Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chase chases Chase: One Padre has long looked up to Phillies star second baseman

Philadelphia--The San Diego Padres were in town this past weekend for a four-game series against the first place Phils. The Fightin's took three of four from the Fathers and extended their lead in the division in the process.

At 14.5 games out of the top spot the Padres are mostly playing the games because they are contractually obligated to do so. Given a choice between subjecting themselves to scorching Midwestern and Northeast record heat wave temperatures during recent road trips or heading for the links of SoCal, most on the club would not hesitate to arrange an early morning tee time.

One Padre, however, was thrilled to be in South Philly, a date he circles on his calender minutes after the upcoming season schedules are released--San Diego third baseman Chase Headley. No, Chase Headley is not a native Delaware Valley resident. No, he wasn't snubbed by the Phillies in a long ago draft. Chase Headley is a big fan of ... Chase Utley.

"I'd be in the minors and look to see that another Chase had made it to the big leagues and this was very inspiring to me," said Headley, a Colorado native and valedictorian of his high school graduating class. "Then, even more inspiring, was that his last name also ended in -ley. I mean, what were the chances. If Chase Utley could do it, well, by God, then Chase Headley could do it."

That's the entire connection, plain and simple. They're not friends or family or have ever met outside of the baseball diamond. Chase admired Chase because they share the same first name and have very similar sounding last names.

After the 2008 season a perfectly healthy Chase Headley had hip surgery simply because an ailing Chase Utley had hip surgery. In early 2010, Headley dropped the f-bomb (like Utley at the World Series victory celebration) at a San Diego charity event raising money for sick children where he was the keynote speaker. He told the young audience that someday soon "the Padres would be world f-ing champs. Count on it f-ers." The parents stared at the stage in disbelief, while the player quietly returned to his table and began to eat the rest of his semi-warm chicken cordon bleu.

At one point, the outfielder-turned-third baseman was adamant that he needed to play second base in order to succeed in the league. Several heated confrontations with coaches and managers were reported by the San Diego media but never confirmed.

Then, Headley soon began to copy Utley in other ways beyond what the Phils' second baseman did with regards to baseball. Family and friends became concerned, when, several years ago, Headley began to strongly encourage his girlfriend to volunteer with local animal shelters.

"Chase came to me out of the blue one day and wanted me to work at a dog shelter in San Diego," said Cheryl Hughs, Headley's wife. "That's great except for two things: I'm alergic to dogs and I don't particularly care for them. It's not that I dislike them."

Jen Utley, Chase's wife, is deeply involved in and passionate about protecting and finding homes for abused dogs in the Philadelphia region.

Headley also went from clubhouse clown to serious, low-key and somewhat reserved. "We didn't know what was going on until he began telling people that he went to UCLA and was from Long Beach, CA," said Headley's father from his home in Colorado. "We sat Chase Headley down and told him that he was not Chase Utley. You need to snap out of this funk, son. I'm not afraid to say that I slapped him with a batting glove."

Utley had this to say about the situation: "I think he's got a real cool first name. I want to see all Chase's do well."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fine print: New NFL deal will bring best-of-three series format to Wild Card playoff round

Players irate after owners cleverly include the extended playoff series format into labor agreement using .002 size font. Ads have already started airing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Doctors unsure when high ankle sprain becomes low knee sprain

High ankle sprain injuries have become inexplicably common in many sports (yes, even NASCAR) over the last few years. Known to doctors as highess ankless sprainess, the injury usually occurs high on the athlete's ankle. But, many patients and medical researchers are asking, when does a high ankle sprain become so high that it turns into a low knee sprain? "It's a fine line," said Dr Steven Jasperovich of Hahnemenn University Hospital in Philadelphia, who openly admitted to never pondering the question before three months ago. "To say exactly where a high ankle sprain becomes a low knee sprain is nearly impossible. It really depends on the person. I like to just guess." The term kneekle sprain and anknee sprain surfaced within the last year in an effort to better describe the injury, but the terminology has had difficulty catching on and going mainstream.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Run Derby champ wins right to choose who has home-ice advantage in next year's Stanley Cup Finals

Above: Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees holds up the Stanley Cup after winning MLB's Home Run Derby at the All-Star festivities in Phoenix, AZ last night. Cano won a cash prize and the right to choose which NHL team will get home-ice advantage in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. "Right now I'm just enjoying this derby win," said Cano, sporting a big smile and hugging Lord Stanley's oversized silver trophy. "I haven't even thought about the Stanley Cup Finals. But, I won't lie, it's been a dream of mine to determine which NHL club will get to play four out of seven games in their home arena should the series go that far. It really is a dream come true." Cano will also get to take the Stanley Cup home for the remainder of the All-Star break. MLB commissioner Bud Selig wanted to add some meaning to the Home Run Derby and approached NHL commissioner Gary Bettman with the idea about two months ago. "Gary [Bettman] was very receptive to the concept of having some of our best power hitters determine the scheduling of his sport's showcase event ... and now we have a derby that actually has a tiny little bit of significance," said Selig.

Women's World Cup: FIFA officials investigating England's Diana Beckham for ... illegal shin guards

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vance Worley's father: 'I've been calling him Vince for years. It's embarrassing, but I really thought it was Vince.'

Miami Gardens, FL--Phillies pitcher Vance Worley took the mound on Monday night against the Marlins and held the struggling team to two hits and zero runs in seven innings of work. An impressive performance no matter what place in the standings the opposing team occupies.

The young pitcher, with a 2.20 era and a 4-1 record, is beginning to slowly make a name for himself in the Major Leagues and hopes to remain with the team for the duration of the season after being called up from Lehigh Valley. However, the Sacramento native apparently needs to work harder at making a name for himself with his own father.

"Vance? Who's Vance? It's Vince. Show some respect for my son," said Worley's father outside the Phillies locker room at Sun Life Stadium when asked if he was proud of his son's big league performance. "I'm extremely proud of VINCE, thank you for asking."

When shown a copy of Vance's birth certificate the father was overly embarrassed and abruptly excused himself from the small group of reporters loitering in the stadium hallway. Later, when Mr Worley asked his family--who all made the trip from northern California--why it took nearly 24 years to correct him, they all smiled and began the slow clap, fast clap in an effort to change the subject.

"My dad has been calling me Vince for a long long time," said the pitcher Worley. "He was just so darn proud of Vince that I didn't have the heart to tell him it was Vance."