Friday, December 31, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 31

The Daily Numbers: 34 homicides recorded so far in Delco as we close the books on 2010.


24 of those occurred in the city of Chester.


1 more that could be added to that list after a man was shot and killed last night in the 700 block of East Seventh Avenue.


52 percent spike in murders in Delco over 2009.


2 Upper Darby detectives who escaped injury after they were involved in a gun battle while trying to deliver a warrant in South Philly last night.


1 person killed and 1 person under arrest in what police say was a DUI hit-run case on Baltimore Pike in Upper Darby last night.


2 teens being sought in Delaware for an attack on a DART bus in which they pelted it and police with rocks. 1 person was injured by glass from a shattered window.


3 suspects in custody after a bank robbery and shootout with police in Emmaus.


2 people killed in what is being described as a murder-suicide in Berks County.


42 million dollars in state aid that is needed to keep the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard afloat.


3 convicted Pa. killers whose sentences were commuted yesterday by Gov.


Ed Rendell.


5 dollars a gallon, what some experts believe we will soon be paying for gasoline.


*


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


The Cowboys are coming to town. And the game does not mean a thing. Who would have thought it?


*


I Don’t Get It: There were 34 homicides in Delaware County so far this year. Time to put down the guns.


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Today’s Upper: On that note, 2010 can’t be over soon enough. Happy New Year. Please be safe if you’re making merry tonight.


*


Quote Box: “There may be a group of individuals who, unfortunately, one of their friends is murdered … and those folks think they have to retaliate.”


- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, talking about the spike in homicides in the city in 2010.

Grim numbers from Chester

Today we present the grim numbers when it comes to homicides in Delaware County in 2010.


The numbers are an ugly stain as we close out the year. You can read about them here.


But we weren’t even able to get them into print when we needed to add one more to the list.


Once again violence reared its head in Chester. As of yesterday afternoon there were 34 homcides in Delaware County. Of those, 24 took place in Chester.


Those numbers are likely to go up today, with the likelihood that an incident in the 700 block of East Seventh Street last night is ruled a homicide.


Police say a man was gunned down as he stood in the doorway of a home.


Chester has come a long way. Last year marked another huge milestone when they opened the doors to PPL Park and welcomed Major League Soccer to the city.


But these grim numbers are proof of just how far the city still has to go.

Brace yourself for 1-1-11

Tomorrow is not just Saturday.

It is New Year’s Day, of course. But this year it also is something else, something I find most interesting.

It is this:

1-1-11.

In other words, the first day of January in 2011. Don’t ask me what that means. I just find it interesting.

Talking Vick on the radio

Had another chance to talk on the radio last night. Our featured sports columnist, Jack McCaffery was doing the 7-10 slot on 96.7 FM The Fanatic and he asked me to come on to talk about Michael Vick.

Vick, of course, aside from being the biggest story in Philly sports in 2010 this side of Roy Halladay, continues to make headlines.

The most recent flap revolves around something he has no control over. That would be the comments of talk show host Tucker Carlson, espousing the belief that Vick “should be executed” for his conviction in connection with a dogfighting ring.

Let’s be clear about one thing. The latest salvo in the Vick issue isn’t really targeting the Eagles quarterback. A lot of people now have bigger fish to fry in this story. That’s because the president, Barack Obama, offered a couple of comments to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie congratulating him for giving Vick a second chance.

Seems innocent enough. The president apparently was talking to Lurie about the Eagles’ recent announcement that they would move to alternate forms of energy at Lincoln Fiancnial Field by adding wind turbines and solar panels.

But the heat got turned up over Obama’s comments about Vick. I don’t know any of the particulars about what was said, or if the president ever intended for them to become public, but I’m glad he did.

In addition to being the biggest story in the NFL – and one of the biggest in all of sports in 2010 – Vick could be the poster boy for the idea of offering a second chance.

I know there are a lot of people who think otherwise, who will never forgive Vick for what he did. They are certainly entitled to their opinion.

I guess you can make an argument that there is something unseemly about Vick now being back in the glamour position of playing quarterback in the NFL, and being paid millions of dollars to do so. Some people think he should not be allowed such a lofty status. Don’t count me among them.

Vick happens to be able to do things that very few people can do. That makes him a star in the NFL. And those stars get paid millions.

I’m ready to move past the Vick issue, at least as far as it extends off the field. A lot of people are not.

A lot of people now are jumping on this issue as a way of slinging one more arrow at the president. I’m more concerned with the suddenly innaccurate slinging done by Mr. Vick when he drops back to pass.

Heaven help us should Vick lead the Eagles to an NFC title game in Atlanta. Vick's return to the place where his star first rose - and eventually led him to prison - would be off the Richter scale.

The Eagles would be the underdog in that game.

And no one more than Vick, all puns included.

A meaningless game vs. Cowboys?

When the NFL schedule-makers put out the 2010 schedule, every Eagles fan does what they do every year – circle the two dates against the Cowboys.

We had to wait a bit this year. The first clash with the hated guys with the stars on their helmets wasn’t set until Dec. 12. The Eagles won that Sunday night battle behind Michael Vick.

Round II occurs Sunday. Ho-hum.

Can anyone remember an Eagles-Dallas matchup with less fanfare than this one?

Courtesy of their feeble effort in the snow-delayed Tuesday night game vs. the Vikings, the Eagles have absolutely nothing to play for in the 4:15 national TV game against the Cowboys. Of course the Cowboys haven’t had anything to play for in a couple of months as they play out the string on their miserable season. That wailing and gnashing of teeth you hear is coming from the executive suite at Fox, where no doubt they are less than thrilled at the prospect of seeking Kevin Kolb back at quarterback for the Birds.

Andy Reid hasn’t made it official, but all appearances are that Vick and many other Eagles regulars will get a “bye” week after all, sitting out the Cowboys game as the Birds await a date in the playoffs either the following Saturday or Sunday.

Here are a couple of random observations: What do you think the over-under will be on the number of empty seats at the Linc? I make it at about 15,000.

And talk about irony. The Eagles will finish the season with the same starting quarterback as they had back on opening day. Kevin Kolb will likely take most of the snaps, finishing off a season in which he went from starter and the new face of the franchise to backup in the blink of an eye.

Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews bounced Kolb’s head off the turf in that opener. Kolb suffered a concussion, and that opened the door to the Michael Vick era. We know the rest.

The Eagles just might get a chance to repay Matthew and the Pack next weekend. They’re the Birds’ likely playoff opponent, but don’t look for Kolb to be under center.

This is now Michael Vick’s team. And they will go as far as his arm and legs carry them.

A least he’ll be doing it with a week’s rest.

How ‘bout dem Cowboys? How ‘bout a meaningless regular season finale.

It’s enough to put a wrinkle on that perfect face of Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 30

The Daily Numbers: 19, age of Ridley man who police say led them on a 30-mile high-speed chase up I-95 yesterday morning.


14, age of teen clipped by a CSX train in Darby Borough last night. He was not seriously injured.


3,400 dollars in tips ripped off an employee at Harrah’s casino.


0 tax hike on tap in the budget for Yeadon Borough.


15 dollar tax hike for most residents in Edgmont.


0.5 mill real estate tax hike in Morton Borough.


6 days, how long a cat was stuck in a tree in Secane before being rescued and reunited with its family.


3 convicted Pa. killers whose sentences will be commuted by Gov. Ed Rendell.


20 cents per gallon, how much gas prices have gone up in the last month.


Some experts are now predicting $5 a gallon gas by the summer.


12 cars vandalized in Northeast Philly Wednesday night. They had windows smashed.


150,000 in bogus goods seized from a flea market in New Hope.


37 percent of manufacturing jobs in the region that have been wiped out since 2000, according to new study.


25 gas stations being acquired by Sunoco in New York State.


9 million dollars, how much the annual Mummers Parade brings into the region in tourism business.


20 dollar surcharge being slapped on round-trip tickets by US Airways.


Many airlines already have such fees in place.


3 percent dip in violence crime reported in Philadelphia over the past year.


237 million dollar Mega Million jackpot up for grabs Friday night.


*


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


Anyone else now having serious questions about just how far the Eagles are going to go in the NFL Playoffs? Good, I am not alone.


*


I Don’t Get It: A man in western Pennsylvania has been charged with stealing a video game. Big deal, right? Uh, not exactly. He swiped it from a young boy’s casket. I don’t get it.


*


Today’s Upper: Hey, we got some snow earlier this week, but we we got nothing like the pounding they received in North Jersey and New York City, where they are still digging out. I’ll take it.


*


Quote Box: “Mom, you’re not going to believe this, but there’s another guy who needs the leave more than me.”


- Army Spc. Vincent Violi, telling his mother why he was giving up his holiday leave.

Tucker Carlson and Michael Vick

The Michael Vick saga has taken another couple of twists, one on the field and one off.

It is no secret that I have been a big fan of Vick, as well as the Eagles’ decision to bring him back and offer him a second chance after he served almost two years for bankrolling a dogfighting operation.

Of course, back then I never dreamed Vick would wind up as the Eagles starting quarterback, let alone supplanting Kevin Kolb as the starter and uncorking an All-Pro season in which he has been the biggest story in the NFL.

But as big as Vick has been on the field, he continues to be a hot topic off the field as well. This week Vick has made more headlines in both areas.

In a word, he played lousy Tuesday night as the Eagles fell to the Vikings. He had a lot of company, but Vick's work is magnified because he is the quarterback. He was hurt on the first play and looked like it the rest of the game.

Then there is the off-the-field ruckus, which Vick has no control over. Simply put, I am at a loss to explain the recent comments of national talk show host Tucker Carlson.

All he did this week was put forth the opinion that Vick “should have been executed” for his conviction in the dogfighting operation.

I am not making this up.

I’ve heard of an eye for an eye. I suppose this is a paw for a paw.

Someone a lot wiser than I once said there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Carlson is certainly proof of that. His comments have created national headlines.

I don’t happen to agree with him. In fact, I would vehemently disagree. Having said that, I believe Carlson has every right to his opinion.

It’s up to the rest of us to simply ignore them.

A new meaning for high Mass

 I’ve heard of a High Mass before, but this is ridiculous.


A young couple is in hot water after crashing the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Drexel Hill while high on booze and drugs.


It reminds of a somewhat infamous story from my youth. In our little town, our Catholic parish was even smaller. In other words, everyone knew everybody – and pretty much everything about everybody.


In those days midnight Mass was actually held at midnight. That could present problems.


One year the holy Mass was interrupted by a loud thump in the back of the church after an esteemed member of the congregation collapsed.


A hush fell over the church as he was attended to, and several men got him under each arm and carried him outside.


When one of the men returned to his pew, he was asked the man’s condition.


Turns out he was not in grave danger. Actually he had been, how should be say, “celebrating” a tad earlier and had simply passed out.


Interesting fodder for next week’s confession, no doubt.

The Eagles and their 'bye' week

Everyone knows what was on the line Tuesday night when the Eagles faced off with the Vikings in their snow-delayed prime time encounter.

The Birds were still fighting for a possible first-round bye and a much-needed week off. They even had an outside chance of winding up with the best record in the NFC, thus ensuring home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Little did we know that the Eagles decieded to take their “bye” a few weeks early. They didn’t show up.

Michael Vick was hurt on the first play, and played like it the rest of the game. He got zero help from his Coach Andy Reid, who insisted on throwing the ball all over the lot, instead of taking some of the heat off his QB and utilizing LeSean McCoy, who is probably the most-underused star player in the league.

Actually, the Eagles are getting another “bye” this Sunday. They face the Cowboys in a game that means absolutely nothing. The Eagles have the third seed in the playoffs and will be playing either Jan. 8 or 9, with an opponent to be determined, but likely to be the Green Bay Packers.

I hope the Eagles enjoyed their “bye” from Tuesday night. They may come to regret taking the night off with an early exit from the playoffs.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow job from Vick, Reid, Eagles

Forget, if you can, that exhirilating final eight minutes agains the Giants that captured the imagination of the nation.

Focus instead on the the first three quarters of that game, and then the four quarters the Eagles put together vs. the Vikings last night.

My conclusion? The Eagles - and Michael Vick - have landed.

With a thud!

Simply put, aside from the rabbit he pulled out of his hat to beat the Giants, Vick has not played especially well for awhile now.

Certainly nowhere near the level that vaulted him into the NFL stratosphere when he demolished the Washington Redskins in front of a national Monday Night Football TV audience.

Now all the same questions the Eagles faced at the beginning of the year - before Vick became their starter - are back again, even with No. 7 at quarterback. Their offensive line, along with their defense, too often resembles a sieve.

And if Vick is not playing out of his mind, Eagles fans are going out of theirs. That's because this team just is not that good.

Vick is the difference. He makes them something special, but only when he himself is special. When he is ordinary, as he has been for much of the last few weeks, they are even less.

Am I the only one who is starting to whisper the unthinkable, that we have seen a lot of this from Vick before, in another era, before Vick went to jail for bankrolling a dog-fighting operation?

Does anyone else remember that there were always questions about the way Vick played in cold weather? Does anyone else think the way Vick has thrown the ball the last two weeks even remotely compares to the way he played earlier in the season?

There is also the matter that Vick is beat up. He is not that big a guy. All the hits he has taken are beginning to take their toll. He started limping after getting banged around on the first series last night.

He got little help from his offensive line, nor a defense that made an untested rookie named Joe Webb look like it should be him - not Vick - who made the Pro Bowl.

Also MIA was Vick's superstar receiver DeSean Jackson, who looked like he wanted to be just about anywhere else but on the field. He was not alone on this weird Tuesday night game, one that had been postponed by the NFL after 11 inches of snow fell on Lincoln Financial Field and the region Sunday night.

Then there was, of course, Andy Reid, who once again took the time to inform us after the game that it was a pitiful performance by him and his staff of getting the team ready to play, as if we had not been able to watch that dreadful show on our own. Reid even trotted out his favorite, he has to do a better job of putting players in position to make plays. Maybe he should consider doing a better job of keeping his best player out of harm's way.

Instead Reid did what he always does. Apparently invigorated by the fact that it was not snowing, and the elements had been taken out of the equation, Reid threw the ball all over the lot. In the process he exposed Vick to still another wicked series of violent collisions. It became apparent on the first series that this was going to be a long night for Vick, who got hit on all three plays. That did not deter Reid, who dialed up a game plan that all but ignored what could have been the Birds' best option, running back LeSean McCoy.

In losing the game, the Eagles also kissed off any shot they had of gaining the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. They are now locked in at No. 3, and face a completely meaningless game Sunday vs. the Cowboys.

Good thing there is no snow in the forecast. I would hate to see the Eagles postpone the inevitable, the nagging belief that unless Vick is playing out of his mind, the rest of this lineup, along with the coaching staff, just isn't good enough.

Monday, December 27, 2010

50 reasons to smile

Here's today's Daily Number: 50.

That has nothing to do with the inches of snow that fell on the region Sunday.

That is the expected high temperature on Saturday as we usher in the new year. You read that correctly. Just a few days after the first brutal storm of the winter, and just a few hours into 1011, we just might have a little taste of spring.

I think the Mummers can handle 50 degrees. So can the masses who line Broad Street for the annual strut.

Hell, they might even be able to play an NFL game in those conditions.

Snow job for Eagles

There is a bright side to all this snow.

The Eagles did not even have to play in order to sew up the NFC East. They snagged the crown from the comfort of their living rooms as the Green Bay Packers throttled the New York Giants, 45-17.

The Giants' loss means the Eagles are the NFC East champions.

But there is also bad news from the fact that the Eagles did not play. The Birds are still likely going to need to win these last two games to have a chance to capture the No. 2 seed in the NFC, and a possible bye in the first round. That other New York team didn't help that quest a lot yesterday. The Jets went belly-up in a very winnable game against the Bears.

So after the Eagles play the Vikings Tuesday night, they will have a very short week to brace for the arrival of the Cowboys in the season finale Sunday afternoon. At least they don't have to travel. The Eagles' final two games are at the Linc.

And while the Cowboys have nothing to play for, and pretty much showed it in blowing another game Saturday night, they will be well-rested when they arrive Sunday, and no doubt would love to cap off their horrific season with a small measure of accomplishment by putting a kink inthe Eagles' playoff plans.

What would Vince Lombardi say?

So much for the frozen tundra.


And so much for the proud tradition that football is played in the elements.


While their opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, arrived in Philadelphia fresh off an outdoor game played in the elements of their wintry home state, the NFL apparently thought better of tangling with Mother Nature in Philly.


There was no football played in Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night.


Roger Goodell and his minions who run the NFL instead decided to postpone the game until Tuesday night as a Nor'easter battered much of the East Coast, dumping varying amounts of snow, from lots down at the Jersey shore, to not nearly as much in the Philly suburbs.


And that's the problem with that. Philadelphia itself didn't seem to get hit all that hard. Sure, there was somewhere in the vicinity of 10 inches on the ground at Philly International this morning, but last night I'm still not sure it warranted canceling the game.


Chalk it up to a sign of the times - and the incessant fear-mongering the media in this area engage in every time there is snow in the forecast.


Basically there has been no news in the Philadelphia area for days now. There is only snow, and "reporters" sticking rulers in the snow, all the while telling people that if they don't have to go out, they shouldn't.


Roger Goodell must have been listening.


Our featured columnist, Jack McCaffery, didn't think much of the idea. Neither, apparently, did Gov. Ed Rendell.


Can't say I really agreed with it either.


There was a time when such a decision would not even have been considered. Not any more.


The Eagles won a world championship as a blizzard rocked the area and covered Franklin Field in a blanket of white in 1948.


Now we play NFL games inside, and postpone them when there is a little snow in the forecast.


So tell us what you think of the NFL's decision. Think they made the right call?


Post a comment on this story and we'll let you know the results.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Heron's Nest: The Dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

Well the weather outside is frightful ...

But Michael Vick and the Eagles are so delightful.

It's another Sunday night prime time marquee for Vick and the Birds as they clash with a Minnesota Vikings team that saw its season come apart at the seams in the Brett Favre soap opera. It cost one former Eagles coach, Brad Childress, his job, while another, Leslie Frazier, was named interm head coach.

Doesn't much matter. The Eagles win this game going away.

Favre, still battling concussion symptoms, is not expected to play, Wouldn't make much difference. The Eagles are just a better team.

Of course the biggest variable tonight is likely to be the weather, with the first big winter storm of the night expected to be bearing down on the region today.

This might be a game for LeSean McCoy to dominate on the ground. Of course, having a running threat like Vick as you GQ doesn't hurt either.

Snow or no snow, put this one in the win column as the Eagle bear down on another NFC East crown and a possible first-round bye in the playoffs.

Make it Eagles 27, Vikings 16.
Last Week: I can't remember ever being quite that happy to be on the losing end of a pick. The comeback for the ages made a winner out of the Birds and a happy loser out of me

Season Record: The loss drops me to 9-5, while the Eagles push their mark to 10-4 and in the catbird seat as far as the NFC East goes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 22

The Daily Numbers: 20 students at a high school in Chester who have tested positive for ‘latent’ tuberculosis.
4 men in custody being eyed as suspects in armed robbery at Collingdale nail salon.
0.5 mill property tax on the way in Parkside Borough.
9,070 dollars that poured into the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund yesterday. Let’s keep pushing toward our goal of $50,000.
3 stranglings now confirmed to be the work of the ‘Kensington Strangler.’2 Philly officers shot by a man as they tried to serve a warrant overnight. Neither was seriously injured.
2 fire trucks and 3 cars involved in an accident in the Olney section of Philly last night.
234 million dollar shortfall for the Philadelphia School District next year with the absence of federal stimulus dollars. Some believe the shortfall might actually be closer to $500 million.
40 million dollar fraud perpetrated by a Marlton, N.J., investment firm, according to an indictment.
30 wine kiosks in supermarkets in Pa. shut down because of problems dispensing the bottles.
1 Congressional seat to be lost in Pa. as a result of the latest census numbers.
12.7 million residents of Pennsylvania, according to census, that’s actually up from 12.3 percent.
121-76 blowout loss for the Sixers in a sad showing in Chicago last night.
14 straight sellouts for the Bulls. They didn’t exactly get their money’s worth from the Sixers.
6 straight losses for Saint Joe’s, which fell to BU last night.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You can tune in WIP several times during the day today to hear a replay of the final eight minutes of Sunday’s wild Eagles miracle win over the Giants. Nice pre-Christmas gift.
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I Don’t Get It: Brace yourself. All we’re going to hear for the next few days is the possibility of a little snow Christmas night into Sunday.
Spare me.
*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chester Upland officials yesterday for acting decisively to head off an outbreak of latent tuberculosis detected in as many as 20 students.
*
Quote Box: “At face value, this is simply a change in name, a change in words, but it really reflects a change in attitude.”
- Tom McGarrigle, on changing name of Office of Mental Retardation to the Office of Intellectual Disabilities.

Another reason to blow up the LCB

Want another reason Pennsylvania should get out of the booze business?

Even when the state is trying to come into the 21st Century in terms of the sale of alcohol, it hits potholes.

Remember those fancy kiosks the state Liquor Control Board rolled out recently in some supermarkets to sell wine? They’re on the fritz already.

Yesterday the LCB shut them all down because they’re having problems dispensing the bottles. My guess is that they’re not having any trouble taking your money. It’s just delivering the goods that’s an issue.

It’s a perfect metaphor for the LCB, and the way Pennsylvania deals with alcohol sales.

Which is simply one more reason why I urge new Gov. Tom Corbett to stick to his guns and do what several of his predecessors tried but were unable to do.

Stick a fork through the heart of this dinosaur. Sell off the state stores and turn the entire operation over to private enterprise.

Want a real pipe dream? How about going down a supermarket aisle and seeing entire displays of wine, beer and spirits. Want to try a single beer? No problem. Six-pack? Got it covered? Toss a case in your cart, along with a bottle of wine for dinner, and go about your shopping, then check everything out in the same line.

Hey, a person can dream, can’t he?

Maybe in 2011. Listening, Mr. Corbett?

The dangers of social media

As someone who deals with it every day, I feel I can this with some authority about the explosion of social media:

Be careful out there. And that goes both for what you post and for what you consume.

The dangers of social media were reinforced this week when an angry mob showed up outside the house of a Philadelphia man who had been identified in fliers and on Facebook as the suspect in the Kensington Strangler case.

Only one problem. Police said he was not a suspect.

Of course, that little piece of checking did not come until after the posting had hit the Internet, and fliers distributed all over the neighborhood.

Imagine waking up to find yourself wrongly in the center of that kind of firestorm.

The trade that I practice every day is called journalism. We have a few standards we abide by, and that includes our postings on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

There is an old saying in my business: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.

Too much of what is thrown up on the great online wall has little or no validity to it, aside from one person’s desire to make a point.

As we saw in Philadelphia this week, that can be a very dangerous thing.

A holiday treat: Replay of Eagles-Giants finale

Just can't get enough of the Eagles 'Miracle in the Meadowlands II?'


SportsRadio WIP 610-AM has a deal for you today.


They are planning to replay the final eight minutes of the Eagles thrilling 38-31 comeback win over the Giants all day today.


You can hear the actual call of Eagles play-by-play man Merrill Reese and color commentator Mike Quick describe the improbable win as the Giants suffered a humiliating meltdown, capped off by DeSean Jackson's 65-yard punt return for a TD with no time left on the clock.


WIP plans to air the eight minutes four different times during the day, during each of their featured shows.


CLICK HERE to listen into the broadcast.


It's the perfect pre-Christmas gift for every Eagles fan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 21

The Daily Numbers: 4 people being shot in shootout in Stonehurst section of Drexel Hill that was described by top cop Mike Chitwood as “the wild, wild west.”
4 vehicles and 1 house hit by gunfire. There were no reported injuries.
24,611 dollars for the Merry Christmas Fund, less than half way to our goal of $50,000.
15 years on the board of commissioners in Aston for Joe Possenti, who announced he is stepping down.
3 people killed in 3 shootings in 8 hours in Philadelphia.
30 years in Washington coming to end today as Sen. Arlen Specter delivers his final speech from the Senate floord.
25, age of Marine from Lancaster who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
50 dogs rescued from home where a person was apparently hoarding animals in Cape May, N.J.
5-0 blowout win for the Florida Panthers over the Flyers last night.
7 days the Flyers will have that bitter taste in their mouth. They don’t play again until next week.
26 saves for Panthers goalie Tomas Voukun.
1 more Eagle suffering from concussion symptoms. Receiver Jason Avant suffered the ding on a crunching block he threw on DeSean Jackson’s game-winning punt return.
4 defensive starters who have now been lost to injury for Eagles. Rookie free safety Nate Allen will miss the rest of the season.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Gotta love Peter Laviolette. The Flyers coach did not mince words in describing his team’s pathetic effort against the Panthers. He called it an “ass-kicking.”
*
I Don’t Get It: A Facebook posting wrongly identified a man as the Kensington Strangler and police had to be called after an angry mob showed up outside his mother’s house, where he was staying. I don’t get it.
*

Today’s Upper: Big-time coup for new Congressman Pat Meehan, who bagged a subcommittee chairmanship, something that rarely goes to a freshman legislator.
*
Quote Box: “It was a big shootout between four guys … It was like the wild, wild West.”
- Mike Chitwood, Upper Darby top cop, on recent shootout in the Stonehurst section.

Specter goes; Meehan arrives

A couple of items from the political world to note today.

It will be the end of an era – both in Washington and Pennsylvania – today when Sen. Arlen Specter takes the podium in the Capitol to deliver his final address as a senator.

Specter is expected to speak on the Senate floor at 10 a.m.

Specter, 80, will likely review his three decades in Washington. He’s also expected to deliver one final salvo, against the increasing gridlock and bitter partisan nature of politics as it is practiced in the nation’a capital.

Specter was defeated in the Democratic primary by U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
Sestak was in turn KO’d in the general election by former Republican congressman Pat Toomey, bagging the seat for the GOP.

For all his political opportunism, Specter routinely delivered the goods for Pennsylvania, and in particular the Philadelphia region.

He will be missed.

Just as one career ends in Washington, another is taking bloom, and with a flourish.

Word came yesterday that the new congressman from Delco’s 7th District, Republican Pat Meehan, has bagged something of a coup.

Meehan will chair the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. It’s rare for a freshman legislator to be given such a position.

Meehan’s background as both a D.A. here in Delaware County and U.S.
Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania likely figured into his appointment.

Go get ‘em, Pat.

Another reason to like Peter Laviolette

Another reason to like Peter Laviolette

Here’s another reason why I love Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, beside the fact that I think he’s the best coach in the city.

You never have to guess about how he feels about his team's performance.

With a seven-day break staring them square in the face, the Flyers mailed it in Monday night, going on vacation early and getting blown out by the Florida Panthers, 5-0.

A clearly irritated Laviolette was not impressed with his team’s effort.

He summed it up as an “ass-kicking.”

Yep, that pretty much tells you everything you need to know – both about the Flyers’ play and they want their coach felt about it.

2 things to worry about for Eagles

A couple of nagging elements remain in the euphoria of the Eagles’
Miracle in the Meadowlands II thrilling win on Sunday.

One is the fact that had the Eagles come up short, and either not tied the game or lost in overtime, we likely would be barbecuing Andy Reid for two brutal gaffes in the game.

I actually at the time thought Reid may have cost his team the game at the end of the first half, when with his team already down 17-3 and the ball deep in his own territory, Reid did not simply run out the 30 or so ticks left on the clock. At that point you take your team into the locker room and regroup. Not Reid. He continued to throw the ball, one of which landed in the hands of Jeremy Maclin, who promptly coughed it up, at least that was the ruling on the field. The Giants recovered and quickly cashed in another touchdown. At that point it appeared to be game, set and match.

Then in the second half Reid failed to challenge what appeared to be a clearly questionable call on the fumble by DeSean Jackson. Again the Giants went on to score.

Of course at this point none of this matters. But don’t be surprised if the same kind of thing happens again down the road, maybe in a crucial playoff game. We likely won’t be so forgiving at that point.

Speaking of things bound to happen again, you can book this one. Sooner or later, DeSean Jackson’s antics are going to cost the Eagles a game.

I love Jackson. He is one of the most electric players in the game. But I’m not completely sold on his explanation of just what he was doing at the end of his thrilling punt return. Jackson says he ran along the goal line – without actually going into the end zone – as a way of making sure all the time was used up off the clock. I’ll take him at his word, but I still have my doubts.

There was a Giant in the vicinity. Can you imagine the uproar had he managed to tackle Jackson or knock the ball out of his hand, negating the sure TD and forcing the game into overtime.

Jackson is a ticking time bomb, both for opposition defenses, and for his team. You’re never quite sure when he’s going to explode, or possibly blow up in the Eagles’ faces.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 20

The Daily Numbers (Miracle Division): 8:17 left in yesterday’s game at the New Meadowlands with Eagles trailing, 31-10.

28 points scored by the Eagles in the 4th quarter to pull off a wild, 38-31 win.

65 yard punt return by DeSean Jackson with no time left on the clock to win it in regulation for Birds.

2 TD passes and a rushing touchdown for Michael Vick in the epic fourth quarter comeback.

130 yards rushing on 10 carries for Vick, who also threw for 242 yards.

1 time in Eagles history that they have scored 28 points in the fourth quarter of a game. That would be yesterday.

32 years after the infamous “Fumble” and Miracle of the Meadowlands I, we got Miracle of the Meadowlands II.

1 walk-off punt return for TD to end a game in NFL history. Again that was yesterday.

4 TD performance by Eli Manning that went right down the toilet in the collapse by the Giants.

1 Eagles win or 1 Giants loss in final 2 weeks gives the Birds the NFC East title.

1 more member of Eagles defense lost to injury. Rookie safety Nate Allen is likely out for year with knee injury.

33 yard scramble by Vick to set up the game-tying TD pass to Jeremy Maclin.


*

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

The Giants may have a new home, but their haunted by the same old demons in the Meadowlands when they play the Giants in North Jersey.

*

I Don’t Get It: How can anyone not believe after what they saw yesterday. It’s a Christmas miracle.

*


Today’s Upper: Has this been one of the all-time weeks in terms of Philly towering over New York City. First Cliff Lee, now this. Love it.

*

Quote Box: “This has to be the greatest win in Eagles history.”

- Kicker David Akers, in the glow of yesterday’s miracle win.

A Christmas miracle in the Meadowlands

The New York Giants spent three and a half quarters yesterday thoroughly exorcising the demons the Eagles had infliced on them for years in their North Jersey home.

This was a new era, a new team, and a new stadium.

This was their chance to drive a stake through the heart of what is universally referred to simply as “The Fumble.” Joe Pisarcik mishandled a handoff, the ball hit the frozen Meadowlands turf and popped right up into the waiting hands of Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards, who raced into the end zone to give the Eagles the most improbable of wins. The Eagles, who desperately needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, had no timeouts left, and even less hope. All the Giants had to do was run out the clock.

Nov. 19, 1978, the first Miracle in the Meadowlands.

There were others. Clyde Simmons scooping up a blocked field goal and lumbering into the end zone to again snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat for the Eagles in North Jersey.

Then there was Brian Westbrook, again returning a punt for a touchdown to stun the Giants.

None of them can compare to what happened yesterday.

The Giants dominated the Eagles, shutting down Michael Vick and the Eagles’ high-powered offense. Vick was actually being outplayed by Eli Manning.

The Giants led by 21 points with 7 minutes to go in the contest.

The hex was about to finally be killed off. This was a new stadium, a new Giants team, and a new era.

And then the unthinkable happened.

All you can call it was Miracle of the Meadowlands II. The Eagles, behind their leader, the unflappable Vick, roared back to rattle off three touchdowns and tie the game. Vick threw for two and ran for one, when he wasn’t carving out huge chunks of the Giants’ hearts with his scampers.

Along the way the Eagles pulled off a perfect onside kick, which quickly led to another touchdown.

With the game deadlocked at 31, the Eagles defense, again with no timeouts left, stopped the Giants and forced a punt.

The rest is history, or infamy if you’re a fan of Big Blue.

DeSean Jackson fielded a punt that never should have been aimed at him.

Giants rookie punter Matt Dodge got spooked by a high snap and instead of kicking the ball out of bounds instead fired one right at Jackson.

The electric Eagles wide receiver dropped it, picked it up, hesitated, then darted up the middle. Jackson was in the clear in a matter of steps.

And the Giants were left to curse their fate. Again. Not even a new stadium could change their misfortune.

Not the best of weeks for New Yorkers. First they lose Cliff Lee to Philly. Then they are forced to endure the Miracle of the Meadowlands II.

I’m still not sure I believe what I saw.

I guess Al Michaels may have said it best.

Do you believe in miracles? After seeing what I saw yesterday, I do.

Christmas miracles, in particular.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

Look up the word tossup in the dictionary. You might see a picture of an Eagles-Giants contest.


The Birds make the trip up the New Jersey Turnpike for a rare 1 p.m. affair. All that's on the line is the catbird seat at the top of the NFC East and the likely inside path to the playoffs. The loser of this game very well may find themselves outside looking in at the NFL playoff party.


I see this game coming down to one simple issue. Can the Eagles stop the Giants vaunted rushing attack? If they can pull off a repeat of their earlier season job of bottling up Brandon Jacobs and his pal Ahmad Bradshaw, forcing the game into Eli Manning's hands, I like their chances. If they Giants run wild, they get the win.


The Giants feature the league's fourth-best rushing attack, and both Jacobs and Bradshaw went over the 100-yard mark last week.


We'll see what kind of game plan Sean McDermott can come up with to blunt the Giants' run game, doing so without a key cog, middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, who is out for the season.


MIchael Vick will do his thing, and he will get the better of Manning, whose passes always seem to flutter in the fickle winter winds of North Jersey.


Speaking of the wind, that is another crucial factor in this contest. David Akers has had a spectacular career as the Eagles place kicker, but he always struggles with the wind here. That will be a factor Sunday.


I don't see the Eagles banged-up defense shutting down the Giants running game. Look for Akers to miss another couple of kicks, as the Eagles lose a heartbreaker.


I hope I'm wrong, but I have to go with th G-Men.


Make it Giants 24, Eagles 23.


Last Week: I was on the money as the Birds throttled the Cowboys on another national TV game. Best thing about the win? Seeing the Eagles run the ball down the Cowboys' throats to end the game, something they have been unable to do for years.


Season Record: I am at 9-4, neck and neck with the Eagles as they face another crucial game. Is there anoher kind at this time of the year?

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 17

The Daily Numbers: 4-3 vote last night in Sharon Hill to OK the borough’s controversial budget.


100 people who have already signed up to buy No. 33 Cliff Lee Phillies jerseys at Clothes Quarters in Ridley.


200 dollar jump in the trash refuse fee for Springfield residents, although commissioners managed to avoid a tax hike in their budget.


10 cars broken into in Swarthmore recently.


20 vehicles involved in a crash in last night’s slippery conditions in Wilmington.


2,700 children at Chester Community Charter School who will get an estimated $48,600 in gifts in the schools’ annual ‘Santa Brigade’ today.


3rd victim of Kensington Strangler now feared after woman’s body was found in that troubled section of the city.


8.6 percent jobless rate in Pa. in November, that’s down 0.2 percent from October.


57,000 jobs added in Pennsylvania in the last year.


0.2 percent uptick in revenue collections in the state.


2 percent cut in Social Security taxes headed our way because of the tax deal OK’d by the House late last night.


12,500 dollar fine for Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer for hit on Michael Vick last week.


10, as in No. 10 Villanova, which takes on Eastern Washington tonight in the FCS Playoffs.


*


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.DeSean Jackson is saying all the wrong things this week. He sounds like a distracted player, which could be trouble vs. Giants.


 


*


I Don’t Get It: Why do people go into panic mode at the first sight of a few snowflakes?


Today’s Upper: Let’s start the countdown: How many days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater?


*


Quote Box: “I really mean what I say, I don’t have a problem. I’m not a psychopath. I’m not crazy. I’m a human being.”


- Michael Vick, in an interview.

Not exactly a winter wonderland

So, how was your drive home last night?

Let me tell you about mine.

I was expected at a business dinner in Langhorne. I knew I was in trouble when someone walked in the newsroom around 2:30 and said it had started snowing.

The forecast, which as usual changed seemingly every five minutes, was wrong again. The snow did not stay south of the region. Instead it spread across Delco, laying down a slick, powdery sheet of white.

Let the demolition derby begin.

I left beautiful downtown Primos at about quarter of four. A little more than 45 minutes later, I was still trying to get to the Blue Route at Route 1.

I have no idea why, but the first sighting of a dusting of snow sent the entire region into gridlock. Every turn I made all I saw were cars – most of them sitting in place.

There’ no doubt in my mind that some people simply should not be allowed to drive in the snow. Too many people drive either too slow, or too fast. Yes, there is such a thing as driving too slow in the snow, especially when you are going uphill.

Now we get to do it all over again on Sunday, when the forecast is calling once again for a storm that is expected to stay south of us. That means we should get about a foot.

Have I said recently that I hate winter?

Leave a comment on this blog and tell me your driving nightmare from last night, or your winter gripe.

How many days until pitchers and catchers?

DeSean's act getting old

There is good news and bad news on the DeSean Jackson front, Eagles fans.

The electric wide receiver is vowing to be in the lineup Sunday when the Birds clash with the Giants in a titanic NFC East clash, with the winner claiming sole possession of first place and the clear inside lane for a playoff spot.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, at least in my opinion, is that should he find the end zone, Jackson has no plans to give up his elaborate celebrations, such as the backward flop he stuck in the Cowboys’ face last Sunday night, earning a 15-yard penalty in the process. It was tacked on to the ensuing kickoff, and didn’t cost the Eagles, but eventually it’s going to catch up with them.

More than that, Jackson is displaying a fatal flaw for a player heading into a big game. He’s distracted.

Even after team leader Michael Vick counseled him to tone down his act, Jackson made it clear he had no such plans, that he feels it’s part of his act and the “entertainment” of the game. Even worse, he seems indifferent to what another penalty could mean for his team in a close game, which the Giants encounter promises to be.

Some might say this is simply part of Jackson’s persona, but it looks to me like he’s been hanging out with T.O. and Ochocinco a tad too much.

The Eagles have no room for error. Just how big is the Giants game? Well, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is only one team going to the playoffs from the NFC East. Don’t look now, but those pesky Tampa Bay Buccaneers just might be a huge fly in the ointment here.

The Bucs have an easier schedule than the Eagles, and even if they were to lose one more game – maybe on the last day of the season against the Saints – if the Eagles lose to the Giants and win their final two games, they’d still be out of the playoffs.

The Eagles need to be thinking about winning out.

And to do that they really don’t need the kind of distraction Jackson is creating almost on a daily basis.

All I want for Christmas ...

All I want for Christmas … is the Cliff Lee shirt concession.


Those No. 33 Phillies jerseys suddenly are the hottest items of the holiday season. Or is that the Halladay season?


Check out Tim Logue’s story as Delco stores scramble to take advantage of Cliff Lee mania.




 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 16

The Daily Numbers: 5,900 workers at the Boeing plant in Ridley, about a third of which work on the V-22 program, which is once again in the crosshairs of federal budget-cutters.

0.62 blood-alcohol level on a Ridley man arrested for public drunkenness in Glenolden.

15, age of Garnet Valley High School student charged with possession of a weapon after metal cylinder was found in his locker.

4.11 mill tax rate in Marple, same as last year, despite an earlier warning of a 13 percent tax hike.

10,600 dollars ripped off from the Marple 10 movie theater by 2 men early Tuesday.

0 tax hike for Upper Chi residents in the township budget.

9 out of 10 Pa. residents who believe the budget problem is serious and who think the state should consider selling off the state stores to raise revenue.

14 people who suffered minor injuries when a SEPTA trolley and school bus collided last night at 70th and Elmwood.

1 more body of a young woman found dead in Kensington, sparking fears of another victim of ‘Kensington Strangler.’

81-19 vote in the Senate last night to OK the tax-cut deal between President Obama and Republicans.

2 Pa. senators who both voted in favor of the deal.

4 straight wins for the Flyers, who beat Montreal on the road last night, 5-3.

24 points for Jrue Holiday to lead Sixers to 105-91 win over the Clippers.

*

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

60 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.

*

I Don’t Get It: A statue of the baby Jesus was stolen from a Nativity scene in Red Lion, Pa. Ho, ho, ho-ly nonsense.


Today’s Upper: Cliff Lee was saying all the right things yesterday as he cements himself as one of the most popular players in Philly sports history.

*

Quote Box: “I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals.”

- Michael Vick, in an interview, talking about why he would like to be able to get another dog for his kids.



Should Michael Vick own a dog?

Michael Vick is making news off the field again.

I have made clear my feelings that Vick deserved the second chance he is getting with the Eagles. I’m also more than willing to admit that the fact that’s he’s doing it in Eagles green is part of this equation.

Ask me what my stance on Vick would be if he was leading the Cowboys to the playoffs, and I would tell you that’s a damn good question. I would hope that I would still say he deserves the opportunity, but it wouldn’t bother me in the least if he falls on his face.

Part of the Vick story is trying to separate what he does on the field (and right now he's doing it at a level that has made him the top vote-getter for the All-Pro team, leading both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady), and what he does off it.

It’s that off-the-field stuff that is back in the news.

Vick gave an interview with the website theGrio.com in which he said he would like to be able to own another dog.

“I would love to get another dog in the future,” Vick said. “I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I just think to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals.”

Uh, not a great idea, Mike.

I can understand that Michael Vick would love to be able to get a pet for his young girls. I still don’t think it’s a great idea.

Part of this is image. And the image that a lot of people still harbor against Vick is the one where he was running a dogfighting operation that killed dogs in the most barbaric way possible.

Under the terms of his probation, imposed after he did two years in a federal prison, the Eagles starting QB cannot own a dog for at least three years. It can be changed under the judge’s order.

But things aren’t all bad for Vick off the field. He has picked up his first post-prison endorsement. He’s hawking cars for a South Jersey auto dealership. Woodbury Nissan.

I have no problem with that.

I know there are people who will.

And now, how about blowing away those Giants.

Free coffee at Wawa

Just made my morning jaunt to the Wawa across the street in beautiful downtown Primos and got a lovely surprise.

Free coffee!

Don’t know if they’re doing this chain-wide, but it certainly was a nice gesture on still one more brutally cold morning.

Thank you, Wawa.

A toast to sale of state stores

Seems like I’m not alone in my holiday wish.

A new poll indicates nine out of 10 Pennsylvania residents regard the state’s budget woes as serious. Nothing new there, right? But a majority also are in favor of the state selling off the state store system to help get bail out the budget blues.

Sip, sip, hooray!

A confession here. I don’t know the numbers involved in all this. I know that the sale of the state store system would provide a huge one-time cash influx, and that has to be compared to the annual revenue brought in from the state store system.

To be honest, that’s not my concern, nor my issue when it comes to my one-man campaign to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

My concern is purely selfish.

I’m tired of making three or four trips every time I need an alcoholic beverage.

That’s as in one stop for a six-pack, another if I should be so daring as to purchase a case of beer. And still one more jaunt if I need a bottle of wine or some other “spirit.”

I yearn for the days of my youth, when I grew up in Oxford, and I would routinely join the hordes of folks making the short drive to Maryland where you could make all your alcohol purchases in one place. Yes, I broke the law.

How many people do you think will scoot down I-95 into Delaware or over a bridge to Jersey this holiday season to purchase their beverage of choice.

The time has come. Gov.-Elect Tom Corbett campaigned on the idea that he would push for just such a proposal.

I’ll drink to that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 15

The Daily Numbers: 15-30 years in jail for the Ridley Park woman who admitted killing her 7-month-old son.


316 million dollar budget adopted by County Council, and it does not include a tax hike.7 prisoners who have now been allowed to walk out of the facility who were not supposed to go free.


3,430 dollars that flowed into our Merry Christmas Fund yesterday.


1 female leader of the Urban League in Philly. Joan Carter is the first female leader in the group’s history.


30 million dollars left on the table by Cliff Lee when he turned down the offer from the Yankees to come back to Philly.


120 million, 5 years for Lee to take his spot back in the Phillies starting rotation.


11 million dollars, how much Lee will make this season. That goes to


$21.5 million in 2012 and $25 million in each of the following 3 seasons.


2,500 names on the waiting list for Phillies season tickets. They are sold out for this year. Six-game packs are available.


3 Temple students robbed at gunpoint near the campus this week.


2 workers at Delaware County Prison suspended in light of the latest mistake involving a prisoner release.


318 million dollars, what the Pa. Legislature spent last year. That’s actually down $9 million from the year before.


11, age of girl shot and killed in her Chester County home. The case remains under investigation.


51, age of former Philly cops convicted yesterday of raping a former student of his in his karate class.


12 game win streak for the Penguins snapped by the Flyers with their 3-2 win Tuesday night.


37-23 advantage for Flyers in shots on goal.


8 game road losing streak snapped by the Sixers when they topped New Jersey last night, 82-77.


*


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Welcome to the center of the sports universe. Eat your heart out, New York.


 


*


I Don’t Get It: A Christmas tree was vandalized in the western Pennsylvania town of California. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Here, here. A recent poll shows the public supports moves to sell off the Liquor Control Board.


*


Quote Box: “That’s the most I’ve ever seen a player walk away from.”


- Omar Minaya, GM of the New York Mets, on the Cliff Lee deal.

Calling all military families

I have to say that I have been somewhat surprised at the reaction to our decision run a holiday series profiling the families of servicemen and women who are overseas at this special time of the year.

The idea was to do a feature story on these families and the struggles they face at this time of year, as well as allowing the families to do a special holiday greeting video that we would post on our website.

We are calling it “Operation Homefront.”

The surprising thing is how few families have taken us up on the offer.
There has to be more families in this situation. We want to hear from you.

Please contact assistance city editor Jon Tuleya at desk1@delcotimes, or call him at 610-622-8806.

Or you can e-mail or call me directly at editor@delcotimes.com, or 610-622-8818.

Throw another log on the Eagles-Phillies rivalry

Throw another log on the Eagles-Phillies rivalry


There’s another angle to the Cliff Lee story – actually two of them – that involve the Eagles.

Look for Fox to play up the New York-Philly rivalry as they set the backdrop for Sunday’s crucial battle between the Giants and Eagles for first place in the NFC East.

It’s a natural story line, Gotham City looking to exact a little revenge on the Big Pretzel.

And then there is this. I happen to be among those who believe it bothers the Eagles to no end when the Phillies are the limelight.

Not only is all Philly abuzz with the Lee deal, it’s literally the talk of the sports universe.

And all of this as the Eagles prepare for what could very well be a make-or-break game with the Giants.

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles make a pre-emptive strike to get the spotlight back. Can you say contract extension for Michael Vick.

That would do it.

It's not always about the money

It’s been said a million times, so much so that it has colored our vision of pro athletes.

It’s always about the money.

And when they say it’s not about the money, you know it’s REALLYs about the money.

Not anymore.

Cliff Lee changed all that. The ace left-hander did something that almost no athlete does these days. Listening, Jayson Werth?

Lee took less money and fewer years in his blockbuster decision to re-sign with the Phillies.

Why?

On the whole, Lee would rather be in Philadelphia.

This is coming as a cruel slap in the face to many New Yorkers, who are unaccustomed to pro athletes turning up their nose at the big money Big Apple teams routinely shower on these stud jocks.

The Yankees are believed to have offered Lee $150 million to come to Gotham.

Lee said thanks, but no thanks, and instead left $30 million on the table to take a $120 million dollar, five year deal with the Phillies.

That sound you just heard was jaws dropping all across the sports landscape.

Lee did something you simply don’t see done anymore. He walked away from the money.

Some reports indicate he was influenced by his wife, who was none too pleased to be harassed – and actually spit on – during the Texas Rangers ALCS matchup in Yankee Stadium.

So Lee returns to the team that traded him away just a year ago. He joins Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to form one of the most fearsome pitching foursomes ever assembled by a major league team.

He also did something else. He made Philly the sports center of the universe.

Move over, New York. There’s a new kid in town.

Lee’s return will likely become official this afternoon, after he passes a physical and is unveiled at an expected afternoon press conference.

Ya gotta be-Lee-ve!

For years Philadelphia, home of the most passionate sports fans in the nation, has labored in the shadow of New York City.

Not anymore.

That’s just one other thing Lee has taught us.

It’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s about family, and home.

And sometimes, very rarely, you can go home again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff's a Phil-Lee again


Forget what the thermometer - and the calendar - tell you.

Yes, it's single digits out there. Ignore it. Summer just arrived in Philadelphia. The Phillies have signed Cliff Lee.

You read that right. Almost exactly one year after trading him away, the Phils have stunned the baseball world by re-signing the ace left-hander.

That puts together a pitching staff that could be termed the Four Aces: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt.

Making the Lee deal even more delicious is the fact that he clearly snubbed the Yankees along the way. The New Yorkers offered Lee more money and more years. He chose to pitch for the Phillies anyhow.

The numbers being tossed around indicate that the Yankees dangled as much as $50 million more than what was being ponied up by the Phillies.

Didn't matter. He signed a preliminary deal on a $100 million, five-year contract with the Phillies late Monday night. All the 32-year-old left-hander stil has to do is pass a physical.

The move has to come as an especially 'in-your-face' rebuke to the Yankees. Lee is one of the few pitchers to dazzle them in post-season play. He won both games in the 2009 World Series for the Phils against the New Yorkers. Their way of solving this problem. Signing him as a free agent. But Lee instead snubbed their offer for the chance to come back to Philly.

It gives the Phils an embarrassment of riches in their starting rotation. Halladay won a Cy Young Award this year in the NL. Lee won the award in the AL in 2008.

Lee brings with him a 102-61 with a 3.85 ERA in nine major league seasons. He has excelled in the postseason, going 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA for Philadelphia and Texas in the past two years, including 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA against the Yankees.

Forget the cold. Summer has arrived early in Phil-Lee.

Hard to believe, Harry.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why the Eagles won

Michael Vick was good, not great. And the Eagles still won.

He took a ton of vicious shots, including one blatant one near the sideline that you can bet would draw a penalty on just about any other QB in the league.

He was a big reason the Eagles won, but the biggest.

Neither was DeSean Jackson, despite all his histrionics. Forget the defense, they played well but not great.

The Eagles won this game because of LeSean McCoy. And in the process they did something I have not seen them do in ages.

After the Cowboys scored late in the fourth quarter to move within a field goal, the Eagles got the ball back with about 4 miinutes and change left in a tight contest.

Enter LeSean McCoy. He put the Eagles on his back and delivered the goods.

Also credit And Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, who finally seemed to realize that at that point the Eagles opponent was the clock, not the Cowboys, and dialed up McCoy's number again and again.

It is something the Eagles have not done in ages. They got the ball, put it in McCoy's belly and ran it down the Cowboys' throat. They ran out the clock, with McCoy blowing through gaping holes in the Cowboys' defense.

The Eagles got the ball at their own 10, thanks to a silly penalty on return man Jorrick Calvin. In years past, a couple of errant passes from Donovan McNabb wold have set up the opponent to get the back back near mid-field, needing just a field goal to tie.

Not last night. instead the Eagles unleashed McCoy, forcing the Cowboys to burn their timeouts. From there they not only ran out the clock, but the Cowboys' hearts.

McCoy had four huge carries on the drive, which didn't result in a point, but still was the defining moment for Eagles fans.

The DeSean show

Go ahead, admit it.

Forget for a minute if Michael Vick played for another team.

What about DeSean Jackson? This morning he's being toasted for a huge game against the Cowboys, rolling for more than 200 yards, 91 on one play.

But that' snot what people will be talking about this morning. Instead, D-Jax will have tongues wagging because of the way he ended that 91-yard romp.

After outrunning the Cowboy defenders, even though he certainly did not appear to be running at full speed, Jackson of course decided to put an exclamation point on his thrilling play.

He stopped at the 1-inch line, turned around and fell backward into the end zone. Nice, huh?

He picked up a penalty that was tacked onto the ensuing kickoff that didn't turn out to have any effect on the game.

If Jackson played on another team, we'd hate his guts. But he's wearing green and silver, so we reel in his antics.

The problem is that this kind of behavior is infectious. Witness what Jorrick Calvin did on a kickoff, where he was dancing around in the end zone on the pretense of killing off time on the clock, apparently unaware that the clock does not start until he comes out of the end zone.

I will never understand the need by NFL players to do this kind of nonsense. It has to do with making sure they appear on SportsCenter that night.

I always fall back on what an old coach once said in describing what you should do if you happen to be lucky enough to get into the end zone.

Act like you've been there before.

Listening, DeSean?

2 rare words - NFL & free

Here's something you don't usually hear uttered in the same sentence.


NFL & free.


Because of the monster storm that is slamming the middle of the country, yesterday's game between the Giants and Vikings had to be postponed. Not only that but they also had to find another place to play the game.


That's because the blow-up roof on the dome in Minneapolis collapsed from the heavy snow sitting on it.


You can watch the great video of snow pouring thruogh the roof onto the field here.


The NFL decided the Giants-Vikings game will be played tonight in Ford Field in Detroit. Admission will be free. That's right, free. None of which will come as much comfort to folks sitting in Minneapolis with tickets for the game.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

I hope the Eagles packed their six-shooters for their annual trip to Dallas. This one is going to be a shootout.


The Birds make another visit to prime time, and the folks at NBC get an early Christmas present in the dream matchup of The Comeback Kid, Michael Vick, vs. America's Team. Look for this game to set records for ratings in the fairly new Sunday night showcase.


Look for Vick to sparkle in the limelight once again.


Both of these defenses will struggle to contain the other team's high-powered offense, but the Birds prevail. Even without Asanta Samuel, who looks questionable again with an aching knee, I don't see Jon Kitna beating the Eagles.


On the other side of the ball, Vick will throw and run all over the Cowboys.


The Eagles just have too many weapons for the Cowboys.


Make it Eagles 34, Cowboys 26.


Last Week: I was on the money as Vick rallied the Birds to a come-from-behind win over the Texans on Thursday night. Said it before and I will say it again. The Eagles don't win that game with Donovan McNabb at quarterback.


Season Record:  I am at 8-4, neck and neck with the Eagles as they face a crucial game in trying to stay ahead of the New York Giants, who loom on the scheule next  Sunday.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 10

The Daily Numbers: 1996, January, when millionaire John E. du Pont gunned down Olympic gold medal wrestler at his Foxcatcher Farm estate in Newtown Square.


2 day standoff that ensued between the eccentric heir and 75 cops and SWAT units surrounding his estate.


30 years, how long Darby Borough went without a supermarket. A new Save-A-Lot opened its doors in the new Darby Town Center yesterday.


88, age of Springfield man charged in the murder of his wife. Ernest Rayfield has been released on bail in the custody of his son after pleading guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter.


43 more deer bagged on the second day of the deer hunt at Ridley Creek State Park.


1 gunman being sought after he shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer last night. The officer was treated and released.


93, age of man killed in fire in Chester County.


650 million dollar bond issue backed by the state treasurer for construction projects. Gov. Ed Rendell wanted a $1 billion deal.


2 pipe bombs found at bank in Bensalem, part of a holdup plan.


1.4 seconds left last night when a wide open Kevin Garnett made an easy layup and lead the Celtics to a 102-101 win over the Sixers.


19 points for Jodie Meeks to lead the Sixers.


2 goals for Danny Briere as the Flyers beat the Maple Leafs on the road, 4-1.


31 saves for Brian Boucher to pick up the win.


9, as in No. 9 Georgetown, which suffered its 1st defeat of the season at the hands of the Temple Owls.


400 wins for Temple coach Fran Dunphy.


*


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


Close but no cigar for the Sixers. They are playing better, and they came oh so close to beating the Celtics last night. But that’s the difference. Good teams win those games. The Celtics are a good team.


*


I Don’t Get It: Still no word on who ripped off a woman’s motorized wheelchair in Darby. Come forward, or at least give back the chair.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the move to grant bail to 88-year-old Ernest Rayfield, the Springfield man who pleaded guilty in the slaying of his ailing wife. No one will convince me that keeping him in jail was accomplishing anything.


*


Quote Box: “I’m not sure he ever really knew why it happened and we may never know.”


- Taras Wochok, longtime attorney for John E. du Pont, on why the millionaire gunned down Olympic wrester Dave Schultz.


 

The du Pont saga

It is one of those iconic names.


Du Pont.


About the last thing you’d expect to see affixed to that name is convicted murderer.


But that was before John E. du Pont, the eccentric heir to the chemical company fortune, went off the deep end at his Foxcatcher Farm estate in Newtown Square.


Du Pont shot and killed Olympic gold medal wrestler Dave Schultz in January 1996.


The shooting sparked a two-day standoff between the millionaire, who was known to have a small arsenal of weapons on his estate, and an armada of Delco and state law enforcement officials.


Eventually du Pont surrendered. He would become one of the richest Americans ever charged with murder.


His family name, which adorned the du Pont Pavilion on the Villanova campus, would forever be linked to his bizarre actions, as well as the company the family made famous.


Du Pont eventually was convicted of the murder, but ruled mentally ill.

He spent he rest of his life behind bars.


As the memories came flooding back yesterday when word was received of du Pont’s death, maybe the best description I heard came from former Delco prosecutor Joe McGettigan.


He was there for the siege at Foxcatcher Farm, and worked on the prosecution team that convicted du Pont.


McGettigan described Schultz as a great guy, an excellent athlete, someone everybody liked.


It was those same characterstics du Pont craved.


“He was none of those things,” McGettigan told a radio reporter.


Instead, he apparently used his money to gain access to the world of elite sports. Foxcatcher became something of a gathering point for big-time athletes, especially wrestlers.


Du Pont gave the money to make the home of the Villanova Wildcats basketball program happen.


But he never really became the kind of person Schultz was. And it apparently ate away at him, until it finally pushed him over the edge, and into a murderous act.


The old axiom proved true: Money can’t buy you everything.


Read our full coverage of the death of John E. du Pont here.

Poll boosts Specter for mayor?

UPDATE: When I got an e-mail yesterday hawking a poll that would put Sen. Arlen Specter in the lead should he run for mayor in Philly, I have to admit I found it most intriguing. However, after it was picked up by a couple of other blogs today, I decided to double-check it. I can find no trace of an Apex Public Opinion Research in Buffalo, N.Y., nor of any poll they may have done.

Doesn't make the idea of Specter running any less tantalizing.


A new poll by an outfit called Apex Public Opinion Research comes up with a very interesting name in the 2011 Philadelphia mayoral race.

How does Mayor Arlen Specter sound?

The group polled 800 Philadelphia voters and the grizzled Specter, who was defeated in the Democratic U.S. Senate Primary by Delco Congressman Joe Sestak, would lead the field if he got into the race.

Of course Specter has not given any indication that he wants to get in, let alone offer a primary challenge to Mayor Michael Nutter.

Here’s how the poll ranked the candidates:

Specter – 28 percent
Nutter – 19 percent
Sam Katz – 9 percent
Anthony Hardy Wiliams – 8 percent
Tom Knox – 7 percent
Bob Brady – 6 percent
Alan Butkovitz – 6 percent.

Ten percent indicated they were undecided.

Prime Time Birds

If there is anyone smiling about Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys telecast, it has to be the folks at NBC.

They have the biggest story in the league this year, the incredible saga of Michael Vick, going up against America’s Team.

The ratings likely will be through the roof. Some people are saying it will be the largest audience ever recorded on a Sunday night game.

Yep, the Eagles and Vick are prime time.

The night games don’t do a thing for me. And I suppose they don’t do much for anyone else who gets up in the middle of the night.

That’s why we update our website 24 hours a day. If you wake up and don’t know who won, just punch up delcotimes.com and we’ll let you know.

Don’t forget to come back to The Heron’s Nest for the Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick.

Here’s a hint. I like the Birds.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Daiily Numbers - Dec. 9

The Daily Numbers: 8,900 dollar electric wheelchair stolen from a Darby woman, who needs it to get around.


3 people chased from their home by a fire last night on Curran Street in Chester.


19, age of Chester Township teen shot in the foot during a robbery attempt in Chester last night.


17,000 square foot Save-A-Lot supermarket opening for business today in the new Darby Town Center on MacDade Boulevard.


0.54 cut in the millage rate in the Colwyn budget.


3 people fatally shot in 2 separate incidents in North Philly last night.


1 dollar hike in bridge toll for 4 spans the lead to New Jersey that was delayed again yesterday by the DRPA. It’s set to get from $4 to $5.


1 million dollar lottery ticket sold out at Port Richmond outlet. The winner has not yet come forward.


729,838 votes for Michael Vick for the NFL All-Pro team. He’s the leading vote getter.


39,000 votes more than the second place guy, Peyton Manning.


4-1 lead blown by the Flyers last night as they gave up 3 goals in the third period and eventually lost in a shootout to the Sharks.


.5 seconds, what the Flyers thought was left on clock when they scored in OT to win. The goal was disallowed after a review.


7-0-2-2 record for Shark in last 11 games vs. the Flyers.


34 points for Corey Stokes as Villanova held off Penn, 65-53.


3-1 record for the Cowboys since Jason Garrett took over for fired Wade Phillips.


*


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


The Flyers will be thinking about the game they blew last night to the Sharks. They were up 4-1 about halfway through the third, when the Sharks stormed back. They won it in a shootout.


*


I Don’t Get It: Who would stoop so low as to steal someone’s motorized wheelchair. Someone in Darby, apparently.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those individuals and groups who were honored last night by Chester Council for their help in the city’s anti-violence initiative.


*


Quote Box: “I think it’s just a credit to everything I’ve tried to accomplish on and off the field.”


- Michael Vick, on hearing he is the leading vote-getter in the NFL All-Pro voting.

Another honor for Vick

Another honor for Vick

Bad news for all those Michael Vick haters out there.

The latest results in Pro Bowl voting are out. Guess who’s the top vote getter?

Yep, that would be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vick has more votes than either Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.

This is not just a homer vote from Philadelphia. This is nationwide.

Two weeks ago Manning was king of the hill. Vick, just a year and a half after he was released from prison, is now No. 1, with 729,838, 39,000 more than the Colts’ QB.

Does this change anything about what Vick did to earn that stint in a federal lockup, running a dogfighting operation? No. It’s just as horrendous as it was then.

But anyone who does not believe Vick is a changed person is even more cynical than me, and that takes a bit of doing.

If I had a vote, Vick would get it. He’s been that good.

And it says here he is lights out again as the Eagles again show up in prime time Sunday vs. the Cowboys.

Fighting violence in Chester


This newspaper takes a fair amount of heat for the way it often represents the city of Chester.


There are those who believe we never miss an opportunity to kick dirt in the city’s face.


I disagree, of course, but that does not change the perception. We cover the news, regardless of where it takes us.


That’s why we were in the city yesterday for the big coat giveaway for city kids held by the Union pro soccer team and the Sons of Ben booster club. You can read that one here. It was a good story about the city of Chester. Yes, lots of positive things happen in the city, too.


That's  why I was at the Chester City Council meeting last night.


Let me explain.


I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail last week from city comunications director Emily Harris informing us of the night council meeting and honors to be bestowed on distinguished citizens and organizations who volunteered in the mayor’s anti-violence campaign last summer.


In the wake of a spate of fatal shootings, Chester Mayor Wendell Butler instituted a crackdown, including a strict curfew and ban on public meetings, in five troubled sections of the city. It was not popular with all city residents, but it was effective.


This newspaper backed the mayor’s moves on our editorial page, lauding him for taking what we saw was a necessary step to stem the street gunfire that had become all too common in many Chester neighborhoods.


Butler also initiated a summer-long series of rallies on Thursday nights in various sections of the city. We gave them a lot of coverage as well.


While I was glad to see those who were involved in the anti-violence move honored, I’ll admit I was a bit flabbergasted when Harris indicated that the Daily Times was one of the organizations being honored.


Let’s just say not everyone is always thrilled with the way the city get portrayed in our pages.


I decided to go to the council meeting myself to accept the award on behalf of the newspaper.


The first person I met when I walked into City Hall was Mayor Butler. He greeted me the way he always greets me, with a broad smile and a firm handshake.


“How are you, Phil?” he inquired. I wish I could say I get that kind of greeting from all municipal officials we cover.


That does not mean we will shy away from covering the serious issues the city continues to face, including crime.


We have two items in the paper today from the city, including still another shooting.


We were not alone in being honored by the city. Among those also drawing praise was one of our top bloggers, Stefan Roots, who writes the Chester City Blog. You can check Stefan's blog out here.


Mayor Butler and Corey Long, who handled the introductions of each individual and group, spoke from their hearts in thanking the residents for their efforts.


Here is a complete list of those honored:


Distinguished Citizens Award:Minnett Boulware


Dray Clark


Julian Covert


Ken Covert


Cheryl Davis


Christopher Dorsey


James Frisby


Blondena Garrett


Tareah Garrett


LaKeya Gordy


Janel Harris


Harry Jackson


Antoinette Johnson


Nicole Lundy Jimerson


Alyce Johnson


Fetima Johnson


Walter Jordan


Gina Minter


Barbara Muhammad


Maria Randolph


Shamirah Randolph


Jamila Shareef


Seifidien Simpson


Shakiyl Smith


Kevin Thomas


Michelle Todd


Jackie Turner


Joni Williams


Tracey Williams


Christina Wilmer


Invaluable Service Award:


Black Men in Motion


Brothers of Concern


Stefan Roots, Chester City Blogger


The Chester Spirit


Chester Youth Collabotative


Delaware County Daily Times


White Rock Church


Women of Strength


We offer our congratulations to them all. And we’re proud to have been included.


Make no mistake. Every person in this county has a vested interest in the turnaround that is taking place in the city of Chester.


This newspaper has no intention of walking away from that effort.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Daily Numbers - Dec. 8

The Daily Numbers: 80 stab wounds suffered by victim in love-triangle murder in Springfield. The suspect was in court yesterday for a hearing.


9 to 23 months in jail for former Chester Township Police Chief Booker Wilson for using a prisoner’s workers comp check for a down payment on a Cadillac Escalade.


17 member commission that will examine the future of the archdiocese schools. It’s being headed by Delco native Jack Quindlen.


0 tax hike included in the Marcus Hook borough budget.


.5 mill tax hike on tap in Chester Township.


78, age of woman killed when she was struck by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Radnor.


14, age of teen from Boothwyn a martial arts instructor from Delaware is charged with inappropriate conduct with.


10,065, where our Merry Christmas Fund now sits after another day of donations.


21, age of man charged with groping several women in Philadelphia.


41,500 in cash sniffed out by drug-sniffing dog at Philadelphia International Airport. It was sewn into the lining of a piece of luggage.


225 deer culled during a hunt at Valley Forge National Historical Park.


150,000 dollars worth of fake bags, boots and makeup seized during raid at Bucks County open-air market.


2 murders and 5 other attacks being investigated in Philly as the work of 1 man known as the Kensington Strangler.


26 points for Thaddeus Young to lead the Sixers to a 117-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night.


5 Sixers starters who wound up in double digits.


6 times that the LeBron-less Cavs have lost by 20 points or more this season.


*


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Anyone else getting the feeling that the Eagles have very little room for error in order to make the playoffs. The next two weeks, vs. the Cowboys Sunday night and the Giants the following week, both on the road, are huge.


 


*


I Don’t Get It: The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced that starting in January toll tickets will no longer display the amount of the tolls. How does that work?


Today’s Upper: While the death of Elizabeth Edwards is incredibly sad news, her life certainly provides more than a little inspiration.


*


Quote Box: “We can look at that face of courage and realize we can have that, too.”


- Darlene Gardner, who runs cancer center, on the death of Elizabeth Edwards.

Food for thought from HHS boss

The editorial board had a visit yesterday with Joanne Grossi.

She is the new regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the six states that make up the Middle Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Grossi was a delight, and while the purpose of her visit was to remind senior citizens that they have until Jan. 1 to enroll or make changes in their Medicare enrollment, it was what she had to say about our health and behavior in general that I found very refreshing.

Grossi did not mince any words. And they are words we should all take to heart, especially as we careen into the holiday season, otherwise known as the season of over-indulging.

She reminds us that as a state, too many of us continue to be overweight and continue to smoke.

She rattled off an impressive list of numbers of what these two health situations cost us.

Grossi was very careful to be restrained in what she was saying as the HHS regional director, as opposed to her personal beliefs on what she would like all of us to adopt in terms of a healthier lifestyle.

Just those two issues, and overweight/obese population, and smoking, cost the state $9 billion a year in direct health costs.

Food for thought. Literally.

About John and Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards lost her battle with cancer yesterday.

She never lost her battle to be a decent, compassionate, caring person. Which is a lot more than I can say about her husband.

We would all do well to model just a little bit of our lives after this woman who faced such incredible hurdles in life, who never lost her composure, nor her positive outlook. She wanted to remain strong, for her family and in particular for her four kids.

Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as good a person as Elizabeth Edwards.

I can’t get past her husband, and what he did.

Elizabeth Edwards was married to John Edwards, the one-time U.S. Senator from North Carolina, Democratic vice presidential candidate, and potential candidate for president.

As Elizabeth Edwards was battling for her life, fighting a recurrence of the cancer that would take her life, she was dealt an even more staggering blow by her husband.

He had been unfaithful, and he had lied about it. While his wife was in the fight of her life, he was having a dalliance with a former campaign staffer that resulted in a child.

Sometimes I wonder just how low people can go. I suppose I would be better served by thinking of just how valiant people can be.

John and Elizabeth Edwards gave us examples of both.

Imagine

It’s more than a little ironic that we lost “Dandy Don” Meredith this week.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback was part of the trimuvirate that brought Monday Night Football into our homes and turned a football game into a cultural icon.

And it was 30 years ago today that the world learned, while watching a football game, of the loss of another icon.

It was left to Meredith’s color commentary partner, Howard Cosell, to tell the world that former Beatle John Lennon had been assassinated in New York City.

Suddenly a football game didn’t seem so important.

Lennon was gunned down as he entered his Manhattan apartment building, the Dakota, just before 11 p.m. An obsessed fan, Mark David Chapman, who had been stalking Lennon, was arrested at the scene after pumping four gunshots into Lennon’s back.

The man who urged the world to “Give Peace a Chance” was gone, the victim of a madman with a gun.

Two police officers literally picked Lennon up off the Manhattan street, put him in their squad car, and rushed him to Roosevelt Hospital.

There was nothing doctors could do.

As I look back, the story interests me for two reasons. Sure, I was a big Beatles fan. I grew up in the ‘60s, what did you expect? But I really liked their early music, and I can admit that I harbored a little resentment toward Lennon, and in particular Yoko Ono, for breaking up the band.

On the other hand I look back in marvel at the way this story “broke.”

There was no Internet. No Twitter. No Facebook. ABC News had confirmed the story and then faced the decision of whether or not to break the news to a national audience tuned into a fairly important Monday Night Football game.

As I rode into work this morning, I heard a radio report and some tape that I had never heard in the last three decades. It was about some of the off-air discussions by Cosell and others in the booth as to what they wanted to do. Cosell actually seemed to be asking his fellow broadcasters what they thought they should do. He clearly had reservations about breaking the news during the broadcast.

It was Meredith who spoke up, saying they absolutely needed to deliver the news.

The rest is well-known. It further enhanced Cosell’s already huge reputation.

But until this day I never realized Meredith’s role in how it came about.

Today there would have been “tweets” minutes after Lennon was shot. Back then, the news was "breaking" just as the nightly news ended. It was left for newspapers to deliver the news the next morning. What a quaint idea.

Lennon said it best, and it applies to a lot of things that have happened - and maybe just as importantly the things that have not happened - over the last 30 eyars.

Imagine.