Thursday, October 30, 2008

Three Thrilling Innings

Unable to get into Citizen's Bank Park at anything close to resembling a reasonable price, my wife, Debbie Veasey, and I ultimately decided to hunker down in the comfort and warmth of our family room to watch the conclusion of Game #5 of the 2008 World Series. The 52-inch TV, our dog Petey, our home cabinets and refrigerators with drinks and treats, my cellphone to text friends and family during the game, and our new video camera would be our companions through the night. Nowhere else that I would rather be, or anyone else that I would rather have been with, than Deb. She is a huge Phillies fan in her own right, and we enjoy watching games on TV and attending them together in person all spring and summer. Pre-game we decided to head out to a local Chinese buffet where we talked some about what we thought would happen when it re-started. With Game #5 having been suspended after 5 1/2 innings by incredibly horrid rain and cold on Monday night, the first time in history that an MLB post-season game was ever suspended, some unusual situations were set up. Phillies original starter Cole Hamels would be leading off the bottom of the 6th for the Phils, but since he would not be available to pitch on such short rest (two days of the delay), he would certainly be replaced with a pinch-hitter. Local radio sports talk hosts had speculated that the Phils would go with either pinch-hit king Greg Dobbs or slugging Matt Stairs. But I told Deb that I felt the choice would and should be Geoff Jenkins. It was silly to use Dobbs that early, you might need his clutch bat at the end. And Stairs is a one-trick pony who you needed to save just in case you needed that trick, a homerun, at some stage. This situation called for someone left-handed, since the Rays had a righty on the mound. Jenkins was the one left, and was the obvious choice to me. Apparently it was the right choice by Charlie Manuel (pictured, with the World Series trophy) as well, because Jenkins it was to lead it off, and he drove a 3-2 pitch to deep right-center field for a double. A sacrifice bunt by JRoll and a humpback single to center by Jayson Werth, and it was 3-2 Phillies right off the bat. But that was only the beginning, as this suspended 3 innings of play would pack in as much drama as most full games. In the top of the 7th, the Rays tied it on a homerun from Rocco Baldelli off of Ryan Madson. Later in the inning it would be up to Phils' 2nd baseman Chase Utley to provide the heroics with his glove, arm, and head. With two outs and Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett at 2nd base, Akinori Iwamura sent a ball bouncing up the middle. Utley ranged nicely to his right and behind the bag at 2nd, fielded the ball cleanly in his glove, transferred the ball to his bare hand, and pivoted as if to throw to first base. As Utley likely knew, there would be no chance to get the speedy Iwamura on this play. But he made it seem as if he was going through with the throw, fooling Bartlett into thinking this, and Bartlett never stopped in rounding 3rd, heading for home with the go-ahead run. Instead of actually throwing to first, Utley double-clutched, turned his body slightly, and fired a one-bounce strike to catcher Carlos Ruiz just slightly up the 3rd base line. Ruiz took the throw and dove out after Bartlett, who was diving around his tag attempt in trying to get to home plate. Ruiz stretched out and nailed Bartlett three feet short of the plate, and the Phillies were out of the inning still tied. Utley's heady play will go down in history as one of the greatest, if not the single greatest, defensive plays in the history of Philadelphia sports. And a nice assist to Ruiz on the other end as well. In the bottom of the 7th, the longest tenured Phillie, leftfielder Pat 'the Bat' Burrell, would lead things off. Burrell was the only Phillie to not get much involved thus far in the Series as he was hitless, and this could well be the final at-bat as a Phil since he is a free agent this coming off-season. Almost every Phils fan that I heard talking in the time leading up to the game was rooting for Burrell to do something special, and Pat didn't let us down. He got a hold of a fastball and drove it deep to centerfield, the farthest part of the park, for what looked like it was going to be a go-ahead homerun. But the ball crashed off the fence, missing that homer by just a couple of feet. As it bounced back to the turf, Burrell rolled into 2nd base, and the Phils had led-off their 2nd straight inning with a double. Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch-run for Burrell, who left to a tremendous ovation, and Bruntlett quickly moved over to 3rd base on Shane Victorino's bouncer to 2nd. Up to the plate stepped 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz, and he delivered the biggest hit of his career with a line-drive single right back through the box, scoring Bruntlett and putting the Phils back on top by 4-3 heading into the 8th. Again in the top of the 8th, the Rays kept coming. With a runner on first, Phils reliever J.C. Romero induced young Rays star B.J. Upton to ground a ball right to Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins who flipped it over to Utley at 2nd for the forceout. In the same motion, Utley pivoted to turn the doubleplay as the runner barrelled down on him to break it up. But the Phils all-star 2nd baseman hung in under fire and made a strong throw, nailing the speedy Upton by a step to complete the twin killing. The Phils were held off the board in their half of the 8th, and so the game went into the top of the 9th with the team just three outs away from the 2nd World Series title in their 125-year history. Manuel gave the ball to closer Brad Lidge, who had become known as 'Lights-Out Lidge' by not blowing a Save opportunity all year. Lidge got the first batter, but then gave up a hit and a stolen base to put the Rays tying run at 2nd with one out. Nothing ever comes easy in Philadelphia. The next batter sliced a ball to the opposite field that looked off the bat like a game-tying single, but the rocket hung in the air and went directly at rightfielder Jayson Werth for out #2. The Rays brought up pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, who had homered in his only at-bat of the Series in Game #4. Lidge quickly got ahead, and as the centerfield clock at Citizen's Bank Park reached exactly 10pm, Lidge fired a slider that dove down under Hinske's swinging bat and into the glove of catcher Ruiz for a Series-clinching strikeout. As Ruiz charged the mound in celebration, Lidge dropped to his knees and looked prayerfully skyward. Ruiz grabbed him in a bear hug, and the two were immediately tackled to the ground by big 1st baseman Ryan Howard. The rest of the team was in hot pursuit, and the pile-on crushed those three as everyone else joined the celebration. The Phillies fans in the stands waved their 'Rally Towels' with glee, jumped up and down, hugged one another, roared, cried, and generally exploded with joy at the city's first professional sports championship in a quarter century. Back at home, Deb and I had been videotaping our evening and the game as it progressed on TV, and we were jumping around our living room with that same joyfulness. Deb grabbed a pot and big spoon, and ran out front to clang them in celebration with some neighbors. We watched the post-game shows both on Fox and local Comcast Sportsnet, as well as all the local news angles. The street celebrations quickly grew, and Deb and I decided to get dressed and head out. We drove around in Northeast Philly hot spots, honking our horns and cheering out the windows with other drivers and pedestrians, and even stopped at a local sporting goods store at 1am to buy some Phillies world championship shirts. The three innings that began with Jenkins' opening double, that included Werth's rbi blooper, Burrell's heroic double, Feliz' winning rbi single, Utley's defensive excellence, the Rays' persistence, and finally closed with Lidge's strikeout, were three of the most unusual but greatest innings in World Series history. And they ended with the Philadelphia Phillies as the world champions. It just does not get any better than this. Ever. As Deb said, thank you Tug McGraw in Heaven! And let me add to her sentiments both John Vukovich and John Marzano, who were surely watching over and rooting us on from above with the Tugger. And thank you, sweet Jesus! Thank you, God in Heaven! And last but not least, thank you to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, from Series MVP Cole Hamels, to all the players and coaches, up to the top of ownership, and down to the lowest employees on the organizational ladder. Today, you are my heroes. Thank you.


WE WIN !!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Whiz Kids

The team that we now lovingly know as the Phillies was born way back in 1883 as the Philadelphia Quakers. However, during that first season they also were called the 'Philadelphians', which was shortened to 'Phillies'. The club thus has the distinction of being the oldest, continuous, one nickname, one city franchise in all of pro sports. In 1887 they began to play regularly at 'The Philadelphia Baseball Grounds', which became 'National League Park' in 1895, and finally became known as the 'Baker Bowl' in 1914. After playing there for over a half century, the Phillies moved to 'Shibe Park' in 1937, which they shared with it's original tenants, the American League's Philadelphia Athletics. (The ballpark was renamed 'Connie Mack Stadium' in 1953 after the legendary A's owner/manager.) With the notable exception of the 1915 World Series season, the Phils were mostly losers on the field during that first half century, but new ownership during the 1940's began to put increased emphasis on the farm system, developing strong players who finally jelled in the 1950 season. Two of those players went on to become long term Phillies legends and baseball Hall of Famers. Centerfielder Richie 'Whitey' Ashburn was a Kansas farm boy who could run like the wind. One of the great Negro Leaguers of the time famously called Ashburn 'the fastest white man in the game.' Robin Roberts (pictured) was a bulldog of a starting pitcher who by the end of the century was recognized as one of the top 75 greatest players in the history of the game by The Sporting News. Together, Ashburn and Roberts helped fuel a young, exciting Phillies team that rose into contention, and that because of their youth were handed the nickname of 'The Whiz Kids'. By the final week of the season the club was battling the Brooklyn Dodgers for the pennant. Roberts started three times for the Phils that week, including the season finale showdown on the final day vs. those Dodgers. The two clubs battled into the bottom of the 9th, where a base hit saw the Dodgers winning run heading for home before a perfect throw to the plate by Ashburn nailed him to preserve the tie and send the game to extra innings. In the top of the 10th with two men on Dick Sisler stepped up to the plate in Ebbetts Field. The son of baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler delivered the biggest hit in Phillies history to that point, driving a 3-run opposite-field homerun that put the Phils out in front and led to their first pennant in 35 years. In the World Series the club that everyone was now calling 'The Whiz Kids' would take on the powerful New York Yankees. For Game #1 at Shibe Park, manager Eddie Sawyer was unable to call on his ace Roberts because of that pennant-stretch work load, and so he tapped reliever Jim Konstanty for the assignment in what seemed like a mismatch in favor of Yanks' 21-game winner Vic Raschi. Konstanty surprised most everyone by nearly matching Raschi pitch-for-pitch, but the Yanks scored a 4th inning run that held up for a 1-0 victory in the opener. For Game #2, Roberts was back on the hill facing Yanks' ace Allie Reynolds, and it resulted in yet another pitcher's duel. The Yanks again took the lead with a 2nd inning run, but Ashburn's rbi tied it up in the bottom of the 5th, and the two teams battled into extra innings. In the top of the 10th, the legendary Joe DiMaggio stepped to the plate and drove a solo homerun to left field that would stand up as the winning run in a 2-1 Yankees victory. Down 2-0 after a pair of dispiriting one-run losses on their home turf, the Phils moved on to Yankee Stadium where a 3rd consecutive pitchers duel took place. Phils' lefty Ken Heintzelman carried a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning, but he finally tired, got wild, and loaded the bases. Konstanty relieved him to preserve the lead, but usually sure-handed Granny Hamner bobbled a ground ball that allowed the tying run to score. The tie went into the bottom of the 9th where Russ Meyer came on for the Phils and retired the first two batters, and the Series appeared headed for its 2nd straight extra inning tilt. But Meyer then allowed three consecutive singles, the final one to Joe Coleman knocking in the game-winning run. The 3-2 victory had the Yanks up by three games to none, and they looked to clinch their franchise' 13th World Series title in front of the home fans in Game #5. Yogi Berra's 1st inning homer and a 3-run 5th inning rally put the Yanks up 5-0, and they coasted into the 9th inning with two outs, apparently ready to end it easily. The Phils put two men on the bases, but with two outs catcher Andy Seminick hit an easy fly ball for what looked like the final out. Yankees left fielder Gene Woodling settled under it, it came down into his glove...and popped out, falling to the ground as two runs scored. Suddenly the Phils were down 5-2, and when the next batter got a hit they were miraculously bringing the tying run to the plate. But alas, there would be no miracle. Reynolds came on in relief and struck out pinch-hitter Stan Lopata. The Yanks celebrated their title, while the Phils walked off the field having fought a great dynasty to a near draw, yet still having been swept. The Phillies were young and talented, and it seemed that they had a bright future together as contenders. Even that was not to be as the team slowly faded back into mediocrity over the next few years. But for one glorious summer in Philadelphia, a young, talented, likeable bunch of ballplayers excited the town and battled the Yankees in the World Series. It would be years before many of those 'Whiz Kids' would ever again have to pick up a dinner check in the the City of Philadelphia, and they are still remembered fondly over a half-century later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dream Delayed, or Drowned?

It all started so well. Game #5 of the World Series began last night with Phils' ace Cole Hamels mowing the Tampa Bay Rays down in order and in easy fashion in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies loaded the bases thanks to some rough umpiring and the early wildness of Rays all-star lefty Scott Kazmir. And then Phillies' centerfielder Shane Victorino, the 'Flyin' Hawaiian', one of the many heroes of this glorious post-season ride, lashed a base hit to left field to score two runs and give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. The fans at Citizen's Bank Park erupted in a frenzy of 'Rally Towel' waving, and thus began what was hoped to be, what everyone believed would be, the night that would end 'The Curse'. For 25 years the vast majority of the people in this sports-crazed region have waited for a champion. In that quarter-century of teams falling short, the inability of Philly's major pro sports teams to bring home even one title among them has taken on the stuff of legend. It is to the point now where everyone refers to '100 seasons' without a championship, referring to the fact that all among the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and 76ers have each had those 25 years without a title, and so we have been forced to sit through a hundred titleless pro seasons among the teams. But something has been building with these Phillies that felt different, and the events of the weekend only served to solidify that feeling. On Saturday night, the Phils had overcome a daylong rain that delayed the game, winning in dramatic fashion in the wee hours of Sunday morning to take a 2-1 Series lead. On Sunday, the sun had broken through and on a chilly night the Phils bats awoke in a 10-2 drubbing that setup this potential clincher. The possibility of rain lurked all day on Monday, but there was a very real possibility of getting the game in under chilly and drizzly conditions, and with a true nor'easter coming through on Tuesday, the powers that be at MLB decided to try to get it done. Back in the game, Hamels continued to breeze as the rain began through the early innings. The Phils took that 2-0 lead into the 4th as the rains intensified and the field slowly began to deteriorate. When the Rays' wunderkind rookie 3rd baseman Evan Longoria finally broke out of a Series-long slump with an rbi single in the 4th, Tampa Bay had cut it to 2-1, but Hamels still seemed in control. The weather was now becoming the big problem. The skies just simply began to open up with a deluge, and without some break coming quickly the nightmare scenario of the World Series ending under the literal and figurative cloud of a shortened game was becoming a serious possibility. When Hamels got out of the top of the 5th thanks to an incredible doubleplay by Chase Utley, the game was official, and the storm was only getting more intense. At home in the warm, dry comfort of our family room, my wife and I flipped to a local cable 24-hour weather service. The radar was not telling a pretty tale. The dark green of the heavy rainstorm showed no relief in sight. It was very apparent at that point that this game could not possibly continue much longer no matter what MLB officials wanted, no matter what the players wanted, no matter what the 46,000 championship-starved fans wanted. The field at Citizen's Bank Park is state of the art as far as handling any kind of normal rain load, but this was nothing of the sort. The field was taking a real pounding with puddles forming as the ultra-modern drainage system and a determined grounds crew were simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume and persistence of the water that Mother Nature was pouring down. Was there a chance that the umps would be forced to stop the game, that the tarp would be brought out and the infield covered, and a lengthy rain delay ensue? Problem with that scenario was that the weather forecasts now contained no good news. You could wait two, four, six hours. You could wait all night, this thing was not going to let up. Was it possible that the Phillies could become the first team to ever win a World Series title in a game called by rain? I don't care how long we have waited, there was not a single fan in that ballpark, in this entire area, who wanted to win under those conditions. Well, the point became moot. The umps decided to try to squeeze out one more inning, and in the top of the 6th Rays slugger Carlos Pena came through with a game-tying single before Hamels could close out the inning. With the score knotted at 2-2, there was simply no other choice than to suspend the game. And so here we sit in Philadelphia as the Tuesday nor'easter rages all around us. It is scheduled to last all day, meaning that the field is going to have no chance to dry out at all even if it stops by the scheduled 8pm game time, which is itself no guarantee. The weather around here was gorgeous just days ago. At the end of this week, it is slated to be beautiful again, giving the kiddies a nice Halloween evening on which to trick-or-treat. But right now when we need it most, the late fall weather is embarrassingly, ridiculously unplayable. How this will all end now is a great unknown. What seemed like an inevitable championship just one day ago now seems much riskier. Whenever they start again, the game will enter the bottom of the 6th tied at 2-2, a shortened risk/opportunity of 3 innings. Will the Phils give the ball to Brett Myers? Will they put it in the hands of their lights-out bullpen? Have the Rays hitters awoken just in time to steal a shortened game and send the Series back to Tampa-St. Pete? All great unknowns. But I can tell you this. Right now it doesn't feel good. It feels like something happened last night that was not in the players power to control that may have turned the momentum towards the Rays. Thanks to this incredible deluge from the heavens, our championship dream has been drowned. It is up to these so-far resilient Phillies players to find a way to overcome this latest obstacle, and bring home that elusive title.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Joe Blanton Night

When most big league clubs send their #4 starting pitcher to the mound about the best they hope for is that the hurler keeps them in the game and gives the offense a chance to win. Seldom do they expect a gem, and even more seldom do they either expect or receive any kind of offensive production from him. Going into the crucial Game #4 of the 2008 World Series, both the Phillies and the Rays decided to go with their fourth starters. The Rays starter, Andy Sonnanstine looked uncomfortable from the get-go, was hurt by a bad umpire's call that allowed the Phils a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning, and continued to struggle mightily before leaving early. He did not give the Rays much of a shot when they desperately needed one. The Phils starter took the mound and commanded the game, pitching strongly into the 7th inning. He struck out 7, walked just 1, and allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs. Oh, and after allowing a pinch-hit homerun in the top of the 5th that cut his lead down to 5-2, he answered by pounding one of his own in the bottom of the inning (pictured), becoming the first pitcher to hit a homerun in the World Series in 35 years. Welcome to 'Joe Blanton Night' at the World Series. Way, way back in the final week of March, Blanton started the very first game of the 2008 Major League Baseball season for the Oakland A's over in Tokyo, Japan. In a different uniform a half a world away, he may have just pitched the next-to-last game of that same long season on the final full weekend of October. Phillies GM Pat Gillick, on his last go-around in a long and distinguished baseball career, pulled the trigger on a trade back in July that rescued Blanton from a struggling small-market A's club, plopping him down in the middle of a pennant race with the defending N.L. East champion Phillies. He immediately began to pay dividends by doing what the Phils had a hard time finding an extra starter to do: pitch quality innings at the back end of the rotation and give the team a chance every time out. The Phillies ended up going 5-0 in Blanton's starts, which were rarely dominating but were usually effective. In his final four starts, as the Phillies battled back to overtake the New York Mets and rallied for the 2nd straight season to win the east, Blanton went 3-0 to play a pivotal role. He pitched 23 innings down the stretch, allowing just 19 hits and 8 earned runs, pitching at least 5 innings in each start. In short, he did exactly what Gillick traded for him to do: he kept the Phils in games and gave them a chance to win. Last night, in the biggest start of his 27-year old life, on the biggest stage that there is, in the hitters haven that is Citizen's Bank Park, Joe Blanton starred in the game of his life. From the outset he threw strikes, moved the ball all around the plate, and kept the Rays young hitters off-balance. And then for good measure in the bottom of the 5th he did what he later described as 'swing as hard as you can in case you hit it'. Did he ever swing hard, and did he ever hit it, drilling a line drive no-doubt-about-it laser into the left field stands. The Rays have also been unfortunate to find that sleeping giant Ryan Howard has finally awoken, and just in time for the Fightin' Phils. After smashing a homerun in game #3, he blasted two more moon shots last night. His first was a classic Howard opposite-field blast to left, a 3-run homer that gave Blanton some breathing room at 5-1. His 2nd was a monster drive to right, a 2-runner that followed an earlier Jayson Werth 2-runner in the bottom of the 8th inning as the Phils put the game out of reach and won 10-2. The Phillies now have a commanding 3-1 lead in the Series, and will look to win just the 2nd World Series title in their 123 year history tonight in front of the home fans with ace Cole Hamels on the hill. If they do so it will largely be thanks to the efforts of their somewhat maligned 3rd and 4th starters the past two nights. First it was the Game #3 heroics of 45-year old hometown boy Jamey Moyer, and then last night it was Joe Blanton Night at the World Series. Go Phils!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Praying for a World Series Win

I don't think it's wrong at all, to ask God for a Phillies victory, do you? After all, the Phillies had blown a 4-1 lead in the crucial third game of the 2008 World Series, which was tied at a game apiece.

The young, talented, and resilient Tampa Bay Rays used a blown call by the first base umpire, their speed, and a throwing error by Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz to push across three runs over the last couple of innings to get even.

Now in the bottom of the 9th, super sub Eric Bruntlett is hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning. Rays reliever Grant Balfour then unleashes a fastball tracer right at the legs of Shane Victorino.

As Victorino reflexively dances out of the way, the ball flies past Rays' catcher Dioner Navarro and heads towards the back wall behind home plate. Bruntlett takes off for 2nd base, which he would normally make easily.

But this time the wild pitch was so hard and fast that it caromed directly off the brick and back to Navarro, who spun and tried to nail Bruntlett at 2nd base. His throw was wild and slid into centerfield, and Bruntlett moved on to 3rd base, moving the winning run into position just 90 feet away with nobody out.

As the fans in the stands at Citizen's Bank Park went nuts, twirling their white and red 'Rally Towels' above their heads like 45,000 helicopter blades whirling madly through the late-night South Philly air, the Phils appeared to be in great position for the win.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

1915 World Series: Phillies vs. Red Sox

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...well sort of, the Phillies appeared in the World Series during the early part of the 20th century. The Phils lost the 1915 Series to the Boston Red Sox and legendary outfielder Tris Speaker by 4 games to 1, marking the 2nd straight season that a team from Boston beat a team from Philly for the championship. The NL's Boston Braves had swept Connie Mack and the AL's Philadelphia Athletics in the previous fall classic. It is not likely that there are too many left alive who saw or in some way experienced that 1915 Series. If you were just born that year, you are now 93 years old, so most everyone who was there is now gone. Much as with their current 2008 brethren, things started well in that 1915 Series for the Phillies. They won the first game here in Philly at the old Baker Bowl over the Red Sox by a 3-1 score behind the pitching of ace Grover Cleveland Alexander to take a 1-0 lead in the Series. The Phils got on the board first when in the 4th inning leftfielder George 'Possum' Whitted singled home centerfielder 'Dode' Paskert. The Sox tied it up in the top of the 8th, but in the Phils bottom half they manufactured a pair of runs to take the 3-1 lead. The 28-year old Alexander, who had won 31 games that season, finished up a complete game win, but not before some baseball history was made. In that top of the 9th, the leadoff batter reached on an error, and the Red Sox sent to the plate a kid pinch-hitter who they felt had some pop in his bat. It would be the first-ever World Series plate appearance in the big leagues for the 20-year old George Herman 'Babe' Ruth, and in fact it would mark his only appearance in the entire Series. Ruth was in his 2nd season with Boston, having begun with 10 at-bats in 1914 and another 92 in that 1915 season, so he had just 102 total big-league at-bats to that point. Alexander induced Ruth into an easy groundout to the first baseman, then got the final hitter on a popup to first, and the Phils had their first-ever World Series win. Little did the franchise' owners, players, and fans know that it would be 65 years before they would enjoy another. Game #2 was also at Baker Bowl, which was located in a small one-square block area bordered by Broad Street and 15th Street, and Lehigh Avenue and Huntingdon Street. Approximately 20,000 fans would pack the Baker Bowl for each of the three games that would be played there that fall, and for this 2nd game there was more history as one of those in attendance was President Woodrow Wilson, marking the first time that a U.S. President had attended a Series game. That game #2 began with the Sox scoring a run in the top of the first inning, and it would be their only run until they scored another in the top of the 9th. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they could only muster one of their own, and the Red Sox evened the Series at a game apiece thanks to that 2-1 victory. When the Series reverted back to Boston for games 3 and 4, the now famous Fenway Park was the Red Sox home, having just opened a couple of years earlier. However, the Red Sox ownership often used Braves Field, which had just opened that very year and was the home of the National League Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves) for their 'big games' because Braves Field was larger and held more fans than Fenway. So the Phils never got into Fenway that year, instead playing before over 40,000 rabid sox fans at Braves Field. The Red Sox 2-1 victory in the 2nd game was exactly duplicated in those next two games, with Boston winning by identical 2-1 scores to take a 3-1 lead in the Series, which headed back to Philadelphia. Things looked good early in Game #5 back at the Baker Bowl thanks to veteran 1st baseman Fred Luderus, who doubled home a run as the Phils scored twice in the first. Boston answered with single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, but then Luderus blasted a solo homer and the Phils rallied for another in the bottom of the 4th for a 4-2 lead. That lead held all the way into the top of the 8th before Boston leftfielder Duffy Lewis cracked a 2-run homer off Phils' reliever Eppa Rixey to tie the score at 4-4 heading into the 9th. In the top of that 9th, rightfielder Harry Hooper, who would be selected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1971, broke the tie with a 1-out homer, his 2nd of the game, and the Red Sox took a 5-4 lead into the bottom where the Phils went down in order meekly. Both of Hooper's homers actually bounced over the fence in what would be considered 'ground rule doubles' today. The centerfield fence that his game-winning homer in the 9th bounced over was erected especially for the World Series to allow more seating capacity at Baker Bowl. Boston celebrated it's third World Series victory, having won the first-ever modern Series in 1903, and then again winning it in 1912. For the Phillies, that first-ever World Series win would have to wait all the way until 1980. But it was here all the way back in 1915 that the Phils got their first taste of the Series, only to fall short thanks to four consecutive 1-run losses.

Welcome to 'Blogger'

In late October 2008, AOL has announced that it is shutting down it's website and journal services. So this Family Ties blog has moved on to a new home at the 'Blogger' service.

These are the same folks who manage my main website at http://www.mattveasey.com/

I hope that you all enjoy the new service style, and please send me any updates on your family at any time. I will continue to do my best to keep this as up to date as possible.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Price is Right for Rays

History has shown that for a sports organization perhaps the most essential element in building longterm success is continuity at the top of the organization. It is one of the principal reasons that sports talk radio programming can never be allowed to run a team. If call-in fans and trouble-starting hosts had their way, coaches and executives all across America would get canned on a nearly annual basis. Just look at what is happening right now here in Philly with the Eagles and coach Andy Reid. All he has done is oversee the longest, most consistent winning tenure in the history of the franchise. But he has made the fatal mistake of not yet winning the ultimate Super Bowl title, the fans constantly talk about time passing him by, and they call for his head. The same was done around here with the Phillies organization for years, with the fans calling for the head of GM Ed Wade. Finally, almost mercifully by that point, the fans got their wish. What they lost was the man who brought Jimmy Rollins (2007 NL MVP), Ryan Howard (2006 NL MVP), Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers, Carlos Ruiz, and Cole Hamels among others into the organization with his drafts. The fact, despite what know-it-all Philly fans and talk hosts might stir up, is that ownership needs to make the decision to hire a good person to head their club, and then get out of and stay out of the way barring some completely outrageous circumstances. These Phillies were largely home-grown by Wade. Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Rays, were built in the same way by their original GM Chuck LaMar. The Rays GM had the misfortune of taking on the job of an expansion team GM for an ownership that ultimately decided to build through the draft, a painstaking process that can take years. LaMar did his job well, adding Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, James Shields and others via the draft, and he also traded for Scott Kazmir. Another of his big draftees, Delmon Young, was eventually traded by the new GM Gerry Hunsicker to get Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. That's right, LaMar, like Wade in Philly, was also gone before the fruits of his labor could be realized. New ownership wanted a new face at the top, and so Chuck LaMar watched as another man completed his building project. In the end, the Phils and Rays have gotten to the World Series without Wade and LaMar, but there is no denying their fingerprints all over these two clubs. Teams win by having organizational patience, and by building solidly from the ground up, in player development and the Draft. Last summer, Hunsicker's first draft pick was electric lefty pitcher David Price, who again showed the value of the building process in last night's Game #2 of the World Series. An elite young talent (is that redundant on these Rays?), Price will be a longterm frontline starting pitcher in Tampa Bay (how many of those does one team need anyway?) beginning as soon as next season. He reached the big leagues in this, his first full professional season, by dominating at three minor league levels. In these playoffs he has proven a key cog out of the bullpen, and there he was last night, out on the mound at the end with the game on the line. The 23-year old who was on the mound for Vanderbilt University just last summer ate up the final 2 1/3 innings for the Rays, and closed out the game by striking out Chase Utley and coaxing Ryan Howard into a feeble groundout to 2nd base, both as the tying run. Tampa Bay won 4-2, evening this World Series at a game apiece, and David Price's pitching heroics played a key role. For the Rays, this Price was right in the draft and in last night's game. But no one should forget as this Series moves along that Ed Wade and Chuck LaMar also played key roles in getting these teams here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tampa Bay's Red-Hot Rays Are Cole'd

The tall, lanky, mega-talented Phillies lefthander, one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, took the mound for his first-ever appearance in the World Series. He seemed in complete command as his team staked him to a 2-0 lead.

Cole Hamels in last night's opener of the 2008 World Series between the Phils and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field? Well, yes actually. But the same exact scenario could have been written about Steve Carlton in Game #2 of the 1980 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Veteran's Stadium, spotlighted in a story at this blog just two days ago.

Though there are differences, there are also many similarities shared by the two most talented left-handed starting pitchers to ever don Phillies pinstripes.

Carlton mixed in a moving fastball and a solid curveball with his devastating signature slider. Hamels mixes in that same fastball-curveball combo with his own devastating changeup. Both have led the Phillies as the staff pitching ace into the World Series. And now both can say that the team won their start, albeit after overcoming a few bumps in the road during the game.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Forgotten Philly Series

No one of a certain age will ever forget the events of October 1980, as the Phillies won their first and only World Series title behind future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, the legendary Pete Rose, and beloved Phils icons such as Larry Bowa, Garry Maddox, Greg Luzinski, and of course, Tug McGraw. The magical, fun, worst-to-first 1993 team that went to the World Series before losing on a legendary homerun by Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays off Phils' closer Mitch Williams is unforgettable as well to even more fans. That cast of characters led by Darren Daulton, Lenny Dysktra, Curt Schilling, and John Kruk will be spotlighted later this week. There are even some old enough to remember with fondness all the way back to Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts leading the 1950 Phils up against the Yankees dynasty before falling short, losing 3 of the 4 games by just one run. But somewhere along the way, somehow since it doesn't happen very often, the Phillies appearance in the 1983 World Series seems to be lost in the memory banks of many fans. It remains to this day, sandwiched between that 1980 magical title and 1993 near-miss, the forgotten series to Phils fans. That '83 Series matched the Phils against the A.L. champion Baltimore Orioles. Back in those days, the O's were regular contenders in the American League east division. From 1966 through that 1983 season, the O's enjoyed their 'Glory Days', winning three World Series in this span, six A.L. pennants, and also winning 5 of the first 6 east division titles. Three of the O's players won MVP awards in this span, and their pitchers won six Cy Young Awards. It was a great organization, and the 1983 team was typical. Led by future Hall of Famers Jim Palmer (in his final full season), Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr (a rookie that year), the Orioles won 98 games in the regular season. The Phillies that year had the oldest average player age in the big leagues. At an average of 32 years old, that Phils team was nicknamed the 'Wheeze Kids' by the media, a pun hearkening back to that 1950 team whose youth earned it the legendary moniker of 'Whiz Kids'. Schmidt, Carlton, Rose, Maddox, reliever Ron Reed, and pinch-hitter Greg Gross were still around from the '80 world champs. They were joined by former all-stars and Rose' former fellow 'Big Red Machine' mates Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. Also starring on that club were outfielders Gary Matthews and Von Hayes. and pitchers John Denny (who won the Cy Young that year), Al Holland, and Larry Anderson (the only Phil to play on the '83 & '93 Phils Series squads). A young Juan Samuel came off the bench that year to provide speed and spark. The Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the Series thanks to an 8th inning leadoff homerun by Maddox, after Morgan had tied the game with a 2-out homerun in the 6th. Denny tossed 7 2/3 strong innings, allowing just 5 hits, and Holland finished up for the save in the 2-1 victory. In Game #2, the O's got another pitching gem from Mike Boddicker, who had won the ALCS MVP, and took the contest by a 4-1 score to tie the Series at 1-1. But the Phils felt good. They had split in Baltimore, and would now return to Philly for the next three games in Veteran's Stadium. Game #3 was a gem tossed by Steve Carlton. 'Lefty' took a 2-1 lead into the 7th inning thanks to solo homers by Morgan and Matthews, and appeared to be cruising as he got the first two outs. But the O's longtime team-leading catcher Rick Dempsey, who would end up taking the Series MVP award, smacked a double, and a pinch-hitter brought him home as the tying run with a single. Holland came in to relieve, gave up another hit, and an error by shortstop Ivan DeJesus brought home the go-ahead run. The sequence would prove to be a Series turning point, as the O's nailed down the 3-2 win despite mustering just six hits, taking a 2-1 Series lead. In Game #4, the bats broke out as each team clubbed ten hits. The Phils again took the lead, this time by 3-2 heading into the 6th, but Phils reliever Willie Hernandez suffered a 2-out meltdown that resulted in the go-ahead runs. An insurance run in the 7th proved pivotal, as a Phils 9th-inning rally fell just short in a 5-4 loss that put the Orioles within one win of a title. For the vital Game #5, the Phils sent young righthander Charles Hudson to the mound. But it wasn't the kid pitcher that did the club in, it was the non-existent bats. The Phillies managed just five hits, and Eddie Murray snapped out of a Series-long slump with a pair of homeruns to seal the Phils fates. Baltimore won the game in a 5-0 shutout in front of a dispirited crowd at The Vet, taking the Series by four games to one. Then young and a rookie players, but soon to be a record-breaking legend, Cal Ripken Jr recorded the final out, and the O's celebrated on the turf at The Vet (pictured above). The Phillies would not return to the World Series for a decade. Worse days were ahead though for the O's who have not returned to the Series since that day. Phillies legend Paul Owens had taken over the reigns of the club that year during the season, and had guided the 'Wheeze Kids' to the World Series in what remains for many the forgotten World Series in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Uncle Frank and I Go To the World Series

The 1980 World Series holds a special place in the hearts of all Philadelphia Phillies fans, and none more so than myself. First of all, it is the only championship that the Phils have won thus far in their 125-year history. It is also special to me because I got to see it in person, having attended Game #2 at Veteran's Stadium with my Uncle Frank LoBiondo. How it was that my Uncle Frank and I attended a World Series game together is a part of the story. It's not that we were ever particularly close, though he is a great guy and someone who I have always liked and enjoyed being in the company of at family events and such. He is my father's sister's husband, so my uncle through marriage, and again, a great guy. It's just that at the age of 18, I had plenty of friends and family who would normally have been ahead of Uncle Frank in the pecking order for my extra ticket. In fact, that I even had an extra ticket is it's own story. Back in those days which may seem somewhat ancient now, there was no internet, and few of the types of ticket brokers that you find today. Most tickets to events were purchased either by standing in line at the box office or by procuring them at the venue on the day of the event from a 'scalper'. When the Phillies won the 1980 National League pennant by defeating the Houston Astros by 3 games to 2 in one of the most dramatic pennant battles ever, I knew that I just had to get to the first Phils appearance in the Series in my lifetime. I was a huge baseball and Phillies fan, as I remain today, and I went out to The Vet to stand on line waiting for tickets. I got up to the box office and there was a maximum limit of eight (8) tickets that each individual could purchase at $20 per seat, and so I bought my allotted maximum, shelling out $160 in the process. Believe me, that sounds like chump change to most of you here in 2008, and the fact is that it would cost you 10x that amount to get into Citizen's Bank Park for this years Series. Well back then it was a lot of money to me and my young family. As I said already, I was only 18 years old at the time, but I already was married with an 8-month old baby. I worked for First Pennsylvania Bank as a messenger clerk, a job that I had just begun a year earlier, right out of high school. Needless to say, it barely paid the rent and other necessities. But I had a plan in buying the 8 tickets, and it worked wonderfully. At the bank, I put out word that I had extra seats, and was quickly besieged with offers for my tickets. I sold two for $100 apiece, and another two for $50 each. Happy at having done so well, I sold the next pair on the cheap for $25 each. I had quickly sold six of the tickets, worth $120, for a total of $360, and I had my two remaining seats to still enjoy the game. The person with whom I was supposed to attend the game couldn't get off from work, and so I was left to scramble at the last minute for someone to go with me. You wouldn't think it would be a problem, but remember, it was 1980. No cellphones, no texts, no computers. The only way to get in touch with anyone was in person or by land-line phones. With literally no time before I should be leaving for the game, I began to make some phone calls. No luck. No one was answering their phones, or those friends whose homes that I reached were still not home from work or school. Unbelievably, my brother, father, grandfather, and my closest friends were all out-of-pocket in that short time that I had to get a game partner. After trying about a dozen or so people, I thought of my cousins, and I started out by calling the house of my cousin Donna LoBiondo (now Mooney). Donna and I were the same age, and I had always gotten along well with her, and she only lived about three blocks away. When I called, my Uncle Frank, her father, answered the phone. Much as everyone else that I tried, Donna was not yet home from work. But sensing an opportunity, Uncle Frank volunteered that he would go with me if I wanted. Well, there you have it. So I walked over to their home, and Uncle Frank and I walked to the 79 bus on Oregon Avenue, took it westbound to the Broad Street Subway, and took the subway down to The Vet. What excitement there was in what was then still a showplace venue of a stadium. The Phils had held off George Brett and the Kansas City Royals the previous day for a thrilling 7-6 win, and so took a 1-0 lead in the Series into our game. For this 2nd game, the Phils would send their future Hall of Fame ace, Steve Carlton, to the mound. 'Lefty' was cruising along and the Phils took a narrow 2-1 lead into the 7th inning when suddenly there was some type of ruckus down on the field. It seems that the Royals manager believed that Carlton had a foreign substance on his hands. The umps went out and checked, and whatever they found, they made Carlton stop and wash his hands. Whether it rattled Lefty or what, he proceeded to walk three batters, and then the Royals' star outfielder Amos Otis ripped a 2-run double. KC added another run, and took a 4-2 in the game into the bottom of the 8th inning. The Phils started to put a rally together, and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Del Unser eventually tied it at 4-4. Then up came outfielder Bake McBride, and the man known as 'Shake-n-Bake' rapped a go-ahead single through a drawn-in infield to put the Phils back on top. The crowd of more than 60,000 roared, including Uncle Frank and I from out seats way up in the 700 level, the highest point in The Vet, behind home plate. Then the Phils' MVP superstar 3rd baseman and future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt drove a double off the wall to score bake with an insurance run (pictured above), and The Vet was literally rocking from the jumping up and down and the roar of the crowd. With normal closer Tug McGraw unavailable, tall righty Ron Reed came in for the Save in the 9th, and the Phillies and we fans celebrated a 2-0 lead in the World Series. That lead would evaporate quickly, as Kansas City won the first two games back at their home park to tie the Series at 2-2, but the Phillies won a dramatic 5th game and came back to The Vet exactly 28 years ago tonight. There and then, on October 21st, 1980, the hopes and dreams of all Phillies fans were finally realized when the Tugger slipped a fastball past Willie Wilson with the tying run at the plate, and the Phils took the 6th game by a 4-1 final score. No one who was around this town back then will ever forget that season, team, victory, and the ensuing parade. And in particular, I will never forget my first and only visit to the World Series, with my lucky longshot ticket winner Uncle Frank right there with me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The World Series of My Childhood

For the first time in 15 years, and for just the 4th time in my life, the World Series is coming to Philadelphia. All this week, I will be turning over this website/blog to my favorite sport, our American 'National Pastime', what I like to call 'The Greatest Game That God Ever Invented'. For those looking for the usual social and political commentary there are plenty of other outlets. With the election coming those important topics will return next week. My own experience in enjoying the Series is highlighted by the Phils' appearances, but is not exclusive to the home team. The Series of my childhood were dominated by dynasties in Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and New York. The first Series that I recall from my childhood was the 1971 victory by Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates over Brooks Robinson and the Baltimore Orioles. As a 9-year old that summer, I first fell in love with the game when the Phillies opened Veteran's Stadium virtually in my backyard. The shame of that '71 Series for me was that I never really got to appreciate Clemente fully as a ballplayer. It was my first time watching him, and one of the final times. He was killed in a plane crash the following off-season, and I didn't learn about just how great he had been until much later. To me, those Pirates were the villains in the Phillies east division. They had slugging Willie Stargell, daring Dave Cash, colorful catcher Manny Sanguillen, professional hitters in Al Oliver and Gene Clines, and a pitching staff led by Steve Blass and Dock Ellis. On September 1st of that year those Pirates had become the first team in MLB history to field an all-black starting lineup. Bottom line is that they were good, and as the Phils emerged mid-decade as contenders it would be those Pirates whom they battled. I really got into the game the following season which saw the emergence of the Oakland A's dynasty. Those 'Swingin' A's' wore colorful uniforms and had colorful stars like Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando, Gene Tenace, Catfish Hunter, and Rollie Fingers. As the sun set on that Oakland dynasty, we saw the emergence of the 'Big Red Machine', who won back-to-back in '75-'76 with players like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, George Foster, and Ken Griffey Sr leading the way. That 1975 Series gave us one of the greatest moments in World Series history when the Red Sox won game #6 in extra innings to tie the Series and send it to a 7th game on a dramatic homerun by Carlton Fisk (pictured above). The Bosox catcher was forever immortalized as he nailed a long fly along the 3rd base line towards the 'Green Monster' in Fenway Park's left field. Fisk was pictured waving the homerun fair as he headed toward first base, then leaping for joy as it cleared the wall. Watching on TV as a 14-year old, I was rooting for Boston and screamed for joy when Fisk hit his blast, waking my dad who was a cop and who came running out thinking that something was wrong in our apartment. That was one of the most dramatic games that I had ever seen to that date, and I recall a game-tying homerun by Bernie Carbo of the Sox in the late innings almost as well as Fisk's blast. The Yankees turn came next, as George Steinbrenner used the new free agency system to buy the Bronx Bombers back to the top by signing players like former A's stars Jackson and Hunter, winning the '77-78 Series in back-to-back fashion. It was during these years that the Phillies began to emerge as serious contenders. The 1975 Phillies were in contention for most of the year before falling short, but then won the N.L. East titles in 1976-77-78, winning 101 games in both the '77 and '78 seasons. But the Phils always managed to fall short in the playoffs. In '76 it was pretty much accepted, as the Phils were newcomers to the post-season and the Big Red Machine that defeated them was in its heyday. But the '77 & '78 teams were arguably better than the LA Dodgers clubs that defeated them. In that '77 playoff, it was the 'Black Friday' game that cost the pennant, a game that was discussed in detail in one of my postings last week. So the Phils were contenders, but couldn't seem to reach the World Series. After that '78 season, ownership opened its wallets and signed Pete Rose away from the Reds. The Phils bolted out to another eastern lead with Rose, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Greg Luzinski, and Larry Bowa leading the way. But that team somehow faded down the stretch, and was passed in the standings by the 'We Are Family' Pittsburgh Pirates and their 'killer bee' uniforms that were highlighted by flat-top caps. The Pittsburgh franchise that won the first Series which I had ever followed back in 1971 had ended the decade as champions again. Would the Phillies, serious contenders now for the previous five years, ever get to the World Series, or had their best opportunities passed them by? The 1980 season would answer the question in dramatic fashion. That story for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Gift From the Middle Ages

He didn't quite live to the age of 50, but in his somewhat shortened lifetime, Thomas Aquinas would prove to be the greatest of the men who came collectively to be known as the 'Scholastics'.

This succession of men included Saint Anselm, who posited that God's existence was largely provable in the very definition of Him as 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived.'

It included Peter Abelard, a teacher who gathered a list of apparent contradictions in Church teaching and the Bible. He then set his students to the task of resolving them, saying to them "By raising questions we begin to enquire, and by enquiring we attain the truth, and, as the Truth in fact said: 'Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.'"

It included Peter Lombard, who may have been a student of Abelard, and whose work 'Sentences' became, next to the Bible, the central textbook of theology for five hundred years, from the late 12th thru the 17th centuries. This systematic exposition of Catholic faith looked to combine reliance on Church authority with the employment of reason in order to explain theological points.

The work done in this 'Age of Scholasticism' is explored in more detail in an excellent recent book by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. called 'How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization'. Woods speaks of the Scholastics, who emerged during the period of history that we know as the 'Middle Ages', as educated men.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Look at The Rack on Jocelyn Kirsch !

Headline grab your attention? The picture perhaps? Maybe it was the combination? Well, that is exactly the point of this posting.

In a city where murder happens on an almost daily basis, why are the crimes of Jocelyn Kirsch worth all the attention that they have received?

Sure it's not right to steal the credit card information of friends and use same to take a vacation and spend on your own vanities and desires. It's a crime, and if caught you go to prison.

But the funny thing is that this type of non-violent crime happens all the time. The not funny aspect is that credit card fraud, identity theft, selling 'hot' or 'knock-off' goods, and many other methods of fraud are used all the time by terrorists and organized crime organizations to further their nefarious purposes.

Often times these are purposes that directly affect our national security, the security of all the citizens of our entire city of Philadelphia. But rarely, if ever, have I seen a detailed expose' on this problem with continual follow-ups relating to these large criminal organizations that keep a spotlight on updates highlighting the individuals and businesses involved.

No, what you see, frankly, is Jocelyn Kirsch's bikini shots. Kirsch is a good looking woman with a nice figure. An attractive woman by most any man's standards. And there are attractive and even sexy photos of her available to the public. There is no other reason that the story of Kirsch and her paramour, Edward Anderton, who in the end defrauded a dozen friends of a little more than $100,000 total, is still so much in the spotlight.

So much worse is happening out here in the world that goes completely uncovered simply because there is no 'sexy' angle for the media to work. Frankly, that is not really true.

The public wants to hear and know the stories behind the everyday criminals and miscreants that wreak havoc on their neighborhood and city. They want the spotlight turned on these individuals, to have their pictures spread across the newspapers, to have the media look into their lives and their backgrounds and their criminal records. But except for the occasional 'worst of the worst' heinous offenders, it just doesn't happen on a regular basis.

Women who are, shall we say, less attractive than most are abducted every day, are the victims of abuse every day, commit crimes of that heinous nature every day. But television programs such as CNN's Headline News staple 'Nancy Grace' choose to constantly go for the 'sex sells' angle. They only take and publicize stories involving attractive women who go missing, attractive women who kill their kids, attractive women who go bad. And if they can get their hands on video or photos of them in bikinis, or tight tops, or bare midriffs, or cavorting at clubs they will show them to us over and over and over again.

Jocelyn Kirsch ripped off some friends and is going to jail for it. But we don't need to keep seeing the same old bikini shots every time the story is told. In fact, we don't need to hear this story ever again. Kirsch is not worth our time, and in fact the publicity likely just feeds that ego that she herself was feeding with her crimes all along.

Here's to hoping that in 3-5 years when she and Anderston are released we won't hear about it at all, and won't see those same old pictures drug out yet again. If you are that hard up to look at Jocelyn Kirsch's boobs, just pull up this story and there they go. But start demanding that our local and national news media get away from this blatant sexuality that they would scream is a sexist position if taken against one of them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome to Diversity Lane

A couple of weeks back, I was approached by the developer of a new editorial comic series in regards to possibly incorporating their artistic, comedic, and social commentary efforts here at my website.

Zack Rawsthorne is the creator of 'Diversity Lane: A Liberal Family Saga' presented as editorial cartoons and with further graphics and audio at the website http://www.diversitylane.com/.

As Rawsthorne explains, 'Diversity Lane' "chronicles the chaotic lives of an American family fully engulfed in modern liberalism. As such, they are self-destructive, tormented, and a menace to society - a kind of modern-day Addams Family in a never-ending battle with common sense."

It stars little Diversity, the 8-year old daughter of Allison and Alex Lane, who somehow has thus far managed to remain 'normal' despite the liberal chaos all around her. Poor little Diversity has even been called racist for preferring white bread.

Her little 6-year old brother Jayson has never been exposed to the good in America, but is instead also bombarded by mom and dad's far-left mantras.

These two defenseless children are being indoctrinated by their mommy and daddy, or at least mom and dad are trying their best to get the kids batting lefty.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Islamism Series: Our Grandchildren's Grandchildren

I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a highly educational presentation by an American law enforcement professional that largely covered the topic of responding to a bombing or other terrorist attack in our city.

The individual presenting the class has been all over the world, particularly the hot spots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America, aiding in their responses to such incidents.

Perhaps most importantly, he was also gaining an education and making vital contacts that would keep him abreast on the latest information from those far-flung locales regarding updated terrorist activities, attacks, and tactics.

One of the statements that he made that I found most compelling is something that I have believed for a long time. That no matter who is elected to become the next President of the United States, no matter whether we 'bring the troops home' or remain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly expand the current conflict into Iran eventually, this is not a war that is going to end any time soon.

His simple statement was this:
"Your grandchildren's grandchildren will be fighting this war."
He had a very simple, straightforward reason for making this statement. The Islamists with whom we are at war have no intention of stopping until Islam is in control of the entire world.

War has been declared on us over a decade ago. Our nation was directly attacked, and has had repeated attempted attacks on it. Our allies have been and are being attacked regularly.