Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yes We Can!

The Chia Obama is finally here.

God Bless America!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Idol Thoughts

Well, I almost had it. Thisclose to nailing a Top 5 prediction from a couple of months ago.

In February, I said on this blog that I'd be surprised if a woman made it to the American Idol Top 5 this season. Here's the excerpt:

"After one night of "semi-finals", I feel fairly safe in making the following prediction about this season of American Idol: There is no conceivable way that a woman wins this year.


In fact, I'd be surprised if a woman makes the final five."

On last night's double-elimination episode, Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai were sent packing, leaving Allison Iraheta as the lone female in the final five.

My original prediction came after the first night of performances from the top 36. Here are some other gems from that February post:

"After last night, I'm pretty confident that Danny Gokey (above) will be in the top 3, and could easily win the whole thing..."

"...I think Anoop gets pretty far as well..."

"...Also, watch out for this guy. Adam Lambert is his name, and he has a voice that will not only shatter your windows, but it will proceed to levitate the broken shards of glass and whip them at your face.

He's a real threat."

Not bad, huh?

Of course, I also thought Scott Macintyre -- the blind guy, or, TBG as I referred to him in the February post -- was going to win the whole thing, so there's that, too.

I still think it's between Gokey and Lambert, but the two guys that might have the brightest future after this show are Kris Allen and Matt Giraud.

I don't think anyone would have predicted that. Especially about Allen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We'll Miss Ya, Harry

Harry Kalas, the longtime voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, passed away yesterday prior to the Phillies game in Washington against the Nationals.

He was 73.

Having spent my life as a sports fan in Illinois, I wasn't able to enjoy Kalas' call on Phillies games, so I missed just about all of his play-by-play live -- except for those nights in the car radio, struggling to listen to 1210 AM back in the days when Phils' games were broadcast on that clear channel station.

I, along with most of the country, know Kalas' work mostly from his time spent as one of the voices of NFL Films. For many years, he provided the highlights of NFL games on Inside The NFL.

I always remember hearing those clips and thinking, wow, how cool is it that this is the man that calls Phillies games.

While he was the primary Phillies play-by-play guy when they won the title in 1980, once the Phils got to the World Series, local announcers could no longer broadcast games, so he never got to do a live call of Tug McGraw's final strike to Willie Wilson.

So, that's what helped make the Phils' 2008 title even sweeter, as Harry was at the mic on the last pitch.

Harry may be 'outta here', but he'll never be forgotten.

CSN Tribute to Harry Kalas from Mike Meech on Vimeo.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Baseball Bet For 2009

Boy, am I a fortune teller or what?

In yesterday's blog -- which was written several hours before the first pitch of the season -- I mentioned how even though the Phillies (my team) won the World Series last year, and my angst and stress for this season would be subdued because of that title.

However, being a diehard Phillies fan, I knew that even on opening night, at the first sign of problems, I'd be having all of the same negative feelings as always, despite the title from just a few months ago.

Here's what I said...
"...if Brett Myers gives up a 2-run home run in the first inning tonight, I'll be cursing under my breath, rolling my eyes, and filled with frustration...just not as much as in previous years."
Sure enough, Myers gave up a 1st inning two-run home run -- not to mention two more home runs in the 2nd inning (including one to a guy making his major league debut), and my blood pressure was rising just like it always does during baseball season.

Granted, I had a little more riding on last night's game than I normally would.

Along with my coworkers, Kevin Schramm and Jay Capron, we've concocted a series of baseball categories between our three favorite teams (Kevin - Cubs, Jay - White Sox, me - Phillies), that will result in a rather complex baseball bet for the year.

One of the categories - winning percentage on Sunday nights. I'm 0-1.

Here are the categories...

1) Total Wins

Simple enough, but we've weighted it so it balances out. Going off of a Vegas over/under win total, Jay's White Sox get a +12 advantage over Kev's Cubs. I get a +4 edge. With the Cubs favored to win more games than the other two teams, this seemed fair.

2) Sunday Winning Percentage

We were looking for a goofy category that would be fairly equal without having to weight the stats in favor of one team or another, and this was actually my idea. Considering I'm already 0-1, maybe not the best choice, but it is still early.

3) Total Team Saves

It doesn't matter who gets the save, all count the same for each team. The Phillies had more saves than the Cubs and the Sox last year, so I like this category.

4) Combined Home Runs Between 2 Players

We simply tried to grab two guys that had similar combined home run totals from 2008. Here's who we selected...

Cubs - Soto and Soriano (52 in 2008)
Sox - Thome and A. Ramirez (55 in 2008)
Phils - Utley and Werth (57 in 2008)

Again, I have no problems with this one.

5) Combined RBI Between 2 Players

Same premise. Our guys for this year...

Cubs - Soto and A. Ramirez (197 in 2008)
Sox - Quentin and Dye (196 in 2008)
Phils - Howard and Rollins (205 in 2008)

I like it.

At the end of the year, each category will be tabulated with first place getting three points, second getting two, and third getting one.

We'll hit a dinner spot sometime after the season with the loser picking up the tab, and the second place finisher leaving the tip.

I'll keep you updated throughout the season on how things are going.

Unless I'm losing.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Opening Day

There's nothing like opening day of the major league baseball season. Everyone has a shot.

Even the Cubs.

Normally at this time, as a Phillies fan, I'd be heading to the start of the year with equal bits of optimism and negativity. Eager for a season where my team would have a good chance to make the playoffs -- at least, since their recent resurgence of good baseball, for the last decade or so -- but doubtful that they'd get to, or win a world series because Philly teams just don't do that very often.

Of course, that all changed last October.

So, with the 2008 World Series title in the hands of my beloved Phightin Phils, I can head into this 2009 season without as much stress and trepidation as in past years.

Bad losses, individual slumps, prolonged losing streaks will be met with a little bit more of an acceptance, since, after all, we won the world series last year.

Now, don't get me wrong, if Brett Myers gives up a 2-run home run in the first inning tonight, I'll be cursing under my breath, rolling my eyes, and filled with frustration...just not as much as in previous years.

Following a favorite team during the long baseball season is unlike anything else in sports. Of course there are going to be good times and bad times, high points and low points. Thanks to that World Series win, I'm hoping to handle all the valleys a little bit better than previously.

Check back with me in October to see how all of that went.

Enjoy the games.

(If you'd like to read some of my stories surrounding the title chase for my Phillies from 2008 you can check out my feelings after their World Series victory here.

I blogged about the Phillies during the month of October with those entries available here.)