Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catch the Phever

There's a great saying from the Tom Hanks' baseball movie, "A League of Their Own."

"There's no crying in baseball."

He was wrong. I cried last night. Or at least my eyes were moist.

I'm searching for a word that describes what happened at Citizens Bank Park.
Crackling. That might be as close as I can get.

That's the only way to express last night's Phillies-Mets titanic clash.

The Phillies haven't played playoff baseball in a long time, but last
night's 4-2 win over the Mets sure had the feel of October, not late August.

It wasn't that they won, it's the way they did it, with the little
things, the fundamentals that often go unnoticed but are the bedrock of
winning baseball.

Even Charlie Manuel, everybody's favorite whipping boy, was pushing all
the right buttons.

After being dominated for seven innings by cagey veteran Tom Glavine,
the Phils finally started scratching their way back in the eighth. Jimmy
Rollins, clearly irked by a first pitch called a strike that looked like
a ball, promptly rocketed the next pitch into the seats, cutting the
Mets lead to 2-1. How they got the tying run is simply great karma,
something this team hasn't had in a long time.

With a runner on third, Aaron Rowand hits a swinging bunt dribbler down
the third-base line. The Mets have no play but to let it roll … and roll
… and roll. After flirting with the chalk line several times, the ball
comes to a stop almost dead on it. Fair ball. In the meantime you see
the Phils' runner scampering home in the background. Tie game.

That set the stage for Ryan Howard's starburst in the 10th inning, a
walkoff homer that had the fans on their feet and thoughts of "Ya Gotta
Believe" rattling around in their heads.

Along the way the Phils even got a decent effort out of Adam Eaton, who
would be a Cy Young candidate if the only team he pitched against was
the Mets.

Tonight it's Jamie Moyer's turn. Recently he's been looking every day of
his 44 years, getting banged around in several starts. The Phils need
Moyer to come up big tonight.

Don't bet against him.

*

I've got a lot on my mind this morning.

Two years ago today, the nation watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina
eradicated much of what we know as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Today the horror is not in what happened, but what has happened since.
Or more to the point, what has not happened. Make no mistake. New
Orleans is on the road to recovery.

But what is truly stunning is how much has yet to recover, how many
areas of the city remain in shambles, how many lives have yet to return
to any semblance of normal.

This happens in Baghdad and Beirut. Not in America.

President George W. Bush will visit the region today. We hope he makes a
point of seeing and visiting the areas that have not recovered, instead
of just those he can point to as proof of the federal government's
response to this catastrophe.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it's so
difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –
sports fan
. OK, four games back of the Mets, with two more games to
go tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately the Padres are not
cooperating. They won again last night, meaning the Phils remain three
games back in the wild-card hunt.

*

The Daily Numbers: 1,400 people who fled the Gulf Coast as
Hurricane Katrina hit two years ago.


63 of them who wound up in Philadelphia and decided to stay
here.


325 million dollars up for grabs in the Mega Millions lottery
jackpot Friday night. It would be nice to see a Katrina refugee hit that
one.


80 years old, age of woman killed in Brookhaven. Police have
charged her 82-year-old husband in the fatal beating. He says she
inflicted the injuries on herself, the result of her degeneration in the
early stages of Alzheimer's disease.


24, age of man busted for drugging and sexually assaulting a
15-year-old girl he met on the MySpace Web site in Warminster, Bucks
County.


2 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard killed in
Afghanistan. Remember, we're still fighting the war on terror there as
well as Iraq.


153 vacancies for teachers in the Philadelphia School District.
Officials believe they will still be 50-60 teachers short when the
school bell rings next week.


2 officials at Rider College who no longer face hazing charges in
connection with the drinking death of a student during a fraternity
initiation last year.


900 jobs being slashed by the Internet firm Earthlink,. They also
are closing an office in Pennsylvania. The company's stock rose 7
percent on the news. Happy Labor Day.


3.2 percent dip in home prices in the U.S. in the second quarter,
that's the steepest decline since 1987.


35 home runs for Ryan Howard, none bigger than the two-run
walkoff bomb in the 10th inning last night that lifted the Phils to a
win.

0 hits surrendered in two innings by closer Brett Myers. Yes, he
seems to have anger management problems. And yes, he can really pitch
when he's on.

*

I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): A guy in
Doylestown stood in front of a judge and said he did not think he was
endangering his 6-week-old son when he had him in the car as he dealt
cocaine. Honest. <br><br>

*

Today's Upper: All together now: How 'bout dem Phillies! Forget
football. The Eagles season starts on Sept. 9. Right now, and for the
foreseeable future, it's baseball season.

*

Quote Box: "Mr. Ernest is absolutely guilty of loving his wife of
59 years. He did not commit these heinous allegations."<br>
-- Attorney Richard Daubenberger, on his client, charged with the
assault that led to the death of his elderly wife in Brookhaven

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