Thursday, August 04, 2005

Great shot

A picture worth looking at from Barbara Johnston of the Inquirer photo staff.




Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb gets help with his gear from fan Victoria Christensen, 9, of Lansdale, after morning practice at Lehigh University.

Boys will be boys

Can't you just get a long with your sister?!

Sound familiar? That is exactly what the Indy Racing League is saying to four of its drivers. Mike Harris of the Associated Press reports that Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta skipped a recent autograph session because they felt new female driving sensation Danica Patrick was receiving special treatment.

It seems that more fans wanted her autograph than the signature of her male counterparts. She was given her own line and fans were given wristbands for priority. The guys didn't like that and left the session, deciding to sign autographs at their own souvenir trailers.

IRL rightly fined the drivers.

Get over it guys. Patrick is putting fans in the stands and eyeballs on the screen. Face it, you weren't doing it. You also better watch your back on the track. She is gaining on you.

Groan or groin

Today's Terrell Owens update from training camp has to do with his groin. It hurts. He left the morning practice and didn't practice in the afternoon, but Eagles coach Andy Reid said it is a legit injury.

"T.O. has a history with his groin," Reid said. "He has strained his groin and it's a legitimate injury. He has had a chronic history of this and he works like crazy to get it strong, but it's an issue and we will work through it."

Reid said that the all-pro wide receiver is listed as day-to-day.

That is for all of you that are questioning T.O.'s commitment to camp. Would a pay raise help it heal?

I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. It was just the cynic in me.

Bobby's back

Bobby Abreu's back! A day after being called out by this Blog and Inquirer national baseball writer Jim Salisbury (and some of you), he belted a grand slam to help beat the Cubs, 6-4.

It is Abreu's first homer in a month, not counting the 41 he hit in the All-Star Home Run Derby. And it mattered. Now, how about an encore?

Sixers-Flyers marketing guru resigns

I'm not sure what, if anything, to read into this, but it is worth a read. This comes from Comcast-Spectacor:

COMCAST-SPECTACOR ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF DAVE COSKEY

(PHILADELPHIA, PA - August 4, 2005) Comcast-Spectacor announced today that Dave Coskey, President of Comcast-Spectacor Marketing, will resign his position to pursue new challenges in the industry. Coskey, who built a nationwide reputation for innovation and creativity in the marketing of both the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers, will continue to serve Comcast-Spectacor as a consultant.

"Dave has been an integral part of the growth and success of Comcast-Spectacor as a leader in the sports and entertainment industry," said Ed Snider, Chairman of Comcast-Spectacor. "He will be sorely missed, but we understand his desire to pursue new opportunities and wish him well in his new endeavors. We also plan to continue to utilize Dave's many talents and incredible creativity, albeit in a consulting capacity."

Coskey has served as President of Comcast-Spectacor Marketing since May 2003, overseeing the marketing and public relations activities of all of the organization's teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Philadelphia Phantoms. Coskey first joined the organization in 1996, serving as vice president of communications, and has been a leading force in creating a range of innovative and fan-friendly activities that have helped the 76ers enjoy outstanding fan support over the last ten years.

"While Dave has helped to lead our company through a tremendous period of growth and change with his creative thinking and remarkable innovation, he has also trained an outstanding marketing and public relations staff," said Comcast-Spectacor President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Luukko. "With the foundation Dave leaves behind, we, as a company, will continue to be at the forefront of the sports and entertainment industry. We all wish Dave the best of luck."

"I greatly value the opportunity I have had to work with Ed Snider, Peter Luukko and the entire Comcast-Spectacor team," said Coskey. "I've been with the organization in one capacity or another for more than half of my professional life, and I just think that it is time to try something new. The hardest part is that I'm leaving a company that I love, people I respect and admire, and people who are my friends.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Comcast-Spectacor on new, innovative ideas to enhance the fan experience and create greater entertainment value," Coskey said.

Coskey has played an integral role in the area of attendance enhancement. Over the past five seasons, the team has increased its overall attendance by 65 percent, setting average attendance records each consecutive year. In 2000-01, the Sixers had franchise records for total (805,692) and average (19,651) attendance. With their march to the NBA Finals, the Sixers surpassed the million-fan mark for the first time in its history in 2001.

Much of this success can be attributed to the creativity that has become a cornerstone of the Sixers' marketing and promotional efforts under Coskey's leadership. In the past ten years, fans have been consistently treated to innovative giveaways such as the successful Allen Iverson Bobblehead, extraordinary game presentation, and a high-energy atmosphere in the Wachovia Center.

After serving as the Sixers director of public relations and assistant director of marketing from 1986 to 1988, Coskey served as vice president of marketing at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. He returned to the Sixers in 1996 and was selected by his peers to serve on the NBA's Marketing Advisory Board in 1999. Coskey's talents were again recognized in 2003 when he received a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Outstanding Promotional Announcement.

A graduate of Villanova University, Coskey and his wife Monica currently reside in Avalon, N.J., along with their three sons David, Michael and Stephen.

Philly Hall of Fame

As part of this blog, there will be occasion when I receive a press release that is worthy of your interest. Here is one of those.

This comes from the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Get out and vote.


As a proud sponsor of the Neil Stein/Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge at Citizens Bank Park, Saturday August 6th, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame will provide the public its only opportunity to nominate in-person someone for consideration into the Hall. Normally, the nomination process is done via the Internet at www.phillyhall.org or via regular mail at: Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, 410 Waverly Road Wyncote, PA 19095.

As part of the Hall’s nomination process, input from fans is a major factor, with those receiving the most nominations included on the annual election ballot.

To date, those receiving the most nominations via the general public are legendary local announcer John McAdams, former Phillies slugger Richie ‘Dick’ Allen, and Philly native and all-time Dodger great, Roy Campanella. Others receiving nominations include Reggie Jackson, Tommy Loughran and Reggie White.

The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame will also have a mini-museum, displaying a sampling of the most unique collection of sports memorabilia and artifacts in the area, featuring items from over 100 years of Philadelphia Sports. This is a unique opportunity for Philly sports fans to learn about the Hall of Fame, talk with the Hall’s Executive Staff, and find out new and fun ways to get involved, as we will also be accepting requests for volunteers to donate their time.

“We are very excited to be involved with the Youth Golf & Academics Program on this barbecue contest,” says Steve Tallant, the Hall of Fame’s Senior Director for Foundation Development. “The Hall of Fame sponsors several youth-focused programs, and this is a great way for Philly Sports fans to get to know the Hall of Fame, enjoy some great food, and support a worthy cause.”

The goal of the Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge is to raise $75,000 to benefit Maddox's Camden, N.J.-based charity, the Youth Golf & Academics Program. The YGAP provides free after-school activities, such as golf lessons and literacy tutoring for inner-city children. The annual barbecue has been a key fund-raising event, helping to raise tens of thousands dollars for the program which helps cover the costs of snacks, supplies and teachers’ salaries.

Information about the Youth Golf & Academics Program is available at: http://www.pomerantz.com/ygap.html or by calling 856-756-0222.

Billy Ball

Lost in the coverage of Terrell Owens and the Flyers acquisition of Peter Forsberg is Billy Wagner and his contract negotiations. Wagner set the ground rules yesterday, telling the Phillies they have until the end of the month to get a deal done.

He said the Phillies' first offer was not acceptable.

"It's pretty far apart. Not to get into numbers or anything like that, but there's a lot of movement that needs to be made," Wagner said Wednesday.

The only move that needed to be made was trade Wagner last week. The Phillies blew that one. He was one player that could have brought some new talent to the roster. Sure, my hindsight is 20-20, but it is obvious that Wagner is not all that excited about returning to Philadelphia.

On more than one occasion this season, he has questioned the heart of his teammates. That was a big hint that he was not happy. Even though he has said he would like to be back, general manager Ed Wade needed to read between the lines.

Ugueth Urbina has pitched well and could fill the closer spot for the rest of year, making Wagner, a hot commodity, expendable.

It won't happen now. Wagner would never clear waivers. Now it is left to Wade to get the deal done so the Phillies don't lose one of the premier players in the game for absolutely nothing.

Wagner has made it clear that if he finishes the season without a new contract, he will test the free-agent market.

"I think (Wade) understands that if I play this whole season out, I'm not going to sit there and turn free agency down. That would be stupid on by part."

And it would be stupid if Wade does not listen and get this deal done.

Sooner the better.