Saturday, May 31, 2008

MLB to measure Citizens Bank Park plate

Major League Baseball has announced that they will investigate reports that the Citizens Bank Park home plate is slightly larger than the league's other twenty-nine plates. A regulation plate has a perimeter of 58 inches.

The Phillies are currently the hottest offense in the league scoring 15, 20, 7, 6, and 12 runs respectively over their last five games.

"Obviously a larger home plate can lead to greater run production. In some cases the increase can be significant," said MLB's director of outfield wall padding installation, Gary Ligle.

Ligle referenced the 1894 Boston Harbors(moved to Wilmington, DE in 1896 and defunct by 1897) who averaged 9.7 runs per game. The Harbors, who easily won the World Series that year, were later stripped of their crown when it was discovered that Beanton Field had a non-regulation size home plate. The plate was two inches larger than the required size.

Some have brought up the point that both teams playing in Citizens Bank Park use the same plate and so it should not benefit one team over the other.

"If they[Phillies] know the plate is larger, than it is a huge psychological advantage," said MLB director of psychology, Dean Travers.

During yesterday's game Florida Marlins outfielder Jacque Jones came to the plate with a ruler, but was turned away by the umpire.

The Phillies have denied any wrong doing and have invited league officials to measure the plate provided they use the tape measure used by the team's ground crew.

"It's a good tape measure. We just feel that they would be better off with the tape measure we supply," said Phillies representative, Scott Doily.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

PECO denies ties to OPEC

PECO(Philadelphia Electric Company) has issued a public statement denying all rumors that the company is linked to OPEC(Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

"Look at the name," said oil expert, Greg Dorzil,"they just moved the 'O' to the beginning, thinking that they were going to fool everyone."

While it's true that moving the 'O' to the beginning of PECO forms OPEC, the connection seems to end there. "The connection ends there," said PECO regional grid operator, Shane Tordini. "Talk to OPEC. How do you know they didn't move the 'O' to the end and started PECO?"

A very good point Mr Todini. A very good point indeed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Phils to replace home plate

The Phillies have announced that they will be replacing home plate at Citizens Bank Park before tomorrow's final game with the Colorado Rockies. The home team has given the plate, the stadium's original, a pounding by scoring 27 runs in two nights. "It's simply worn out," said Tim Frankton, the Phillies base and plate replacer.

Including Sunday's game in Houston the Phils have scored a total of 42 runs over three games. "We're lucky the Sunday game was on the road," said Citizens Bank Park ground crew manager, Hank Borland. "We may have had to replace the plate earlier if it was at home and I would have been left with huge helpings of egg on my face had I missed a home game."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Schuylkill Beach not the hit some thought it would be

Fairmount Park, Schuylkill Banks and the City of Philadelphia launched Schuylkill Beach on Friday to kick off the summer season in Center City. The total cost of the project was $5,000, which was $55,000 under the estimated cost.

"We really didn't have to do much. Most of the money spent went towards hiring a lifeguard. Who, incidentally, called in sick both Friday and Saturday leaving me to man the chair," said Garry Tumble, head of River Beach Phila., a division of the Constitution Center.

The aim of the beach is to provide downtown residents a viable beach option within Center City limits. There is also hope that the new beach will lure some of the Pennsylvania residents that annually leave the state for New Jersey's ocean front resort towns.

"Schuylkill Beach may not have a boardwalk, rides, atmosphere, waves, salt water, swimming, surfing or edible fish, but we do have a 'no beach tags' policy," said Tumble. This policy alone is expected to draw 10-20 people.

The beach is located on the Schuylkill River next to the busy recreation trail that leads to Valley Forge. It is just south of both the Spring Garden St and Dr Martin Luther King Jr bridges.

Beach goers must navigate the steep twenty feet embankment to reach the sand. There are no steps or path down to the water's edge. "It was a cost thing. You just kind of have to go for it," said Schuylkill Banks director of sales, Jackie Meltz.

Swimming is not permitted at the beach, but officials feel this won't turn people away. "You're really not suppose to swim but if someone happens to go into the water and swim, we probably won't say anything," said Meltz.

The beach is only accessible during low tides. "Most city residents don't realize the lower Schuylkill is affected by tides," said Dan Hix, head of the Department of City Tides. The tides only reveal the beach for several hours a day.

The beach can comfortably accommodate between 300 and 350 sun seekers when the tide is at it's lowest. "It's a first come first serve basis and because there is so little room the bathers in the front will be asked to vacate the beach first as the tide creeps in," said Meltz.

The three-day holiday weekend only drew eight total residents to the river beach. "We didn't advertise and I didn't really tell anyone about it and it's only the first weekend of the summer," said Tumble, trying to explain the disappointingly low turnout.

When asked how he heard about the beach one bather responded,"I didn't. I just came down here to enjoy some sun, sand, beach, and some light swimming."

Another beach visitor originally from Chicago said,"It's like Lake Michigan. I look out onto the Schuylkill and it takes me to Lake Michigan."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crowd storms museum in search of gold

A reported crowd of roughly 2,000 stormed the Philadelphia Museum of Art earlier today looking for a pot of gold. The rioters followed the rainbow which led them to one of the city's most recognizable buildings.

"They pushed their way past security and kept yelling,'where's the gold, where's the gold. Most shouted,'we're gonna be rich, rich I tell ya," said museum director of frames and framing, Gorland DeWane.

One gold seeker speed walked down the European Art corridor,"You're not suppose to run in the museum, but then again you're not suppose to storm the museum in search of a pot of gold." At this the man began a full sprint toward the Egyptian Art room.

Though no gold was discovered by the crowd their spirits were unexpectedly high upon exit and the museum registered 1100 new members. "That's a good number of new members from an angry mob. We were shooting for the 850 to 900 range," said DeWane.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Art Museum to offer audio tour of construction rock waste

If you've ventured to the west side of the Philadelphia Museum of Art recently you've noticed a field of boulders adjacent to the nearly finished parking garage. The large rocks are a direct result of the excavation required by the large, unending garage construction project.

The rocks are a definite eye sore for the area, but the museum would still like to profit from the construction waste. "Beginning next Monday we will be offering audio tours of the rock waste," said museum public affairs coordinator, Sarah Higgins.

The voice of the tour will be Alex Trebek's younger brother Dillon Trebek. "Dillon has done great work for tours around the country and Central America in the 1980's. He really captures the audience by whispering the facts and figures," said Higgins.

The younger Trebek is most well known for organizing clapping competitions in the Seattle-Tacoma area. "I want to get out of clapping and back into lending my voice to touring. I'm so done with clapping," said Trebek.

The tour will cover how the rocks arrived at their current location, list the weight of each rock(there are 439) and ask the audience about their favorite rock. A virtual Dillon Trebek will appear on the highest rock when tour participants pass the halfway point.

The 40 minute tour will cost $12 and move in a clockwise direction around the fenced-in area. Rock climbing will not be permitted.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A lemon in Mellon

Crosby lets Flyers know Pittsburgh has more bridges

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sydney Crosby has been exchanging trash talk with Flyers players throughout the Eastern Conference Finals. Crosby apparently likes to point out city facts during play.

"He's been yapping this whole series," said Flyers forward Mike Richards. "He always brings up how many bridges Pittsburgh has during scrums and face-offs."

Richards noted that two off-season goals are to improve his conditioning and to use satellite photos of the steel city to determine the actual number of bridges. "I could use google maps, but I want something a little more official."

The municipality claims to have 446 bridges, which is the most of any city in the United States. Efforts to lengthen a 447th bridge by one foot to the 20ft required length that defines a bridge were unsuccessful last October.

"They have three rivers, what do you expect?" said defenseman, Randy Jones. "We only have two rivers and some large creeks, but I don't think if you added up our creeks it would equal their third river."

"Monongahela is a Native American word meaning river that joins with another river to form a third, larger river," said Crosby.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

North Central PA Univ. arrives one week late for Dad Vail

The North Central Pennsylvania University men's and women's crew teams stood on the sidewalk this morning in absolute shock. After stepping off the bus from a 5-hour drive, Hotel Liberty Freedom employees informed the school that they were one week late for the for the Dad Vail Regatta, nation's largest collegiate rowing competition. Again.

"It's my fault. It's embarrassing because this is the second year in a row that this has happened," said men's coach, Steve Sherman. "All the training and practicing... down the drain."

The school, based in Wellsboro, PA, only began its rowing program five years ago after dropping football and auto racing. The team also has arguably the most pristine training site in the state-Pine Creek Gorge. Also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

School budget constraints limit the team to one race per season, which is the Dad Vail in Philadelphia. "We've trained all of May for this race and now...wammo," said coxswain, Garth Meddows. Meddows sets the pace for rower Tim Hatreal making the school first and only in the country to use a coxswain for a one-man scull.

"It's sad because we promised that 25% of our winnings would be donated to Wellsboro-area charities," said Sherman.

The Schuylkill River Rangers permitted NCPU to row the course one time this afternoon in recognition of their efforts to arrive in Philadelphia. Afterwards the team posed for pictures around the the John Kelly statue near the river's grandstands.

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Pharmaceutical company to make medicine balls

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.,Inc. has decided to branch into the ultra-competitive medicine ball market. The company, which was founded in 1891, actually produced the exercise ball from 1895-1897.

"This is actually a return to the medicine ball market for Merck. It was a staple for nearly two years," said Merck product director, Gary Sawyer. The invention and subsequent popularity of dumbbells in 1896 forced the company to halt production and leave the market.

The announcement of the venture into medicine balls sent stock prices up $0.08 yesterday afternoon as shares hovered around the $40 mark. "This is not a short term move or a long term move. This is meant to benefit the company over the long term and the short term. And, frankly, it's about medicine balls," said Sawyer.

Company officials also hinted that there could be a line of medicine balls that would be filled with various Merck pharmaceuticals. They claimed it would be "the first true medicine ball." In addition some current meds could be manufactured in the shape of tiny medicine balls.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

China quake: Dam and band survive

Han Sing, a member of the mega-popular band Three Gorgeous Dames was injured during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck China on Monday.

Sing had been visiting a friend in Chengdu when the apartment complex they were in partially collapsed. The two had been on the eighth floor of the ten story building. "I was writing a song for an upcoming concert in Macao and the shaking and rumbling began and before I knew it I woke up in the hospital with some minor scratches and a slight concussion. I was very lucky," said Sing.

Three Gorges Dam, which the band based its name upon, came through the massive quake unscathed. Engineers had feared the worst when the ground began to tremble.

"First I thought all those years of hard work down the drain. Then I couldn't help but think if I had left my stove on when I left for work today," Ging Yuang, an official from China's Ministry of Engineering.

The dam, the largest in the world, sits on the Yangtze River and has displaced over 1.5 million people since its construction began in 1994. "Construction is just about complete, I would have been pretty embarrassed had the dam failed," said Yuang.

Phila Zoo closes penguin exhibit for remainder of playoff series

One of the Philadelphia Zoo's most popular exhibits will be closed for the next several days in a move that is described to "give the home hockey team a boost." The penguin exhibit, located in Bird Valley across from the lemur exhibit, will covered with a giant tarp until the Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference Final match up is completed.

"Being down 2-0 we thought we would show the Flyers that we here at the zoo fully back them despite our dedicated, methodical care and love we show for penguins everyday," said Hannah Gilthorp, Zoo director of penguin affairs.

Reports that the flight-challenged birds were being mistreated by visitors and some staff members since the playoff series began with Pittsburgh on Friday proved false after the American Zoo and Zoological Task Force completed a full investigation this morning.

"They're just damn lovable in those tuxedos," said AZZTF security officer, Tibet Corzel. "If anything, we uncovered that they've been treated somewhat nicer as many of the visitors to see the penguin display are from Allegheny County."

The zoo is using the idea as a rallying cry and as a marketing campaign to lure more visitors to the zoo. "I'd be lying to you if I said I know what hockey is," said the zoo's marketing director, Flip Donzer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

'It's really just a Mal and a kin. It's not bad. We should be able to stop him.'

Above: Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin scorched the Flyers for two goals in their game one match up of the Eastern Conference Finals. Flyers coach John Stevens analyzed his team's ability to contain the world's best player. "It's really just a Mal and a kin. It's not bad. We should be able to stop him."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rain experts advise against walking through puddles

Weather forecasters have predicted up to two inches of rain today in the Philadelphia area. "That's a lot of rain," says Ben "Typhoon" Shorts, the WB Network's lead meteorologist.

This amount of rain can cause puddles to form in streets and on sidewalks. Puddles are small bodies of water that usually form in areas of poor drainage. "I've seen them before. They're like super-small ponds, right?" said Center City resident, Dana Monroe.

"I always get ponds and puddles confused. Puddles are great for skipping rocks. Or is that creeks?" said David Newbin, another Center City resident.

"Typhoon" Shorts warns that walking through puddles is very dangerous. "You never know the depth of the puddle. The ground could've washed away underneath and you could be stepping into something over your head."

Shorts hinted that most puddles are safe to walk through, but he wants to warn the public about the possible dangers of the small percentage that are not. Shorts is raising money for puddle victims by selling t-shirts that read: "Puddles are fun for skipping rocks, but not for walking through." For more information and to order shirts visit

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Flyers fight song resurfaces from 1940's

The Philadelphia Flyers are in the NHL's Final Four for the first time since 2004. Fan interest has reached a boiling point throughout the Delaware Valley. Orange and Black can be seen on cars, houses, bicycles, playing cards, scooters, skateboards, and even large trucks.

In the 1940's the Flyers were relatively unknown to most of the hockey world. They had begun play in 1939 as the Frankford Flexible Flyers. Budget restraints forced the team to use baseball bats instead of hockey sticks. Most of the team's players were dual athletes and played for the NFL's Frankford Yellow Jackets.

The Frankford Flexible Flyers were the last team in the league to play outdoors on a pond at the intersection of Frankford Ave and Pond Street. "If the weather was warm it made for some interesting hockey. There was one game that if you put all your weigh onto your skates the ice would crack," said Flexible Flyers goalie from 1942-43, Juan LaFrinieau.

The team was the last in the NHL to finally adopt ice skates in 1943. Prior to this the team wore metal golf spikes. "We would be running on the ice while the other team would be skating," said Jean Jean LaJeane, Flexible Flyers forwad from 1945-48.

LaJeane wrote the unofficial Flyers fight song in 1944 when he retired from the league. The song was originally rejected by most spectators and the pond organist Dominic LaBoreau. The lyrics were printed in Philadelphia Afternoon Post Gazette on Monday:

Soar Flyers Fly, on the Boulevard to triumph
Soar Flyers Fly, score a goal for Juan the goalie
Smack 'em under
Smack 'em above
And watch those Flyers soar
Soar Flyers soar, on the street to triumph

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Listener swears radio was left on FM

Tim Wagner, 49, left from his Downingtown, PA home last Friday listening to Rhythm 87.4 FM. "I was listening to all the greats that the station offers on a daily basis," said Wagner. "I turned the radio off and left for work. It's clear to me because I had the Lords of the Guitar hit song Carmel Corn in my head."

When Wagner returned home around 6PM on Friday evening(he swears he had plans later in the evening) he approached the radio expecting to take in the Bubble Gum Pearl hour on 87.4 FM.

What Wagner found was the radio tuned to AM. "I haven't been to AM since the late 90's. It frightened me."

Had someone been in the house? Does Wagner have a new style radio that automatically resets to AM after eight or nine years? He soon realized what had happened.

"Just before I left the house I tuned into 1060[AM] for the traffic report. I should have remembered doing that because I do it everyday."

Wagner later admitted to walking into the wrong house, but that he didn't realize this until in the bathroom where he discovered the toilet paper was mounted on the opposite wall.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Runner riding subway free since 2001

Francis Scott Kegan, 42, has been riding the Broad Street Subway line gratis for the past seven years. Kegan takes the line from the Fairmount Station to the Pattison Station Monday through Friday for his job as a code breaker at the Naval Yard with FiveTech Inc.

Every morning Kegan arrives at the station in his running gear complete with a Broad Street Run bib pinned to the front of his shirt. "It appears that I'm competing in a race with a number and sneaker chip," said Kegan.

Each year runners participating in the Broad Street Run are granted free service on the subway to the starting line. Many runners are also given free fair for transportation after the race is complete.

The no-charge is only good for the morning of race day. Septa feels it's a great way for commuters who wouldn't normally ride the subway to see how convenient it is.

Somehow Kegan has been able to portray that the Broad Street Run occurs five times a week 52 weeks a year. "I see this guy come down the steps and he's got all his gear on and so I let him pass because that's what we do on race days," said Septa Orange Line Attendant, Charles McNulty. "I'm not permitted to question anyone wearing a race number. He's got the number right on the front there."

Kegan admits that after running in the 2001 Broad Street Run he kept the bib and changes the year using white-out. "The bib is looking a little tattered and I'm very nervous about 2010. That's when I'll have to change two digits."

Asked how he gets free entry at 5:30PM in the middle of winter Kegan answered,"I often say that I got lost or that, 'Damn, I thought the race was today.' But mostly having the number gets me past the turnstiles. It's hard to question the number."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

On this day in history Penn Relays...

...a message back to England, via horse, that he landed in Philadelphia and had founded a new colony named Penn Sylvania. The famous relay occurred in 1680 and the messenger was instructed to "head northward towards where the cold comes from."

It took four months to travel north through New York colony then into what is now Canada on into Greenland and across the frozen extreme of the North Atlantic and south through present-day Norway. Finally, the messenger was ferried across the North Sea into England.

A journal written on colonial 3-hole punch notebook paper tell of the harrowing journey across the ice encrusted world to the north. "There is not much food here in the frigid cold north country. The horse is getting weaker and we haven't eaten or drank in over four weeks. I try to keep the mood light by throwing small snowballs at him. I notice that my English accent is not as noticeable up here. I'm cold. Who's there? Is someone there?"

The famous journey made by Habe Sutherland in 1680 is commemorated by a track and field event held each year at the University of Pennsylvania called the Penn Relays. This year's event took place just last week at Franklin Field.

Attempts to change the name of the track event to the Habe Sutherland Relays were met with mass protests in April of 1975. "Power of the Penn? Habe did the run," read one protester's sign.

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Canada announces there may be "problems" with Umberger's papers

White hot Flyers forward R.J. Umberger may have trouble entering Canada for game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Umberger had no problems entering the country for games one and two one week ago.

"There might be problems with his papers, really big problems," said Canadian Immigration Official, Guy Forrier. "Passport photos need to be a certain size now and his is probably the wrong size or something. It's really unfortunate because he's playing so well."

Umberger who is from Pittsburgh, PA, had two goals last night bringing his playoff total to seven. Six of the seven have been scored against Montreal over four games.

At about 10PM last night the Canadian government passed the new passport photo law for Pennsylvanians entering Canada. "This law has been in the works for some time. We have great relations with Pennsylvania, but it was time for this law to pass," said Forrier.

When asked how he can comment on Umberger's passport before viewing it, a visibly nervous Forrier replied, "I can't really get too into the law's complicated. There are rules and regulations. Canada. It's...I'm under strict orders from the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen, not to talk about passport stuff."