May 13, 2012 |
He was born Salvatore Anthony Maglie, but he was best known as Sal the Barber - in honor of his high, hard one that gave hitters a close shave. He had a dark five o'clock shadow and a menacing glower that could melt steel, and he turned the knockdown pitch into an art. In the 1950s he pitched for all three New York teams, and over his career had a 23-win season and a no-hitter, and pitched in three World Series. "If you try to dig in on him," one batter said, "there goes your Adam's apple.
May 6, 2012 |
We're not a conservative team, we're a let's-bleeping-giddy-up-and-go type of team. - Peter Laviolette For what seemed like forever, the Flyers of Philadelphia played dump-and-chase hockey, paying homage to that old reliable "system" that keeps oral surgeons in business. It was just enough to tease them, and us, into thinking they were always just a hot goalie away. Then along came Giddy-Up. No more trying to stuff round pegs into square holes. Every shift was an exercise in storming the beaches, Teddy's Rough Riders taking San Juan Hill.
April 29, 2012 |
The Long Goodbye, Part 1 He takes a mighty cut, as they all are, and whiffs on high heat. He strides briskly back to the dugout, his face betraying no emotion at all, but you wonder if, inside, he isn't dying. Because we on the outside sure are. The first commandment of this profession is: Thou shalt not cheer in the press box. Rarely is this a caution that is difficult by which to abide. Until along happens a Jim Thome. (Or as my 98-year-old mother fondly calls him: Big Boy.)
April 23, 2012 |
Nicky Silver, the Wynnewood-born-and bred playwright whose edgy plays sometimes have seemingly nice or clueless people turning awful, had his Broadway debut Monday night with a solid, edgy play in which someone basically nice or clueless turns awful. In the case of "The Lyons," it's the son of a four-person nuclear family who becomes ballistic in a desperate search for the human connection that is the play's solid theme. But I'm making "The Lyons" sound far too serious; it's an outrageously funny comedy — at times, uncomfortably funny because Silver exploits a man's late-stage cancer for laughs.
April 22, 2012 |
All right, mind that next step now. Easy. We're going over to the northeast corner, the lower deck. It's the primo vantage spot. Woooooo! There it is again. Hear it? Wooooooo! Like some lonesome lovesick coyote trolling in the prairie night for a partner. Woooooooo! But no, these are human voices, a wailing chorus coming from those crooners in the home stretch here at Franklin Field, the ones who worship speed, the faithful who make the pilgrimage to Philadelphia in the shank of every April, drawn by that revered rite of spring, the Penn Relays.
April 15, 2012 |
They are young and he is not. That shouldn't matter, but eventually, inevitably, it does. If you have ever been a parent who survived those wonderful teen years, then you can relate. Doug Collins has been there, done that. Not only as a father, but as a grandfather. There is, on average, roughly 40 years distance between them, the children of the 76ers and their baby-sitter, the coach. They may find it difficult to fathom, but he knows more basketball than they do. Tons more.
April 8, 2012 |
First come the beards. You can't have the competitions for Lord Stanley's cherished chalice without the growing of the beards. And neatness definitely does not count. None of that trim and thin sissy stuff. No, we're talking great clumps of facial forestation. Beards so thick and tangled that birds could nest in them. Think Grizzly Adams. Or a boatload of pirates. Who don't wash. It's unclear exactly what prompted this ritual of the hirsute, but it probably had something to do with superstition.
April 1, 2012 |
So there he stands, on the 10th tee of a golf course of intoxicating treachery and shadow-streaked splendor, a fabled arena celebrated in lore and legend, and there it is, shimmering, spreading out before him in the soft spring of a Georgia day, invitingly, seductively. It is the time and the place of unfailing high drama: Sunday at the Masters, the back nine. Fore, please, for Rory McIlroy. He is all of 21, this lad of Northern Ireland, and for four days he has strode the swales and hummocks of Augusta National remarkably poised and apparently unflappable, clutching resolutely at the lead of the 2011 Masters and not, as so many before him have, coming undone.
March 25, 2012 |
The 3:10 to Panicsville . . . And so once again the rush is on, that great migration of front-runners, and with each new Phillie going down with injury the crush to board the 3:10 to Panicsville, alias the Phillies Express, has become a contagion. But then this is what we do best, isn't it? Expect the worst. Light candles. Count prayer beads. Fret and pace; pace and fret. Our glass is not only half empty there are cigarette butts floating in it, and lipstick smearing on the rim. The Fightin's are entering the last week of games that don't matter, and they do so limping homeward, fleeing from what has probably been the most destructive and costliest spring training in their mottled history.
March 18, 2012 |
Nineteen members of the Flyers Fan Club made the 10-hour trek to Toronto on a bus with no bathroom. - The Inquirer, March 10, 2012 Now that's loyalty. And those hearty and patient fans, and their impressively voluminous bladders, were rewarded for their pluck and persistence with a 1-0 shootout victory over the Maple Leafs and another shutout by the suddenly impregnable Ilya Bryzgalov. That trip also gave rise, yet again, to that long-running, and unresolvable, debate about those sturdy creatures, the Flyers Frozen Faithful.