Saturday, March 29, 2008

How will the phillies do?

The Phillies open their 2008 season on Monday against the Washington Nationals.

While hopes are high for the 2007 National League Eastern Division champions, question marks on the pitching staff may keep them from getting to the post-season in a very competitive National League.

The offense should score a ton of runs, and the team may have to win a lot of 9-8 games because of the weak pitching staff.

Brett Myers and Cole Hamels, above in an Associated Press photo, are solid at the top of the starting rotation, but when you start the season with a 45-year-old as your No. 3 starter, that doesn't bode well for the season.

If you haven't guessed by now, the Phillies' fate will lie in their pitching. And since the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves -- their two bitter division rivals -- start the season with better pitching, I don't see how the Phillies can get back into the postseason. Though they claimed the division title last year, the Phillies didn't even win 90 games.

Some friends call me a pessimist. I think I'm more of a realist. Barring some unforseen happenings on the pitching staff, I see no more than 86 wins and a third-place finish in the division.

And they say Philly fans are rude

A cook at a fast-food restaurant in Washington state apparently can't get over the Seattle Seahawks' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.

According to the Associated Press, the cook near Port Orchard, Wash., has
been accused of spitting on a hamburger ordered by a man wearing Pittsburgh Steelers clothing.

Sheriff's deputies say the 37-year-old customer was with his daughters at a Port Orchard-area eatery. He reportedly traded remarks with an employee about Super Bowl XL in which the Seahawks lost to the Steelers.

When the customer opened his food container, he says there was spittle on the burger. He demanded a refund and called the fast-food outlet's district manager.

The manager told deputies a 24-year-old man might be responsible. The next day, deputies went to the man's house and smelled marijuana. The man was released after being booked for investigation of fourth-degree assault and possession of marijuana.

So heed this warning New York Giants followers: you better hope an Eagles fan who works in food service doesn't know about this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Waiting for the Phillies' offer

If Billy Crystal can do it, why can't I? Where's my chance for a spring training appearance with my favorite team.

In case you missed it last week, actor/comedian Billy Crystal, on the eve of his 60th birthday, got to play with the New York Yankees in a spring training game.

Crystal has been a lifelong Yankees' fan and directed and produced "61," an HBO movie about Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and the 1961 Yankees. So as a present for his 60th birthday, the Bronx Bombers let Crystal lead off in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The comedian's dream ended there, as he struck out in his lone plate appearance. His reaction is shown above in an Associated Press photo.

So what do I have to do to get an at bat with the Phillies? Maybe I can produce and direct a movie called "1980," the story about Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and the only Phillies team to win a World Series.

Or if I don't get an at bat, how about pitching to one or two batters. And who knows? The Phillies are always looking for pitching. On top of that I'm lefthanded, a few months younger than their current No. 3 starter, Jamie Moyer, and I throw just as hard as he does.

Maybe it won't happen for my 45th birthday, since that's in 3 months and Spring Training ends in 10 days. But my Big 5-0 isn't that far away (UGH!). If I put the bug in their ear now, maybe in 5 years the Phillies will grant me my wish.

And by then, they'll need a replacement for Ryan Howard.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Update: Honors student reinstated

The Connecticut 8th-grade honors student who was suspended for buying Skittles from a fellow student has been reinstated and given his post back on student council.

According to the Associated Press, Superintendent Reginald Mayo said in a statement late Wednesday that he and principal Eleanor Turner met with student Michael Sheridan's parents and that Turner decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his post.

Michael was disciplined after he was caught buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. The classmate's suspension also will be expunged, school officials said.

The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Candy violation costly to honors student

A craving for Skittles has gotten an 8th-grade honors student in Connecticut in some hot water.

According to the Associated Press, Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.

School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy.

Michael's suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president. Superintendent Reginald Mayo said Wednesday that the principal was just trying to keep students safe, but that he would review the decision to suspend the honor student.

With an epidemic of childhood obesity in the country, it's commendable for school districts to try and keep unhealthy snack food out of the school. The Pottstown School District has implemented a similar policy this year.

One thing Michael Sheridan may have against him is that he says he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules. You'd think a class officer and an honors student would know that having candy in the school was illegal.

But in this case, the New Haven school district's penalties against Michael Sheridan for an innocent transgression is a bit over the top.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What took so long?

Sherwood Schwartz, one of the great legends of television, had his star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday. My only question is, why did it take so long?

Schwartz, according to the Associated Press, wrote, re-wrote and produced more than 700 television shows in his long career.

He was the brains behind pop culture icon hits "Gilligan's Island" in the 1960s and "The Brady Bunch" in the 1970s -- shows that live on in reruns today. Yet it took nearly 34 years after "The Brady Bunch" went off the air for Schwartz to be recognized on the Walk of Fame. Heck, even troubled pop singer Britney Spears was honored with a star back in 2003 when she was just 21 years old.

On hand to congratulate Schwartz for his honor, shown in the Associated Press photo above, are Florence Henderson, left, who played mom Carol Brady in "The Brady Bunch," and Dawn Wells, who was Mary Ann Summers in "Gilligan's Island."

Check out the list of recent honorees and 2008 recipients for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Woman credits breasts for legal win

From the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up department:

In a Japanese courtroom, a pin-up model was a big bust in court -- and that helped get her cleared after she successfully argued that her large breasts made it impossible for her to squeeze through a hole a man said she used to gain entry into his room.

According to Agence France-Presse, Serena Kozakura was convicted in 2007 of property destruction after a man accused the pin-up model of kicking in his door and crawling inside to confront him about his activities with another woman.

The Tokyo High Court agreed that Kozakura's 44-inch bust was indeed too large for her to gain entry through the hole, the report states.

"I used to hate my body so much," Kozakura said, according to the report. "But it was my breasts," she said, that won in court.

When a suspension isn't really a suspension

A few times a week during the college football offseason, you'll see a story where a team has suspended a player for any number of reasons -- academics, off-field issues, etc.

This offseason, Penn State and Joe Paterno may be leading the NCAA in dishing out offseason punishments.

On Tuesday, Paterno suspended tight end Andrew Quarless for an unspecified violation of team rules. That makes SIX Nittany Lions that have been suspended since Jan. 25.

Defensive tackles Chris Baker and Phil Taylor; linebacker Navorro Bowman; defensive back Knowledge Timmons; and wide receiver Christ Bell are the others who have been temporarily removed from the team.

According to the Associated Press, Baker, Taylor, and Bowman and Timmons all are facing charges stemming from an Oct. 7 on-campus incident. Bell has not been charged in the incident, though his name was in the criminal complaint filed by police. The Penn State statement announcing Taylor's and Bell's suspensions in early February said only that they were suspended "until their academic situation improves and any off-the-field issues are behind them."

Penn State hasn't begun spring practices, so what exactly have the players been suspended from? Lifting weights? Team meetings?

If they miss spring practice, the only consequence is that the players will fall deeper on the depth chart when fall practice begins. And maybe they'll be forced to miss the season opener against that NCAA football power Coastal Carolina.

But by mid-September, the players will be reinstated and all will be well in Happy Valley.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A black eye for the Marines

A news story and shocking video surfaced Tuesday of two Marines stationed in Iraq allegedly mistreating and hurling a puppy into a gully, then laughing about it.

The disgusting video was initially posted to YouTube, but has since been taken down because of its violent content. The video can still be viewed on other media sites, however.

The two Marines in question were based in Hawaii, where authorities are investigating the incident and determining if the video is a hoax.

"We’re all outraged," a source at the base told "We’re probably more outraged than the general public. I hate that it happened."

There are bad apples in every walk of life. If the allegations are true, these two Marines are rotten to the core.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Odd news of the day

A man on his way to anger management class became angry and struck a woman, authorities in St. Paul, Minn., said.

According to the Associated Press, Justin John Boudin, 27, pleaded guilty Friday to fifth-degree assault in Ramsey County District Court and can expect to face a sentence for time served in jail, at least 120 days, and probation when he is sentenced May 5, the county attorney's office said.

Boudin was waiting at a bus stop on Aug. 29 when he accosted a 59-year-old woman and others, the criminal complaint stated.

"Why don't you show me some respect?" he allegedly yelled at the woman.
When she took out a cell phone to call police, he hit her in the face, according to the complaint. When a 63-year-old man tried to stop Boudin, Boudin hit him with a blue folder — which fell on the ground — and fled.

Police tracked him down through the folder, which included Boudin's anger management homework and his name, the complaint said.

I wonder what grade the instructor gave him on the homework?