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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and delcotimes.com. He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dan Baker, Ricky Bottalico at Blue Bell Inn tonight

Come to the Blue Bell tonight, Monday Aug. 3, at 6 p,m. and enjoy some baseball conversation with myself, legendary Phillies P.A. announcer Dan Baker and former Phillies All-Star pitcher Ricky Bottalico.

We'll be chatting about baseball and other topics on WBCB 1490-AM.

The Blue Bell Inn is at 601 W Skippack Pike in Blue Bell,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eklund, Pantellas in scheduled main event

The next WXE main event will pit the "Broomall Bomber" against the "Pride of Lowell" Sept. 11 in Delaware County, says promoter Damon Feldman.

Former Broomall contender Augie Pantellas, 71, is scheduled to be in the ring against Dicky Eklund, 58. Pantellas has not fought professionally since 1979, when he was 28-6, delighting his Delco fan base with his heavy punch.

Eklund retired in 1985 after a 19-10 career which included a knockdown of Sugar Ray Leonard. He was a central character in the popular movie, "The Fighter", where he was portrayed by Christian Bale, who starred opposite Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg played Eklund's brother, Micky Ward, who is expected to work Eklund's corner, Feldman said.

The fight will be celebrity style, with three one-minute rounds, the participants in headgear.

The press tour, Feldman says, will begin next week.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fight results from Chester

Results from WXE card Friday at Harrah's in Chester:

Jamal Anini TKO first round over Jose Lopez

Chris Kenney TKO first round over Mike Davis

Dean Martini TKO second round over Luis Acasio

Mike Renzulli TKO second round over Manny Strong

Teion Milbourner TKO second round over Major McClendon

Tony Fusco retains WXE cruiserweight championship with first-round KO of Luis Pagan

David Long 3-round split decision over Jeff Mayweather

Dennis Potts-Sean Young fight PPD

Bout sheet for Chester ring action

Friday night action at Harrah's in Chester.

Larry Holmes: One-man show, beginning at 8.


Followed by:


1. Jamal "The Bollywood Bull" Anini vs. Jose "The Vampire" Lopez

2. Chris Kenney vs. Mike Davis

3. Dean Martini vs. Keith "Bad Boy" Wilson

4. Dennis Potts vs. Sean Young

5. Mike Renzulli vs. Many Strong

6. Teion "The Terror" Milbourner vs. Major McClendon

7. WXE Championship fight
 WXE Cruiserweight Champion Tony Fusco vs. Luis "The Warrior" Pagan

8. David "Dragon Box" Long vs. former IBO super featherweight champ Jeff Mayweather


Bouts are scheduled for three 1-minute rounds apiece.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Delco lacrosse, field hockey legends to enter Phila. Sports Hall of Fame


 
PHILADELPHIA >> Cindy Timchal began her day in Annapolis, Md and, finished it in Richmond Va. But she knew she would not, could not miss a 200-mile detour Thursday to the Sheraton Society Hill.
That's where the Havertown native, Haverford High grad and winningest coach in NCAA women's lacrosse history was introduced with the Class of 2015 of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
“When you see the charter members when this started in 2004, with names like Billy Cunningham and Julius Erving, I am blessed,” Timchal said. “I feel like Philadelphia is my hometown.”
Timchal is the head lacrosse coach at Navy, after stops at Northwestern and Maryland. She is the only coach to have led three different teams to the NCAA Tournament, and she coached eight national championship teams at Maryland.
Timchal will formally enter the Philly Hall in a Nov. 12 dinner ceremony, also at the Sheraton. She will be joined by, among 14 other new members, Karen Shelton, who was named as Delaware County's Field Hockey Player of the Millennium in 1999 by the Daily Times. Shelton, from Marple Newtown High, is the field hockey coach at the University of North Carolina, where she has won 18 ACC championships.
Also to be enshrined are former Phillies Sam Thompson and Garry Maddox, former Eagle Tim Brown, ex-Eagles coach Dick Vermeil and former Flyer Rick MacLeish.
“I wrote a speech,” MacLeish shrugged. “But I just had laser eye surgery and I can't see it. So … thank you.”
In addition, Billy Markward and Walt Hazzard (basketball), Rich Gannon (football), Benny McLaughlin (soccer), Bob Montgomery (boxing) and Dick Williams (tennis) will be inducted. Also, Flyers' public address announcer Lou Nolan will join the Hall, which will honor former Sixers public address legend Dave Zinkoff with its Legacy of Excellence award.
“I am a product of what Philadelphia and the suburbs had to offer to me,” said Timchal, who has a career record of 445-111, “as a young athlete and in coaching. I have had the most amazing experience.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

PHILLIES DROP FIRST GAME OF DH

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> The Phillies continued to project a familiar feel in their post-Ryne Sandberg era Sunday when they lost, 3-2, to the Washington Nationals in the first game of a Citizens Bank Park doubleheader.
Despite a Jeff Francoeur home run and a capable start by Kevin Correia, the Phillies ran their losing streak to three games, two under interim manager Pete Mackanin, who replaced Sandberg Friday.
Correia struck out three in 5 1-3 innings, surrendering seven hits but just one earned run. His record fell to 0-2. The Nats' Stephen Strasburg struck out nine in seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs, to improve to 5-5.
The loss dropped the Phils 16.5 games behind Washington in the N.L. East.
Francoeur hit a second-inning home run deep to left, his fifth of the season, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. His fifth-inning error, however, helped Washington tie the game.
Denard Span laced a double into the right field corner, which Francoeur bobbled twice. Span took third on the error and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Danny Espinosa.
Correia walked Clint Robinson to open the sixth, and Dan Uggla followed with a single. After Ian Desmond skied to center, Robinson scored on Michael Taylor's double to left, giving Washington the lead and chasing Correia.
But Mackanin allowed Jeanmar Gomez to face only Strasburg, who would ground to second, then called for Jake Diekman. Diekman walked Span, then threw a wild pitch, allowing Uggla to score for a 3-1 Nationals lead.
The Phils pulled within 3-2 on Francoeur's single to center in the bottom of the inning after a Maikel Franco single and a walk to Ryan Howard.
With Cesar Hernandez on second after a single and a stolen base, David Carpenter struck out Howard to end an eighth-inning Phillies threat.
Drew Storen handled the Phils in the ninth for his 23rd save.
Before the game, the Phillies activated Severino Gonzalez (2-2, 8.69 ERA), who was to face the Nationals' Tanner Roark (2-2, 3.25) in the second game of the doubleheader.




TWO THUMBS UP

n Stephen Strasburg was in control.
n Denard Span was everywhere.

TWO THUMBS DOWN

n Jake Diekman provided no relief.
n Cody Asche is not showing a corner-outfielder's bat.


Friday, June 12, 2015

COACHES HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT NEW COLLEGE HOOP SHOT CLOCK

By Jack McCaffery
The 35-second shot clock in men's college basketball has expired, timed out, come and gone, sounded the buzzer. By next season, teams will have 30 seconds to launch a shot, and not a tenth of a tick longer.
More scoring is one possibility. A faster-paced game is another.
Excitement?
“To be honest with you,” Phil Martelli said, “it's much ado about nothing.”
The coach at Saint Joseph's may be correct, that five fewer seconds per possession will not necessarily have the desired effect, which is to increase scoring, which was down five points a game during the last college basketball season.
If so, he has company.
“I'm a guy that likes to try certain things and see how it works,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “So I am fine with it. I don't think it changes very much. Those people who were pushing it thought there would automatically be much more scoring involved. I don't see it as that.”
Dunphy might know more than many about a 14-percent reduction in the amount of time a team will have to shoot. That's because his Owls played four games last season in the NIT, where the rule was tested. Temple averaged 74.25 points in the NIT, after scoring 64.8 points in its first 33 games. There could be reasons for that, everything from conference teams having a better familiarity with what the Owls might have been doing to deeper player rotations in games without one-and-done stakes. And no four-game sample space is sufficient for a conclusion.
But Dunphy is certain that the 30-second clock did not provide a jolting change in the pace of play, the style of coaching or the results of the games.
“It wasn't a drastic change, to be honest with you,” he said. “That's not how I saw it. We got down to a couple of less last-second shot-clock situations, but it just didn't change anything drastically. I think kids and coaches and referees over the years have been able to adjust to any new rules that we have.
“But again I don't see it as this great way of helping our game get better. I don't see it as that. If we want change, it's going to have to come from how we are demanding the game be officiated.”
The 30-second clock was just one new rule approved this week for the 2015-2016 season, most designed to improve the aesthetics of the college game, where timeouts, particularly late in games, have become unpopular, where fouling, particularly underneath, has gone largely un-policed, and where game times have increased by up to five minutes per game, never a popular trend.
For that, the NCAA has sanctioned these major changes:
n The arc underneath the basket will be lengthened from three feet to four, theoretically reducing hard contact.
n The “closely guarded” rule will be eliminated, meaning that players will not be penalized for dribbling for more than five seconds while being defended.
n Coaches may call three second-half timeouts, down from four. And if a timeout is called within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout, it will be counted as a media timeout.
Also approved, in an attempt to increase the fan experience, is that coaches will no longer be able to call timeouts while the ball is in play, dunking will be decriminalized during warmups and coaches will have 15 seconds instead of 20 to make a substitution after a player fouls out. Also, officials will be ordered to hustle the teams onto the court in a timelier fashion after timeouts.
Oddly enough, some exit polling shows that coaches are in favor of having fewer timeouts, even late in games.
“I like that,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “I think with getting four television timeouts a half, we have plenty of stoppages. I would even be in favor of giving up another timeout in the first half. Because I do think at the end of the game, we save a lot of timeouts because we get so many stoppages. With the television timeouts, I think we have plenty. I am in favor of this rule and I would be in favor of cutting another one in the first half.”
As for Martelli, he sounded almost ready to unfurl crimson streamers in celebration of the new timeout rule.
“Tremendous,” he said. “Tremendous. I think it puts more emphasis, to be honest with you, on practice. Now, you've got to get your guys in position with situational practices. I think there will be a better flow to the game.
“I think we make our game look foolish when we call an allowable timeout and then two plays later we take a media timeout. I think we should better coordinate the stoppages in play. I think we can play a crisper game.
“We have to understand that as much as it is a competition, the game also has to be an enjoyable experience for fans and sponsors and players. And I am all for anything that helps the flow of the game.”
The 30-second clock could have that effect. Or not. While it is guaranteed to lead to more possessions, it does not guarantee better positions. Might there be more rushed shots? And if there is, will there be more long rebounds? But if there are, won't that invite more run-outs, fast breaks and open-floor play that fans enjoy?
How about late in a game? Will coaches be more likely to wait-out a 30-second possession than a 35, choosing not to foul to stop the clock, one stain on the college game that has made it “uglier than ugly,” according to one widely publicized rant from Mark Cuban?
“I actually don't think that the 30-second shot clock is going to make that much of a difference,” Wright said. “I really don't. But I think it's going to get people comfortable with shorter shot clocks and that is going to get us to 24. I look at this simply as a move to get us to 24. I don't think it's going to impact the game as much right now. But I think it is going to set up the move to 24.
“In the NBA, you don't see a lot of the fouling down the stretch like you do in college. I definitely think that will be a result, that there will probably a little bit less of that.”
As he will do, Wright was looking a play or two ahead, predicting that the clock will be reduced again, making the college game less distinguishable from the NBA.
The more immediate test, though, will be whether the 30-second limit so changes how the college game is played that different teams, with different philosophies, with different coaching styles will be more likely to succeed. Dunphy, for one, is a doubter.
“I think everybody makes adjustments to any new situation that comes along,” he said. “But I still think the best teams are going to win the games for the most part. There will be some games that will be managed better than others. But for the most part, the best players are typically going to win the games that are out there.
“We have succumbed to the pressure of many others, probably on TV, that said we have to change our game. I don't think we needed to change it in terms of the shot clock, but I am willing to do that. I have no problem with that. And if we decided to go to 24 seconds, then we would have to change in that regard and make adjustments.”
If there is an early consensus, it is that college basketball has become so rugged that only more stringent officiating will help.
“The only way to get scoring up is by changing the way that we officiate the game and call many more fouls for a while so that the kids make the adjustment, like the NBA did a couple of years back, where if you breathed on somebody it was a foul,” Dunphy said. “And then it loosens the game up and allows kids to get to the basket a little bit more. But I don't think it has anything do to with the shot clock.”
Martelli agrees.
“Until we get to the point where the referees call a foul every time there is a foul, we are not going to change this downward spiral in scoring,” the Hawks' coach said. “It's not going to be because of a shot clock that we change it. They've got to let people play.”
On one level, at least, they will not only let that happen, but mandate it, for at its core, the five-second shot-clock reduction is a message: Shoot.
“Truthfully, I like that the college game is different from any other game, personally,” Wright said. “That's because I am a coach. And as a coach I like that you can play against different styles and that coaches have the opportunity to play different styles. But as a guardian of the game, thinking about the popularity of the game and the popularity of the game internationally, I feel the pressure and know that everybody wants to speed the game up with more offense. And I think that we will eventually get to the 24-second clock because of that.
“Do I like it as a coach? No. Do I think it's probably best for the popularity of the game? Yes.”