Help me run Broad Street to fight cancer

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Finishing the 2014 Broad Street Run

I enjoyed my first Broad Street Run in 2014 so much that I planned to do it on a yearly basis. I was picked in the entry lottery in 2015, but had a day-long work commitment that Sunday.

This year, that work event was moved from its usual date making the Broad Street Run a possibility again…but I didn’t get picked for entry through the lottery system.

So, this year, I’ve entered through the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNATION program, which is a good thing. Why? Because that means I have to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Within the past year and a half, a friend and former supervisor/colleague died a month shy of her 50th birthday after fighting breast cancer for 13 years, and a longtime neighbor of mine while growing up succumbed to brain cancer at an all-too-young 61.

In short, cancer sucks — I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement on that — so help me run in this year’s Broad Street Run AND raise money for cancer research and treatment by making a donation at the link below.

Thanks!

Your 2014 Broad Street Run medal is wrong

2014 Broad Street Run medal
No…this year wasn’t the 35th anniversary of the Broad Street Run…despite what the medals say.

Yesterday, I ran in my first Broad Street Run, Philadelphia’s iconic 10-mile race.

The Broad Street Run was first held in 1980, making the 2014 race the 35th annual edition of the event. However, the medals given to finishers say “35th Anniversary” on them.

Um, no…it’s not. An anniversary can only be observed in years following the first time an event has taken place. Think about it, you celebrate your first anniversary the year after your wedding. Since this was the 35th race, it couldn’t have been the 35th anniversary. It was the 34th anniversary (do the math: 2014-1980=34).

Next year’s race will mark the 35th anniversary of the Broad Street Run, but it will be the 36th annual race…and, yes, they should just stick to using the word “annual” instead of “anniversary.” I suspect whoever designed and reviewed the medals thinks the words are interchangeable…they are not.

So my first-ever Broad Street Run medal has a rather big mistake on it.

There were a couple of other issues I saw as a first-timer that were rather shocking. Upon reaching the finish line, I was dumbfounded by the apparent inability of race staffers to keep finishers moving through the finish line area. When I got there, there was a wall of people just beyond the finish line slowly making their way to the gatorade, water and portable toilets—and to pick up their inaccurate medals. They have to do a better job of keeping runners moving through that area and making sure the finish line is clear for runners completing the race.

Also, the exit setup for runners and spectators trying to leave the Navy Yard was one of the most ill-conceived things I have ever seen at a major event. The space allotted for people entering and exiting the Navy Yard after the race was woefully inadequate. At one point, I thought it was going to take me longer to get through the exit than it did for me to run the race.

Since this event has taken place for 35 years, I expected a well-oiled machine so I was surprised there were things that were so wrong.

Anyway, I do have to acknowledge SEPTA for rising to the challenge. I’ve rarely had good SEPTA experiences, but when I got to the South Philly sports complex at 6:20 a.m., there was a bit of a line at the AT&T (Pattison Ave.) Station. But the trains were there and ready for passengers, so the line moved extremely quickly. So, as far as my experience yesterday is concerned, SEPTA did a very good job getting runners up to the starting line in North Philly and I want to give them credit for that.

Overall, though, it was fun and I would definitely do it again. I just hope they address the issues mentioned above…and make sure they know what words mean when designing the medals.

Midge Ure at World Cafe Live in Philly, 1-10-2013

Midge Ure  – “Vienna” (World Cafe Live, Philly – 1/10/2013

Thanks to my wife for allowing me to get a night to myself, I was able to go down to Philly to see the legendary Midge Ure, backed by Los Angeles-based band Right the Stars (who also served as opening act), perform at World Cafe Live last night.

What an amazing show and it was really special seeing an artist with such a lengthy pop/rock music pedigree performing in such an intimate venue. For those who don’t know, Midge Ure is best known as the lead singer and driving force behind the best-known iteration of 80s synth-pop heroes Ultravox and as the man who was essentially ordered by Bob Geldof to write what became “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”—the charity track recorded by Band Aid and produced by Ure in 1984.

However, Ure also spent time in groups like Visage, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy and Slik. He even reportedly turned down an invitation to become lead singer of the Sex Pistols in 1975. In short, the guy has been around for a long time and has done an awful lot with his immense talent.

This was only my second time seeing Ure in concert. The other time was when he opened for Howard Jones at what was then called the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., on June 16, 1989. But, damn…Midge still brings it.

The video above is Midge Ure—with Right the Stars—performing Ultravox’s classic 80s hit, “Vienna,” at World Cafe Live last night. The clip comes from YouTube user vwall10411, who I’ve turned to a lot for videos from Philly-area concerts, and there are a few more videos after the jump.

From Setlist.fm, here is the set list from last night’s show…

I See Hope in the Morning Light (missing on Setlist.fm)
Love’s Great Adventure (Ultravox)
Call of the Wild
Breathe
Fade To Grey (Visage)
Cold Cold Heart
Answers To Nothing
Just For You
No Regrets (Tom Rush cover that was a No. 9 UK hit for Midge Ure in 1982)
Vienna (Ultravox)
Dear God
One Small Day (Ultravox)
Hymn (Ultravox)
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox)
If I Was

Encore:
Do They Know It’s Christmas?* (Band Aid, written by Midge Ure & Bob Geldof; produced by Midge Ure)

* – solo acoustic performance

Continue reading “Midge Ure at World Cafe Live in Philly, 1-10-2013”

My first Peter Gabriel concert…25 years ago today

Although I first saw Peter Gabriel live at the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope show at Giants Stadium in June 1986, it wasn’t until July 21, 1987, at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia that I got to enjoy the full PG concert experience.

And it was amazing. And in the 25 years since that show, I have seen Peter Gabriel in concert seven times* and each show blows me away.

* One of the seven shows was Peter Gabriel backed by his New Blood Orchestra in June 2011.

Peter Gabriel will be returning to the United States later this year for a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of the tour supporting his classic 1986 album, So. And it was 25 years ago today, that my sister and I sat in row 16 on the floor in the Spectrum and took in the spectacle that is Peter Gabriel—backed by Tony Levin on bass, David Rhodes on guitars, founding E Street band member David Sancious on keyboards and Manu Katché on drums/percussion—in concert.

At this point, I need to correct something I have misstated over the years on my various blogs. There is a lot of video on YouTube of a Peter Gabriel show at the Spectrum in July 1987 that I always thought was from the concert I was at. Well, I messed that up. The YouTube video is from the July 20, 1987, show in Philly…my sister and I went to the show the following night, July 21.

However, I recently discovered that a bootleg of the July 21, 1987, show I was at has been floating around for years, and I just happened to come into possession of it within the past few weeks. This means I can relive the experience of that show whenever I want to, which is kind of cool.

In any case, I will get to relive the experience when I see Peter Gabriel—with the same backing band—perform So in its entirety along with other PG classics at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly on September 21. With family commitments ever increasing, it will likely be my last opportunity to see Peter Gabriel in concert so I splurged for fourth-row tickets…can’t wait.

So…here are some videos from PG’s July 20, 1987, show at the Spectrum in Philly—the night before I attended my first Peter Gabriel concert.

Peter Gabriel – This Is The Picture (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)
Trivia: Manu Katché is using a guitar-shaped MIDI controller then called the Dynacord Rhythm Stick to trigger sounds from a drum machine…it was later renamed The JAMMA.

Peter Gabriel – Red Rain (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)

Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)
Always loved this arrangement.

Peter Gabriel – No Self Control (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)
This basically kicks ass.

Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)
A highlight of any Peter Gabriel show…such a great song.

Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer (Spectrum – July 20, 1987)
Even though this isn’t among my top 10 favorite Peter Gabriel songs…it always kicks ass live.

Peter Gabriel – Lay Your Hands on Me
This isn’t from the 7/20/87 show at the Spectrum. It is from the POV concert video, but back in his younger days, PG would do some crowdsurfing whenever he performed this song…the laying on of hands at the 5:44 mark of the clip. He did this at our show and it was awesome, so I had to include it here.

Why I won’t be tweeting much until July

A couple of months ago, I realized I was going to send my 10,000th post to Twitter at some point this year. At the time, I thought the milestone would come no sooner than mid-July, but I just happened to check the other day and noticed I was only 25 tweets away. That’s probably due to an unexpectedly high number of tweets related to the craptacularness of the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies.

After tonight’s huge Sixers 79-78, playoff series-clinching win over the Bulls in Game 6, my tweet count stands at 9,983. Once this post is published, it will also go to Twitter and put me at 9,984.

I estimate that 98 percent of these 9,984 tweets were inconsequential and unimportant. So I have decided that I want my 10,000th tweet to mean something. I would hate to think I may casually use that milestone to tell the world for about the 1,000th time that Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick sucks or use it to retweet a funny quip by a fellow fan or beat writer.

Since my wife and I are expecting our first child in early July, I would like to use that 10,000th tweet to announce the birth of my son or daughter (it’s a surprise). Therefore, I’m going to refrain from doing a lot of tweeting until that day comes.

I’ll still be reading my timeline and chiming in every now and then…hopefully, after another Sixers playoff round win…or two…or three?! But once I hit 9,995 tweets, I’m going to stop tweeting entirely until my wife goes into labor. Fortunately, the Phillies being so bad is actually helping at this point, as I’ve entered that phase where I now feel they’re just not worth tweeting about.

So if you don’t see me on Twitter much over the next eight weeks or so, this post explains my absence.

And, if you missed it when I posted this here in late December 2011, here is the horror/sci-fi teaser trailer I made to tell my family and friends about our new addition…because I’m a huge geek…

Baby Kelley Teaser Trailer

24 years of Peter Gabriel fandom: “No Self Control” (7/20/87)

Well, today officially marks my 24th anniversary as a Peter Gabriel fan and I have decided that my PG video posts this week shall be a chronological journey of my fandom. Yesterday’s video was of PG’s performance of “Biko” the first time I ever saw him live, at the Amnesty International concert at Giants Stadium on June 15, 1986. Today’s video is from the first actual Peter Gabriel concert I ever attended — July 20, 1987, at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The video quality isn’t all that great, but the mere fact that this footage exists — and on YouTube (thanks to YouTube user Magog64) — is amazing. Here is one of my all-time favorite PG songs, “No Self Control”…and if you ever have time to kill, you should check out all the videos from this show…just incredible stuff.

Peter Gabriel – “No Self Control” (Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA, 7/20/87)

A night with Coco!

This past Monday night, my wife and I went to the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pa., for Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour. I love Conan O’Brien and never got the chance to see a taping of his show when he was based in New York and figured if there was any bright side to the whole “Tonight Show” debacle of 2010, it was that this tour would give me the chance to see him live.

But I didn’t really know what to expect. YouTube videos and stories about the tour seemed promising, but I still wasn’t sure how Conan would be outside the context of a television show format. I just knew I wanted to support him during this time of transition.

At the start of the show, Conan told the audience that it was the first time people ever paid to watch him perform (while referencing the fact that people have paid him to go away) and he had set a goal of making the prices we paid for tickets “sort of worth it.” Well, after the show was over, I determined that I may have underpaid for my tickets. Conan and Company were absolutely freakin’ amazing…and it was the best live entertainment event I have ever attended…by far!

Here are just a few notes from the evening:

  • I always knew his band was awesome…but they could pretty much blow any band out of the water.
  • Conan came out wearing a Flyers jersey and soon did a quick impersonation that seemed to be of a certain, unfunny, backstabbing late-night talk show host. But apparently we were mistaken, as Conan explained: “Now, that is not who you think it is…that’s actually my impression of the rapper Ludacris…I hope you all have my back on that one in court.”
  • Andy Richter did a live commercial for a 5-pound Tony Luke’s cheese steak that ended with: “And don’t forget, we also sell 2- and 3-pound cheese steaks…for pussies!”
  • TRIUMPH! It was via video, but the Insult Comic Dog did a bit that included the classic “insert audio of city name, famous restaurant/landmark here” joke, which was hysterical. For instance, “I know everything about the state of [PENNSYLVANIA]…the state animal is [ALLEN IVERSON].”
  • TINA FEY! I kept telling Alison that I thought she would show up since the show was in her hometown, and I was so happy to be right. As soon as he brought out what is now called the Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle for legal reasons (on “Late Night,” Conan used to pull this lever and a random clip from the old TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger” would play…with hysterical results) — and said they would need some help, I knew he was going to bring out Tina. And then when he said “the funniest woman on the planet,” Alison and I just looked at each other and started going nuts.
  • OK, and for the finale…during Conan’s final song of the encore, we see him go out into the crowd and I thought to myself, “Damn! I wish I had splurged for orchestra seats” since we were in the first row of the lower balcony. About 20 seconds later, CONAN O’BRIEN WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO US! He ran up to the freakin’ balcony, high-fiving people…I just missed being able to pat him on the back (I came up about 5 inches short). The seats across the aisle from us were empty and there was short wall in front of the first row so he climbed up and stood on top of that, prompting cheers from the crowd. I was too stunned to get my phone’s camera going in time so I lost my chance at an awesome picture.

It was just an amazing night of comedy and music…and Conan proved once again that he has more talent in his floppy red hair than in all of that hack who is still doing Bill Clinton jokes at 11:35. In fact, I will say that Conan O’Brien may be the best entertainer of his generation.

Anyway, here are some videos that members of Monday night’s audience have uploaded to YouTube (and, yes, there is some adult language in these clips)…enjoy:

Conan’s Intro Video


P.S. The song Conan walks out on stage to is “Army” by Ben Folds Five…another element of the sheer awesomeness of the night.

Conan Explains Bringing the Tour to Upper Darby

Conan Talks About His Beard and Making That Night’s Show “Sort of Worth It”

Andy Richter’s Commercial for Tony Luke’s 5-lb. Cheese Steak

Conan Presents the “Bat Out of Hell” Inflatable Bat

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Talks About [PHILADELPHIA]

Tina Fey Returns Home to Pull the “Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle”

Conan Sings “I Will Survive”

If reports are true, Phillies are making huge mistake

OK…most baseball fans are aware of the reportedly impending trade of Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies and the reported companion trade (right now, this does not appear to be a 3-team deal) of Phillies ace Cliff Lee to Seattle.

While I love Lee and appreciate what he did for the Phillies in his short time with them, I understood that the Phillies needed to a) create payroll space to fit Halladay’s contract, and b) acquire prospects from another team to fulfill Toronto’s trade demands.

Also, it sounds like the Phillies were not confident Lee would sign a contract extension. Lee is good friends with CC Sabathia, who signed a 7-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees last offseason, and he was quoted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in August that he was looking to enter free agent market after the 2010 season.

So I was OK with the “Trade Lee” scenario if it meant getting Halladay and signing him to an extension while leaving the Phillies’ top prospects (P Kyle Drabek, OF Michael Taylor, C Travis D’Arnaud) safely down on the farm.

Keep in mind, back in July 2009, when the Phillies pursued Halladay the first time, Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. kept saying Drabek and Taylor were “untouchable.” So instead of giving in to Toronto’s demands, Amaro turned around and traded for Lee by sending second-tier prospects (P Jason Knapp, P Carlos Carrasco, C Lou Marson and SS Jason Donald) to the Cleveland Indians.

Lee went on to be a stud for the Phillies in the playoffs and World Series while Halladay remained untraded in Toronto.

Everyone knew the Phillies would stay in the hunt for Halladay during the offseason, so it doesn’t surprise me that a deal is apparently in the works. But when FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal mused a few days ago that he had a hunch the Phillies might trade Lee in order to create the payroll space to add Halladay, I was among many who didn’t think it made any sense. In the World Series against the Yankees, what hurt the Phillies was not having a clear No. 2 pitcher behind Lee. I assumed the objective was to have Halladay AND Lee in 2010.

But the more I thought about it, the more I was OK with trading Lee…ONLY if it meant the Phillies would be sending the prospects acquired in a Lee trade to Toronto as part of a package for Halladay. I could even support sending Taylor or D’Arnaud as part of such a package.

However, as more and more sportswriters started reporting what they were hearing about the Halladay deal, which started coming to light Monday afternoon, it became apparent that this blockbuster is not shaping up to be a three-team trade. It was starting to become much more evident that the Phillies had worked out a separate deal with Seattle that would send Lee to the Mariners for second-tier prospects in order to cut payroll.

The latest reports indicate the Phillies are still going to be trading either Drabek or J.A. Happ, Taylor, and D’Arnaud to the Blue Jays in exchange for Halladay, who appears likely to sign an extension with the Phillies reported to be in the 3-year, $60 million range.

Now, I’m ecstatic about the Phils getting Halladay and that kind of contract for one of the best pitchers in baseball is awesome.

But if the Phillies were going to wind up trading Drabek et al for Halladay now when they were “untouchable” in July, my question is…why didn’t the Phillies get both Lee and Halladay last July? If the Phillies had made both moves, I’m pretty sure there would be a good chance the Phillies would be two-time defending World Series champions right now.

And they would probably be in the position they are in right now…signing one of the aces to a long-term deal while trading away the other one. But the Phillies would have had a few months with both Lee and Halladay, and likely would have had another ring to show for it. It would have made losing the prospects more palatable.

But now? What’s the point? The Phillies appear to still be selling the farm for Halladay and sending Lee to Seattle in what is a thinly disguised salary dump. Sure, Amaro may say something like, “The Blue Jays were adamant in their demands so I made the best deal possible with Lee to replenish the farm system and make the deal with Toronto.”

But here’s the thing…the Lee trade — as it appears right now — does not replenish the farm system. The Phillies will be getting second-tier prospects back for their ace while trading their top-shelf prospects for Halladay. I mean, if the Seattle prospects were close to the value of Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud, why aren’t any of them going to the Blue Jays? The answer is Toronto doesn’t want them.

The quality of prospects mentioned coming over to Philly from Seattle — reportedly pitcher Phillipe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies (“Gillies the Phillies” must have appealed to Amaro?), and possibly pitcher Juan Ramirez — is not even close to what the Phils’ farm would be losing.

Essentially, if this all goes down the way it is being reported right now, it means the Phils will have given up Drabek (or Happ), Taylor, D’Arnaud, Knapp, Carrasco, Marson, Donald — and CLIFF LEE — for Roy Halladay (through 2013) and two or three second-tier prospects (and cash and payroll flexibility).

That is an awful, awful deal. And the timing makes it even worse.

Again, I would have been OK with trading Lee in a true three-team deal that would have lightened the Phillies’ cost in terms of prospects going to Toronto. But if Halladay is going to cost the Phillies their top prospects anyway, I say just keep Cliff Lee, bite the bullet on payroll in 2010 and beat the freakin’ Yankees in October.

UPDATE: It’s becoming obvious that Amaro is misreading the value of these two deals because he’s not factoring Lee into what is becoming a staggering price to pay for Halladay in terms of prospects. While trading away the farm is never a good idea, keeping Lee while obtaining Halladay is the most beneficial scenario for the Phillies — except from a payroll standpoint. So if that’s the case, why didn’t Amaro simply non-tender Joe Blanton — whose 2010 salary is basically equal to Lee’s — or trade him for a bag of baseballs to create the payroll space needed to keep Halladay and Lee in the Phillies’ rotation in 2010? Maybe the problem is that Amaro is caught between trying to do what Phillies ownership want (keep payroll in line with the budget) and what’s best for the organization (keep the farm system stocked). He’s trying to do both and that might not be the best thing to do. He should be looking at these deals as what would be the best value for the Phillies…and, at this point, acquiring Halladay and keeping Lee for 2010 provides the best value.

Also, Jayson Stark said on ESPN Radio this morning that the Phillies are getting the Mariners’ top two pitching prospects (Aumont, Ramirez) and an outfielder similar to Taylor (Gillies). Well, I saw video of Aumont last night and his mechanics have all the hallmarks of Tommy John surgery in a year or two. Ramirez is supposedly the better of the two pitchers, and Gillies comparable to Taylor? I have seen Michael Taylor play and the kid is a stud so that’s a lot to live up to for Gillies.

Beating the Mets sounds great in any language

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Comcast SportsNet-Philly featured a chat with the lead announcer for the Phillies’ Spanish-language affiliate during last night’s Phillies-Mets game, which the Phillies won 6-3 after Raul Ibanez hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 10th inning.

After Ibanez hit the home run, CSN played the Spanish version of the call, which The Fightins has posted online (thanks!).

Today is my 30th anniversary…as a Phillies (and Philly) fan

Phillies logos during my 30 years of "phandom."
Phillies logos during my 30 years of "phandom."

For the first eight years of my existence, my dad raised me to be a New York Mets fan, believe it or not. Growing up in Brick, N.J., we would make one or two trips each summer to Shea Stadium to watch the Mets play, but I never really got into it. Strangely, though, my favorite player from those awful Mets teams in the mid-to-late 1970s was catcher John Stearns. More on that later.

But my dad grew tired of making the drive up to Shea from our house in Brick, which was located close to Route 70, an east-west state highway that extended all the way to Pennsauken, N.J. From there, one would merge for a short time onto Route 38, pick up Route 130 South, and then head on over the Walt Whitman Bridge to South Philadelphia. In other words, it was an easy 90-minute drive. Hence, my dad decided we were going to see the Mets play the Phillies at Veterans Stadium on Sunday, April 22, 1979.

Initially, I was upset — mostly because I was a temperamental 7-year old (I would turn 8 in July). But Shea Stadium was the only ballpark I knew and that’s where I wanted to go.

However, once we got to “The Vet,” something happened. First of all, compared to Shea, The Vet was spectacular (The Vet may have been a dump in reality, but Shea was — by far — the bigger dump.) Plus, there was the Phanatic! That was fun. And the Phillies had a pretty good pitcher on the mound that day…future Hall of Fame southpaw Steve “Lefty” Carlton. And I remember Pete Rose, in his first year with the Phillies, diving into the first couple of rows of seats along the first-base side to catch a foul pop. And for the first seven innings, Carlton and the Phillies were cruising along with a 2-0 lead going into the eighth. I immediately switched allegiances and became a Phillies fan.

That’s probably where the day went wrong for the Phils, as the Mets went up 4-2 in the eighth, when Carlton surrendered three runs before reliever Ron Reed gave up an unearned run in the frame. That would turn out to be the final score, but it didn’t matter…I had a new team.

(By the way, I didn’t remember all those details…most are courtesy of the great Retrosheet.org.)

And when we left the stadium, we wound up walking next to offices for the Eagles. I asked my dad who they were and he said they were Philadelphia’s football team. I asked about the arena across the street and he told me that’s where the Sixers and Flyers play. So, really, April 22, 1979, marks the day I became a fan of all Philly teams — and of sports, in general.

But Phillies baseball became my greatest passion that day. And, because I was at the game, I hadn’t yet heard the legendary broadcast team of Harry Kalas and Richie “Whitey” Ashburn calling the Phillies games…that was another plus of being a fan of the team.

Although my dad was still primarily a Mets fan, he began to like the Phillies, too, and we went back to The Vet a few more times that year — and for many years after that (my dad has pretty much become a Phillies fan these days…his days as a Mets fan ended when they fired Bobby Valentine as manager). The Phillies — after winning three straight NL East titles from 1976-78 — finished in a disappointing fourth place in 1979. Of course, in 1980, they became world champions of baseball for the first time in the franchise’s long history.

And that brings me back to Mets catcher John Stearns. As I mentioned, he was my favorite Mets player around 1977 and ’78. Since I wasn’t a big sports fan back then, I never looked at Stearns’ career statistics or history. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that Stearns was drafted in 1973 by — guess who — the Philadelphia Phillies. In December 1974, he was traded to the New York Mets. The key player the Phillies received from the Mets in that trade? Relief pitcher Tug McGraw, who struck out Willie Wilson in the ninth inning to clinch the Phillies’ World Series title in 1980.

So, before I became a Phillies fan, my favorite player on the Mets turned out to be a former Phillie (Stearns played one game with the Phils in September 1974) whose trade allowed for the iconic image of Tug McGraw’s celebratory leap upon winning the 1980 World Series to become a reality.

I guess it was just meant to be.