Needless to say, the e-mails are flying fast and furious amongst the J.P. McCaskey alums scattered across the area. The biggest sentiment, of course, is rooting for a nationally televised Eagles game when the starting lineup announces itself with the pre-recorded, transposed messages spread over the screen.
No. 84, Kris Wilson, McCaskey High School...
You're damn right!
Kris Wilson, of course, is the newly signed free-agent tight end for the Eagles. After four seasons playing behind Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City, Wilson, who also plays H-back and fullback, inked a three-year deal. Wilson was also a second-round draft choice of the Chiefs in 2004 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he totaled 88 receptions, 1431 yards, and 15 touchdowns as a four-year starter. A two-time Big East All-Academic team selection, Wilson is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
That's the press release stuff. But most importantly, Wilson graduated from McCaskey High in '99, a full decade after yours truly. Unfortunately for Wilson, his McCaskey football team did not finish the regular season 10-0 and advance to the District III championship game, which, truth be told, is not something every team can do. But surely Wilson has played in much bigger games since the ones he played at the Barney Ewell Complex.
Anyway, with Wilson in the fold it gives me a good excuse to start checking out the Eagles again. They were pretty boring until they got a McCaskey guy... but then again it always takes people from the J.P. to liven things up.
Snow flurries are fluttering around here in The Lanc and it's cold again. Perhaps going from perfect, sun-soaked 60-degree mornings in Florida to blustery winter evenings in Pennsylvania is a lot like jet lag.
Oh well, Mother Nature is perfect in her demented little way, so whatever... it's just weather.
Anyway, it would have been nice to spend a few more days in the Tampa Bay area, specifically to head up to Dunedin to check in on the Blue Jays and their new third baseman. Apparently, he used to play for the Phillies or something like that. Also working out with the Jays this spring are fellow McCaskey High alums, John Parrish and Matt Watson. Parrish, a lefty pitcher and a wintertime signing for the Jays after spending the last few seasons with the Orioles and Mariners, could figure into the Toronto bullpen in 2008.
Watson is a non-roster invitee for Toronto after spending last season playing in Japan. Prior to the stint in Japan, he played in the Expos, Mets and A's organizations with 34 big-league games under his belt.
So far this spring, Watson has gotten into two Grapefruit League games and is 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Parrish hasn't appeared in any games yet, but he's expected to pitch against the Devil Rays this afternoon.
This spring, Major League Baseball required the first and third-base coaches to wear batting helmets when on the field. This decree comes as a reaction to the death of minor-league coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was hit by a line drive below the ear while coaching first base. Needless to say, a handful of coaches aren't too jazzed about the new mandate, but have complied in almost all cases.
All except for one guy, of course.
"That's not for me," new Dodgers' third-base coach Larry Bowa told MLB.com.
"My question is, how can I be in the league 40 years and the league says who wears a helmet and who doesn't? One guy got killed and I'm sorry it happened. But bats break and they can be a deadly weapon. Do something about bats."Umpires get hit with line drives. I've probably seen 50 of them get hit. If coaches have to wear helmets, umpires should. I'll sign a waiver. And there should be a grandfather clause. These are very cumbersome. They talk about delay of game, and when the helmet falls off, you'll have to stop the game. It should be an option. I know I'm talking for a lot of guys who won't say anything. I'll write a check for 162 games if I have to to not wear it."
Bowa makes salient points. However, after seeing Bowa in action for four years as manager of the Phillies, perhaps simply wearing a helmet isn't the best call.
No, Bowa might be better off out there with one of those masks they put on Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.Next time: Billy Wagner and C.J. Wilson.
Basically, Cuban wondered why salaries of rich people were so important to media types and why the financial side was always centered on the wealthy.
If making salaries public is so important, why don't reporters disclose their salaries? If weekly box office is so important, why don't newspapers report daily sales and subscription numbers? If box office is the ultimate reflection of the quality of a movie, shouldn't a newspaper, or magazines ' daily or by issue sales be a reflection of the quality of that issue?
It's not hypocritical is it?
Hearing Cuban on the subject made me look back to see if I wrote about individual salaries and how much money people make. Guess what? I did. A lot. Worse, I'm not even sure I noticed what I was doing. In retrospect, I suppose, I wrote about such things without even thinking – a salary, it seems, is just another statistic like batting average or ERA. And like those stats, salary figured in whether or not a player could be moved or if others could be acquired.
But the part that is mystifying is that salaries never interested me nor did it really indicate anything to me about a person. The fact that Chase Utley recently signed such a large contract is not interesting at all. It proves nothing and doesn't make Utley smarter or a better player. It's meaningless.
Needless to say, these types of ideas are not in line with conventional thinking. Actually, it's more like if the world is a rat race then it's OK to be a rat. Perhaps because of the way I was raised – in my bourgeoisie-ness with that safe and sound middle-class safety net where deeds and ideas are the most important thing, failure is easily fixed, and the total pursuit of money is viewed as a tacky move of a Philistine – I was never motivated by money. That’s both good and bad, but we’ll leave that alone for now.
The point is that I never really thought much about advertising another man’s salary simply because he was paid a lot of money and was on a professional baseball team. At the heart of it, Cuban was railing against people like me and he was/is correct.
But it gets deeper than that, too. Over the past two days regular readers of this site have been “treated” to a few not-so-subtle jabs at Jon Lieber’s purchase of a $211,000 truck, that, frankly, I find superficial, wasteful and disgusting for many, many reasons. But at the same time, I don’t know if I’m more disgusted that Lieber enjoyed flaunting his vehicle that cost about the same amount as the median price of a single-family home in the U.S. or the media’s coverage of it.
Maybe what Cuban meant to write was that stories like this aren’t just hypocritical, they’re boring. Worse, it seems as if the media is more focused on the wealthy and superficial than the things that really matter.
I don’t think anything will change, and I’m not about to wage a war against the celebrity culture and frivolousness. For one, I can’t win, and for another, I’m a participant. Overcoming personal hypocrisy and contradictions is never easy.
Stories about the rich are nothing new. Wealth is intrinsically interesting, and extreme wealth all the more so. You see a piece about the grandiose estates the hedge-fund crowd has been building in Greenwich, Conn., the new capital of conspicuous consumption, and some mix of admiration, envy, disgust and pure voyeurism naturally pulls you in. The mega-rich have always been a nice cottage industry for the news media, and there's nothing wrong in that.
But we've crossed some line in recent years. The press covers these people not just as the narrow slice of society that they are, but more and more as the only slice that matters; not as exotic exceptions to the cultural norm, but as the norm itself. This is especially true in the leisure/lifestyle realm, where the market for eight-figure houses is sometimes covered as if it were a popular trend.
Indeed, the media are so saturated with the very wealthy, the story line is losing its novelty. When covering human excess, a less-is-more approach is the way to keep 'em coming. By normalizing the very rich, journalists are making them boring, which is the opposite of news.
Meanwhile, the old middle class -- remember them? -- is taking on a strange magnetism. Did you know there are actually Americans who live very happily on five-figure incomes, without a single pied-a-terre? It's so amazing, it almost feels like a story.
Full disclosure: I’m driving a 1998 Honda Accord with 136,000 miles on it. The car is blue, was recently inspected, and hopefully ready for 136,000 more miles. For some reason my golf clubs are still stashed in the trunk, too. I also drive a Saturn Vue that we bought in 2004. It’s black and drives fairly smooth even though I intentionally drove it into a pile of petrified plowed snow this morning… not a good idea. The front-wheel drive is no match for ice.
In Lancaster… It appears as if the snow and ice still hasn’t been removed (don’t get me started), however, nothing could stop the J.P. McCaskey Red Tornadoes from winning a third straight Lancaster-Lebanon League championship on Friday night in Hershey, Pa.
The Tornadoes whipped Lancaster Catholic by 29 points for the largest victory in the league’s championship game. The victory also gave McCaskey 10 league championships in 34 seasons and it is just the second school to win three in a row.
No L-L League team has ever won four in a row, but with 10 of the 14 players for McCaskey slated to return next season it’s going to be hard to stop them.