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

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Though Ruben Amaro did not add a relief pitcher at the deadline Sunday, he had done plenty already to make the Phillies what they had every opportunity to be: The team to beat in baseball.

They have been prone to ridiculous hitting slumps for more than a calendar year. There was one logical solution: Add a right-handed-hitting competitor to the middle of the lineup. That's what Hunter Pence will be for the Phillies.

He hit behind Ryan Howard, who had a home run and two doubles Saturday. he hit in front of Raul Ibanez, who had two home runs and the game-winning double in a 6-5, 10-inning victory Sunday over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phils could use another right-handed bat off the bench. But if he does nothing else, Amaro has done his job. It's up to the players now.

Check out my column Monday in the Daily Times and on

Friday, July 29, 2011


Listen to 97.5 FM The Fanatic from 7 to 11 Saturday night when I will be hosting a call-in program. Topics will include the Phillies and their trade-deadline behavior, the Eagles and their free-agency aggression and, if there is time, the top 100 sports figures named Ralph. But only if there's time.

Also, don't be surprised of John from Plymouth Meeting keeps his streak alive at 57 and counting (maybe he ought to have stopped at DiMaggio) in phone calls absolutely savaging one Jim Calhoun.

Don't miss it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Carlos Beltran, the newest San Francisco Giant, was booed Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. Typically, former Mets can expect such treatment. This time, though, it was deeper. This time, the booing indicated a displeasure that the Giants, not the Phillies, were the first of the serious N.L. contenders to think big at the trade deadline.

Really ... the Giants acquired Beltran for a pitcher who was 7-5 in A-ball.

Now, the Phillies must counter. It might be a good idea, too, to do so before Domonic Brown has zero (0) trade value left.

Check out my column Friday in the Daily Times and on


Daily Times editor Phil Heron gets it.

It's amazing that so few others do.

Check this out, from the Heron's Nest. Phil saw Andy Reid's welcome press conference at Lehigh ... and he nailed it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Roy Oswalt threw four rehab innings for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs Wednesday and looked good, allowing one hit (a home run) and leaving with a 3-1 lead over the Pawtucket Red Sox.

But he did not declare himself immediately ready to return to the Phillies for the first time since June 23. He has been suffering from lower back pain but was pain-free Wednesday

"I'll probably have to do another one before I get back in Philly,” Oswalt said. “But I'll see what the guys want to do when I get back and go from there."

Oswalt was expecting to throw about 60 pitches Wednesday, but instead worked four complete innings. He threw a variety of pitches, most successfully. Of his 72 pitches, 41 were for strikes.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Cliff Lee was pulled from the Phillies' 5-4 loss to the San Diego Padres Monday for a pinch-hitter.

He did not put on a party hat in celebration.

  “It's his job to do everything he can to help the team win,” Lee said of Charlie Manuel. “And he felt like that was the best decision. I don't have to accept it or like it. He makes those calls, so I don't even have to understand. He's doing his job. I'm trying to do my job. And just the competitive nature of myself, I don't want to come out after four innings. I don't know any starting pitcher that does.”

That Ben Francisco hit into a rally-squshing double play couldn't have boosted Lee's morale. Lee, though, had allowed 10 hits in four innings, and his throw to first with Chris Denorfia on third allowed the Padres' outfielder to steal home.

 “He's human,” Manuel said of Lee. “He didn't want to come out of the game. He's competitive. And that's who he is. I don't want him to want to come out of the game. He didn't like that. But at the same time, I felt that at that time it was what we wanted to do.”

Check out the complete Phillies coverage in the Daily Times Tuesday and on, including my column on what the Phillies really should do at the trade deadline if they are serious about winning a world championship.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Charlie Manuel has spent the weekend saying that if he had to, he would go into the playoffs with the offense he has.

It's as good a way as any to keep a trade-deadline-week poker face.

But even if the Phillies are showing signs of hitting again --- particularly during  the first three games of a series with the Padres that they will be in a position to sweep Monday --- there is still the haunting throught that they could return to one of their massive slumps at any time.

The one that they experienced in the final game of the last postseason against the Giants is one.

So Manuel is playing both sides ... saying that he would be satisfied with his current lineup, but hinting that he wouldn't mind some more hitting.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday and on

Friday, July 22, 2011


As scheduled, injured Joe Blanton met with Phillies doctor Michael Ciccoti Friday.

Nothing definite came out of the meeting, the right-hander said.

"Nothing," Blanton said after the Phillies' 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres Friday. “We've got to find out. We can't just meet with the doctor and say, 'Here it is.' If that was the case, it would have been easy a long time ago. We have to take more tests and see.”

Blanton has not pitched since May 14 due to an inflamed pitching elbow.

He is not sure when he will pitch again.

He will not have another MRI, which would be his third. He will undergo more tests involving movement, he said.

"Hopefully, we will get an answer and then figure out what we will do,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Phillies welcomed back Brad Lidge Friday.

Check out my column on Lidge, and the Blanton news too, in the Daily Times Saturday and on

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Philadelphia Union defeated Everton of the English Premier League, 1-0, in a friendly Wednesday at PPL Park.

Not all of the best players participated. Peter Nowak didn't even coach the Union.

But according to the Union's CEO, Nick Sakiewicz, the game said plenty. It said the Union could play against any team at any time.

Saturday night at the Linc, for instance, the Union will play none other than Real Madrid ... that Real Madrid.

"That's one of the reasons we do these games," Sakiewicz said. "Because a lot of people are skeptics who think our football is not as good as Everton or the EPL or La Liga (of Spain). And the fact of the matter is that if you are good person of foootball, you know that our football is that good."

That good?


Well, the numbers are starting to stagger. For didn't the Union defeat Glasgow Celtic, 1-0, last year?

Good for the Union, which needs such signature success to be considered with the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles among the area's serious big-league teams.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Thursday and on

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Here is the announcement, from the promoters:

Crowd favorites, Vazquez, Tony Ferrante, Angel Ocasio, Joey Dawejko and Joey Tiberi to be part of exciting show on August 12th in Chester, PA
CHESTER, PA (JULY 19, 2011)—On Friday night August 12th, boxing returns to the beautiful Harrahs in Chester, Pennsylvania where crowd favorite Victor Vasquez will headline for a third time in a eight round Lightweight bout.
The card is promoted by Joey Eye Boxing and David Feldman.
Vasquez of Philadelphia has built up one of the biggest fan bases in Philadelphia due to his exciting style which always has him in the fight of the night whenever he steps into the ring.
Vasquez twenty-eight years old has a record of 13-5-1 with seven knockouts and has been in some memorable fights in his young career.
In his last bout, Vasquez was impressive in disposing of Gustavo Dailey (4-11) in round four to headline ROUND 3 at Harrahs in Chester on June 3rd.
Vasquez waged a terrific back and forth war with Osnel Charles before dropping a six round majority decision as part as ROUND 1 at Harrah’s in Chester.
He holds victories over undefeated Thomas McCuiston (1-0); Tyric Robinson (9-4-1) as well as an exciting six round split decision over Bryne Green (5-3) on October 8th in Philadelphia.
Vasquez opponent will be named shortly.
In the six round co-feature, Tony Ferrante of Northeast Philadelphia taking part in a six round Light Heavyweight bout bout
Ferrante, 27 years old, has a record of 11-2 with six knockouts, won his first nine bouts which included wins over Anthony Pietrantonio (6-1) and he won the WBF United States title with a eight round majority decision over Billy Bailey.
Ferrante lost that title when he dropped a ten round unanimous decision to Chuck Mussachio (15-1-2).
Ferrante will be looking to make it three in a row after disposing of Joe Park as part of ROUND 3 at Harrah’s in Chester in the fourth round on June 3rd.
In his last bout, Ferrante stopped grizzled veteran Andre Hemphill in seven rounds on July 15th.
Ferrante will take on an opponent to be announced.
In a six round Lightweight bout, Angel Ocasio will see action against an opponent to be named.
Ocasio has a perfect mark of 5-0 with one knockout and is coming off a four round unanimous decision over Randolph Scott on June 3rd as part of ROUND 3 at Harrahs in Chester.
Former world amateur champion, Joey Dawejko will be back in action as he takes on an opponent to be announced in a four round Heavyweight bout.
Dawejko of Philadelphia has a record of 4-0 with one knockout.
The twenty-one year old is coming off a four round unanimous decision over Taffo Asongwed as part of ROUND 1 at Harrahs in Chester that took place on January 22nd.
Popular Lightweight Joey Tiberi will be back in action in a four round bout.
Tiberi has competed on the previous three boxing events as Harrahs in Chester has a record of 5-1 with four knockouts.
He is coming off a first round knockout over Nicholas Morris on June 25th in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The card will be rounded out by returning Jr. Welterweight Oscar Vazquez of New Castle, Delaware.
Vazquez, 4-1 will be making his first ring appearance since scoring a four round split decision over Manuel Jimenez on July 24, 2009.
 Tickets are now on sale for $100 (VIP); $60 (Ringside) and $45 (General Admission) and can be purchased at the Harrahs Chester Gift Shop; By calling Joey Eye (267-304-9399); David Feldman (610-291-0806); 800-480-8020 or on

Monday, July 18, 2011


Has there ever been a better summer to buy into the Philadelphia pro sports market?

In case you haven't noticed, there has been no Eagles news.

Yet there is the Sixers' new ownership ... in Europe. Wouldn't they be better off standing on top --- that is the very top --- of the Walt Whitman Bridge and making primal screams? It's been done before, by the way.

There is an NBA lockout, and the league is still pretending that there needs to be some formal approval. But the sale is over. And is time for that group to start the selling. And, man, does pro basketball need a spin in Philadelphia right now.

Check out my column on and in the Daily Times Tuesday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


John Mayberry had a career-high five RBIs Friday. Vance Worley looked like a young superstar pitcher. Kyle Kendrick pitched seven nice innings Sunday. Michael Martinez had four RBIs.

Antonio Bastardo has been spectacular all season --- and could make Ryan Madson expendable. Domonic Brown is still a prospect.

All of which make the Phillies deeper in available parts as the trade deadline approaches than they may have once thought.

Assistant G.M. Scott Proefrock is warning that the Phillies might just "tinker" at the deadline. But they are deep enough to charge, not wade, into that market.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday and on

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The Phillies have 15 home runs this season against left-handed pitchers, including none (0) against Jon Niese Saturday in New York.

They are on a pace for 26 for the season, or more than a 50-percent plunge from the 53 they hit last year.

Scott Proefrock, the assistant general manager, does not sound in a rush to join Ruben Amaro in a frenzied chase for some added right-handed-hitting power at the trade deadline. But one Chuck Manuel is making some interesting noises.

“You know what?" the manager said after an 11-2 loss Saturday to the Mets. "If we are going to generate runs and score more runs in the second half, we are definitely going to have to hit left-handed pitching. I don't have to talk about it. All you have to do is look. That kind of tells the story. I don't have to say anything negative about it. Just look at what it is. I mean, that tells the story and that shows that we have to improve.”

“Also, our right-handed hitters have to hit left-handed pitchers better too. If you look, Victorino has a high batting average against lefties. And I think Polanco, too. They are not in the game. The rest of them, all you have to do is check it out.”

Check out my column in the Daily Times Sunday and on

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The NFL lockout is just about over. When it ends, the greatest offseason in sports history will begin.

It will be fantasy football come to life, with teams signing players almost by the hour, then rushing to prepare them for pro football in a brief, mini-offseason.

Even the exhibition games will captivate.

Check out my column Wednesday in the Daily Times and on

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Placido Polanco is not in the Phillies' lineup Saturday, but he will play Sunday and will start for the National League in the All-Star Game Tuesday.

Suffering from back pain, Polanco said "my medication is working" and that he would head to Arizona for the All-Star Game.

He felt that it was important, though, to play at least one more game for the Phils before departing.

"It would not look good if I don't play here and then just go and play in the All-Star Game," he said.

Polanco indicated that he would take one or two All-Star Game at-bats, then continue to rest with the idea of returning to full-time action Friday night against the Mets in New York.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The eighth class of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted Nov. 10 at the Society Hill Sheraton.

These inductees were revealed Thursday:

Bill Bergey, former A's manager Jimmy Dykes, Mark Howe, Biz Mackey of the famous Hilldale Daisies of Darby and the Negro Leagues, Moses Malone, former big-league manager Joe McCarthy, sportscaster Al Meltzer, track's Ted Meredith, Wilbert Montgomery, basketball coach Speedy Morris, Ed and Steve Sabol of NFL Films, former Phillie Curt Simmons, basketball star Dawn Staley and Ora Washington, of basketball and tennis fame. Also, the Penn Relays will receive a special enshrinement.

It was interesting that of all that sports excellence, the most famous athlete in the building was not an inductee at all. It was Mister Hockey, Gordie Howe, who was there to enjoy the moment with his son Mark.

Check out my column on the Howes and their big, big summer in the Daily Times Friday and on