Warner Hotel-Harrisburg and 1967 Minnesota Vikings

The Warner Hotel was to Democrats what the Senate was to Republicans.  Also like the Senate, it went downhill in the mid-60s.  Unlike the Senate,  it had a bar that was as seedy as the hotel itself.  I was in there once  and it looked dangerous.  I think the Warner stood there so long because it was on the National Register of Historic Places.  Earlier mentioned was that Charles Dickens stayed at the hotel during his visit  to the United States in 1842.  At that time,  owners called it the Bolton Hotel. It looked as if 1842 was the last time it was renovated.   Mercifully, some company tore it down in the late 1980s and the it  became a parking lot. It was a blight right in Center City.

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The Minnesota Vikings hired Bud Grant as head coach and Joe Kapp replaced Fran Tarkenton as the quarterback in subject year.  The Vikings were 3-8-3 but started the move to a dynasty.  Minnesota also eliminated a team from the playoffs just by getting a tie.

Week 5 At Green Bay

The Packers were  three wins and a tie to a drab four losses for Minnesota. The Vikings gave up an 86 yard touchdown pass fr0m Zeke Bratkowski to Carrol Dale and nothing else.  Odd statistics-Minnesota ran for 158 yards to 42 for Green Bay.  GB passed for 240 yards to an unbelievable 25 yards for the Vikings.  Minnesota defeated Green Bay 10 to 7.

Week 6 at home against the Baltimore Colts.

The Colts came in with four wins and a tie.  The Vikings were  1-4. The game statistics were remarkably close,  with a tie at 20.   Baltimore and Los  Angeles  both finished at 11-1-2 in the Coastal Division.  The Rams bested the Colts in head to head competition with a tie and a win.  This tie game in Week 6 kept the Colts from making the playoffs.

Later in 1967,  the Minnesota Vikings came from behind  24 to 7  late in the third quarter and won 27 to 24.

Senator Norris vs President Wilson II

Upon returning to Washington in March of 1917,   Senator George Norris found President Wilson even more determined to bring the United States into World War I.  As mentioned,  the President had lied and exaggerated stories stories of German atrocities.   The Zimmerman note, despite its unbelievable suggestion and doubtful source, really turned both Houses of Congress in the President’s favor.  The letter came through British telegraph which should have caused some deep suspicion.   The note was from the German Secretary of Defense Arthur Zimmerman to the President of Mexico.  It proposed a German-Mexican Alliance for Mexico to regain territory lost to the United States in the Mexican War.   This involved land in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  This was almost impossible feat.  Nevertheless, a fusing of patriotism and fear can overrule common sense.

There was a move to expel Norris’ fellow Republican Robert M LaFollette from the Senate which failed.  LaFollette, like Norris, opposed the military build up.   No one had any valid charges to propose the expulsion in the first place. Based on hysteria,  the vote to approve President Wilson’s  Declaration of War was 373 to 50 in the House and 88 to 6 in the Senate.  Norris and LaFollete were especially outspoken in their opposition to what they called Wilson’s War. Senator Norris immediately stated that there was there was a dollar sign on the American flag.  Adding to problems from WWI was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.   The overthrow of the Czar caused a double crush of Civil Liberties and Basic Freedoms in this country.  Fellow Senators spoke to Norris only in private.  When riding public transportation, other riders stayed away him.  The press barbequed any dissenters Capitol Hill; not surprisingly giving special attention to Norris and LaFollette. More Later

Manny Mota-Great Pinch Hitter

The only pressure comparable to place kicking in football is pinch hitting in baseball.   Pinch hitters  come to the plate in situations where at least getting on base is almost imperative.  They often are slightly out of rhythm compared to the line up players.   They have not played in the game and may not have seen action for several previous games.  Generally, they do not stay in the line up.  All of their energy and concentration lazers  on one plate appearance or even a single pitch.  The major difference between a baseball pinch hitter and football kicker is the obviously the number of games. 

Manny Mota

At one time, Manny Mota had the record for most life time pinch hits.  Mota had 150 pinch hits in 505 at bats for a .297 average.  Overall,  MM had  a .304 average with 31 home runs.  Manny played from 1962 to 1979 and for 12 of those 18 seasons hit over .300.  I believe twice Mota had the highest batting average in the league but naturally did not have enough plate appearances to quality for the title. 

The reason Mota rarely hit the starting lineup was his fielding, which was not the best.  Mota played for the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Montreal Expos, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He credited Pirate manager Harry Walker with developing him into a great hitter.

When Mota broke Smokey Burgess’ record of 145 pinch hits in 1979,  President Carter invited him to the White House.  Manny Mota was in good company that day.  Carl Yastrzemski  came with him ofter his 3,000 th base hit.  Here are some of the quotes from  Manny Mota.

“Pinch hitting is more mental than physical. You have to put all the preparation and positive thinking into one at-bat.”

MY COMMENT-The pressure must be very heavy as a PH concentrates on one appearance.  I really think they have to put themselves in a bubble.

“I loved the pressure, hitting in the clutch with a man in scoring position and the game on the line. I had confidence in that situation.”

MY COMMENT-A pinch hitter has to  love the challenge and the applause that comes with success. Nevertheless, there is always a greater chance of making an out rather than a hit.  As with success,  failure really shows up here.  They cannot let it rattle them.

“When you’re a pinch hitter, the first thing to keep in mind is that you’re up there to swing the bat. Go down swinging if you have to, but remember the worst thing that can happen to a pinch hitter is to get called out on strikes. Nobody can fault you as a pinch hitter if you’re aggressive, if you bear down, swing the bat, and make good contact.”

MY COMMENT-Nothing is worse than the umpire calling any batter out on strikes.  It shows they really misjudged the pitch. 

“Concentration is the key. . .You have to swing at good pitches and you have to know the pitchers.”

MY COMMENT-This goes for every player.  Even the dugout,  players should keep their minds on game.   They should be watching films of teams when not playing.

Rating China Towns

Boston-This China Town was very close to Boston Commons.  As I recall, there were numerous open markets and some sold live chickens ringing them on site.

New York-Large and dirty with a foul smell.  Avoid it.

The China Towns in both Philadelphia and Washington are just away from center city.

Philadelphia-This Chinatown was good in its time and now even better.  Owners bought the old TROC Burlesque Theater and it is now a Chinese Cultural Center.  Many restaurants and markets catering to every type of Chinese dishes.  There is also a Comfort Inn within Chinatown.

Washington, DC-Similar to Philadelphia including a Comfort Inn in Chinatown itself.

The Pressure on Place Kickers

Many years ago a sportswriter asked the Lou Groza from the Cleveland Browns how  rough it was to place kick and play offensive tackle.  Let’s remember that for ten years Groza was one of the NFL top lineman.   LG thought it was great.  If Groza missed a kick, he had to play all the better in both pass and run blocking.  This was a tremendous incentive and his play got even better than the coaches expected.   Sadly this is not the case today.  A place kicker has not been at another position for almost 40 years.  Huge crowds are cheering and the pressure is often unbearable.  One bad game or even one bad kick  and team releases him.  Fred Ackers, until the 2011, did very well and could stand the tension.  The story is just  is a state of mind.

Let’s look at  Paul McFadden, whom the Philadelphia Eagles drafted for the 1984 season.  McFadden set an Eagles single season scoring record and was the the NFL Rookie of the year.    His excellent placekicking  continued with one notable exception in 1985.  The dud was at Veterans Stadium against the New York Giants.  With the score tied at 10 late in the game,  Paul McFadden missed a 42 yard field goal attempt.  The Eagles lost 16 to 10 in overtime.  In 1986 came a real downturn.  McFadden missed short fields at home in the following losses:

17 to 14-New York Giants

17 to 14-Dallas Cowboys

21 to 14-Washington Redskins

I will discuss the last game later.  By 1987, McFadden’s kicks were going all over the place and the Eagles released him after the season.  The only thing comparable to a place kicker in football is a pinch hitter in baseball.  The pinch hitter has not played in the game.  His timing may be off and it is in a situation where the team really needs a hit. Pressure though is the key problem with place kickers.  The story of Paul McFadden gets repeated many times in the NFL.

2004-When It Didn’t Matter

It was a Saturday  night did before the Eagles played the Dallas Cowboys;  the 14th game of the season.   On that night before, I was rooting for the Carolina Panthers to defeat the Atlanta Falcons.  This would have locked both the BYE week and the home field advantage for the Eagles.  Atlanta won that game which meant the Philadelphia had to win  the next day to get all the advantages.  The Eagles beat Dallas 12 to 7 and lost Terrell Owens.   He was out until the Super Bowl.  His presence would have made both the semi-final and the NFC Title wins much easier.  So Andy Reid had only two games to experiment and rest regulars.    The Eagles lost both games which gave no regrets.  Koy Detmer and Jeff Blake split the quarterback duties in both games.

Game 15 at St. Louis

Andy Reid played the regulars only on one series, giving the Rams a field day.

QB Marc Bulger completed 20 of 27 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown.  Steve Jackson carried 24 times for 148 yards and one touchdown.  Issac Bruce caught eight passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.  Terry Holt caught seven passes for 75 yards.  The only Eagles’ score was a seven yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell.  The Rams had 419 total yards to just 155 for Philadelphia. Rams 20 Eagles 7

Game 16 At Lincoln with the Cincinnati Bengals

Jon Kitna completed 16 of 27 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.  Rudy Johnson carried 28 times gaining 99 yards and scoring three touchdowns.  For the Eagles,  Reno Mahe caught eight  passes for 62 yards. Freddie Mitchell caught six passes for 76 yards and Philadelphia’s only touchdown.  Our guys gained 345 total yards to 308 for the Bengals.  These figures show how misleading some factors are.  The Eagles had  five turnovers to none for Cincinnati.  Final Bengals  38 Eagles 10.

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In both games,  the reserves for the Eagles were no match for the opponent.  No team is very deep and injuries are always big.

Little Italy Ratings by City

Boston-This enclave is very near the State Capitol;  more formal than in other cities; it no doubt gets urban dwellers, some tourists, and VIPs; the the produce is fresh and eye appealing just like the Reading Terminal; the row homes seem nonexistent; see this one.

New York-This version of Italy is in lower Manhattan; right next to China Town; very commercial with overpriced restaurants and Italian stores; forget this place.

Philadelphia-Okay so I am very biased; to me this Little Italy has everything; there are open air markets with everything from fruits, vegetables, dry goods, fish; excellent cuts of meat; and live chickens, ducks, and rabbits ready for the butcher’s block; wonderful restaurants with prices at least one third less than Center City;  row homes on the next block in all directions; this has a real hometown flavor; tourists should see this Little Italy as well.   Philadelphia, at least in my day,  did not publicize it enough; maybe they wouldn’t like outsiders in their provincial neighborhoods.

Wilmington-This is on Union Street about one mile south of the downtown area; there are a few corner Mom and Pop food stores; enough restaurants to satisfy everyone; row homes comprise most of this Little Italy; no open air markets; this place is well worth a visit.

Baltimore-very near the Inner Harbor; as such , this Little Italy caters to more tourists and VIPs; no open markets just a few stores and row homes in the next block;  I could spend a few hours here as well.