Cape Gazette
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People In Sports

The whammy worked! Francisco strikes out!

By Dave Frederick | Sep 14, 2012
Photo by: Dave Frederick "What's up, Mack?" Seaford goalie Mackenzie Wooters lifts off locked into a lofted shot off the stick of  Tess Bernheimer. Cape sent 38 shots on goal against the Blue Jays and will need to bring the heat and thunder against Severna Park Saturday, Sept. 15.

The whammy worked - Gary Thorne is a hockey announcer who also did the Little League World Series and is the regular play-by-play guy for the Baltimore Orioles. He is just the best - a big-time voice, great insight, tremendous enthusiasm for the game and a sense of humor on top of it. During a crucial at bat in the Tampa game Sept. 12,  Ben Francisco (yep, the former Phillie) was up in the seventh inning with two runners in scoring position in a 2-2 game with 2 outs and 2 strikes. The Orioles bird - a mangy mascot if ever there was one - did that two-arms-extended hex gesture across the roof of the dugout and Thorne said, ”The bird is putting the whammy on Francisco.” Then he excitedly bellowed, “Strike three, he got him, the whammy worked! “ I just love sports, and maybe baseball will return to prominence as the national pastime. Football is just too amped.

Manny Machado - The Orioles' shortstop, playing third base for the first time, is just 20 years old. “The kid” is a flat-out player, poised and athletic, intelligent, gracious, team-oriented and of solid character. He made a play at third in the top of the eighth against the Rays that was flat-out crazy. He charged a swinging bunt with two out and a runner on third, snagged the ball, faked the throw to first and turned to catch the runner who was heading for home on the throw that never happened. Machado, who scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, said afterward, ”I never practiced it or thought about it. I’m an athlete who just made a play.” Announcer Thorne once chanted into the microphone, ”Machado man, Machado man! I want to be a Machado man!“

GPS, I guess - Are you smarter than a Tom Tom? I’m not; that’s why that geo positioning satellite device stays on my bookshelf. I looked for the Cape at Woodbridge soccer game in Bridgeville Sept. 11. Some political wankers in funny hats outside the high school sent me to the used-to-be field, and that started me being most seriously lost between Bridgeville and Greenwood for a full first half of soccer. Finally the counter girl at Royal Farms in Greenwood threw a, “'Lectric company, railroad tracks and can’t miss it“ at me. I got lost again but saw a sign - Woodbridge Road - went Columbo, followed it and there was the game. I was in the car for so long I could barely walk when I got out - actually I could barely walk when I got in, but enough about me.

Sports is my business - But my business is not sports. I cover athletes in action, but I’m not much good at promotion, as it seems someone is always selling something and connecting it to sports. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains a section called the excessive entanglement clause; it pertains to religion getting all tied up in education so that separation of church and state gets all blurry, like Uncle Joe on Friday night. I remember years ago a race director clarifying to me, "It’s the Bud Light Sea Colony Triathlon, please. You keep leaving out the Bud Light and it's a major sponsor.” I responded, “I’m not promoting beer, just covering sports, and anyway if there was a Yodeling Lager 5K Cypress Swamp Fox fundraiser for obsessive compulsives with eating disorders I might think about it.” (Yodeling was changed by spell check from Yuengling and I see great possibilities except I can’t run or yodel and I don’t drink.)

Snippets - Big bordering on huge to humongous games are coming up for Cape sports teams as football hosts Archbishop Spalding Friday night, Sept. 14, followed by Cape hockey at Severna Park on Saturday then Cape soccer at Dover on Tuesday. They are all winnable and losable games. If Cape runs the table, strike up the school band with a medley from Dante’s "Inferno." Forget that - how about "Devil With the Blue Dress On"? The Eagles are a two-point dog at home against the Ravens Sunday, Sept. 16. Sorry, Michael. I like the Eagles to win this game just because it makes no sense. Middle school sports teams start playing games next week; you adults who have little relatives playing need to get out there. I bring a book for grandchildren to sign off on so I can get points. I’ve convinced myself they care if I’m there, but really I don’t think they do. I know as a player I never looked into the stands and sighed, “I wish Poppy was here.” Maybe because he was too busy waxing his machine - that’s what Grandmom Rose called cars. Go on now, git!

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