Monday, May 31, 2010

Obama's Deepwater Response Another Disaster

The year and a half disaster known as the Obama administration has completely crystallized in their response, or should I say in the President's non-response, to the outrageous oil spill containment measures, and lack thereof, in the Gulf of Mexico.

On April 20th, an eon ago as far as appropriate disaster response by the government should be concerned, there was a fire and explosion on a British Petroleum (BP) licensed oil drilling rig known as the 'Deepwater Horizon' which was operating approximately 42 miles off the Louisiana coast at the time. Two days later the rig sank, and a 5-mile long oil slick became visible.

By April 25th, the US Coast Guard estimated that the rig was leaking approximately 1,000 barrels of crude oil per day into the waters of the Gulf. Within 3 more days that estimate had risen dramatically to 5,000 gallons per day. Still no effective response by President Obama or his administration. It would be another day, nearly a week after the initial incident, before he would announce "every single available resource" would help resolve the situation.

It would take until May 2nd before the President deemed the oil spill important enough to clear space from his busy schedule of private-industry takeovers, debt-and-tax raising program creation, and irresponsible financial entity bailouts to squeeze in a visit to the disaster area.

Over the next two weeks, the Obama administration would watch stoically and dispassionately as the oil spread towards Louisiana, reaching the Breton National Wildlife Refuge among other places.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roy Halladay Is Perfect

Embed from Getty Images
Doc was all smiles on his perfect night in South Florida

Florida Marlins' catcher Ronnie Paulino smashed a ball into the hole between 3rd base and shortstop, and for a brief moment everyone watching the game at Sun Life Stadium, players and fans who were in attendance as well as those of us watching at home here in Philly on television, held our collective breaths.

There had been two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Paulino came to bat, and the Philadelphia Phillies new ace starting pitcher Roy Halladay had a 'perfect game' going.

This meant not a single batter had reached base during the game. Against the Phillies ace, 26 men had come to the plate with a bat in their hands that night for the Fish. All 26 had returned to the dugout having made an out. No hits and no walks. No one had reached on an error.

So history was in the offing when Paulino struck the ball.

There had been only 19 perfect games in the history of Major League Baseball going back well over a century. There had been just one in Phillies franchise history. That was pitched by Hall of Famer Jim Bunning on Father's Day in 1964.

As Paulino's smash left his bat, playing third base was the Phillies regular backup shortstop, Juan Castro. Castro had been inserted as a defensive replacement for regular 3rd baseman Placido Polanco. The move would prove a stroke of genius by manager Charlie Manuel.

Castro quickly ranged to his left, stabbed the hard shot grounder, wheeled, and gunned a throw to first baseman Ryan Howard. The throw beat Paulino easily, and Halladay's historic night of perfection was complete.

The usually calm and reserved Halladay let loose with a big smile as he was embraced by catcher Carlos Ruiz and the rest of his teammates on the mound.

Back in the locker room, his teammates called on him to make a speech. Halladay simply pointed at Ruiz and said "Chooch is the man!", referring to Ruiz' nickname and the fact that the catcher had called pitches during the game.

Ruiz later said that he had learned some lessons regarding the Marlins hitters during an effective start the previous night by Kyle Kendrick. Ruiz decided that he would utilize those lessons in calling Halladay's start.

Whatever it was that Chooch picked up, it worked, and Doc delivered by executing his pitches to perfection. He rarely left the ball out over the plate, needed just a couple of big defensive plays, and struck out a number of hitters on the night.

The Phillies traded for Roy Halladay in the off-season to become a bona fide ace for the Phillies rotation. He has lived up to every bit of the expectations that a veteran former Cy Young Award winner can bring with him.

Though the Phils have struggled somewhat with injuries and inconsistent play, they remain on top of the National League to this point. Halladay is the main reason. He makes the Phillies favorites to win every fifth day. On this particular fifth day, Roy Halladay was perfect.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flyers Finish a Philly Sports Miracle

With just over 7 minutes left to play in the decisive 7th game of their NHL playoff series at the TD Garden in Boston, Philadelphia Flyers' winger Simon Gagne, himself an inspirational comeback story, beat Bruins' goalie Tuukka Rask for a power play goal to put Philly on top by a 4-3 score.

That the Flyers were even still playing hockey on May 15th after the predicament in which they found themselves just 10 days earlier was a minor miracle. What they accomplished by holding on to that 4-3 lead for a game and series victory was nothing short of a major Philly sports miracle.

On May 5th, the Bruins defeated the Flyers in Philadelphia by a 4-1 margin to take an overwhelming 3 games to none lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup playoff series. Two days later, the Bruins took the Flyers into overtime, needing just a goal to sweep a Philly squad that had been inconsistent all season long out of the post-season.

Boston would not get that overtime goal to win the series. In fact, they would never get any goal to win the series. That night, Gagne returned from a broken foot that had kept him off the ice for the first three losses to score the overtime game-winner for the Flyers, sending the series back to Boston. Most felt it was just a temporary reprieve for Philly, and that the Bruins would put the series away back on their home ice in the 5th game.

Back in Boston, Flyers' goalies Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton stood tall in the visitors net, combining to shut out the Bruins by a 4-0 margin. The Flyers' complete dominance had taken the hometown crowd out of the game, and left them disheartened at having missed a chance to witness their team clinch the series on home ice. Still up though by a 3-2 margin in the series, surely the Bruins would regroup to finish off the Flyers back in Philly. And even in a worst-case scenario, the decisive 7th game would be back in Boston where the Bruins couldn't possibly lose.

In Philly for the 6th game, Leighton would get his first playoff start. The former backup had bailed out the Flyers regular season, but an injury had knocked him out, and Boucher had stepped in to lead the Flyers into post-season action. Boucher had made the big save in the shootout victory in the season's final game that had allowed the Flyers to get into the playoffs. He had been marvelous in the Flyers opening round upset of the New Jersey Devils. But in that 5th game in Boston he had suffered an injury and had to leave the game. Luckily for the Flyers, Leighton was just returning that night from his own injury.

Leighton showed no nerves and was solid in the Flyers net, and goals by captain Mike Richards and Danny Briere led the home team to a 2-1 victory that evened the series up at 3 games apiece. Only two teams in NHL history and three in major North American professional sports had ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to actually win the series. It had not happened in the NHL playoffs in 35 years. This was the history that Philly would try to make happen back in Boston.

In the penultimate Game 7, the hometown Bruins stormed out behind their boisterous fans at the Garden, pouncing on the Flyers for an early lead and extending that lead out to 3-0. Surely here was the final stake in the Flyers hearts. But these Flyers kept coming, kept playing the game hard, and incredibly worked their way back to a 3-3 tie. It was then that Gagne struck for the goal that silenced the Garden.

The Bruins made one last charge at avoiding their historic meltdown. In the final minute, they stormed the Flyers end of the ice, looking for the equalizer, trying to take the heart out of the Flyers with a stunner and then steal the series back for themselves. But it was not to be for the home team. The visiting Flyers held on for the 4-3 win to complete the miracle comeback from a 3-0 series deficit with a miracle comeback from a 3-0 game deficit on the road.

On May 5th, the Bruins had taken a seemingly insurmountable 3 games to 0 lead with a win at the Wachovia Center. On May 15th, the Flyers finished a Philly sports miracle with the 7th game win at the TD Garden. What a difference 10 days can make, possibly the most inspirational 10 days in the storied history of the Philadelphia Flyers as they made their mark in hockey history.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Arizona Correct, Philly Wrong in Ilegal Immigration Battle

The ultra liberal, Democratic Party controlled City of Philadelphia is solidly in the corner of illegal immigrants as one of America's leading sanctuary cities

Deemed as such because they basically offer themselves as a sanctuary or place of refuge to illegals, it is Philly's stated policy that they will in no way assist in any types of investigations of immigration status. Philadelphia police have been specifically instructed to disregard a person's immigration status.

This is entirely amusing when you consider that the word "illegal" is right there in the terminology that properly defines these individuals. What Philadelphia is in fact saying is that "we don't care if you are breaking the law, you're welcome here to our town!"

Wonder why tens of millions have flocked from our city, businesses have shuttered up and moved away, and our crime rates have soared in the recent decades? Philly's policy on illegal immigration is yet another of many examples of how the liberal Democrats have driven the city into the ground, and continue to do so and get away with it.

On the other hand, Arizona has stood up and said "we're not going to take it anymore" in their border state that is on the front lines for the illegal immigration battle.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Los Angeles Galaxy - 3, UNION - 1

Less than a minute into their 5th official MLS match, the Philadelphia Union were victimized by the hottest player in the league. LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle streaked down the sideline, drew the Union defenders towards him, and then laid a perfect pass to A.J. DeLaGarza who drilled the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 Galaxy lead.

The Galaxy is what the Union hope to become one day soon, a true MLS title contender with star players dotting the roster and a winning tradition. Even with injured superstar David Beckham unable to play, the Galaxy still fielded the likes of Buddle, who would later tally his league-leading 9th goal, U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, and more. The Galaxy lost the MLS Cup final a year ago in an upset.

The Union, playing yet another away match as their future home PPL Park in Chester just outside of Philly is being completed for a June 2010 opening, never recovered from that early goal and deficit. But once again the Philly 11 established that they don't lie down for anyone. Peter Nowak's side played hard the entire match, and had some scoring opportunities of their own. In fact, following that first goal, the Union controlled play for most of the next 25 minutes.

The Galaxy got a break in the Union end, and a precise corner kick by Landon Donovan found Alex Gordon in front. His header was stopped by goalie Chris Seitz, but the rebound went right out to Buddle. The LA star took one swipe, had his shot blocked, and then made a nifty spin move on his own rebound to drill the ball home for a 2-0 lead. Just before the half was to end, it was Donovan again feeding Buddle as they blitzed the Union defense, and Buddle's 2nd goal made it 3-0 at intermission.

The bad news wasn't even over for the Union, as for the 3rd time already this season a player received a first half red card. This time it was Stafani Maglioranzi given the boot, and Philly was forced to play the entire 2nd half trailing by 3 goals and now a man short. Despite this self-inflicted disadvantage, the club pressed play and got a goal. Teenager and likely future Union star Jack McInerney (pictured) used his great speed to break towards the Galaxy goal, took a pass from midfielder Fred, and slipped the ball in for his first of what should be many MLS scores.

Following the loss, Nowak summed up the club's initial struggles: “We knew it was going to take time, and more experience. It’s going to take time to get the players familiar with each other. After our win in the second game, I think we forgot we were an expansion team. And sometimes we got punished by ourselves.”

The 3rd consecutive loss leaves the Union sitting with a 1-4 record in MLS play headed into yet another road matchup, this time against defending MLS champion Real Salt Lake. Against LA, the Union continued to display the twin traits that have characterized their early season play thus far: gritty determination, and a disturbing lack of discipline.

The team takes play to their opponents and shows great skill for large stretches, but particularly with injured forward Sebastien LeToux out with a nagging injury, they appear short on goal-scoring finishers. On the defensive end they have had a number of key breakdowns leading to easy opponent goals, and have also lost their cool in outbursts that have cost them to play shorthanded.

It doesn't get any easier for the youthful Union expansion club in travelling to Salt Lake City and meeting the champions. The club has the talent to win at Rio Tinto Stadium, but only if they play disciplined in their own end this time. The Union also announced during the week that the club would play an exhibition match on July 21st at Lincoln Financial Field against legendary English club Manchester United, an event that is sure to draw a huge crowd and create tremendous local excitement.