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

World Series - If We Must...

      It is with great reluctance that I am watching the 2008 World Series, as both teams yank my chain. First of all the Phillies knocked off my beloved Brew Crew after our first successful playoff run in 26 years. My brother Dan and I were actually in the center field bleachers at County Stadium for Game 5 of the '82 Series, the last time the Crew played in October. Gorman Thomas hit a seventh-inning bases-clearing double to get the old building shaking like the patients up in the Woods VA bleachers behind the right field wall. Since then hit we’ve been wandering the baseball Sinai until this fall when the Phillies left us like Moses sitting outside the promised land.
      The Rays get under my skin because, in their first attempt at a playoff run, they were able to keep their pitching staff healthy into September. The Brew Crew have been slowly climbing back into prominence ever since Bud Selig washed his hands of his calamitous run as a Major League Baseball owner. But our pitching staff has had a September infirmary call with the same regularity as the Canadian goose migration.
      BUT… it is the World freaking Series and no matter what collection of egotistical rhoid-raged man-whores who have taken the field over the past 40 years, I keep watching. As it ends up the game of baseball is so freaking good that even Selig himself couldn’t ruin it. And once you get to the World Series the managers, who spend the season relying on statistics, toss out their hard drives and start watching the games. Every pitch counts; starters become relievers; pitchers become pinch runners; a streaky $40,000 late-season call-up might be the better call than the slumping $17 million MVP candidate.
      And just as sure as those geese will pass over the orange-clad hunters in Lambeau Field, one, if not both, of the catchers in the World Series will be an All-Star. This year it’s the Rays Dioner Navaro, a .295 hitter with a bionic right gun who managed the most unlikely pitching staff to ever take the October field. Nobody outside of Florida has ever heard of this guy and he’s going to be the weapon to deliver the Series to Tampa – even if he bats .150. The Phillies may have three MVP caliber players in their infield in Dwight Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, but in a short series, I’m going with the catcher. The hitters may slump, but a catcher’s brain will not.
      So let the games begin. It’s the born-agains of Central Florida versus the caustic omni-haters of Philadelphia. Baseball Armageddon. Bring it ON!

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