February 26, 2012 |
"If any player ever asks me about playing in Philadelphia, what I thought it was and what it actually is, it's completely different. I've never had anyone yell at me. " - Doc Halladay, The Inquirer, Feb. 22, 2012 In the dead of winter, circa 2002, in South Philadelphia, a stretch limo, windows darkened, purrs down Broad Street and slows to a crawl where a majestic new ballpark is rising and where...
February 19, 2012 |
The calendar flips back a generation or so and in your mind's eye you see the two of them striding purposefully down a long, sweeping fairway, a duel in the sun, men intent on a mission, jaws set and eyes locked on a target only they can see, one golden-maned and recently shed of 30 pounds, and the other hitching at his pants and flipping away one of those damnable cigarettes he's trying to quit. Jack and Arnie. Arnie and Jack. They were golf. And vice versa. Arnie's Army.
February 12, 2012 |
He always did have a craving for ice and rarely hesitated to indulge it. That ice is melting now. So diamonds, it turns out, really are not forever. A Georgia judge has ordered Allen Ezail Iverson to pay a jeweler about $860,000. But apparently he can't, so his bank account has been commandeered, and his earnings, whatever of them may be left, are to be garnisheed. The King of Bling, it would seem, is about to become the Prince of Pawn. The man who is the best small scorer in the history of the NBA, who lit up Philadelphia nights with his pyrotechnic play, is said to have worked his way through the better part of - big inhale here - $150 million.
February 5, 2012 |
Bruiser Flint. From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Bruiser: bru-zer noun: a big husky man. Flint flintn 1: a hard quartz that produces a spark when struck by steel. Flinty adj: harsh and unyielding. So maybe he's not so much the big and husky part of that definition, although he is a long way from being frail, but made of flint? Bruiser Flint? Unyielding? Oh yes. You bet. And if you're going to coach basketball at Drexel University, you'd better be flinty, because you're going to spend your days and nights beating your head against the unpadded walls trying to earn the 3 Rs: Recognition, regard, respect.
January 29, 2012 |
There were the three of them, and they outlasted most marriages. For a quarter of a century, they gave voice to the professional baseball team of Philadelphia. Somewhere along the line, especially if the Fightin's owned a piece of your heart, you lived and died to their dulcet tones. They were a broadcasters' version of a slickly turned double play: Whitey to Harry to Andy. There was Whitey, of course, viewing the world askance, drawing on that ever-present pipe, his humor as dry as his beloved Kansas plains as he watched the balls and strikes from his press box roost and reflected on the sad state of umpiring in general.
January 26, 2012 |
FAMILY. That will be his enduring legacy. Family. Family is all. Don't you hear them: We Are . . . We Are . . . Family is the cry that echoes through the rolling hills of the Valley of Happy, that spills out from the Fortress Nittany, out into the real world, there tethered to the blue-and-white umbilical cord of thousands upon thousands upon tens of thousands of alumni. Don't you hear them: We Are . . . We Are . . . Once a Penn Stater, always and forever a Penn Stater.
January 23, 2012 |
Once upon a time in the Valley called Happy, there lived a man with monarch powers. And with these powers he bestowed upon the Valley great wealth and fame and philanthropy and enviable reputation, and buildings for football warriors and diligent scholars. And as the Valley prospered, so did the monarch's authority grow, until whenever someone sought to inquire about the monolithic football program, the monarch would snarl: "It's nobody's business. " But maybe it should have been.
January 22, 2012 |
The prelude was a wild junior-varsity game. Picture an overflowing Gloucester gym. A go-ahead layup with less than a minute left. And raucous cheers as the home team escapes with the win. Again, that was the junior-varsity game. About 90 minutes later, that tension, noise, and drama were predictably on repeat as the Gloucester varsity girls' basketball team sealed a 32-26 victory Saturday over rival Gloucester Catholic. It doesn't seem to matter what the event is when it comes to Gloucester vs. Gloucester Catholic.
January 22, 2012 |
Stewardess, crisply: "Fasten your seat belt, Mr. Ali. " Muhammad Ali, eyes twinkling: "Superman don't need no seat belt. " Stewardess, sweetly: "Superman don't need no airplane, either. " He just turned 70. And what were the odds of that? All those punches, those cruel left hooks, those sledgehammer rights, the awful toll taken by rope-a-dope, that thunderous trilogy with Joe Frazier, and then Parkinson's syndrome to boot.