Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The dreaded pick

Well, here goes. I've spent the last few days wondering about my pick to win the World Series, with the hometown Phillies battling the Evil Empire, otherwise known as the New York Yankees.

To be honest, I've been surprised by the Phillies so far this postseason. Yes, I picked them to beat the Colorado Rockies in 4 games in the National League Division Series, but the series didn't play out the way I had in mind, with the Phils winning two games in Colorado in the 9th inning.

Against the Dodgers, I had the Phillies winning the NL Championship Series in 6 games, and they did it in 5. They had few problems with the Dodgers vaunted bullpen, while the Phils' pen shut the door.

So, what about the Series? One minute I think the Yankees are going to win it, the next I lean toward the Phillies.

The Phillies are underdogs in this series. Few so-called "experts" expect them to win. Heck, the defending World Champions were the third choice by bookmakers in Las Vegas to win the NL crown.

This team continues to amaze me. They don't feel the pressure. And it's not like they haven't been here before. After all, they won the thing last year.

So with a split in New York and 2 of 3 wins at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will repeat with a Game 6 victory at the new Yankee Stadium.


Attack on Christmas has begun already

It's not Halloween yet, but the attack on Christmas has already begun.

In Kentucky, the tree that will sit on the Capitol lawn will not be called a Christmas tree. Instead, the giant evergreen will be known as a "holiday tree."

A giant evergreen that will brighten the Capitol lawn this winter won't be called a Christmas tree. Instead, Gov. Steve Beshear's administration has dubbed it a "holiday tree." Beshear is a DEMOCRAT.

In an Associated Press story, the Rev. Jeff Fugate of Lexington says the change is offensive to Christians.

Beshear administration spokeswoman Cindy Lanham says the holiday tree reference is meant to be inclusive of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's. People found out about it Tuesday when the state sent a letter looking for someone to donate a tree.

Republican Senate President David Williams of Burkesville says Beshear is putting political correctness ahead of Kentucky values.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The pick

I waited long enough, almost 2 hours before first pitch, to make my pick on the NLCS.

The key to this series is simple. The defending World Champion Phillies need to score early and often against the L.A. Dodgers -- something they did not do against Colorado in the division series, and really something they didn't do a lot of in the regular season. It seems the Phillies score most of their runs after the fifth inning.

But the Phillies can't afford to do that in this series. The Dodgers have the best bullpen in the National League, if not all of baseball. So if the Phillies don't have a lead in the sixth inning, that game's outcome isn't going to look too good.

I think the Phils' pitching will be pretty good throughout the series, so it's the bats that will need to come through.

I was right with my pick of the Phillies winning its NL Division Series over Colorado in 4 games. It didn't happen exactly how I had pictured it, but winning is the only thing.

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but here it is: Phillies in 6.

Go Phillies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sad day for 1980s wrestling fans

I'll admit it. In high school and college I followed pro wrestling. And one of the great characters of that time frame was Captain Lou Albano.

So it's sad to hear that Albano, at right, has died at the age of 76.

Albano was with World Wresting Entertainment from 1983 to 1996, when he was inducted into its hall of fame.

Albano also played Cyndi Lauper's father in her video for "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in 1983. According to WWE, Albano took credit for her success.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Playboy must be running out of models

Playboy magazine must be having a hard time getting models.

For its November issue, the magazine will feature the never-aging matriarch of the Simpson clan, Marge Simpson.

Yep, Homer Simpson's better half, at right, will not only grace the cover, but will "pose" in a three-page pictorial. The magazine will hit newstands Oct. 16.

It's a first for the magazine, which has had everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Cindy Crawford to the Girls of Hooters and even the likes of Jerry Seinfeld on the cover. But it's never had a cartoon character before.

Marge isn't going to bare all, though, as the magazine says there will only be "implied nudity" in the 3-page pictorial.

New CEO Scott Flanders says the idea is to attract readers in their 20s to a magazine where the average reader's age is 35.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another sign I'm getting older

I was walking the dogs shortly after 7:30 this morning. The air was crisp, temperature in the low to mid-40s, so I was dressed in sweatpants, sweatshirt and windbreaker. And I felt comfortable.

During the walk, I came across another man who was out with his two dogs. He was probably 12-15 years younger than me and it showed in his choice of clothes for the morning walk: T-shirt, gym shorts and flip flops!!!!

Just one more sign I'm getting older.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Talk about a great pumpkin

You'd be able to make a lot of pumpkin pies, bread, etc. from a pumpkin grown in Ohio.

Christy Harp of Jackson Township near Canton, grew a 1,725-pound pumpkin, shown above, that took first place at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers contest last weekend. Harp won $2,500 and could claim lay claim to the world's biggest pumpkin.

Contest organizers say Harp's entry topped the 1,689-pound record-holder grown in 2007 by Joe Jutras of North Scituate, R.I.

The dreaded pick

I have mixed feelings about how the Phillies will fare in their NL Division Series against the Colorado Rockies.

On the one hand, the defending World Champions struggled down the stretch, winning just 5 of their final 13 games. The starting pitching was mediocre at best, the hitting was practically non-existent, and the bullpen at times was in shambles.

The only regular player who had good numbers in the season's final month was Ryan Howard. Chase Utley saw his batting average fall 20 points from Sept. 1, and Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino had trouble getting on base.

But on the other hand, the team did what it needed to get into the post-season. And their 11-3 record in the playoffs last year shows they know how to play when the pressure's on.

Plus, the Phils owe the Rockies from 2007, when in a similar situation, the Rockies one the first two games at Citizens Bank Park en route to a three-game sweep of the NL East champs.

So here goes: I like the Phillies to win the series in 4 games. I expect Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels to pitch well the first 2 games in Philly and give the team a 2-0 edge.

But if that doesn't happen, it could be a short visit to the playoffs for the defending champions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wow, I got it right!

As the Phillies prepare to open the National League playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park against the Colorado Rockies, I went back in the blog archives to see what I predicted for the season. Boy was I surprised.

Not so much that I correctly prognosticated that the Phillies would win the NL Eastern Division (though I thought it would be in a dogfight with the Mets), but that my analysis of a 93-win season was correct as the defending World Champions finished with a 93-69 record, 6 games ahead of the second-place Marlins and 23 games against the hated, injury-plauged Mets.

I'll have my playoff outlook before Wednesday's first pitch at 2:37 p.m.