes a clutch grab late in the game, erasing last night's foppa.

Striking out Cody Ross late is a good statement.

Cole, has not always done well in day games, so let's hope he has his game face on.  He did this entire season, so there is reason for hope.

Game 1 Recap - and a little Flyers update

Neither Halladay, nor Lincecum, had their best stuff.  It has been suggested by Larry Bowa, local Philly radio analyst, that Lincecum had a blister on his finger and was unable to go with his slider after the 4th inning.  Too bad Phils could not take advantage.

Fontenot at 3B for Sandoval, will he factor into the series.

Werth and Ruiz were factors last night.  Werth ranks high, all time, with playoff homers.  Ruiz ranks high, all-time, with catcher OBP.

Lidge somehow looked like he did pre-Aug 1st. 

Oswalt was 2005 NLCS MVP.

The Flyers powerplay is not good.  Bobrovsky suffers first loss last night in 5-1 defeat, but only gave up 2 goals that were his fault.  It will be interesting to see how this goalie experiment plays out.
Onto game 2.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phillies and Flyers

Always an anxious time in waiting for a new series to start.  Even though the Phils are an elite baseball team now, it is difficult to get by the feeling that no series is "in the bag."   Games 1 and 2 this weekend will be very interesting.

It will also be interesting to see if the Flyers move, over time, to giving Bobrovsky more net time.  Boucher is a decent backup.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gavin Leads His Team To Victory!

  Ephrata's rising star!
Saturday, October 9, 2010 - Gavin played three infield positions and pitched for Ephrata in their 12-8 victory at home over rival Penn Manor. This impressive third-grader played excellent defense at three positions: third base, shortstop, and first base. But, fielding wasn't the only talent he displayed for the large crowd, as he also stole two bases and scored a run during the team's victory. The win allowed Ephrata to improve their record to 3-1 in the 10-years-old and under league.

Jennefer, Gavin's mother, noted that her son's pre-game rituals help him to prepare for the game. “It's incredible what he goes through on the day of the game. He also practices at home and at a local indoor batting facility to keep his skills sharp,” she said.

A game-time temperature of 73 degrees made for an ideal atmosphere as Gavin took to the mound in the fifth inning. Pitching in his newly developed “Tim Lincecum” style, this right hander kept Penn Manor hitters guessing. His father, John said, “He has been working on that delivery lately and had good control today.” His father also photographs his son's on-field efforts during each game. This practice is standard for all major league teams, as it helps to document skill development.

Young Gavin also has an impressive collection of baseball cards. Someday he wants to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, or become a pediatrician. Gavin who celebrated his team's victory after the game at a local restaurant, is also a gourmet potato chef. Here is his recipe: Heat two table spoons of butter in a 12” skillet. Add two cans of Shur Fine sliced potatoes. Then add a pinch each of parsley, paprika, sage, black pepper, fresh ground pepper, and sea salt. Fry for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Gavin, a Pirates' fan, loved talking baseball with his grandfather, who was an avid Phillies fan before passing away in 2007. Looking down from heaven, through a clear blue sky, he must have been proud of his grandson's performance on this day. With talent from God and from his family, the future looks bright for this 8 1/2 year-old star.
By Sean O'Brien

Pat Burrell To Play In The NLCS In Philadelphia Again...with the Giants

With the Giants 3-2 win against the Braves tonight Bobby Cox's career has come to an end. This future Hall of Famer's club was no match for the Giant's pitching staff. Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez vs. the Phillies top three puts an interesting set up matchups in motion.

Of the eight playoff series the Phillies have played since 2007, this pitching staff offers them challenges most comparable to the Yankees during last season season's World Series.

The Giants are not an offensively geared club and that could play into the Phillies plans, but the Phillies will need to get their lineup working to create some space on the scoreboard.

A full preview of this upcoming series will appear later this week on

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Phillies Sweep Reds On Way To The NLCS

Look for my NLCS preview coming later in the week on

Tonight in Cincinatti, Cole Hamels pitched a complete game shutout. During the offseason Hamels saw a chiropractor, the Dali Lama, Pat Croce, former cast members of his wife's old "Survivor" crew, Rex Hudler, and anyone else who he thought could help him. Well, maybe it wasn't that many people, but whatever he did it worked. It is great to see this guy mature as a pitcher and as a person.

Cincy is the birthplace of baseball - fitting since Rolen cried like a baby about our friend Larry Bowa who only wanted to win ballgames, but did not have the personnel to do it.

Even though we hit around .200 in this series, we still scored 13 runs. The mark of a deep team that knows how to win.

Dusty Baker tied a record by taking three different National League teams to the postseason. He's a good guy who we may face again in future seasons. Like Charlie said, the Reds remind him of us about 3 years ago.

The Reds lead the league in average, homeruns, and runs during the regular season. Just think about what our performance means in consideration of that.

Shane Victorino, a red-light player, who was a difference maker on the field and at the plate in this series. Good choice in leading him off Charlie.

Chapman, the Cuban Missile, is more of a thrower at this point. Plus, as a reliever, he does not have a chance to reveal his full arsenal. But, did you notice how our hitters did get their swings against him. Pitching is a more advanced art than throwing Aroldis.

The Reds had 4 runs and 10 hits in this series.

Darren Daulton noted that the Reds payroll is about 1/2 of ours, which shows that our seasoned players have tenure. A great way of looking at it. How great it also is to see a person like Daulton back on track with his life and career. Good going Dutch.

On to face San Fran or Atlanta this coming Saturday night.

Jimmy Rollins Stops Cuban Missile Crisis As Phils Win 7-4 in Game 2 of the NLDS!

Rabid Phillies fans watched Aroldis Chapman warming in the Reds bullpen during the second game of this National League Division Series. They were awaiting the results of a showdown on this October night. His missile arm, recently having thrown a record 105mph pitch, against the irrepressible Phillies offense.

Chapman's nickname is “The Cuban Missile.” He defected from Cuba on July 1, 2009, while playing for their national baseball team at a tournament in the Netherlands. The Cincinnati Reds then signed him to a six-year contract worth over $30 million. He joined the team on August 31, 2010 and pitched in his first ever post-season game on October 8, 2010.

While the Cincinnati Reds team nickname derives from redlegs, the term “Red”use to have very negative political connotations. In the midst of the United States “Cold War” with the Soviet Union (Russia), someone believed to be a Communist, or a sympathizer, was called a “Red.” In October, 1962, President John F. Kennedy squared off against Soviet Premier, Nikita S. Khrushchev. Their famous showdown was nicknamed “The Cuban Missile Crisis.”

It had been discovered that the Soviet Union had placed missiles inside Cuba. Military leader, Soviet supporter, and avid baseball fan, Fidel Castro was Cuba's self-appointed President. Elected United States President Kennedy issued an ultimatum to Khrushchev. He demanded that any missiles installed in Cuba should be removed and that Soviet ships should be moved away from Cuban waters. Khrushchev blinked and did what Kennedy had asked, leaving Cuba permanently hanging out to dry.

During the fifth inning Dominic Brown was on first base with one out and the Phillies trailing 4-0. Shane Victorino did not want to leave him hanging out to dry when he came to the plate. During his at-bat the “Flyin' Hawaiian” stepped out of the batter's box and was seen cracking a smile. So indicative of the demeanor of this resilient team. He wasn't displaying any visible signs of pressure, just as the Reds were about to crack under it.

Victorino hit a ball to second baseman Brandon Phillips, who bobbled it, allowing him to reach base. Placido Polanco then hit a ball to Scott Rolen, who couldn't handle it, allowing him to reach base as well. That loaded the bases for Chase Utley, who singled home the Phillies first two runs. Later, in the sixth inning, the Phillies pulled to within a run on Victorino's bases-loaded walk.

Third baseman Rolen's post-game quotes will have to be double-checked to see if he suggested anything about his current manager's behavior causing his miscue. While in Philadelphia, Rolen often implied that his manager's dictatorial ways were detrimental to the team's performance. With his Dodger's blue hat put away for the winter, Larry Bowa probably had a smile on his face as he was watching this playoff game on cable.

In the seventh inning Jimmy Rollins stepped up against Chapman and lofted a ball to right field that Jay Bruce was unable to track.. The ball dropped a few feet from him on the outfield grass. Bruce's relay throw was then dropped by Phillips, allowing the Phillies to take a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish. They went on to add two more runs, which increased their lead to 7-4 and completed both team's scoring.

Brad Lidge allowed a lead off walk in the ninth, before shutting the Reds down for his eleventh post-season Phillies save. That achievement allowed him to become the team's all-time post-season saves leader. Somewhere in heaven Tug McGraw and Jim Konstanty must have been talking about how Lidge should now be referred to as the most significant closer in their team's history.

As for Fidel Castro. He is comfortably living in retirement in Cuba, after his brother Raul was “elected” President in 2008. The two of them probably watched their former star pitcher through a satellite feed. Unlike tonight, Chapman's striking talent will undoubtedly lead to future success. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who takes the mound in Cincinnati on Sunday, will try to ensure that Chapman and the Reds don't have any further opportunities to succeed until the regular season in 2011.

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