Saturday, September 20, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2734, September 20th, 2014


Tom Wolf and Tom Corbett. (Photo:
Monday night Governor Tom Corbett and his challenger businessman Tom Wolf are set to square off in their first debate for this year’s big race for the top job in Harrisburg.
The event will take place at the Annual Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's Annual Dinner. In its 30 year history, there has never been a larger number of people who bought tickets to their dinner. 1800 tickets have been sold for this big event.
Here’s what to watch out for. Tom Corbett is going to have to state his record in clear terms. Corbett will have to outline his Education record explaining even with the restored cuts he says he made , why teachers are not happy with his work. Wolf will have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Education was cut and explain if not defend the Rendell stimulus contribution. This is an issue that has so many blurred lines I believe it will be a challenge for both candidates to make the case. The bottom line here is that each group of supporters will believe what they want and the ads regarding education will keep running until election day. Wolf can make the case that with added Gas Drilling money, Education can be funded more efficiently.
Another hot topic will be the taxation of the Marsellius Shale industry. Wolf will be for it, Corbett will not, pointing out the taxes already charged to the gas developers. What will ensure next I believe will be a difference of opinion as to fiscal and taxation policy in the state.
Corbett will have to outline his financial plans for the Commonwealth in his next term if he gets one and Wolf will have to explain his campaign ads in more debt. How will he fund education, what types of jobs will he create and logistically how can Pennsylvania beat its chest as a business destination with fierce competition all around us in not only the Middle Atlantic region but the rest of the country.
Gubernatorial debates in the past have been yawners. Voters eyes glaze over when the candidates start talking facts and figures. But because this race is so one sided, look for a different dynamic here. Corbett down in the polls by a large margin has nothing to lose. He can be the grumpy old doctor who tells voters he knows the medicine tastes bitter but we have to take it to get better or he can be the reasoned prosecutor presenting his facts and going on the attack against Wolf.
Wolf on the other hand needs to be measured, thoughtful and kind of be a boxer avoiding the jabs and the punches thrown at him. Seeing him in his previous debates with his Democratic challengers he can take the heat. But he has to simultaneously debunk Corbett’s attacks on issues where voters have doubts about him and offer himself as a better alternative to the current Governor. Wolf, a Democrat must make the case that he can be the exception to what appears to be a GOP trend nationally in the off year elections.
There are other debates set for the rest of the year but the first one sets the tone and will be the one most covered by the pundits and the media. If it is a measured calm affair, you won’t see much interest in the other ones as the election continues. If it becomes lively, it may set the pace for the others ahead.
Bottom line is this: Corbett needs to be aggressive but not mean and present the side f him that many of his supporters say is there, that he is a good man.
Wolf needs to show the voters that he doesn’t have horns, is not the liberal tax and spend devil depicted by many right wingers and is the different kind of leader this state needs Those who have met Wolf see the potential of a 21st century 1960s era Bill Scranton type who can get things done. He needs to translate that to the people interested in the General Election.
The debate is at the Hershey Lodge and PCN will have live coverage starting at 7PM. The next debates are in the Philadelphia Oct. 1, and Oct. 8 in the western part of the state.


The Republican Party of Luzerne County, in partnership with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, will host a Gubernatorial Debate Watch Party on Monday, September 22, 2014 beginning at 7:00 PM. The debate itself begins at 7:30 PM.
The Watch Party will be held at GOP Headquarters, 41 South Main Street, in Wilkes-Barre. The Headquarters is located next door to the Thai Thai Restaurant, about one block from Public Square.
Pizza and soft drinks will be provided. The Watch Party is open to the public and admission is free.


1964 PHILLIES @ 50

'64 Phillies @ 50 logo.

Fifty years ago this week the slide of the Philadelphia Phillies began with a series of games and actions that doomed the team that already had World Series tickets printed up. From MLB, Wikipedia Philly Sports History, Johnny Goodtimes, Steve Wulf and LuLac, the slide:
On 21 September, the team returned to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series (a sweep of that series would've clinched the flag for the Phils) against the Reds as part of a seven-game home stand, which included four against the Milwaukee Braves. Then the Phillies would go on the road, play three games in St. Louis, and end the season with 2 games in Cincinnati
Art Mahaffey began his first start since a 9-1 loss to the Giants on the 12th, pitching against John Tsitouris in the first game against the Reds. It was a pitcher's duel until the 6th inning when Chico Ruiz hit a single which was followed up by Vada Pinson hitting a line drive through the pitcher's box and past second base until Johnny Callison got the ball and threw out Pinson as he tried to reach 2d base. Ruiz made it over to third on the play. Frank Robinson then came up to bat, and swung and missed for strike one. Ruiz, on third, noted that Mahaffey had not checked him before pitching. On the next pitch, Ruiz broke for home plate. Surprised, Mahaffey pitched high and wild and the Phillies' catcher, Clay Dalrymple, jumped high but missed the ball, which went back to the screen. Ruiz successfully stole Home Plate, giving the Reds the lead and the game's only run Richie (later Dick) Allen said of the play: "The play broke our humps."
Chico Ruiz's steal of home has evolved into a popular culture legend. Some Philadelphia sports fans still refer to the "Curse of Chico Ruiz" as the reason for many of their teams' misfortunes.
In the next game, manager Gene Mauch rode Robinson, Ruiz and the rest of the Reds hard from the dugout, yelling over at them constantly about Ruiz and his stealing home the night before. The Reds responded with Frank Robinson hitting a two-run homer off Chris Short, who had to be taken out in the fifth inning. The Phillies lost and their lead was down to 4 1/2 games. In the third game of the series with the Reds, things went from bad to worse, when Dennis Bennett lasted six innings with a sore arm as the Phillies lost again, 6-4, with Pinson and Ruiz hitting home runs. The lead was now down to 3 1/2 games.
Milwaukee came in next and Bunning was the starter in game one. Joe Torre drove in three runs with two triples due to misplays in the outfield in a 5-3 loss, the fourth in a row. Then Chris Short pitched on two days rest in the next game, the Phillies lost, and the losing streak was at five, with the lead now down to a game and a half. The Braves then beat the Phillies, 6-4 (Art Mahaffey starting for the Phillies), and the lead dropped to a half-game over the Reds. Bunning then came in for game four, also pitching on two days rest, and lasted three innings in a 14-8 loss. With the fourth loss against the Braves and the 7th loss in a row, the Phillies dropped to second and Reds, having swept a doubleheader, took first place by 1 game. The Cardinals were right behind, a game and a half out of first place. The Phillies had lost every game of their last home stand of the season.
The crucial series came when the now second-place Phillies traveled to St. Louis to play the Cardinals after their losing home stand. They dropped the first game of the series to Bob Gibson by a 5–1 score, their eighth loss in a row, dropping them to third place. The Cardinals would sweep the three-game set and assume first place for good.


September 21st is, quite simply, the darkest day in Philly Sports History. It was on this date, in 1964, that a mediocre utility infielder born with the name Hiraldo Sablon Ruiz did one of the stupidest things a baseball player can do, and in so doing started a chain of events that resulted in one of the most monumental collapses in the history of sports.
Born to a cigar maker in Cuba in 1938, at the time of the events in question he was a 25-year old rookie known as Chico. He is today more famous in Philadelphia than he is in his native city of Santo Domingo. If you don’t know who he is, ask your father. Or better yet, don’t. He seems happy. You’d hate to ruin his day. If your father is the salty sort, he’d probably just utter, “Chico F***ing Ruiz…I don’t want to talk about it.”
Ruiz is the gut punch in Philly that Bartman is in Chicago, and nearly as unlikely. He was a utility infielder with a .236 batting average when the Reds faced off with the Phillies that afternoon in 1964. The Phillies had Art Mahaffey on the mound, and a 6.5 game lead in the National League with 12 games to play. At 2:30 that afternoon, a young second baseman by the name of Pete Rose stepped into the batters box at Connie Mack Stadium, and the darkest day in Phils history began.
The 1964 Phils were a team whose whole was greater than the sum of its parts. The Giants had Mays, the Reds had Robinson, the Pirates had Clemente, the Braves had Aaron, the Phils had…Cookie Rojas. But it was a gritty team, the kind that Philadelphia falls madly in love with (see ’93 Phillies, 2001 Sixers). Go Phillies Go! bumper stickers started appearing on cars, and when World Series tickets went on sale in September, 90,000 were sold within hours. When their plane landed in Philly on September 19th after a West Coast swing, 2,000 fans had greeted them at the airport.
Mahaffey had his best stuff that day, and the game went into the 6th inning at double nil. With one out, Chico Ruiz got a single. Vada Pinson lined a screamer off of Mahaffey’s glove and into right field. Pinson tried to stretch it into a double, but Johnny Callison nailed him at 2nd with a perfect throw. And so, with two outs and Chico on 3rd, up to the plate stepped the dangerous Frank Robinson. Mahaffey quickly ran up two strikes on the right handed slugger, paying little attention to the Cuban dancing off of third base. Mahaffey wound up to deliver the pitch that he hoped would quell the Reds rally…and inexplicably Chico Ruiz broke for home.
If there is anything in baseball that is stupider than stealing home with 2 outs, 2 strikes, and a right hander at the plate, I can’t think of it off the top of my head. Mahaffey would explain why years later. “Chico Ruiz stole home with two outs and two strikes on Frank Robinson. Now you must realize that with two outs and two strikes, if you throw a strike Frank Robinson swings and knocks Chico Ruiz’s head off. It was just so stupid. Ruiz wasn’t even thinking. Robinson was so upset because he was one of the league’s leading hitters and near the lead in RBI and this guy’s stealing home with him hitting. It was just such a crazy thing. We didn’t know it was going to start a 10-game losing streak, but it couldn’t have started in more ridiculous way.”
Mahaffey was shaken by Rico’s brazen stupidity, perhaps scared that if he threw a strike he would be an accessory to an involuntary manslaughter. The ball went flying out of his hands, far outside of catcher Clay Dalrymple’s reach. Ruiz slid safely into home. There was a stone silence, as Phillies fans shook their heads in shock, and the Reds bench was dumbfounded by the stupidity of their 3rd basemen. “It was,” said Pete Rose years later, “The dumbest play I’ve ever seen. Except that it worked.” The Reds took a 1-0 lead, and they held it. The Phillies went 0-8 with runners in scoring position, and the game ended 1-0 in the Reds favor.
After the game, Phils manager Mauch would scream in the clubhouse, “Chico Fucking Ruiz beats us on a bonehead play of the year. Chico Fucking Ruiz steals home with Frank Robinson up! Can you believe it?” The next night, Mauch ordered his pitcher to drill him in the ribs. Ruiz smiled as he walked to first.
The “bonehead play of the year” started the monumental collapse of 1964. The Phils would lose their next 9 games as well, manager Gene Mauch would panic and start his two best pitchers (Bunning and Short) on two days rest 6 times, despite having Ray Culp waiting in the wings. The rest of the collapse is another story for another day. But today is a dark anniversary of the steal that started it all.
As for Chico Fucking Ruiz? In 1967, he became the first and only player to ever pinch hit for Johnny Bench. In 1969, he would utter one of the most hilarious sentences in baseball history. After starting for two straight weeks for injured shortstop Leo Cardenas, Ruiz stormed into the managers office with an ultimatum. “Bench me or trade me!” He was traded to the Angels, where he had a Gilbert Arenas moment with teammate Alex Johnson, allegedly pulling a gun on Johnson in the clubhouse. In 1972, he died in a car accident in San Diego. He was 33-years old. In his 8-year career, he stole home one time.
I was 10 at the time. I lived an died with the Phillies that year. I was obnoxious when they won, I was inconsolable when they lost. After the slide, I was comforted by the fact (just barely) that my father’s team the Cardinals were in the World Series against the Yankees. As a young boy it was valuable for me. Things never go the way you plan and as those philosophers of rock The Rolling Stones sang to us later, well you know what they sang. 


At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahoy there...does i sees a guy named tommie corbett on the yonki blog??? yikers!!!!!

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I very seldom read the Scranton Times, but I was glad I did today.
Chris Kelly nailed it. The reason people like Wolf is, he's not Corbett. As good a reason as I can find to vote for Tom Wolf. I dont know if he has much to offer and I dont really like him, but he aint Corbett and that settles it with me!



Post a Comment

<< Home