August 5, 2012 |
There is an unspoken covenant between the professional baseball team of Philadelphia and the raving lunatic loyalists who support it with what can only be described as impassioned, unconditional tough love. And that covenant is this: As long as you are trying, really, really, really trying to build a winner, we will support you. We will put up with those $20 beers (not yet but inevitable, along with the $30 parking, etc. etc. etc.). And we will continue to snap up those bobbleheads and those Hunter Pence tees (instant memorabilia)
July 30, 2012 |
So now what for Penn State? What rises now from the rubble and the ashes of the Valley Not-So-Happy? Now that the poachers and carrion eaters have had their fill picking through possible defectors . . . now that arrangements are being made for writing the first of $60 million worth of penal checks . . . now that the NCAA, in a shameful display of bullying arrogance, has seen fit to punish the innocents for the failures of the guilty . . . now that...
July 22, 2012 |
Sniffle . . . Sniffle . . . What's wrong? Nothing . . . Sniffle-sniffle . . . Are you sick? Just allergies, OK? Sniffle . . . Sniffle-sniffle . . . Hey, wait a minute. Are you crying? No! I told you. Allergies. Just leave it alone! OK? Take it easy. Geez. Sixteen years gone by, and still I can summon it, the tears, the American wrestler, the heavyweight Matt Ghaffari, standing there on the victory podium at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, standing one step below the top step, standing not where the gold medalist stands, but where the silver medalist stands, the runner-up, the second best.
July 16, 2012 |
They give you a round bat and they throw you a round ball and they tell you to hit it square. - Willie "Pops" Stargell He's been on my mind a lot of late, that Wilver Dornel Stargell, masher of monster home runs. He was a great grizzly bear of a man, but a teddy bear at heart. The franchise that he served so well has, without respite, fallen on hard times. If you're still a Pirates fan after all these years, then you, sir, get a medal for unshakable loyalty, with oak leaf cluster.
July 9, 2012 |
Bill Lyon is a retired Inquirer columnist and author of "Deadlines and Overtimes: Collected Writings on Sports and Life" So, then, is this it at last? Is this the day we knew would come, the day we dreaded but tried to forget? The day the Phillies fell to earth? Ah, yes, let the good times roll, we said, and we did, we did, and never a thought about tomorrow. Five giddy, glorious, head-spinning years, the Golden Age of baseball in Philadelphia, when every night was a party … and now here comes the check and you can't cover it, and the man who bears it is named Reckoning, and he has no sense of humor.
July 8, 2012 |
Tiger Passes Jack Well, yes. And then again, no. The golfer Eldrick Woods did, indeed, win another tournament, this one last Sunday, the AT&T National at sweltering, storm-lashed Congressional Country Club. In the process he crept ahead of Jack Nicklaus in career victories, a most impressive milestone and yet still not the one that Tiger covets most. No, that one, as most of us have known by heart for more than a decade, has 19 numbered on it, that being the total of majors needed by Tiger to overtake Jack.
July 1, 2012 |
The best way to catch a knuckleball is wait until it stops rolling, walk over, and then pick it up. - Bob Uecker It flutters and jiggles, and shimmies and shakes, and swoops and loops, darting about, some say, like a drunken butterfly. Or like a Frisbee in a high wind. But almost all agree that the best way to describe the knuckleball is: "#&%@#!" No other pitch so vexes three people simultaneously - those who try to hit it, those who try to catch it, and those who try to determine whether it's a ball or a strike, and good luck with all three.
June 24, 2012 |
Requiem for a Reliever . . . It is 9:58 in the East, the 29th of October, 2008, a Wednesday, tart and brittle, and Philadelphia is a boiling sea of expectation and anticipation. A Phillies pitcher named Bradley Thomas Lidge is about to throw the last pitch of the World Series - swing and a miss - and fall to his knees, arms thrust heavenward, baying to the moon, overwhelmed by what he has done, and about to be buried in a dog pile of celebrants. That scene will live on forever.
June 18, 2012 |
"Nobody loves Goliath. " - Wilt Chamberlain "I played too hard to prove people wrong. " - LeBron James The Palestra, that wonderful little passion pit, was packed on a winter night. The latest Golden Child, LeBron James, was bringing his traveling troupe of fellow high school dunkateers to town, and this was the chance to see for your own critical eyes the source of all the commotion. He turned out to be all that had been advertised. He did, with elegant ease, whatever he pleased, redefining what is meant by a man among boys.
June 10, 2012 |
To paraphrase the great Bobby Jones, it was a stroke with which he was decidedly unfamiliar, and it sent his golf ball in a glorious, rainbow arc and into the woods, there causing a chattering stampede among the residents of the squirrel colony. Off Jones marched, and after a few strides disappeared from view. When he finally emerged from the woods he announced to his playing partners that he was assessing himself a 1-stroke penalty. For what, pray tell? As he addressed his ball, he said, it moved.