Showing posts from October, 2008

World Series Preview

Thanks to the heroics of Matt Garza, Rocco Baldelli, Willy Aybar and David Price, the Rays claimed the spot opposite the Phillies in baseball's fall classic. A contrast of clubs, hometowns and yes... ballparks. They Rays reside at Tropicana Field, likely the last permamently-domed/artificial turf-laden park ever built. (Thanks to Peter King of CBS for the view.) The Phillies have the retro-designed Citizens Bank Park, which keeps you on top of the action -- albeit with some entertaining bells and whistles (watch the neon Liberty Bell when the home team smacks a home run!) And thanks to the thirst of the game's hierarchy, this is how we'll see the park during the fall classic -- night games only! For those who can afford the tickets (I attended the 1980 series at Veterans Stadium sitting in lower level reserved seats for $25 a pop, a quaint memory), but prefer something beyond the standard fare of hot dogs and Buds, may I suggest a pair of local landmarks: Tampa's renow

My Pal, the Mud Hens Fan

Lloyd Thaxton passed away a few days ago, after a full and rewarding life. When you read the name, maybe your first thought was, "Who did he play for?" Knowing the topic usually discussed here, perhaps he was a teammate of DiMaggio, Berra and Rizzuto on Casey Stengel's Yankee teams. Actually, this is wise and witty man hosted TV's top daily syndicated dance show of the '60s, and then went onto a stellar crew as a TV producer. We first met several years ago, when he was promoting STUFF HAPPENS, the excellent motivation book he co-wrote with John Alston. But he immediately treated me as if I were a lifelong friend. Always happy to share the insights forged through a six-decade career in T-V, sharing stages with rock and soul's most important names and a loyal group of teenagers who he brought "into the action" on his show, he was fascinated by a variety of subjects. Sure, baseball turned out to be one of them. A few years back, he told me, "I grew

Citizens Bank Park

There's no post-season action in New York this fall for the first time since 1994. Just 90 miles down the Jersey Turnpike, it's a different story after the Phillies won their second straight NL East title -- courtesy of a strong September while the rival Mets faltered. Citizens Bank Park is a hitters paradise -- as well as a treat for the fans. It's a major upgrade over the concrete symmetry and artificial turf of Veterans Stadium. 20,000 seats smaller than its predecessor, Citizens Bank Park is cozy. Even the upper deck seats keep you close to the action. (Below:) Among the park's touches are statues honoring Philadelphia's past legends, among them Richie Ashburn, Hall of Fame center fielder of the pennant-winning 1950 Whiz Kids and, for 35 years, a homespun, yet candid member of the club's broadcast team. The Liberty Bell replica beyond right field rings and and swings after home runs from the home club. And this guy's swing makes it ring more than anyone