Who Dat?

Back in the 80s, long before the X-Games existed, Tom Haig traveled the world as an extreme athlete. He visited more than 50 countries as an international high diver, doing multiple somersault tricks from over 90 feet.

That life came crashing down one Sunday morning in 1996. While training on his mountain bike, he smashed into the grill of a truck and became paralyzed from the waist down. But less than a year later he completed a 100-mile ride on a hand-cycle and traveled by himself to Europe and the Middle East.

Since then he has continued to travel the world as a consultant, writer and video producer. He spent six months launching a Tibetan radio station in the Himalayas and shot documentary shorts on disability in Bangladesh, France, Albania, Ghana and most recently Nepal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dude - You're in the Freaking World Series!

     Pitching to a lineup of complete strangers, Philly’s Cole Hamel threw seven strong to beat a struggling Tampa Bay 3-2 in game one of the 2008 World Series, the first ever played in Tampa’s Tropicana Field. In a rarity since the advent of Interleague play the two teams have absolutely nothing in common. They didn’t play each other this year and only one player, Tampa Bay reliever Trevor Miller, has ever played for the other organization. And Miller threw just 14 innings for the Phillies back in 2000, giving up 13 runs. Most players haven’t even played in the opposite league with the exceptions of Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs who collectively have played for every Major League manager since Connie Mack.
     So with no historical information to go on the managers are forced to simply go with what got them to the dance. What we got in this atypical World Series between perennial losers was a pretty typical game one. Two rested starters pitched well and two bullpens who were just aching to get out and pitch, gave up nothing.
     The only notable oddity was that Philly stranded 11 runners with NL RBI King Ryan Howard leaving the bulk of those runners on base. The Rays, who usually use speed to manufacture runs, had just two walks, no stolen bases and only one extra base hit besides Carl Crawford’s solo homer in the 4th.
     But arguably Tampa Bay’s biggest asset went missing last night. Their rabid fan base that waited 8 years with an empty stadium and another ten years miring in last place barely raised their eyebrows during the final four innings. Tampa Bay manager Joe Madden missed a golden opportunity to rile up the crowd in the bottom of the sixth when 18-year Major League veteran umpire Kerwin Danley blew an easy balk call. Hamel clearly stepped towards the plate before reversing course and throwing to first base to catch Carlos Pena getting a jump on a steal. Pena was easily thrown out at second while Madden barely raised his voice. Lou Pinella and Earl Weaver would have charged the field and gotten the crowd out of their seats, but Madden barely raised an eyebrow. The Rays were quickly out of the inning and Tropicana Field turned into a giant sarcaughagus. When Madden calmly approached home plate umpire Tim Welke after the inning he spoke as if he was 18 games behind first place, not four wins away from a World Championship.
     No reliever gave up more than a hit with Brad Lidge saving his 50th in a row, not counting his All-Star game loss which ironically was the only blemish in Eric Gagne’s 84-consecutive save streak. Tomorrow the Rays battle back with 14-8 James Shields going against the Phillies surprising post-season hitting star 10-13 Brett Myers.

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