Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Lee Elia!

Twenty-five years ago, Lee Elia -- then manager of the 5-14 Chicago Cubs -- gave us one of the best rants in the history of sports. Maybe the history of mankind. At least, of those that were captured on tape.

And by the way, kudos to Les Grobstein for being the only local reporter wise enough to have tape running during the tirade.

I love the rant for many reasons, but mainly because it's right on the money. Many of those same players weer on the 1984 team that won the division the next year.

Of course, Elia was fired and did not get to shove it up those...well, I'll let him say it.

The bleeped version is below. If you need to hear what's behind the beeps, and it really is worth it if you can keep the kiddies and the boss away, then click here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Best. Burger. Ever.

Brothers and sisters, I have seen the light.

I think I have discovered the best burger in the world. Okay, pretty high praise, but it certainly was one of, if not the best burger I've ever had.

It's something called the Southern Smokehouse Bacon Big Mouth Burger at Chili's.

The thing that stands out is the bacon. It's thick as a brick with a brown sugar coating. I'd spend the $8.95 just for a few strips of it.

Plenty of other toppings are on this masterpiece, including onion strings, and it comes with an ancho-chile BBQ sauce on the side. The whole thing is tremendous.

I'm certainly not getting anything out of this little plug of mine from the fine folks at Chili's. This recommendation comes to you, and them, free of charge. Although, if they want to send me a few free coupons, I'll gladly take them.

I'm just trying to enhance your life, as this burger has enhanced mine. Please, try it out. Just make it successful enough so it can remain on the menu full-time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

The folks over at Radar Magazine have come up with 100 ways they're trying to go green, including...

* Forgoing baths for rigorous cycle of "wind-bathing."

* Instead of scooping dog turds into plastic bags, just kind of kicking them to the side.

* Eating only "found" food.

Enjoy the article, and have a Happy Earth Day. I plan to. All day long, I'm drinking only green beer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phantastic Phinish

A case of Tastykakes all the way around for those responsible for two very nice wins last night for my beloved Philly teams. Danny Briere gets two cases, thanks to his two goals.

I'm gonna give an extra case to Mike Richards, too, for that all important penalty shot goal as well.

A long way to go in this first round series, but the Flyers have played well.

It's strange how I was happy to sit and watch the Flyers vs. Capitals game last night -- a game won by the Flyers 6-3 -- without really feeling that negative feeling that I usually do when watching another Philly team that was playing last night, the Phillies.

And it was a playoff game. Much more at stake then just some random baseball game in April.

Yet, I watched the Flyers, who have thoroughly dominated their series against the Capitals that they now lead 2-1, while ignoring the scoreboard for the Phillies vs. Astros game.

But for some reason near the end of the Flyers game, I jumped online and went to ESPN.com. I don't even remember what I was looking for, but my eyes accidentally focused near the top of their main page and saw the score of the Phils' game and I instantly started shaking my head.

Astros 3, Phillies 0 - 9th.

With the Flyers enjoying a big lead in the waning minutes, my focus shifted to who was shutting out the high-powered -- a rather suspect description in the early part of this season -- Phillies' offense. Had to be Oswalt, right?

Shawn Chacon?!?!


Well, no sense avoiding the score anymore, I thought. I was already anticipating a loss, so I fired up Yahoo's game tracker to watch the final gory details.

Chris Snelling leads off the 9th with a pinch-hit homerun. Utley hit by a pitch. Hmmm, not bad. Already the tying run is at the plate with nobody out. Ryan Howard steps up, and promptly strikes out for the 243rd time this year.

Now Burrell will ground into a game ending double play, I thought (gotta love that Philly positive attitude).

But wait, Burrell's on a hot streak. Maybe this will be different.


Then, Geoff Jenkins strikes out, but reaches 1st on a passed ball. There's no way the Phillies are losing this one after that play.

Pedro Feliz comes to the plate, and even he doesn't ground into a game ending double play.

"Pete Happy" sent the remaining Phillies' fans home happy with this clutch hit.

I normally would have just gone to bed after the Flyers win, and found out about the Phillies' comeback the next morning. But, I ended up noticing the Phillies game just at the moment that the 4-run 9th inning was getting started.

Someone, somewhere wanted me to see how that transpired. Or at least follow along in real time online.

So, a box of tastykakes to that person, too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Masters

It's Masters week. As a golf fan, and a sports fan, Masters week is about as good as it gets. Big names, great drama, and one of the finest looking sporting events you'll ever see in HD.

Every year I always check to see where Easter falls on the calendar. My hope is that Easter Sunday is not the same Sunday as the final round of The Masters, because that means I'd probably have to miss at least some of the telecast. We usually have Easter dinner at my in-laws, and they don't turn the television on in the kitchen during that meal. How dare they?

So, with Easter already out of the way, the weekend is clear to plunk down in front of the tube and follow along with all of the other "patrons".

The tournament is so good, and so compelling, that it allows me to look past some of the silly rules that the networks have to follow, like using the term "patrons" instead of "fans".

You won't hear the term "rough" used much, either. It's known as the "1st cut", or "2nd cut".

And, of course, they still won't allow Gary McCord within a handlebar moustache's distance of Magnolia Lane ever since he critiqued the greens at Augusta several years ago, calling them "bikini waxed".

Also, you won't see any of the analysts roaming the course. David Feherty will be in his usual spot at the 15th green, not walking the course as he does at every other CBS event.

Then of course, there is the theme music for The Masters, written by Dave "Please Come To Boston" Loggins, brother of one Kenny Loggins, who penned another classic song associated with golf, "I'm Alright", from Caddyshack.

Here are some clips from previous Masters tournaments, and at the end of the post, a clip of the music that you'll hear throughout the weekend. It's called "Augusta".

Of that song, and of this tournament, I'm a big patron.

Nicklaus wins in 1986

Tiger's chip on 16 in 2005

Davis Love's similar chip in 2002

Larry Mize recalls his winning chip shot in 1987

I tried to find some video of Greg Norman's 1996 meltdown that turned a six shot lead into a six shot defeat, but couldn't.

And, actually I'm glad about that. Outside of seeing a Philadelphia team lose a big game -- which I have way too much history of -- I don't recall ever being as sad or depressed watching a sporting event as I was on that memorable day.

Here's the music that I'd like to bring with me on my iPod every time I tee it up at Nettle Creek this summer.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Phreaky Phriday

What a night. The Flyers shutout New Jersey -- the Devils, THE DEVILS!! -- to clinch a playoff berth (thanks to Carolina's loss to Florida), the 76ers beat Atlanta to claim a playoff berth of their own for the first time in three years, and the Phillies got a road win at Cincinnati to equal their best start since 2003 (granted, a very modest 2-2).

Was there a full moon last night? Haley's Comet? Did Benjamin Franklin come back from the dead? Were cheesesteaks designated as a health food, too?

Any chance the Eagles could trade Lito Sheppard for Larry Fitzgerald, or Chad Johnson, or Roy Williams today? Given the unbelievable positive vibes coming from last night's games, I wouldn't be surprised if they were able to trade him for all three.

And, kudos to Yahoo Sports. Living in the Chicago suburbs, I don't get much chance to watch Flyers games. But, for the 2nd time in the last few weeks, I've watched a live Flyers hockey game on Yahoo's NHL page. They showed the Flyers taking on New Jersey recently, and again last night, I got to sit at the computer and watch the Philly broadcast of the Flyers 3-0 win for free.

Of course the pessimist in me, cultivated over many years as a fan of these teams, quickly realizes that both the Flyers and 76ers will be underdogs in their opening round series, and the Phillies are pitching Adam "About To Take A Beatin'" Eaton this afternoon, so it isn't all candy and flowers.

Or as Winston Wolf so eloquently put it in Pulp Fiction, "Let's not all start sucking each other's..." well, you get the idea.

But, for one night at least, the stars were aligned, none of the Philly teams choked, and I was actually proud to be a fan of these teams.

For one night at least.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Wedding Proposal

Congrats to one of my best friends, Brian, who proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kirstin in a rather unique way last week. Video of the proposal is at the bottom of the post.

Blog readers from the Chicago area will recognize the ABC7 news gang.

Brian told me that he got a call from his girlfriend moments after he appeared onscreen -- I guess we should call her his fiance now, as she did say "yes" -- and Mark Giangreco motioned to Brian trying to get an idea of her response.

Once Brian gave Giangreco the good news, Giangreco high-fived him through the window.

I'm sure the folks at ABC7 were just glad Brian didn't resort to something crazy, like crashing his car through the plexiglass window during the newscast.

Anyway, good luck Brian and Kirstin. And, Brian, it was real noble of you to adopt those two kids.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Is It Football Season Yet?

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, for fans, the baseball season is like being on a roller coaster. And, as a fan of the Phillies -- and White Sox, too -- yesterday's games provided plenty of ups and downs (mostly downs), leaving me already searching for a calendar to mark the date training camp starts.

Both games were strangely similar: The Phillies and White Sox had 2-0 leads before giving up multiple runs in one inning -- seven by the Sox, four by the Phillies -- which was then followed by the Phils and Sox rallying to tie their respective games, only to lose after giving up multiple runs in a late inning -- three by the Sox in the Indians' 8th, and five by the Phils in the Nationals' 9th.

Thanks, Tom Gordon and Octavio Dotel!

And now, we have to sit through what ends up being a pointless day off, which allows those two losses to fester even longer.

If the Phils lose Wednesday, all of the bad memories of lousy starts from earlier in this decade will come roaring back, and fans will be frantically racing for the Walt Whitman Bridge.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long season. Of course, I'll be all smiles if the Phils can win the next two games and take the series.

Now, where are those training camp dates...