Though he didn’t even make it through July with the Phillies last season, Sal Fasano left a bigger mark on the Philadelphia sporting scene than Chris Webber ever did. Hell, Dan McQuade of Philadelphia Will Do
and the greatest intern in the illustrious history of CSN.com (there was Alex Fineman too, but let’s not rank them… for arguments sake let’s just say McQuade and Fineman are in the Hall of Fame and we’re still thanking our lucky stars that John Turner didn’t set fire to the place), would argue that Fasano needs a plaque on Memory Lane on Ashburn Alley.
Memory Lane and
Ashburn Alley haven’t been co-opted by some corporation? What gives?
Anyway, ol’ Sal signed a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays
this week, which means he’ll be sending $4 (less Canadian – probably a looner and change) slices of pizza to his “pals” in right field at SkyDome or whatever the hell they call it these days.
Here are the interesting and coincidental parts about Fasano’s signing with the Blue Jays – he’ll train in Dunedin, Fla., just around the corner from Clearwater where the Phillies train. That means all the baseball snowbirds will get plenty of chances to root for ol’ Sal during the Grapefruit League season while others will shake their heads and wonder how a career .221 hitter can warm over the cold-hearted Philly fans, while stars Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen had such a difficult time with the hometown rooters.
Fasano also could take the roster spot earmarked for catcher Rod Barajas, who spurned the Jays in favor of the Phillies. Barajas will likely split time with Carlos Ruiz behind the plate in 2007, fired his agent and signed with the Phillies.
“I never signed a deal,” Barajas said after signing with the Phillies. “I never gave anybody permission to do a deal. It just wasn't the right fit for me.”
Either way, it was a Phillie who opened the door for Fasano and his mighty Fu Manchu to resurface north of the border. That’s a good thing, Fasano says. You see, after getting traded from the Phillies to the Yankees, Fasano had to give the big, bushy ‘stache a trim since Big Stein likes his Yankees looking like the Vienna Boys Choir. In Fasano’s case, he was allowed to grow a little mustache, but nothing like the Sam Elliott look he was seeking. Instead, Fasano said, he looked like Borat.
That won’t happen in ’07. Fasano is going to be back and as bushy as ever.
“I'm going to go back to the Fu Manchu,” he said. “That's my standard look anyways. I'm growing it out now, getting it ready for the season.”
The facial hair should cover it. Forget about figuring out how to hit those pesky breaking pitches.More: Manchu dynasty in Toronto? Stay tuned
from The Globe & MailNow that I have this big, shiny ring, I forget what I was angry about
Speaking of former Phillies and Scott Rolen, it appears as if the gold-glove third baseman and his manager/nuclear scientist, Tony La Russa, have ironed out that tiff that started during last autumn’s playoffs.
What? Rolen not getting along with his manager? Turn the channel Marge; I’ve seen this one before…
For those who don’t remember or simply blocked the memory because they are holding on to some phantom slight regarding Scott Rolen, the Phillies and the beloved City of Brotherly Love (let it go – Rolen doesn’t think about you
), the Cardinals won the World Series despite winning fewer games than the Phillies and a post-season benching that became national media fodder.
But the benching proved to be yet another genius move by La Russa, because Rolen – suffering from a tired and sore shoulder worn down after a long season and intensive surgery – couldn’t make an out afterwards. In fact, it took Endy Chavez’s ridiculous, fence-climbing catch to keep the former Phillie from becoming the hero of Game 7 of the NLCS.
But with spring training less than a month away, Rolen feels better than ever, according to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
. Better yet, he considers the feud ancient history and doesn’t think he and La Russa need to sit down and iron things out.
“We haven't spoken,” Rolen said of La Russa. “I went home. We went about our lives. I don't think there's a conversation in spring that needs to take place.”
Said La Russa in picking up Rolen’s gold glove at a hot stove banquet: “I love Scott Rolen.”
But before anyone says, “yeah, but didn’t he say that before going to spring training in 2002?” And didn’t Larry Bowa say, “I love Scott Rolen… ”
Well, maybe. But Tony La Russa isn’t walking around the corner and ripping Rolen to his front office or favorites in the media. On top of that, Rolen isn’t trying to get himself traded, either. See, the Cardinals won the World Series. Things like that have a tendency to make people feel good about things.
Take Rolen and his shoulder: “I'm a different guy sitting here today than I was sitting here last off season, when I was hopeful or optimistic about the season coming up or about my shoulder progress. When I was here last year, I hadn't lifted a weight yet. I don't think I was capable of lifting a weight. That's not the case anymore. I'm doing my old routine. I am totally free from any limitations.”Free to do what I want any old time... More: Rolen feels 'free' in '07
from the St. Louis Post-DispatchI’m still not sure about this Jordan character…
In a stunning turn of events (insert sarcasm font here), the Baseball Writers Association of America voted not
to permit Internet writers from large news/media conglomerates to become members in 2007. That means guys like Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Bill Simmons, John Finger, and any other web dude won’t get a vote for anything and will have to fax teams in order to get credentials for specific games.
That’s no really a big deal since I know for a fact that John Finger has a fax machine in his house
. Jayson Stark might have one, too. You never know.
Anyway, what’s interesting about this (I know you’re wondering), is that even though all writers of all mediums are writing for the Internet already, the membership of the BBWAA is waiting to see if this Internet stuff is going to take off.
Yes I borrowed that last line from a blogger.
Moreover, perhaps the BBWAA is waiting a few years until the names of the newspapers are changed from the arcane like The Philadelphia Inquirer
or The Washington Post
to something snappier like philly.com
True story: back in 1999 when I was working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania I noticed the stacks and stacks of old newspapers taking up space and thought, “why don’t we just put all this on the web already. What kind of dinosaur goes out and buys a newspaper?”
And look where we are now… but don’t laugh TV. The web is coming for you next.… Where’s my money?Arbitration-eligible players and teams exchanged salary figures this week
, and locally nothing really stood out. For the Phillies, Geoff Geary asked for $950,000 and was offered $750,000; Brett Myers asked for $5.9 million and was offered $5 million; while Chase Utley asked for $6.25 million and was offered $4.5 million.
If there is one thing the Phillies do well it’s handling potentially messy arbitration cases. Expect deals to be made before anyone gets near the courthouse.Perhaps they missed the point
Philadelphia native and big-time writer Joe Queenan wrote the best and most thought provoking essay on the Rocky Balboa phenomenon in Philadelphia
and all most bloggers could do was point out that he doesn’t know where the Rocky statue is located these days.
Hey, I don’t know where the hell the Rocky statue is, either. Oh sure, I’ve seen it. Just like I’ve seen those paintings of Elvis, still life and setting suns on velvet that people sell on the sidewalk at the bottom of the exit ramp. Same difference to me though one you can hang in your house and the other birds to the bathroom on.
Nevertheless, Queenan asks real questions that will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears. That’s normal, I guess, just like ripping on a guy who doesn’t know where a statue of a cartoon character is located.
what Queenan writes if you can get past the part about the Rocky statue not being located outside of the Spectrum. It’s good for you.
Then tell me when and where they moved the big hunk of junk.More: America's great white hope?
From The GuardianIn case you missed it
The running world is all atwitter about recent events and upcoming races featuring some of the brightest American stars pounding the pavement. Of course the big name these days is Ryan Hall, the defending national cross-country champion, who shattered the American record in the half marathon with a 59:43 in Houston
The old record was a shade more than an hour (60:55) set in Philadelphia by Mark Curp in 1985. Hall’s run in Houston is the ninth-fastest half marathon ever and the fastest by a non-African runner.
Some of called Hall’s performance one of the greatest runs by an American ever
at any distance and he even made it to page 3 of the sports section in USA Today, which is like a ticker-tape parade in running circles. You see, like soccer, distance running doesn’t get a lot of media coverage in the United States. However, hockey does … insert your own wisecrack or misplaced anger here.
But what has everyone as messy a kid in a pile of spaghetti sauce and melted chocolate is that Hall is running in the National Cross Country Championships in Boulder on Feb. 10. There, he will be running against the best of the best of American runners, including, Olympic silver medallist marathoner Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman (2:08:56 in Chicago), Alan Culpepper (2:10 in Boston), Adam Goucher (former cross-country champ), Jorge Torres, and cult hero/superstar Dathan Ritzenhein.
Forget about the field, because first of all, the championships are in Boulder, which is the Mecca of American running. Mix in the field and it’s like going to Las Vegas for a heavyweight fight featuring Mike Tyson, Ali, Joe Frazier, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Secretariat and Tiger Woods in the ring at the same time.
It’s a really big deal.
Still, 2007 is shaping up to be another hype-filled year for running. Coming in April the London Marathon has put together another star-studded field, and in November the Olympic marathon trials will take place in the middle of Manhattan.
So to celebrate Hall’s run in Houston I went out and ran 13.1 today (and the day before, and the day before that and the day before that, but not the day before that – I did 17 that day), but didn’t come close to his record with a rather pedestrian 1:26:14.
Then I went home and ate three Clif Bars.