Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another parochial school crunch

The cost of single-sex education in Delaware County is about to go up.

Way up.

For those who hold dear the boys- and girls-only tradition of Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast, it no doubt sounds very familiar.

It should, it's the same malady that has been affecting parochial schools in the eastern end of the county for years.

Declining enrollment, increasing costs.

Alums from the two schools on Lansdowne Avenue in Drexel Hill have been informed by the archdiocese that they need to raise $500,000 in pledges in a couple of weeks to keep that tradition alive.

The alternative? Likely merging the separate schools into a coed facility in one of the buildings.

Closing schools has become an ugly fact of life when it comes to parochial education in the eastern end of the county.

Those who cling to the vision of their separate schools might want to seek out alums of St. James High in Chester. They can tell them that the numbers don't lie. They don't forgive either.

Or they might want to check in with the good folks in St. Joseph's parish Collingdale, who lost a bitter fight to keep their elementary school open last year.

Bonner and Prendie alumni say they are up to the task of keeping their respective schools open. I wish them well.

I certainly think there is a place for single-sex education. In Delaware County that place has traditionally been Bonner and Prendie.

How much longer that remains the case is stilll to be determined.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 28

The Daily Numbers: 500,000 dollars, how much the Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast alums need to raise in pledges by Oct. 15 to bail out the schools.


300,000 dollar deficit that threatens the single-sex operation of the two Catholic high schools.


50 years, how long the two schools have operated on Lansdowne Avenue in Upper Darby.


4 months old, age of baby girl who was found dead inside a Darby Borough home yesterday.


1 person killed in a fatal accident Monday afternoon on Sproul Road in Marple.


1 tow truck operator in Philly charged with running over another driver, killing him. Police believe the two were arguing over a woman.


1.4 billion dollars, how much Southwest Airlines is paying to acquire cheap fare AirTran.


80,000 players who might be owed $100 each in damages under a class-action suit won against Harrah’s in Atlantic City over a birthday promotion.


2 people charged in the shooting death at a party near the campus of Seton Hall in New Jersey. A student from Montgomery County was killed.


1 man shot and killed by Philadelphia police during a confrontation in a public library.


35 cents to $11.15, expected price hike per bottle at Pa. state stores because on an increase in handling fees.


133 people arrested during a blitz by police in Chester County targeting suspected felons in the West Chester and Coatesville areas in an operation dubbed “Operation Iron Shield.”


2,500 dollar reward for info on driver who struck and killed a 2-year-old and injured his mother in Philly.


4 consecutive National League East crowns for the Phils.


94-63, with 5 games remaining on the schedule for Phils, who are guaranteed home-field advantage through the playoffs.


21-10 mark for ace Roy Halladay, who shut out the Nats last night as the Phils rolled, 8-0.


20-5, Phils mark in September.


*


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.


OK, now that we have the little matter of that NL East crown out of the way, we can get on to the serious business of the day. Let the Donovan debate begin!


*


I Don’t Get It: Talk about insult to injury. The Abington High football team lost their game to Neshaminy Friday night, then discovered they had a lot of personal items stolen from the locker room sometime during the game. I don’t get it.


*


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Phils for their fourth straight NL East crown. Bring on Red October.


*


Quote Box: “It was fun, but it’s only gooing to get funner.”


- Phils starter Roy Halladay after shutting out the Nats to lock up the NL East crown for the Phils.

A Delco icon victimized

There was a small item in the Sunday newspaper that might have escaped your notice.

It didn’t escape mine. That’s because it involved one of those places I would fairly label a Delco icon.

Booth’s Corner Farmer’s Market out in Bethel is one of those places that literally screams “Delco.”

I always considered it kind of the western part of the county’s answer to the Bazaar of All Nations here in the eastern end.

That’s why I was dismayed to read the item in the Sunday newspaper about the holdup there Saturday night.

A man wielding a gun confronted an employee in one of the shops and demanded money. He escaped with about $4,000 in cash.

I hope the catch this crook quickly. With another strip shopping center or big-box store popping up almost every day, we need places like Booth’s Corner.

A confession before we hit Red October

Welcome to Red October, three days early.

The Phillies broke out the champagne last night after capturing their fourth consecutive National League East title.

Count me among those surprised by this latest Phils’ celebration.

That’s because back in July I wrote the Phils off, said they not only would not repeat as NL East champions, that they likely would not get into the playoffs.

At the time, they had started the second half of the season after the All-Star break by losing six of seven. On July 21 they sat seven games out of first place, and two games out of the Wild Card.

I pronounced them dead in the water.

I was wrong.

Again.

I don’t consider myself a bandwagon jumper. I don’t get on and off. I am always “on,” even when I am whining about how the Philly teams are playing.

If I’m guilty of anything, it is of being an unabashed fan.

I reserve the right to change my mind.

So, with that out of the way, welcome once again to Red October.

Geez, next thing you’re going to tell me is that Andy Reid benched Kevin Kolb and is going with Michael Vick as his starting quarterback.

Oh. …. Never mind.

Let the Donovan hype begin

No doubt there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth down at the NovaCare center this morning.

That, of course, is the HQ for your Philadelphia Eagles. The folks who have brought us the “gold standard” are no doubt a bit peeved today.

They’ve once again been bumped off the Back Page by their nemesis, those pesky guys wearing red pinstripes who play across the street.

Last night, a couple of hours miles south on I-95, the Phillies once again stole the spotlight, clinching their fourth consecutive National League East crown.

While the Eagles’ brass might be ticked now, the Philllies actually did them a huge favor.

By wrapping up a post-season berth early, the Phillies managed to clear the decks for what no doubt will be the dominant story of the rest of the week.

Brace yourself for “The Reunion.”

A certain No. 5 will return to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday in a Washington Redskins uniform.

No doubt he will be greeted in that most inimitable Philly style. He will be booed.

The Phils are safely in the playoffs. For the rest of the week it will be all-Donovan, all the time.

Let “The Reunion” hype being.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 27

The Daily Numbers: 17 of 31 for 291 yards yesterday for Michael Vick.


3 TD passes for Vick, who also ran for a touchdown in leading Eagles to easy 28-3 win over the Jags.


2-1 record and first place in the NFC East for the Birds.


73, age of former Delaware County President Judge Ed Zetusky, who died over the weekend.


50 years of service marked on Sunday by Don Guanella School in Marple.


182,930 dollar salary for Superintendent Dr. Denise Kerr OK’d by the Rose Tree Media School Board.


52 percent of drivers who said they feel less safe behind the wheel than they did just 5 years ago.


3 children struck by hit-and-run drivers in Philadelphia. One was killed. Two others are in critical condition.


2 months, age of toddler shot and killed inside a home in Reading.


19, age of female student shot and killed during a shooting spree by a man at a party near the Seton Hall campus in New Jersey.


1 debate, as in the first, scheduled tonight between Pa. gubernatorial candidates Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato.


4 small fires authorities says were intentionally set at a dorm at East Stroudsburg University.


2-0 Eagles record with Michael Vick as their starting QB.


1, Phils magic number of wins and Braves’ losses that will give them another NL East crown. They could wrap it up tonight in D.C.


45,302 fans jammed into Citizens Bank Park for Fan Appreciation Day yesterday for the last home game of the season.


123 consecutive sellouts at the Phils’ South Philly home.


3,647,249 people who went through the turnstiles at the stadium this year, a team record.


*


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.


After 123 consecutive sellouts, it would have been nice if the Phils had wrapped up the NL East yesterday. Didn’t happen. They’re on the road the rest of the season for 3 games in D.C. followed by 3 next weekend in Atlanta.


*


I Don’t Get It: Attention Michael Vick haters. Get used to it. He’s the new face of the franchise.


*


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Don Guanella School in Marple, which celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend.


*


Quote Box: “He was just a great personality. I always knew where Ed stood.”


- Delco judge and former D.A. Frank Hazel, on the passing of longtime Judge Ed Zetusky.

The gang problem in Chester

The city of Chester continues its renaissance, even while still battling some old problems – and perceptions.


None is bigger than the problem of young people and gangs, and the drug violence that often feeds off of it.


That’s one of the reasons we devoted our Sunday lead to the problem.


Too many young lives have been ruined. Too many makeshift memorials have sprung up on city streets. Too many vigils have been held in the hopes of seeing this street violence ended.


None of it has worked.


Perhaps most telling in the story were comments by Stephen E. Kauffman, an assistant professor at Widener who specializes in social work.


Kauffman makes the case that in many incidents that gang takes the place of an absent family life for Chester’s youths.


“It’s their family,” Kauffman said. “Gangs serve all the functions of family. Their commitments are to the gang.”


That, perhaps more than any other issue, is the challenge that confronts this city.


A lot of good things have been happening in the city. But it continues to be hounded by street violence, fomented by this notion of gangs and the turf wars that too often erupt from them.


It’s time to make these kids in Chester part of our family again.


Until they are, until they have a family outside of the gang, Chester will continue its struggle.



The new face of the Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s one way to describe yesterday’s big win by the Eagles, especially for those who have a problem with Michael Vick as their starting quarterback.

The thrill of victory, and the agony of watching Michael Vick succeed.

I am now convinced that some people simply will never get past the idea of Vick as the face of the Eagles franchise, let alone their starting quarterback,

To many of them, the issue goes much deeper than any football game. It is a morality play.

To them Vick represents the worst in society, a person who did two years in prison for doing unfathomable things to animals.

There is no denying what Vick did.

But there also is no denying that he paid a price for it, a fairly steep one. He spent two years behind bars.

Vick’s reclamation project started last year when – to the surprise of almost everyone – he was signed by the Eagles. The outrage was immediate.

It has died down a bit, but it has not gone away.

The issues flared again last week when Andy Reid announced that Vick – not Kevin Kolb, who had been knocked out of the opener vs. the Packers and missed the Week 2 win over the Lions – would be the Eagles starting quarterback on Sunday in Jacksonville.

If they bothered to tune in at all yesterday – and I know several longtime Eagles faithful who have simply turned the team off, who will not watch and will not support a team that employs Vick – what they saw must have been something out of a Dickens’ novel.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Vick was magnificent. He clearly is the right quarterback at the right time for this team. That will not silence those who refuse to take part in his redemption, who believe that what he did is so heinous as to preclude any second chance.

Vick had a hand in all four touchdowns as the Eagles dismantled the Jags, 28-3. He threw for three TDs and ran for another one. Here are the eye-popping stats: 17-for-31 for 292 yards. No turnovers.

This morning the Eagles are 2-1 and stand alone in first place in the NFC East.

There really never was any question that Andy Reid made the right decision in going to Vick over Kolb. It was the way he went about it that baffled most observers.

I guess that would include Kolb, although you would never know it by Kolb’s reaction on the sidelines yesterday, cheering wildly as Vick dazzled the Jags.

This is Michael Vick’s team now.

Some people will never accept that. Nothing Vick does, and nothing I can write, will change that.

Michael Vick is no longer just another convicted felon, the person who bankrolled a vicious dog-fighting operation, an example of what is wrong with too many pro athletes. He is all of those things.

He also is the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. And he’s on his way to being their leader.

Michael Vick continues to say and do all the same things. He continues to impress, both on and off the field.

Welcome to the Michael Vick Era.

The playoff express

Even when they lose, the Phillies win.

Despite falling to the New York Mets, and thus disappointing their final regular season home crowd of the year, the Phillies still became the first National League team to wrap up a playoff spot.

That came courtesy of the Atlanta Braves loss to the Washington Nationals.

The Phils can clinch another NL East crown tonight with a win in D.C.

No doubt the Phils would have liked to seal the deal on Fan Appreciation Day. And there is a lot for this team to appreciate. The 45,302 who jammed into Citizens Bank Park marked the Phils’ 123rd straight sellout.

But the Phils fell behind, 5-0, closed it to 5-3, then watched the Mets tack on two more runs for the 7-3 win.

Cole Hamels, who has been majestic in September, probably should have fared better. He got victimized by a tight strike zone and an unfortunately slip in the outfield by Jayson Werth.

So the Phils – and the champagne – will board a train for Washington, where they will look to seal the deal tonight.

I guess you could call it the playoff express.

The playoff express

Even when they lose, the Phillies win.

Despite falling to the New York Mets, and thus disappointing their final regular season home crowd of the year, the Phillies still became the first National League team to wrap up a playoff spot.

That came courtesy of the Atlanta Braves loss to the Washington Nationals.

The Phils can clinch another NL East crown tonight with a win in D.C.

No doubt the Phils would have liked to seal the deal on Fan Appreciation Day. And there is a lot for this team to appreciate. The 45,302 who jammed into Citizens Bank Park marked the Phils’ 123rd straight sellout.

But the Phils fell behind, 5-0, closed it to 5-3, then watched the Mets tack on two more runs for the 7-3 win.

Cole Hamels, who has been majestic in September, probably should have fared better. He got victimized by a tight strike zone and an unfortunately slip in the outfield by Jayson Werth.

So the Phils – and the champagne – will board a train for Washington, where they will look to seal the deal tonight.

I guess you could call it the playoff express.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Welcome to the Michael Vick Era. Let's hope it lasts longer than the Kevin Kolb Era.

After one of the most tumultuous weeks in team history, I am guessing most Eagles are simply looking forward to getting back on the field. All of them except maybe Kevin Kolb. That's because he won't be going back on the field. He'll be on the sideline holding a clipboard again.

Coach Andy Reid stunned just about everyone on Monday with his abrupt about-face and announcement that Vick would be his starting quarterback.

Was it fair to Kolb, who suffered a concussion in the first half of Week 1 and sat out Week 2? Of course not. Was it the right thing to do? Probably. Kolb likely would not last another half playing behind this ragged offensive line. That's where Vick comes in. He's still elusive enough to make plays where Kolb would simply be making sacks.

But if the Birds don't shore up their woeful offensive line play, they aren't going anywhere.

In all the tumult over the QB situation, another aspect of the Eagles' game has flown a bit under the radar. In two weeks, they have given up more points than any other team in the NFL.

This one is simple. This defense is not the same - and not nearly as good - without Stewart Bradley anchoring from his middle linebacker spot. He sat out the Lions game with the after-effects of a concussion, but will be back on Sunday. That hopefully will save us from the sight of Omar Gaither chasing someone down the field.

Vick makes enough plays with DeSean Jackson to pull the Birds through, and Bradley rallies the Eagles defense to a better performance.

Make it Eagles 23, Jaguars 17. And bring on Donovan and the Redskins!

Last Week: I was on the money thinking Vick would have enough magic left in his body to tame the Lions. Turns out he had more than enough. Can he do an encore performance?

Season Record: I'm 2-0 so far, a game better than the Birds, who sit at 1-1, but are tied for first in a suddenly very mediocre looking NFC East. And one final thing: How 'bout 'dem Cowboys?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 24

The Daily Numbers: 20 kittens found in the freezer of a home in Upper Darby.
2 year contract approved for district teachers by the Southeast Delco School Board last night.
3 percent salary increases for the teachers in the deal, while they will face increases in their health care contributions.
75 parents who showed up last night in the Neshaminy School District in Bucks County to protest lack of talks between the board and its teachers.
4-1 vote by which the board of the Philadelphia Housing Authority yesterday terminated executive director Carl Green.
10 casinos now in operation in Pennsylvania with the opening yesterday of SugarHouse Casino on the Philly waterfront.
1,600 slot machines at SugarHouse, bringing to 26,650 the number of legal one-armed bandits across the state.
23, age of soldier from Bethlehem who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
310,000 dollars paid by AquaAmerica Inc. for the Paupackan Lake Association Inc. system in Wayne County.
50 feet, how close two jets came as they nearly collided in mid-air over Minneapolis.
15.2 rating for Comcast SportsNet’s broadcast of Wednesday’s Phillies-Braves game. That translates to 452,000 homes. It’s an all-time record for a Comcast show, set just the night before with another Phils-Braves contest.
6 game lead for the Phils over the Braves as they start a 3-game weekend set with the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
4, Phils magic number of wins and Braves’ losses that will give them another NL East crown.
3 point favorite, what Eagles are Sunday vs. the Jaguars.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Here’s the question: Will Michael Vick remain on his best behavior now that he’s back on top of the world as a starting QB in the NFL again?
*
I Don’t Get It: Cats found nicely wrapped in newspaper in a freezer. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Phillies fanatics, whose eyes have been glued to the TV, pushing this week’s telecasts on Comcast into record territory.
*
Quote Box: “It’s a sad commentary to freeze cats.”
- Mike Chitwood, Upper Darby police superintendent, after discovery of cats in the freezer of a township home.

More competition for Harrah's

Move over, Harrah’s, there’s a new kid in town.

Already waging battle with a casino just a hop, skip and a jump down
I-95 to the south (as gamblers are reminded by huge billboards along the interstate in the city), the Chester casino now has an even bigger threat.

SugarHouse Casino opened its doors Thursday on the Philadelphia waterfront.

It is expected to siphon off some city residents who routinely made their way south on I-95 to Chester.

Harrah’s has seen its take from its slots operation declining for more than a year. This can’t be good news.

A month ago, the casino took the wraps off its table games operations.
All reports indicate it has been going great guns.

But keep an eye on business at the Chester casino. Especially now that there’s another venue just up I-95.

More competition for Harrah's

Move over, Harrah’s, there’s a new kid in town.

Already waging battle with a casino just a hop, skip and a jump down
I-95 to the south (as gamblers are reminded by huge billboards along the interstate in the city), the Chester casino now has an even bigger threat.

SugarHouse Casino opened its doors Thursday on the Philadelphia waterfront.

It is expected to siphon off some city residents who routinely made their way south on I-95 to Chester.

Harrah’s has seen its take from its slots operation declining for more than a year. This can’t be good news.

A month ago, the casino took the wraps off its table games operations.
All reports indicate it has been going great guns.

But keep an eye on business at the Chester casino. Especially now that there’s another venue just up I-95.

The barnburner in the 7th District

Bryan Lentz and Pat Meehan are waging one of the most high-profile Congressional races in the country. And of course they are duking it out right here in the 7th District, looking to succeed Joe Sestak, who toppled Arlen Specter and is now hoping to beat Republican Pat Toomey for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Most polls have rated the Lentz-Meehan donnybrook about even, but a new survey shows the race might be tilting just a tad to the Republican ledger.

The Cook Political Report, based in Washington, D.C., now moved the 7th race from the “tossup” category to the “lean Republican” field.

That no doubt comes as good news to the Republican former U.S. attorney and former county D.A.

And it no doubt will have the Democrat Lentz turning up the heat as he pushed Meehan to appear with him at a town hall meeting.

This barnburner is going to go down to the wire. And we’ll have the rest of the country looking over our shoulder at the results.

All eyes on Phils

How hot are the Phils these days?

They’ve sold out their last 100 and some games at Citizens Bank Park. And apparently everyone who can’t squeeze inside the joint is sitting in front of their TV.

Wednesday night’s telecast of their win and sweep over the second-lace Braves delivered a 15.2 rating for Comcast SportsNet. That translates into 452,000 households.

It shatters the all-time viewership high for the cable station that was set just the night before with Game 2 of the Phils-Braves series.

Wednesday night’s telecast peaked at an 18.5 rating, about 550,000 households, making it easily the most-watched program in the Philadelphia market.

That wailing and gnashing sound you hear is the grumbling coming from across the street at NovaCare nation.

Geez, maybe Andy Reid can have another press conference tonight to announce he’s going back to Kevin Kolb as his starting QB.

Best behavior, Mr. Vick

This weekend we welcome back the Michael Vick Experience.

And that might be a problem.

Ever since his return from a two-year exile from the NFL, during which he was a guest of the federal government for his role in bankrolling a dog-fighting operation, Vick has been on his best behavior.

I, for one, have been impressed. Vick has said all the right things and conducted himself impeccably. Yes, I am aware of that ill-conceived birthday party at which a man was shot after Vick left this summer. I’m not holding that against him.

There are those, however, who wonder if the “good” Vick will now go out the window now that Vick has been installed as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.

They believe that, having reclimbed the mountain, Vick will pick up some old habits, and some old acquintances. That would not bode well for him – or the Eagles.

I have been particularly impressed by the way Vick has calmly spoken, both about his role and what the Eagles are trying to accomplish.

This Sunday he will get a chance to firmly place his signature on the long list of Eagles starting quarterbacks. A win over the Jaguars will set up a monster week of hype as Donovan McNabb and the Redskins come to town the following Sunday.

I will be watching Vick intently to see how he reacts.

I hope I’m not disappointed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Andy Reid's gamble

Don't be surprised if Andy Reid shows up this afternon at the new SugarHouse Casino on the Philly waterfront.

After all, the man has just taken the biggest gamble of his life.

I can just see him bellying up to a table, cigar clenched in his teeth, pushing a huge stack of chips to the middle of the table.

"All in."

That, in effect, is what Reid did in pulling the plug on the Kevin Kolb Era after less than one half of football and jumping on the Michael Vick Express.

I'm still trying to read the tea leaves surronding this baffling move.

Something tells me there are more than just Reid's fingerprints on this decision, and if it does not work out, I could see both him and Kolb winding up in Cleveland with Reid's old pal, Mike Holmgren.

For now, there is Vick in the starting lineup, Kolb on the sidelines holding a clipboard, and Reid no doubt wasting timeouts Sunday against the Jaguars.

But I don't think this was about the Jags' game. Instead, I think the Eagles were caught looking ahead, at the following Sunday and the return of a certain No. 5 to Lincoln Financial Field.

I think the brain trust of the vaunted "gold standard" down at NovaCare Nation came to the conclusion they could not risk having Kolb go one on one with Donovan McNabb. They just might be right.

I have just one question that no one else seems to have addressed.

What happens if Vick does not play well Sunday in Jacksonville?

Like I said, Andy Reid - and the Eagles - are "all in."

Let the chips fall where they may.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is all about Andy Reid

On Sunday, before Michael Vick lit up the Detroit Lions, the Eagles and Andy Reid went out of their way to inform everyone that Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley had passed their latest concussion tests and would be back at practice Wednesday.

Translation? Kevin Kolb is still my starting quarterback. Regardless of what happens today. It was classic Andy Reid. Arrogance defined.

A few hours later, after watching Vick's dazzling display, beating the Lions with his legs and arm, the always smug, cocky Reid did not disappoint.

Asked how hard it was to make his decision to stay with Kolb was, the snarky Reid snapped, "Not very."

A little more than 24 hours later, it apparently was a bit more complicated.

In one of the most momentous reversals in Eagles history, Andy Reid revealed he'd had a change of heart. Michael Vick was the Birds' new starting quarterback. No, Kevin Kolb had not suffered a setback, as I first envisioned. Instead, Reid, with or without some help from the Eagles brain trust, was making a switch.

The Kevin Kolb Era lasted less than a half. Not even 30 minutes of football.

Kolb is not hurt. And this is not for one week. Vick, until further notice, is the Eagles quarterback.

Unbelievable.

But then again, this is the Eagles. And Andy Reid. I shouldn't be surprised any more.

My only regret? On Sunday, after the Lions game, we had a front page ready to roll with a big picture of Vick emblazoned with the headline, "Top Dog." I had second thoughts, thinking it could be taken as an insensitive shot at Vick.

Not even 24 hours later, the headline was more appropriate than ever, thanks to Andy Reid. That headline appears elsewhere today.

This is a huge roll of the dice for Reid, and the Eagles, which is another reason why I wonder who exactly had the final say in all this.

Remember, this is a team that traded an All-Pro in Donovan McNabb (who by the way arrives at the Linc next wek for a little reunion) to clear the decks for the Kevin Kolb era.

Now they've blown up that scenario in what can only be considered a "win now at all costs" policy.

I actually believe it's the right call. I think they have a better chance of winning right now with Vick as their quarterback, especially with this offensive line. Kolb might not have survived another half behind this Swiss cheese unit.

Let the Michael Vick Era being.

And all the questions that go with it.

They say every dog has its day. This very well might be Andy Reid's.

The Vick hates chime in

I kind of expected my piece yesterday saluting Michael Vick was going to spark a strong reaction.

I wasn't disappointed.

I got a clue when the first e-mail I received was directed to the "Michael Vick Butt-Munchers Club."

That kind of set the tone for the day.

One longtime fan asked a legitimate question: "When do all decent moral standards fly out the window when it comes to a football game. There are things I don't give second chances for and they are people who hurt children, animals and the elderly. I don't care if Vick breaks every record in the NFL, he is plain and simple a sumbag."

I make no argument in my revulsion at what Vick did. My stance now is dictated by what he has done since, in particular the way Vick has comported himself the last few weeks. He has answered every question, faced every microphone, done and said all the right things.

One e-mailer went just a tad farther in his distaste for Vick: "Rather than playing football he should be covered with BBQ sauce and made to run 100-yard dashes with every inner-city pitbull on his heels. It should be on pay-per-view with the proceeds going to the SPCA."

I can only imagine their reaction around 6 p.m. last night when the Eagles announced that Michael Vick wold be their starting quarterback.

Just goes to prove that every dog has its day.

Grassy Knoll at Broad & Pattison

I have a thing about conspiracy theories. I refer to them as my "Grasssy Knoll Theories." That, of course, is a reference to the grass knoll in Dealey Plaza in Dallas that has always been at the center of the JFK conspiracy thoughts.

My point being that only someone like me would consider the following:

Does anyone else find it just a tad odd that Andy Reid and the Eagles made their mind-blowing announcement that Michael Vick was their new starting quarterback just an hour before Roy Halladay took the mound across the street?

And before you slap me and demand, a la Cher in "Moonstruck," to "snap out of it," consider this.

Monday night the Phillies, playing in front of still another packed house at Citizens Bank Park, also set an all-time ratings mark on Comcast for the broadcast of the game.

Make no mistake, the Eagles front office, Jeff Lurie, Joe Banner et al, are keenly aware of everything that goes on in this town. They like their position as the dominant franchise, which they've been for years.

With all due respect to Michale Vick and his troubled background, the Phillies are the new top dog in this town. And my guess is that bugs the Eagles' front office, and their empty "gold standard" proclamations, to no end.

Remember, this is the same franchise that announced the blockbuster trade of Donovan McNabb just before the Phillies opener.

Forget it, nobody could be that vain. But it makes you wonder.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 21

The Daily Numbers: 2 big political names who were in the region yesterday to stump for candidates. President Barack Obama did a fundraiser in Philadelplhia for U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Sestak.
Republican N.J. Gov. Chris Christie was in Springfield for 7th District Congress candidate Pat Meehan. They are both former U.S. Attorneys.
49-41 edge for Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak in the latest Rasmussen poll in the Pa. U.S. Senate race. It’s a 45-39 edge for Toomey in a new PoliticsPA poll. Still another poll has the race much closer, at 40-36 percent for Toomey.
2 woman charged in what police describe as a prostitution operation in an Upper Darby neighborhood.
48, age of ex-bus driver in Wallingford-Swarthmore who faces trial on DUI charges while behind the wheel of a bus with a student still on board. She waived her hearing yesterday.
70, age of youth baseball coach and retired teacher in Chester County charged with raping 4 young boys.
40 counts filed against William Rhoads, a retired teacher at Villa Maria Academy. None of the victims are believed to be students at the school.
Several are members of his youth baseball teams.
23, age of soldier from Bethlehem who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
50 state workers getting axed to finally balance the state budget.
13,000 pieces of mail authorities say was stashed by a Philadelphia postal carrier.
18 months, how long the latest recession lasted. The feds say it ended in June 2009. You could have fooled me.
20,000 dollars, how much a complaint by an ethics group claims was spent out of campaign funds on her personal expenses by Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell.
3 years in jail for a Sellersville man who was speeding and driving recklessly when he slammed head-on into another vehicle, killing a 5-year-old father.
2 people shot as they stood at the counter of a convenience store in West Oak Lane last night.
5 million dollar deal to rename SEPTA’s Pattison Avenue subway station for AT&T. They’ll cut the ribbon tonight in a ceremony before the Phils game.
1 million dollar check for Mastery Charter School in Philly, signed by none other than Oprah Winfrey.
2 Chinese immigrant teens who say they were attacked at Bok High School in South Philadelphia.
8 strong innings for Phils starter Cole Hamels against the Braves last night.
1 run on six hits surrendered by Hamels in the Phils’ 3-1 win.
0.49, Hamels’ ERA in his last 5 starts. His season ERA is now down to 2.93.
4 game lead for the Phils over the Braves.
63 percent of his passes completed by Michael Vick in the Eagles win over the Lions Sunday. He will give way to injured starter Kevin Kolb on Sunday.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Go ahead, tell me what a bad guy Michael Vick is. I know what he did, but I also see what he is doing now.
*
I Don’t Get It: Another knucklehead decided to run out onto the field at Citizens Bank Park last night. He actually got tripped up by Braves left-fielder Matt Diaz.
*
Today’s Upper: Does it get any better than the super-charged atmosphere surrounding Citizens Bank Park last night? Cole Hamels delivered again, the Phils won, and they now lead the Braves by four games.
*
Quote Box: “I think it’s a beautiful situation. I look at it differently than other people look at it. I’ve got two quarterbacks that can play at a very important position. I’m a happy guy about it.”
- Andy Reid, on his two starting quarterbacks.

A salute to Michael Vick

I have been trying desperately over the past few weeks to find a reason to dislike Michael Vick.

I’m still looking.

This has nothing to do with football. OK, that’s ridiculous. Sure it has something to do with football. Michael Vick is a professional football player. Apparently, still a pretty damned good one.

Vick calmly stepped into the breech in Week 1 when new Eagles starter Kevin Kolb got knocked senseless against the Packers and almost rallied the Birds to an unexpected win.

On Sunday, with Kolb still on the shelf with concussion symptoms, Vick was dazzling in leading the Eagles to a desperately needed win over the Lions in Detroit.

But even before the game, Eagles Coach Andy Reid went out of his way to point out that Kolb had in fact passed a concussion test on Friday and was cleared to return to practice this week. So long as he does not suffer any setbacks, Reid made it clear Kolb would be the starter this week.

And that was before the game. All Vick did under those circumstances was go out and play lights out. This was the old Michael Vick, the quarterback who struck fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators with a combination of speed, elusiveness and an arm rarely seen.

So what was Vick’s reaction after his superstar performance only to learn his coach had decided he would be used in a backup role this week?
No problem.

And that’s the key. Since he came to the Eagles last year, Vick has been no problem. That comes as a surprise to some folks. I include myself among them.

Yes, Vick did have one error in judgment this summer when he attended a bithday party in his honor attended by some people he was not supposed to be associating with. A person wound up getting shot after Vick left the party.

I know there are people out there who will never accept Vick. I have not forgotten what he did in bankrolling that dog-fighting operation that earned him a two-year “vacation” from pro football in a federal prison.

I was one of those who was aghast that the Eagles would bring in such a person.

Vick was wrong in what he did. He does not try to hide it. He does not run away from it. He has handled all the questions head-on.

For that reason I can say I was wrong, too. About him.

I am a big believer in second chances. And it is for that reason that I was impressed with the way Vick played last week.

But I was even more impressed simply by listening to him after the game.

Maybe it was the two years “away” from the game, but Vick strikes me now as one of the most composed, thoughtful, appreciative athletes I’ve ever encountered.

It’s hard to imagine the Vick of a few years back would talk calmly and rationally after hearing of Reid’s decision.

It’s pretty clear a lot of fans – again myself included – believe Vick gives the Eagles a better chance of winning right now than Kolb does.
Expect that crescendo to get even louder should Kolb struggle again against the Jaguars.

Don’t expect Vick to join the chorus.

I know there are a lot of people who will never forgive Vick for what he did. In some instances, a lot of lifelong fans have cut their ties with the Eagles because of the team’s decision to bring Vick in.

I suggest they take a page out of Vick’s playbook and attempt something Vick has already mastered.

A second chance.

King Cole

Just call him King Cole.

Much has been made this summer of the magical season of Roy Halladay.
The Phils went out and got the ace in the off-season and in his first season in red pinstripes, Halladay has been as advertised. That includes a perfect game against Florida.

And just for good measure at the trading deadline, the Phils acquired another ace, Roy Oswalt, from the Astros. He’s been just about perfect since joining the Phils’ rotation.

But neither of them has been the Phils’ best pitcher over the past month.

That title goes to Hamels, the quiet, “cool” Californian who has given the Phillies a troika of starting pitchers that’s unmatched in major league baseball.

Hamels was at it again last night, dazzling the Braves in the first game of a crucial three-night stand at Citizens Bank Park.

Hamels went eight innings, giving up just one run on six hits, while striking out six. It was Hamels’ fifth straight win, the best stretch in his career.

In his last five starts Hamels is sporting a .049 ERA. His has now lowered his ERA for the season to 2.93, a career best.

The win stretches the Phils’ lead to four games over the second-place Braves. They will look to make it five tonight, when Roy Halladay takes the hill looking for win No. 20.

And even if he gets it, he won’t be the best pitcher in the Phils’
triple-crown rotation right now.

That crown rests on the head of King Cole Hamels.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 20

The Daily Numbers: 21 of 34 for 284 yards for Michael Vick as the Eagles starter. Now it’s back to the bench.
16 carries for 120 yards for LeSean McCoy, whose excellent day against the Lions will get lost in the QB controversy.
200,000 dollar deficit now in Bethel, after officials put in place a spending freeze and other cutbacks to cut into an expected $600,000 deficit.
2 days of testing at SugarHouse Casino on the Philadelphia waterfront before the official opening on Thursday.
4 dorms rooms at Lehigh University that have become infested with bedbugs. Officials say the rooms have been cleaned and the critters vanquished.
4 people injured yesterday in a bad crash on Baltimore Pike at Turner Lane in Nether Providence.
5 cent jump in price of gas nationally. The Philly region remains stable at $2.67 a gallon.
2 U.S. hikers, including a man from Elkins Park, still being held in Iran after the release of Sarah Shourd.
2 children injured by stray bullets that also wounded a teen in Southwest Philly Saturday afternoon.
21 years of house arrest, sentence handed down to woman in Montgomery County for stealing $475,000 from her employer. A judge has now changed it to nine to 23 months in prison and 2 years probation.
4 straight hits for the Phils in the ninth inning yesterday, capped by Jayson Werth’s walkoff 2-run homer to beat the Nats.
7 straight wins for the Phils, with the Braves coming in for 3 games starting tonight. They still trail the Phils by 3.
28 games over .500 for the Phils, with a record of 89-61. It’s the first time they’ve been that far over .500 since 1993.
3 aces going to the hill for the Phils in this series. Cole Hamels tonight, followed by Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt.
117 consecutive sellouts for the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.
8, number of Phils wins and losses by second place team to clinch playoff spot.
10, number of Phils wins and Braves losses to clinch NL East.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Yep, that certainly smells like a quarterback controversy to me.
*
I Don’t Get It: Does Andy Reid think that rudely dismissing questions from reporters will make this go away?
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those involved in another great day on the waterfront Saturday at the county Waterfront Festival in Tinicum, Marcus Hook and Chester.
*
Quote Box: “It’s been a long road for me. It’s been tough. Throughout it all, I had to be resilient and overcome a lot of adversity and self-inflicted wounds.
- Michael Vick, after beating the Lions Sunday.

Big day in politics

We interrupt the Eagles raging quarterback controversy and the Phillies stretch run for this important news bulletin.

There is a fairly important election coming up.

And if you had not noticed it before, you likely will today.

There are big guns coming in for candidates on both sides of the political aisle.

President Barack Obama will be in Philly trying to boost the numbers of Joe Sestak, who trails in the polls against Republican Pat Toomey in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

And in the race to replace him in the Senate, the Republicans are bringing in a star of their own.

The new darling of the party, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will be a Springfield Country Club tonight for an event for Pat Meehan. He’s facing off against Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz to replace Sestak in that 7th District Congressional seat.

Yep, it's a quarterback controversy

Andy Reid obviously saw this coming.

He wasn’t the only one.

This morning Eagles Nation is in the full throes of a quarterback controversy, regardless of how many times Reid says Kevin Kolb is his guy. And his starter.

To be honest, it didn’t take a lot to see this one coming.

From the second Kolb sat up with that huge clump of the Lincoln Financial Field turf stuck in his helmet last week (the only thing missing was the image of stars and birds circling around his head), all eyes turned to Michael Vick.

The former All-Pro who had not started a game in the NFL in four years did not disappoint. Vick played well in the second half of the Packers game, almost rallying the Eagles to an improbable win.

That kicked off a week of daily updates. No one expected Kolb to be able to go against the Lions, in light of the increased concern in the NFL about concussions and the controversy over the fact that both he and Stewart Bradley were allowed to briefly return to the game before being pulled.

Pretty much everybody expected Vick to start against the Lions. Reid put off the inevitable as long as possible, waiting until his final press availability Friday to note that Kolb would not play on Sunday. That made Vick the starter.

This put into play a series of events that while tantalizing to the fans, no doubt was like water torture to Reid. There wasn’t any good way for this thing to pan out for the coach. Even before he got hurt in Week 1, Kolb played miserably. That Vick came in and rallied the Birds was like putting a match to a gas-soaked bonfire.

This morning Eagles nation is a conflagration.

All of which only makes even more interesting something Reid did before the game on Sunday. The Eagles coach went out of his way to note that both Kolb and Stewart had actually passed concussion testing on Saturday and would be back at practice on Wednesday. If all goes well there, both would start on Sunday in Jacksonville.

Then Vick went out and did his best Nitro act, torching the Lions with both his arms and legs.

And Reid’s response after the game? Kolb is the starter.

I will give him one thing. It’s probably better for Kolb to make this start on the road. Reinserting him as the starter for the return of Donovan McNabb and the Redskins at the Linc the following Sunday would have been a dicey proposition.

But what happens if Kolb does not play well in Jacksonville? If he plays the same way he played against the Packers (and in front of this porous offensive line that’s a distinct possibility), Reid and Kolb likely will be able to hear the screams of Eagles fans to put Vick back in all the way down in Florida.

That offensive line is a key equation here. Vick clearly still has a lot of the magic left in those legs that he exhibited while building an All-Pro career with the Falcons before watching it all crumble in the wake of a conviction for bankrolling a dog-fighting ring.

There’s a very good chance Kolb gets clobbered again operating behind this offensive line. The same can’t be said of Vick. His legs give him – and the Eagles – options Kolb just does not possess.

Then there is the suddenly mediocre state of the NFC East. What many thought of as a possible rebuilding year now is taking on a different look, one that sees the Eagles tied for the NFC East lead after the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys all lost yesterday. The Cowboys, hyped as a possible Super Bowl team, are now 0-2.

Andy Reid will meet the media this morning. No doubt he will make every attempt to quash any talk of a quarterback controversy. Good luck with that. It won’t work this morning. And it won’t work after Kolb’s first sack or incompletion next Sunday.

Get used to it, Andy. You’re learning something Eagles fans have known for years. The most popular player on the roster is always the backup quarterback.

And when he does what Vick did yesterday, that only makes him that much more popular.

It’s going to be a very interesting week.

QB or not QB, that is the question for Andy Reid this week.

The world's greatest invention

Yesterday provided still one more confirmation of my firm belief in what is unquestionably the greatest invention in mankind’s history.

I refer, of course, to the TV remote control.

With trusty remote in hand, I spent an absolutely gorgeous late summer afternoon planted in front of my TV flipping back and forth between the Phillies and Eagles games.

Of course, all you have to do it set the remote on one game, then punch in the station for the other, then use the “last” button to go back and forth all afternoon.

Which is exactly what I did.

But the glory of the remote did not come into full flower until late in the afternoon. For the most part I stuck with the Eagles, flipping over to the Phils during commercial breaks and time outs.

Early in the game my timing was off, which is not always a bad thing. Thankfully, I did not see Phillies starter Joe Blanton serve up a three-run homer to put the Phils in a hole. I did manage to see him stomp off the mound at the end of the sixth inning, all the while giving the home plate umpire a piece of his mind.

Things were not looking good as the Phils came up for their final at-bat down, 6-3. Back to the Eagles I went as the Birds and Michael Vick stretched their lead over the Lions to 35-17.

With the Eagles appearing to be on cruise control, I decided to steal one more glance at the Phils. To my surprise, I quickly saw that they had closed the gap to 6-5 and had a runner on with no one out. That’s when my thumb went into overdrive.

Werth engaged in an epic at-bat, and I was going wildly back and forth. But I managed to see every pitch, including the last one, which Werth deposited in the deepest part of Citizens Bank Park for a walk-off homer and 7-6 Phils win. The Phillies managed four straight hits in the ninth. The Nationals did not get anyone out.

I only saw one of them. Of course, it was the most important one.

All thanks to my trusty remote.

The greatest invention in mankind’s history.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

It's hard to believe that the Kevin Kolb Era lasted less then a half.

What might be even harder to believe is that the fate of the Eagles' season now rests in the hands - and legs - of Michael Vick.

Yes, I am aware that Andy Reid has said that when Kolb, who suffered a concussion last Sunday in the first half and has yet to fully recover, is his starting quarterback as soon as he's healthy. I'm not so sure. I expect the Eagles to win in Detroit, although I do not think it will be as easy as everyone expects.

There is no guarantee that Kolb is ready to roll against Jacksonville next week. What if he's unable to go? What if he returns to practice and has a setback?

Should Vick step up and then beat the Jags, making it two in a row, would Reid dare go back to Kolb for what is bound to be a super-hyped up game against Donovan McNabb and the Redskins? And if he does, and Kolb struggles mightily again in the first half, what kind of scene do you think will play out at Lincoln Financial Field?

Then again, after the game plan Reid rolled out last Sunday, nothing will surprise me. He certainly didn't do Kolb any favors.

Now Vick, a new man after spending two years in prison for running a dog-fighting operation, must tame the Lions. It's hisr first start in four years, ironically, when he and the Falcons fell to the Birds in the NFC title game.

It wil be interesting to see how Vick plays against a team that has had a week to game-plan for him, as opposed to the surprise attack he unleashed on the Packers last week. The worst thing that happened to Green Bay might have been the concussion that knocked Kolb out of the game.

One thing to watch. The Lions should spend all their time defending their right side of the field. The left-handed Vick very rarely even looks at the right side, especially when he is scrambling. And if we learned one thing last week, it is that whoever is behind center this year for the Eagles will often be running for his life.

It might also serve Reid and the Eagles well to try to get the ball into the hands of DeSean Jackson more than four times. After all, he is the most talented player on their roster.

Jut hope that Vick does not get hurt. Reid has not added a QB this week, meaning that rookie Mike Kafka is your backup.

It will be an ugly game, but the Birds scratch out a win, largely on the strength of the legs of Vick and David Akers.

Make it Eagles 19, Lions 17.

And let the quarterback controversy start in earnest. Who starts against Jacksonville?

Last Week: I didn't expect Kolb to be that bad, although I still can't believe the game plan Reid game him. Nice to see Vick on the field for the first play, That's one way to build confidence in a young QB taking over his first game as the starter. But I did expect the Packers to roll, as they did before Vick put a scare into them.

Season Record: I'm 1-0 so far with the Packers toying with Kolb and then surviving the onslaught from Vick.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 17

The Daily Numbers: 17 unsolved murders in the city of Chester that will be the focus of a new county investigative grand jury.
10,000 dollar reward that has failed to result in arrest of person responsible for firing shots that killed 2-year-old Terrance Webster.
18 months, how long the grand jury will sit.
48 cuddly cats that are overrunning the county SPCA. They are looking for families to adopt the felines, taken from the home of a woman in Upper Darby who was hoarding animals.
50 dollars, how much two thugs got during a home invasion in Chester before they were chased from the home by a woman wielding a broom.
3 minutes, how long members of the public are allotted to say their piece during public comment portion of meetings of the Chester Upland School Board.
700,000 dollars they got from convicted Ponzi scammer Joseph Forte that is being returned by Malvern Prep School
24 counties in Pa. that are now under a drought warning. Delco is only under a ‘watch.’ For now, there are no mandatory water use restrictions.
139 million dollars, how much the winning bid was for the Philly Inquirer and Daily News at the last public auction for the papers. This time around the amount could be much less.
6,500 properties in Pa. that received a foreclosure notice in August. That’s a five-year high.
3 underage girls taken to Egypt by a Philadelphia man to have sex. 2 of them wound up pregnant.
19, age of woman in Delaware accused of raping the boy, 11, she was baby sitting.
1 woman killed when winds as high as 100 mph roared through the Queens section of New York City. A tree fell on the car she was sitting in.
9.2 percent unemployment rate in Pa. in August, that’s down from 9.3 percent.
7 people shot, 1 fatally in another violent night in Philadelphia.
3 games with the Nats before the Atlanta Braves come to Citizens Bank Park for 3 games starting Monday night vs. the Phils.
4 years, how long it’s been since Michael Vick started a game in the NFL.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So do you cheer for Michael Vick to do well against the Lions, or do just well enough to win?
*
I Don’t Get It: A 19-year-old babysitter in Delaware is charged with raping a boy, 11. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Chester woman who chased a couple of armed thugs from her home with a broom. Good for her.
*
Quote Box: “I’m looking at a letter from the auditors. We got problems.”
- Sharon Hill Borough Councilman Scott MacNeil, during budget talks at meeting Thursday night.

Remembering Terrance Webster

 Terrance Webster is not forgotten.


Webster is the 2-year-old who was gunned down in his father’s arms as they entered their Chester home in June.


His murder was one of a spate of fatal street shootings that moved Mayor Wendell Butler to enact a state of emergency in the city, including a strict curfew and ban on public gatherings in five violence-plagued sections of the city.


But the murder of Terrance Webster – and 16 others in the city stretching back over six years – remain unsolved.


To that end, the Delaware County District Attorney’s office yesterday petitioned county court to empanel a new investigative grand jury to probe the rash of unsolved killings in the city.


You can read the full story here.


Nothing else has worked. Clearly a lot of people in Chester are too afraid to come forward to tell what they know. The grand jury should help in that area. All matters that come before them are done in secret.


In addition, witnesses can be compelled to appear before the probers and risk jail if they fail to comply.


The murder of Terrance Webster is unsolved, but it is not forgotten.


Let’s hope the grand jury yields results.


 

One way to fight crime

Much has been made about crime in Chester and what to do about it.

It’s probably not something that police would recommend, but you got to love the guts of this lady.

When a couple of thugs invaded her Chester home, they clearly picked the wrong family – and wrong woman - to tangle with. The thieves confronted both the husband and his elderly father after entering the home.

The husband broke free and confronted the suspects. Then his wife went after them with a broom. That’s when the duo decided to rethink their plan. The woman, armed with her trusty broom, promptly chased them out of the house.

The robbers hightailed it and were last seen fleeing the scene.

That’s one way to fight crime.

The Michael Vick era?

The Kevin Kolb Era looks to have lasted less than a half.

At least for now.

All signs point to Andy Reid announcing today that Michael Vick will start Sunday when the 0-1 Eagles go into Detroit.

Kolb, who suffered a concussion after completing just 5 of 10 attempts in a miserable debut as the Birds’ starter Sunday, has apparently failed a couple of baseline tests since and is generally in a bit of a fog.

That makes Vick the starter. Ironically, the last game he started was on Dec. 31, 2006. Yep, that was the day he and the Falcons lost the NFC title game to the Eagles.

Reid has made it clear that, even if Kolb misses Sunday’s game again the Lions, he remains the starter. In other words, when he’s healthy again, he’s back under center.

That’s easy to say. But here’s another scenario. Vick is lights out Sunday, a distinct possibility against a Lions defense that will have two new starters in the secondary. Then let’s say Kolb continues to struggle next week. Vick again gets the call in Jacksonville. Should he win that game, the pressure on Reid will be immense to keep Vick as his starter with Donovan McNabb and the Redskins coming to the Linc the following Sunday.

Does Reid really want Kolb returning just in time for the bizarre scene that will welcome McNabb to his old stomping grounds.

Maybe worse, what happens if Vick plays well and gets a win against the Lions, only to have Kolb come back against Jacksonville. Should Kolb put up another feeble first half, he and Reid likely will be able to hear the outcry from leather-lunged Gang Green fans all the way down in Jacksonville.

Of course, Vick could make all of this a lot easier if he falls on his face on Sunday.

But that would make the Eagles 0-2 and on the verge of a crisis.

Just another season in Eagle-ville.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 16

The Daily Numbers: 862,531 dollar shortfall staring at officials in Sharon Hill.
80 percent tax hike being considered, with a 1 percent earned income tax and some cuts and layoffs. Ouch!
63, age of man charged with trying to abduct a 21-year-old woman from parking lot of shopping center in Concord.
2 people, including 1 student, injured when a car and school bus collided yesterday morning in Aston.
126,000 in stolen jewelry from QVC that a woman told a Delco judge she pilfered from her employer. She was sentenced to 1-2 years in state prison.
250 million dollars, how much the DROP retirement plan has cost the city of Philadelphia over the past 11 years. Council today will be asked to end the program.
14-2 vote by the board of the Delaware River Port Authority to keep embattled boss John Mattheusen.
1 killed, 5 injured in crash in Greenville, Del., last night.
500,000 dollars, how much the former president and treasurer of a fire company in South Jersey admitted he stole.
8, age of boy shot in the leg in Wilmington. His brother, 5, is believed to have fired the gun, which they found in the house.
4 men being sought for a brutal carjacking in Bucks County.
77,000 dollars, new all-time single day winnings on “Jeopardy,” pulled off by a grad student at the University of Delaware.
400,000 dollars worth of copper stolen by two men in Delaware.
39 police officers, including Upper Darby’s Ray Blohm, who received Heroes Awards of Valor in Philly. Blohm was shot on duty earlier this year.
13,000 in cash, how much a former agent for the LCB admitted she ripped off from owners of bars and restaurants.
112 million dollars up for grabs in the Powerball drawing Saturday night.
19 wins for Roy Halladay as the Phils swept the Marlins.
3 game lead for the Phils over the Braves, who lost again yesterday.
17-3 mark for the Phils on the road since Aug. 1
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.All signs are pointing to another Red October
*
I Don’t Get It: Sounds like more politics as usual in Darby Borough. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby officer Ray Blohm, who was shot on duty earlier this year. He picked up a Valor Medal of Honor in Philadelphia.
*
Quote Box: “When we found out, we took steps to correct it, and it’s been corrected.”
- Darby Borough Police Chief Bob Smythe, on discovery of a video camera in the borough offices.

Taxing times in Sharon Hill

 First it was Norwood, now it’s Sharon Hill.


The borough council has been going over the budget numbers – and they’re not pretty.


One councilman is saying the borough is looking at a huge deficit and will have no choice but to consider a hefty tax hike.


You can read the full story here.


It’s the same story all over again. The auditor is talking about the possibility of an 80 percent tax hike.


Ouch!


Democratic Councilman Steve Travers wants the borough to consider a 1 percent earned income tax to close the $862,531 shortfall.


Borough council meets tonight. Should be lively.



As Darby turns, the video

 


This is not “Folcroft Videogate, the Sequel.”


But Darby Borough is having a little bit of a video issue of its own.

You can read the story here.


You might remember a while ago, longtime Folcroft manager Anthony Truscello and council member Joe Zito wound up going to jail after a video camera was discovered in a police changing room.


Now a camera has turned up in the offices of Darby Borough Hall.


It turns out it was placed there – without the knowledge of Chief Bob Smythe – by one of his lieutenants for the protection of a borough clerk.


Smythe was not a happy camper when he found out about it. And he immediately had it taken down.


And, of course, there was the usual sniping between the chief, and his nemesis, former Mayor Paula Brown.


Ironically, Brown actually was complimentary toward the chief when she learned the camera was being taken down.


So much for a videogate in Darby.

Another Red October

I wouldn’t start printing World Series tickets just yet, but you have to like the Phils’ chances.

They’re now three games up on the Braves after thrashing the Marlins again last night, 10-5, to complete a sweep in Florida. In the meantime Atlanta lost again to the Nats. There are 15 games left in the MLB season.

Watching the games in Florida is bizarre. There is almost no one in Sun Life Stadium. Foul balls go into sections that are completely empty. Every sound is compounded. You can almost hear conversations.

The Marlins listed last night’s attendance at 19,402. The truth is I don’t think there were 19,000 people in the stadium on the three nights combined.

The Phils are off today, then host the Nationals for the weekend starting Friday night. The Phils will be back in the comfy confines of Citizens Bank Park, where 45,000-plus will jam into the park every night.

And the Braves arrive for a crucial three-game set on Monday, with the Phils ready to throw Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels at them.

Smells like October!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 15

The Daily Numbers: 53-47 percent win in the Delaware GOP Primary for Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell.
0 times Mike Castle had lost an election in a 40-year political career, before last night.
57,000 total votes case by Republicans in Delaware.
19 years, how long Delco Judge Maureen Fitzpatrick has served on the Delco bench. She announced her retirement yesterday.
22 people scammed out of thousands of dollars. A county chiropractor now faces theft charges. Police believe the total likely is over $200,000.
47-41 edge for Republican Pat Toomey over Democrat Joe Sestak in a Fox News poll on the Pa. U.S. Senate race.
1 person struck and killed by a hit-run driver last night in Deptford, N.J.
2 Philadelphia police officers who both shot and wounded a suspect who pointed a gun at them during a street confrontation in the 25th District last night.
2 game lead for the Phils over the Braves, after the Phils won last night while the Braves fell.
16 games to play in the MLB schedule.
127 pitches thrown by Phils starter Cole Hamels.
13 strikeouts for Hamels, putting him over 200 for the year.
3 hits and 1 run surrendered by the lefthander.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.All signs point to Kevin Kolb being unable to go Sunday. That means Michael Vick gets the start. What happens if he plays well and the Birds win?
*
I Don’t Get It: A man was arrested in Philadelphia for selling pot to an undercover officer. His occupation? He’s a school teacher. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: A very good message yesterday from President Obama in his back to school message. I especially like the part about how he was a goof-off in high school. So I wasn’t the only one.
*
Quote Box: “He’s just a regular, ordinary guy.”
- Masterman High student Johari Sankofa, who got to introduce President Barack Obama at Masterman.

It's (tea) party time in Delaware

 


The head of the Republican Party in Delaware was quoted a week or so ago as saying that Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell couldn’t get elected dog catcher.


If that’s the case, Delaware Republicans just went to the dogs.


O’Donnell, an unknown just a few months ago, stunned the party by beating lifetime GOP pol U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Primary.


You can read all about it here.


Castle has held just about every important elected title in the tiny state. He was a two-term governor and the longest-serving U.S. House member in state history. He had never lost an election.


Not anymore.


Now state Republicans are in panic mode, saddled with a candidate few believe can beat Democratic winner Chris Coons for the seat once held by now Vice President Joe Biden.


Something odd is happening in American politics. People are angry. They are turning to unlikely sources for change.


They turned to O’Donnell, especially after she received the endorsement of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.


Maybe it’s time the people started listening.



About those Decker comments

The verdict is in.

Former Ridley Township Police Officer Brian Decker is guilty of misdemeanor assault in an altercation with a Wawa clerk who carded him as he bought some smokeless tobacco. He also was convicted of harassment, but acquitted of terroristic threats.

The verdict is also in from many of our online readers. They are not happy.

That is because we disabled their ability to post comments on the story on our website.

It is not something I especially want to do. I happen to be a big first amendment proponent. I am a newspaper editor, after all, when I’m not blogging in my spare time.

But the comments posted on our website are becoming increasingly problematic.

That is particularly true of the Decker story.

As quickly as we moderated the comments, taking down objectionable material, they simply popped back up again. You can ban commenters and they simply show up under a different e-mail address.

The attacks on Decker – and more importantly his family – clearly crossed the line of anything that can be considered fair comment.

Online readers were incensed. Some actually pulled an end-around by posting comments on unrelated stories.

One person actually took the time to post a nasty comment concerning our decision. They did so by tacking it onto the bottom of a man’s obituary.
Nice, huh?

The comments had two common themes: we were censoring their ability to express their beliefs, or we were in the pocket of powerful local politicians and cowering under the shadow of the Ridley police department to downplay the Decker story.

Let me take that last one first. My guess is that we’re not all that popular among Ridley police right now. We have plastered the Decker story all over our front page several times now, including our front page lead when the verdict came in late Monday. No one in the Ridley department has contacted me about our coverage, nor called to complain even about the nature of the online comments when they were allowed. The notion that we are “in the pocket” of the Ridley police department probably comes as news to them.

The other is a bit more delicate. I am a firm believer in free speech.

One reader put it this way: Why is it we can voice our opinions on Chester shootings, a 27-year-old man marrying a 14-year-old, etc. … but when it comes time to voice our American-given right to opinions on an ex-Ridley cop, we can’t? We want answers, and I will copy and paste this comment over and over if you remove it. This is not a threat, this is a promise.”

Here’s your answer: You are absolutely correct. You have every right to express your opinion.

But you don’t necessarily have any right to do it – especially in the way too many commenters clearly are – on our site. We determine how we handle comments. What goes up, what comes down. And what stories we decide we want to ban comments on.

The Decker story is not the first on which we have disabled comments. My guess is that it will not be the last.

Reid it and weep, Iggles fans

While we luxuriate in the Phils’ two-game lead in the National League East and the sudden realization that with their three-headed 2HO monster of Halladay, Hamels & Oswalt at the top of their rotation they are now the odds-on favorite to win the World Series, let us take up the topic of the day.

In other words, let’s talks some E-A-G-L-E-S. And no, they haven’t changed the chant to C-O-N-C-S-S-S-IO-N-S.

The Eagles are now 0-1 after a thoroughly disheartening opening-day loss to the Packers in a game in which just about everything that could go wrong did for the Birds and their Gang Green faithful, many of them decked out in throwback duds to celebrate the team’s last title in 1960.

So of course there is mass panic in Eagles Nation.

For me, I don’t want to talk about Donovan McNabb. I don’t want to talk about concussions or the other string of major injuries they suffered. I don’t want to talk about who should be the Eagles’ starting quarterback.

I want to talk about something more basic. I want to talk about Andy Reid and the game plan he put together for the Packers game.

Since the Eagles dispatched an All-Pro quarterback in McNabb, very likely the best who has ever played the position in Philadelphia, all we heard was how Kevin Kolb would flourish in Reid’s version of the West Coast offense.

He was more accurate. He made quick decisions. He had a quicker release.

So where was all that on Sunday?

It didn’t take long for my eyebrows to go up on Sunday. How about the Eagles first offensive play, when the first thing that popped up on my TV screen was the sight of Michael Vick trotting out onto the field.

Is that how you develop confidence in a young quarterback assuming the starting role in the shadow created by the departure of an al All-Pro player?

Where were the quick slants that were supposed to be Kolb’s signature on this offense? Where was the tight end? Where were the screens and swing passes to his backs?

All I saw was Kolb take deep, seven-stop drops and then run for his life under a rush that seemed once again to know what the Eagles were going to do. Is that perhaps because that’s all the Eagles ever seem to do? They throw the ball and they run gadget plays. They never line up and simply try to run the ball down your throat. They don’t even feign an interest in running the ball, except when their harried quarterbacks are scrambling for their lives.

This wasn’t just evident in the opener. It was a constant in the preseason as well. I have a theory about the preseason. Not much that happens then means a whole lot. Except for one thing. At some point in those four games, you want to see your two starting units on offense and defense put together a good, solid stretch of play. Anyone see that out of Kolb and the Eagles offensive starters? We’re still waiting for it, only the regular season has started.

The more I watch these Birds, the more I have come to the following conclusion. It’s not about Donovan McNabb. It’s not about Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick.

It’s about Andy Reid. And it always will be so long as he’s head coach.

Can you say 7-9? Reid it and weep.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 14

The Daily Numbers: 2 charges, simple assault and harassment, on which former Ridley Officer Brian Decker was convicted in connection with an altercation with a Wawa clerk. He was acquitted of a charge of making terroristic threats.
2 sites along Baltimore Pike in Springfield that are being proposed for new, huge billboards. The plan is opposed by township commissioners and many residents.
672 square feet, the size of the billboards being proposed by Bartkowski Investment Group. Similar plans are being considered in Marple and Morton.
2 incidents of gunfire in Chester and Chester Township that police believe may be related. The shooting on Lehman Street in the city might have been retaliation for a weekend shooting in Chester Township.
2 human cases of West Nile virus now recorded in Pa. A man in Bridgeport, Montgomery County, has been diagnosed.
500,000 dollars bail being demanded by Iran for the release of a young American woman hiker, one of three being held there.
2 Back to School speeches delivered by President Obama. Today he will deliver his second at Masterman School in Philly.
1 woman’s body found on an athletic field in Burlington County, N.J.
14 of 15 unions at the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News who have accepted concessions. The Teamster drivers are holding out and the sale of the company may be in peril.
2.5 million dollar winning Match 6 Pa. Lottery ticket in the Sept. 9 drawing that was sold in Radnor. Just what they need, another millionaire in Radnor.
12,000 dollars in donations to two collections last Sunday that was stolen from a Catholic church in the Rhawnhurst section of Philadelphia.
50-pound tortoise that was reported missing from a store in Delaware. It was found a few blocks away.
8 people reported shot in less than 5 hours last night in Philadelphia.
5 DUI convictions for a Philadelphia man convicted of aggravated manslaughter in a fatal crash in Lower Township, N.J. He told police he had consumed 12 beers before the crash.
62, age of pastor in Tannersville, Pa., charged in the murder of his wife 11 years ago. Police now say he staged a car crash to cover it up.
11.3 percent dip in revenue at Atlantic City casinos in August, the first full month of table games at Pa. casinos.
4 RBI last night for Carlos Ruiz as he led the Phils to an 11-4 beatdown of the Marlins.
100 RBI for Ryan Howard after he singled to knock in a run last night.
4 home runs for the Phils in the rout.
1 run in 6 innings surrendered by Phils starter Joe Blanton.
2 Eagles starters now lost for the season after Week 1. Those would be fullback Leonard Weaver and center Jamaal Jackson.
2 Eagles questionable suffering from concussion symptoms.
2 fullbacks signed by the Eagles to replace Weaver.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Anyone who watched the tape of Stewart Bradley struggle to stay on his feet after the vicious collision Sunday has to smirk just a bit when hearing Andy Reid talk about how Bradley and QB Kevin Kolb “passed all the tests” on the sideline and were allowed to go back into the game.
They need to get real.
*
I Don’t Get It: People are taking their wrath out on some businesses in Springfield where the landlords are proposing those massive billboards.
A lot of times it’s not the business’s fault. They don’t own the building. They just lease the space.
*
Today’s Upper: To the Phillies. After watching the Eagles Sunday, fans better hope the Phils play into November again this year.
*
Quote Box: “I don’t know how you could take that comment and try to make it seem like I’m trying to say I’m a better quarterback than Kevin.”
- Michael Vick, yesterday, on stir caused by his post-game comment that Eagles might have had a chance to win had he been the quarterback all four quarters.

Is your school watching Obama's speech? Call us

 President Barack Obama is going back to school.


And he’s doing it right here in Philadelphia.


The president today will deliver his second Back to School Address. In a speech beamed into classrooms across the nation, he will urge students to work hard and focus on learning.


You can read more about it here.


We are looking for schools here in Delaware County that are planning activities around the president’s speech. We’d like to come out to a classroom and sit with students who are talking about the speech, or check out a classroom discussion on it.


If you’d like us to visit your classroom, send an e-mail to editor@delcotimes. Or just pick up the phone and call me at 610-622-8818.


This is your chance to join us in our new “news ecology.” We are asking readers to become more involved in the news-gathering process.


This is a perfect opportunity.


Don’t just complain about what you read in the newspaper eveyr day. Get involved. This is your chance.

They need to have their heads examined

If this was a prize fight, they would have stopped it.

It would have been one of those classic scenes you see, with the referee waving his arms in front of a punch-drunk boxer trying desperately to regain his equilibrium.

Unfortunately, Stewart Bradley is not a prize fighter. He plays football, as middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Increasingly, the National Football League and the players who make millions by violently colliding with each other on Sunday afternoons are looking into the after-effects of all these head-on collisions. In particular they are concerned about concussions.

So it was more than a little worrisome to see what happened to Bradley last Sunday. It was one of those especially troublesome collisions, one in which Bradley and others was most vulnerable. Football players have a way of bracing themselves for hits, almost a way to absorb the shock.
It’s the ones they don’t see coming that cause problems. That’s what happened to Bradley. He was closing on a Packers’ ball carrier when his head and neck unexpectedly met a teammate’s leg.

What happened next was hard to watch. A clearly dazed Bradley lay prone on the Lincoln Financial Field turf for a few seconds, then attempted to gather himself, get up and head back to the huddle. He made it to his feet, but not the huddle.

Looking very much like a boxer who had just been sent to the canvas, Bradley got to his feet, only to stagger several steps and then fall to the ground again.

At that point, other players on the field started waving frantically toward the Eagles’ bench, where medical personnel were already dealing with quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was suffering concussion symptoms of his own.

Bradley eventually was helped to the sidelines. You would think his day would be done, especially since the league was now starting to take a much more cautious approach to such concussion incidents.

You would be wrong. Bradley missed a few plays, then returned to the field of play. He didn’t last long. After a few plays, he again retreated to the sidelines.

It was the same story with Kolb, who re-entered the game only to quickly exit, still not feeling quite right.

No kidding.

The Eagles say both players passed the necessary tests on the sidelines to allow them to go back into the game.

If that’s the case, they need to take another look at their evaluation process. Anyone who witnessed the Bradley incident must have been dumb-struck at seeing him back on the field a few plays later.

The NFL is beginning to come to grips with something the NHL has been dealing with now for years.

The violent hits that lie at the core of their sports’ popularity come at a very high personal toll.

Does the name Eric Lindros ring a bell? It should. In Philadelpia, he is the poster boy for concussion syndromes, a Hall of Fame career short-circuitted by what is all too casually referred to as “getting your bell rung.”

The Eagles and the NFL need to ring the bell in updating their standards, and assuring players suffering from concussion-like syndromes do not put themselves in danger of more serious injury.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 13

The Daily Numbers: 4 injuries to key starting players suffered by Eagles in yesterday’s depressing 27-20 opening day loss to the Packers.
2 concussions, for starting QB Kevin Kolb, and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley.
5 of 10 for 24 yards, that was Kolb’s total output in the first half.
17 points put up by the Birds in the second half under the direction of Michael Vick.
103 yards rushing for Vick.
0 timeouts left for the Eagles with more than 5 minutes left in the game. Some things don’t change.
15 of 32 for 171 yards for Donovan McNabb in his debut with the Redskins. His offense did not score a touchdown, but the ‘Skins beat the Cowboys, 13-7.
4 hits surrendered by Roy Oswalt in the complete game shutout of the Mets yesterday. Sports fans likely should focus on the Phils, as opposed to the Eagles.
72 residences in Tinicum that will likely make way for expansion of Philly International runways.
2 teens killed, 6 other people injured in a crash in Chester County early Saturday.
15, age of teen who was shot and robbed in Reading. The robbers apparently wanted his sneakers.
1 dead body found inside a Philly massage parlor this morning.
4 people killed in a Megabus in New York that was going from Philly to Toronto, including a Temple student and a woman from South Jersey.
47-44 percent, what one poll shows Tea Party candidate leading GOP front-runner Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate Primary.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
It’s hard to imagine things going any worse for the Eagles and Andy Reid as they kicked off the Kevin Kolb Era Sunday. How ‘bout those Phillies?
*
I Don’t Get It: Andy Reid’s game plan. The same opening day malaise. The lack of a running game. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who took part in the compelling memorial serive at West Chester University at which a statue was unveiled to mark the legacy of Michael Horrocks, the Glen Mills pilot who was killed in the 9/11 attacks nine years ago. Well done.
*
Quote Box: “I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters maybe we would have had a chance to win the game.”
- Michael Vick, after the game, which he took over in the second half after starter Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion.


Memories of 9/11

I would be remiss if I did not take time to offer some thoughts on the ninth anniversary of 9/11.


Literally the first thing I thought of Saturday morning was how eerily similar that brilliant blue sky was, reminiscent of that fateful day.


I have some thoughts on that day, the business I toil in and the enduring memory of a day I will never forget.


It's in my print column.


 

The Donovan Watch

If watching the Eagles implode vs. the Packers wasn’t bad enough, only one thing could make it worse.

No doubt Eagles fans could not wait to settle back in their easy chairs last night while the ugliness of the Birds’ loss to the Packers was still rumbling in their stomachs to check out the guy we kicked out the door.

Donovan McNabb made his debut as the leader of the Washington Redskins on national TV against the Dallas Cowboys. Ironically, it marked the third straight game McNabb has played against Jerry Jones’ guys.

The result this time was a little different. McNabb did not play especially well, but the Cowboys were worse.

Bottom line? Redskins 13, Cowboys 7.

Donovan McNabb is 1-0; the Eagles are 0-1 with a host of injuries and a possible quarterback controversy after Michael Vick rallied the troops in the second half.

Swell.

Hey, how ‘bout those Phillies!

Andy Reid's plan scrambled

This is the scenario that has lurked in the shadows since the Eagles decided to send Donovan McNabb packing.

The Kevin Kolb Era kicked off yesterday – with a thud. Kolb was terrible. The team then rallied behind backup Michael Vick, who proclaimed after the game that they might have won had he been the quarterback all four quarters.

Now what?


Kolb was dreadful in the first half of what would be a depressing loss for the Birds. He showed no sign of the guy who threw for back-to-back 300-yard games while starting two games for an injured McNabb last year.

To add injury to insult, he suffered a concussion toward the end of the first half and did not return for the second half. That may have been a blessing.

The Eagles of 2010 took on the same mantra that so many Andy Reid teams have shouldered – a glaring appearance that they were not ready to play on opening day.

Adding some intrigue to this mix was the second half performance of backup Michael Vick.

He provided a spark to the Eagles dead offense, and rallied them to 27-20, before being stopped on a fourth-and-1 the sealed the Eagles fate. I know, imagine that. The Eagles failing to convert on fourth-and-short. The fact that they were out of timeouts with five minutes left in the game. The fact that there running game was only a rumor.

Now what?

All of this is classic Andy Reid. The coach just might need the same thing his starting quarterback and top defensive player both need this morning. He needs to have his head examined. It’s almost beyond belief that Reid’s team display these same alarming faults in their opener year after year.

Almost worse is then hearing Reid mutter something about “having to do a better job of putting players in position to make plays.” That was OK in 2004. Six years later, it’s a little stale.

In addition to the questionable status of both Kolb and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, the Birds appear to have lost fullback Leonard Weaver and center Jamaal Jackson to injuries.

All in all, not the start Eagles fans had envisioned.

Then there is this quote from Vick at his post-game press conference.

“I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters maybe we would have had a chance to win the game.”

Nothing like throwing a little gasoline on the fire.

It’s enough to make your head throb.

Just like Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

If this is September, then it must be time for another Eagles season. And that can only mean one thing. The return of the dreaded Saturday Eagles pick.

Time flies, especially when you're Andy Reid and Joe Banner, and you're turning over a roster that won 11 games last year.

Speaking of time flying, the Eagles will spend a considerable amount of time this weekend honoring their last championship team. They even will don the Kelly green and white uniforms of those fabled 1960 Eagles led by none other than Chuck Bednarik.

Yes, it has been 50 years since the self-anointed "gold standard" cashed their ticket. They've gotten to the dance a few times, but usualy threw up on the dance floor. In Donovan McNabb's case, you can take that literally.

It has been 50 long years for the Gang Green faithful.

Guess what? I feel fairly confident in saying we can make it 51.

The Eagles bid goodbye to Donovan McNabb in the off-season. He now toils just down I-95 in Washington, where he will no doubt be playing air guitar before Sunday night's nationally televised game with the Cowboys. Donovan likely will make it three straight losses against Dallas, counting those two horrid back-to-back debacles to finish off the Eagles season last year.

The Kevin Kolb Era begins on Sunday against a very good Packers team.

Kolb is not the only new face. Uncharacteristically for Reid, this team sports lots of new, young faces. Faces who will atually be on the field. Rookies Brandon Graham and Nate Allen wil start on defense. The Eagles will be green on Sunday in more ways than their jerseys.

And it likely will show. I think Kolb will be fine. Eventually. I think this defense can be good, but they have not yet played anything close to the caliber of the offense Aaron Rodgers and the Pakcers will unleash on them Sunday.

Bottom line? Given Andy Reid's annual problems with opening day, this does not bode well for the Birds.

Make it Packers 31, Eagles 13.

Last Year: I had a pretty good year, as did the Birds. I went 12-4 picking thier games. That was then, this is now. I'm hoping for another good year. My heart tells me these young Birds will struggle.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Sept. 10

The Daily Numbers: 2 people killed when a suspended worker who had been ushered off the premises returned to the Kraft food plant in Philadelphia last night and opened fire. The woman is in custody.
7 firefighters injured in Coatesville when flames roared through an apartment complex. More than 100 people were chased from their homes.
14, age of girl police say a man from Linwood was planning to marry.
He’s 27. He now faces charges of statutory sexual assault.
5 police officers hired by Chester City Council to beef up the presence on city streets.
8 students at Penn Wood High School charged with an afternoon robbery of a 17-year-old who was walking down the street in Lansdowne.
45 years in business for the Wawa in Linwood. They threw a party for their longtime customers this week.
2 Philly police officers already in hot water for allegedly stealing drugs now facing new charges involving a supposed Mafia member and a stolen police car.
10 Toys ‘R’ Us Express stores opening in the area, including one on 69th Street in Upper Darby.
7 a.m., when a church bell rings every day in Manajunk to mark the morning service. Neighbors are now complaining about the noise.
1 game lead now for the Phils, who did not play yesterday, as the Braves lost again.
33-14, Phils record after opening the second half of the season with 6 losses in 7 games.
6 of the Phillies 8 position starters who have spent time on the disabled list this year.
82 games missed by Jimmy Rollins, who is again battling a balky hamstring.
43 games missed by Chase Utley to a thumb sprain.
.308 batting average for Placido Polanco, who admitted yesterday he’s doing it with a small break in his elbow.
2-0 mark for the Temple Owls after they kicked a field goal in OT to top Central Michigan, 13-10.
2 days and counting to the kickoff of the Eagles 2010 season and the start of the Kevin Kolb era.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Add Placido Polanco to the list of the Phillies injured stars. Hey, we should all be that hurting. Polanco is hitting .308, even with a small break in his elbow.
*
I Don’t Get It: A woman in Bucks County is facing animal cruelty charges after she allegedly locked her dog in the trunk of her car while she went shopping at a local Wal-Mart.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who showed up outside the county courthouse in Media yesterday to salute our troops.
*
Quote Box: “I hope all of them are safe, everybody fighting for us.
They’re just me heroes.”
- Linda Horn, at yesterday’s ceremonies. Her son is preparing for his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.