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What Is Early Word?
The Philadelphia Inquirer's experimental online "morning show", which began in Sept. 2005, went on hiatus in the summer of 2006, after a gradual shift to putting more of its content directly on Philly.com.



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Friday, September 01, 2006

Phinish the Phrase Phriday ... 

Pinkston's gone. Detmer's outta here. T.O. had to go. N.D. Kalu, not gonna miss you. In fact, now that the Eagles have at least one good player at almost every position, who are we fans gonna pick on this season? Can't even rip the front office much, not after adding the likes of Darren Howard, Broderick Bunkley and Donte Stallworth. So Phinish the Phrase:

The Eagle that fans will pick on the most this season is ...

Who'll share the slimelight besides the quarterback and the coach, whose jobs come with bull's-eyes? Tell why, too. And feel free to disagree with other choices.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What If 3 or 4 Teams Tie for Baseball's Wild Card? 


Note: Dotted line added to Phillies cap, so caps show A, B and C.

Call 'em the Wild Bunch. Eight teams are bunched within 4 games of each other in the National League's wild-card race. What if, by some juxtaposition of planets and Plutoids, more than two teams end up in a tie? As with almost everything else this side of whether to disqualify chemically aided records, baseball has rules for handling the situation.

Let's start with a four-team tie, because that's actually simpler case. "The Commissioner will supervise a draw that results in teams being designated 'A,' 'B,' 'C' and 'D,'" says Rule 33(c)(3)(C)(i). The day after the season ends, B will play A at A's park, and D will play C at C's park. The next day, the A-B winner will host the C-D survivor, unless the teams and the Commish agree to play elsewhere "to keep travel at a minimum." The winner of that game becomes the wild card team.

If three teams tie, the predicament's a quandary, because there's no fair format that will determine a winner quickly. After all, a round-robin in which each team plays the other two would take at least three days and could still wind up tied. So baseball has a two-game format, which means the wild-card winner might have to play just once.

Such a scenario would certainly get those online forums and radio talk shows buzzing.

If the three teams C have "identical records against each other," again, a draw is held. (Say the Phillies, Reds and Padres are all 6-6 against each other.) Then Day One, Team A plays B at A's park, followed by the winner hosting Team C.

Wouldn't be fair, apparently, for C to play its only game at home.

Even more head-scratching is what would happen if one team has a superior record in head-to-head-to-head matchups. That team gets to choose: Do we want to be Team C and play only one game on the road? Or would we rather face two home games as Team A? Opinions about the toughness of the opponents, no doubt, would factor into this sticky decision.

What if there's a five-team tie? Stock the fridge, and be ready to watch a lot of baseball while reaching for the earplugs to mute the droning, moaning commentary.

Photo Phinish: What's Your Caption? 

Tomato festival, after the food fight

Actuality: Two revelers lay in tomato pulp during the annual food fight, the Tomatina, in the town of Bunol, Spain. Each year tens of thousands of people hurl truckloads of tomatoes at each other, sending knee-deep rivers through the streets. Local lore says it began in the mid-1940s with a food battle that broke out between youngsters near a vegetable stand. The next year, they met again, this time pelting passers-by. (Associated Press.)

Alternative Reality: What else could a caption for this picture say? (Keep it fit for public consumption, guys.)

Here's mine: Jersey Shore visitors liken effects of red jellyfish stings to laughing gas.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

March Arrest Part of Reason Saints Unloaded Stallworth? 

AP Photo/Bill FeigThe Eagles "got a hell of deal'' in trading for receiver Donte Stallworth, says ex-teammate and friend Joe Horn. "He is a playmaker and his ability is undeniable," said Eagles d-lineman Darren Howard, who played with Stallworth on the Saints and in college. "Stallworth can flat-out fly," says Ron Jaworski. So would did the Saints let a deep threat go for so little? One factor might be character issues hardly mentioned by these first reports:

In March, Stallworth was jailed in Miami Beach, and his Bentley was towed, after he was charged with "resisting arrest without violence," according to newspaper reports. After being pulled over for expired tags and giving an officer his driver's license, Stallworth allegedly tried to drive off. The report is quoted as saying: "Defendant then stated this was going to cost us a lot of money, and that he would have our jobs. Defendant further stated he knew the chief of police, and that we would be hearing from his lawyer." (Wonder if by "lawyer," Stallworth meant his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.) Could find no word on the case's final outcome.

The Saints, who reportedly tried to deal Stallworth during the draft, were apparently also concerned about erratic performances, nagging injuries and lateness for meetings. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune: "He would alternate between 140-yard receiving games and zero-catch games, sometimes struggling with dropped balls and/or other mental errors. ... He was chastised on occasion by both coaching staffs for arriving late for meetings. ... The biggest setback, however, came when he missed almost the entire offseason program this year because of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, then missed part of training camp with a minor groin injury. He was unable to adjust quickly enough to Payton's new offense to solidify his place in the starting lineup. "

The article also states, however: "He was not a bad character guy -- in fact, he was one of the most well-liked teammates in the locker room."

"He knows in his heart why he got traded," Horn told the New Orleans paper. "So he has to take that with him and take it to Philadelphia and be a better person, be a better receiver, be better than he was last year." His advice to Stallworth: Tell McNabb "you're going to work. You have to get there and learn that playbook and make plays and let Donovan and Coach Reid know that you're there to take care of business."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Phinish the Phrase: T.O. will lead Dallas to ... 

You've probably heard that the Mouth That Bored got fined by the Cowbuoys (image Holsteins bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico) for being late or absent for meetings and rehab sessions. Here, he goes again. Of course, maybe the child learns to tow the line if scolded early. So you Phinish the Phrase: "T.O. will lead Dallas to ..."

I'm thinking: "... to make commercials in which Coach Bill Parcells sprinkles a cure for Jacques Itch, portrayed by T.O."

Or, more seriously: "... more touchdowns than victories."

For Drunks, We're No. 9! 

Once again, Philly comes up short. But this time it's a good thing. Milwaukee is No. 1 for drunks, according to Forbes.com. Philadelphia's only tied for ninth.

Makes you wonder: Where else do we rank? Here's what other sites say.
Sports: We're No. 9! (Chicago is No. 1. We were 2 last year.)
Best cities for singles: We're No. 12! (Denver-Boulder is No. 1.)
Anger: We're No. 27! (Orlando, Fla., is No. 1. "Get out of my way, Duck!")
Risk of identity theft: We're No. 30! (San Francisco is No. 1.)
Fewest births to teens: We're No. 42! (Seattle is No. 1.)
Brainpower: We're No. 50! (Seattle is No. 1.)
Least amount of impotence: We're No. 65! (San Fran is No. 1.)

As for where we don't rank, according to Men's Health Magazine, we're not Top 5 for single women (Washington, D.C., is No. 1), low-blood pressure (Toledo, Ohio), muscle men (San Jose), excercising (Sacramento), slimness (Orlando), heart health (Minneapolis), wired hospitals (New York), cancer-free colons (Madison, Wisc.), cancer-free lungs (Salt Lake City), or cancer-free prostates (Honolulu). But neither were we worst in any category.

So where are we Top 5? Well, we're still No. 5 in population. For now. Phoenix should overtake us soon.

Wait, here's a list where we are No. 1! Most depressed! Way to cheer us up.


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