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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're #1...No! We Are! Aw, Hell...Everyone Gets a Trophy!

Which sport is "number one?"  We're not just talking number one over all, but in different aspects, too.  Obviously, this topic lends itself to great debate, but since this is MY blog, I get to tell you what I think...and then you can comment if you'd like, but please be kind.  I'm very, very fragile (cry, sniff, cry).

For the sake of simplicity, we're only going to use the four major US sports:  football, basketball, baseball and hockey.

It may be true that a different sport (i.e. soccer, figure skating, or tiddlywinks, etc.) may better qualify for a particular category, but let's just keep it among these four for now.  Ok? Ok.
Which sport has the BEST overall athletes?

1.  Basketball
2.  Football
3.  Hockey
4.  Baseball

This was tough because both hoops and football have guys that are in incredible physical condition and can do some pretty amazing things.  I have to give the slight nod to basketball here.  The running, jumping, and other acrobatic play is pretty amazing when you think about it.  And, they don't get to rest for 25 seconds every play.

Which sport has the TOUGHEST athletes?
1.  Hockey
2.  Football
3.  Basketball
4.  Baseball

Baseball players hit the 15-day DL with a sprained hangnail.  Football players take incredible abuse to their bodies.  But, hockey players will take the ice despite missing part of a leg.  That was an easy one.

Which sport is best to watch in person?

1.  Football
2.  Hockey
3.  Basketball
4.  Baseball

Most people find baseball boring to watch, unless you're a diehard.  Hockey is a sport you really develop an appreciation for when you are sitting 10 rows from the ice.  The speed and the physicality are a whole other level in person.

Football has the added value of tailgating and the party day atmosphere.  The crowd is crazy and they only play once a week.  It's an event, not just a game.

Which sport is best to watch on TV?

1.  Football
2.  Baseball
3.  Hockey
4.  Basketball

Again, with football, the party starts two hours before any game and lasts into the night if your team wins.  You get great replays and are constantly updated on what else is happening around the league. 

Watching baseball at home allows you to snooze if you want and you can drink 50 cent beers from your own fridge instead of the $7.50 variety at the crowded snack stand.

Which sport is the most difficult to be good at?

1.  Baseball
2.  Hockey
3.  Basketball
4.  Football

Football and basketball lends itself to those who are huge and that's kind of like a genetic lottery thing.  I'm not saying it doesn't take hard work and talent to be good, but it really helps to be huge.

Hockey is played on ice and they use a puck that's hard enough to break your face...'nuff said.

Baseball is the most difficult to be good at because you have to hit a round object, with another round object.  And, pitchers can make that thing move all over the place.  And, then once it's hit, you gotta catch the thing?  That's a pretty tough game if you ask me. 


What sport is #1 overall?
1.  Football
2.  Baseball
3.  Basketball
4.  Hockey

It pains me to admit it since I'm a "baseball guy," but let's face it:  football is now America's game; not baseball, anymore.  Maybe as the football rules continue to change to protect the QBs etc., that may change; but, I doubt it. 

Seriously; go down to an NFL or college football game if you haven't been to one lately.  As I said before, it's an event.  You just don't get that type of "event" feeling with the other sports.

What do you think?  Feel free to post a comment here or on the AllStarInc Facebook page and voice YOUR opinions!  We'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...A Not So Instant Replay

In the absence of our Fearless Leader, who is drowning on the links at the Atlantic City Golf Club for the 28th Annual Ron Jaworski Celebrity Golf Challenge, the underling is filling in with a re-posting of story she wrote for The Daily Bark in 2010.

I walked into my friend’s house the other day and her son the cop, who’s 30-something, was watching television.  We said hello to each other and then he abruptly turned back to the TV.  I took a look-see and he was watching one of my favorite shows, “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN.

“Uh, gee, is that Michael Wilbon?” I asked.  He slowly turned his head and just kind of stared at me.

“Yes, actually, it is,” he replied.  “I’m surprised you know that,” he said as he turned back to the TV.  The camera switched and I pounced.

“And THAT’S Tony Kornheiser!” I said.  A huge smile spread across his face…along with some shock.

“OK, now I am impressed.  I mean it.  That’s really impressive.”  He continued on to say that he never met a “girl” who knew anything about announcers, sports, etc.   Yeah right, buddy, ‘cause we’re busy reading Cosmo!  I decided to pull out my big gun.

“You know, Mike, I even play Golden Tee.”  A huge smile spread across his face.

“No way!”  It was a classic girl-beats-guy moment until my friend yelled from the other room, “Do you even know what Golden Tee is, Mike?”  There was a brief moment of solidarity as we both looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

“Of course, he does!”  I yelled to her as I shook my head.  I turned back to Mike and he was, once again, staring all glassy, pie-eyed at Kornheiser and Wilbon.  Moment passes by in a flash…

Yeah, so I am a girl.  I love to wear pretty underwear, and prefer dresses and skirts to pants.  I don’t leave the house without makeup…even when going to the beach.  I like to go out with my BFF and get a mani/pedi…right before we head to our new “go-to” place for an Irish Car Bomb, a round of Grey Goose Gimlets, and a go at the Golden Tee machine.  I prefer trivia games, cold beer, and sports bars to mah-jong, wine spritzers, and tapas bars.  I decorated our pool room:  there’s a Fenway sign; a photo of my son’s running the bases at Nationals’ Park; a photo of Wrigley Stadium I took while on a road trip with my college roommate; and about half a dozen books on baseball and stadiums.  On my bucket list:  visit the stadiums of my favorite teams and get Chase Utley to autograph one of my photographs.

Here’s the deal:  I love sports.  I love the competition.  I love the beauty of the movement; the squeak of the sneakers as my Villanova Wildcats run up and down the court; the roar of the crowd when the Eagles win and the equally loud “Boos” when our QB’s pass doesn’t complete.  I love watching the puck race over the ice and boy, oh, boy, I absolutely LOVE when the gloves go down and the Flyers fight.  The form of a pitcher throwing a ball is a thing of beauty and I am fascinated by the stance of any player at bat…I can spend an entire game photographing the pitchers and batters and then hours examining them…and I do.
Cole Hamels on the mound against the Washington Nationals 8/1/10

Stats?  Eh, yeah…no…not so much.

Sure, I love the trivia part:

Cal Ripkin, Jr. tied Lou Gehrig’s home run record one night and his consecutive game record the next.  That’s cool.

Mike Schmidt once hit a baseball off a speaker hanging over 100 feet above the field and 200 feet from home plate at the Astrodome.  Can you say HOMERUN???

Philly-born, Roy Campanella’s first major league game was also the last game ever played at the Brooklyn Dodger’s Ebbets Field.  See, to me, that’s synchronicity.

In the 1972 season, the Phillies only won 59 games, 27 of which were won for the Phils by Steve Carlton.  Where was the rest of the team that year?

In 1975 I started high school and used to watch a really cute boy play baseball, hoping he’d notice me.  He didn’t.  He went on to play with the LA Dodgers.  Who is he?  Angels manager, Mike Scioscia.  Now I watch him on TV.

January 11, 1981:  In near-Artic temperatures, my beloved Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-7 to win the NFC Championship game.  I was there and still have my ticket stub.  It was about 5 above zero, but you wouldn’t know it at the Vet!  There were guys behind us without their shirts on…I think they were the founders of “The 700 Level Club.”

Some of my all-time favorite movies are “The Natural,” “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and “Invincible.”  Why?  Because they’re all about the little guy making it against all the odds.

Ryan Howard at bat against the Washington Nationals 4/12/11
Stats just don’t do it for me.  I couldn’t care less what Ryan Howard’s at-bat stats are (.275).  I just like to watch him hit that ball.  He is a beast at the plate and when I watch him swing, I can see the power coming off him from his head all the way to his feet.  I love photographing that.

It doesn’t matter to me if Chase Utley drops the ball (OK, well, yeah, it really does) as long as I get to watch him run, slide, whatever…he’s so damned hot to watch!

When I watch the Phils play (sadly, only from Nationals Stadium these days), I’m not watching for errors.  I’m watching form.  I’m watching for speed.  Sure, I want to know why a play fails, but I actually like watching HOW it fails more than I want to know why.

Maybe it’s another guy-girl thing.  Maybe I am a hopeless romantic and don’t even know it?  I think my best date would be sitting in a REALLY great sports bar with a guy who is willing to listen to me wax poetic on what I love about a particular sport or team AND who then – genuinely and in a fun way - helps me understand the stats, who’s a better player and why.

Here's a news flash guys:  there are lots of girls out there like me.  We love sports as much as you don't count us out or roll your eyes, or even act surprised when we express an interest or show even a cursory knowledge of a sport.  Instead, embrace it and us...then take us out to the ballgame!!! 

Originally posted 6/27/2010 on The Daily Bark, owned by Bark Tees.  Visit them at
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Friday, May 18, 2012

In the Dirt With...Hollis Thomas

Hollis Thomas with ASI PR Dir Korinne Jackman,
ASI client "Super Phan" Shaun Young, and ASI CEO Bill Mattis
at JT Brewski's Pub in Primos, PA

When you're six feet tall and weigh 350 pounds, it's not hard to get recognized.  You don't NEED facial piercings or mega bling to make people look at you.  You pretty much get noticed wherever you go.

Hollis Thomas played nine years for the Philadelphia Eagles and five more years with other teams in the NFL.  His work was not the "glamorous type" where you score touchdowns and get your face on the scoreboard all game like a running back or quarterback.

Most of the time, Hollis was trying to make sure he didn't swallow the dirt that was kicked in his face at the bottom of the pile.  He was a blue collar worker in a city that qualifies itself as nothing but a blue collar working town.

Naturally, the fans love the big guy and it's got nothing to do with the jewelry.

"That's just me being me.  I'm just having fun.  That's the kind of guy I am and I'm not going to change because people think I should be more serious."  The quote from Hollis tells the whole story.  Hollis is just being Hollis, and that's what the Philly people seem to like about him.

Philadelphia sports fans are about to get a "whole lot of Hollis Thomas" very soon!

Hollis and Sports Radio 610WIP have reached an informal, verbal agreement for Hollis to join the on-air staff starting sometime likely in July when the Eagles begin training camp in Lehigh.

ASI Clients Hollis Thomas and Shaun Young with
JT Brewski's Pub owners Johnny Bastian and Tom Smith
In addition to a few shifts each week from the studio, Hollis will be out on location quite a bit.  That's where Hollis is at his best....rubbing elbows with the public and having fun.

You will likely see Hollis on TV in the fall as well.  There is no deal in place at the moment, but it's likely just a matter of time.

This weekend Hollis is helping out fellow Eagles alumni Ron Jaworski at his charity golf event in Atlantic City on Sunday, May 20th and Monday, May 21st.  When asked about his golfing skills Hollis responded, "I'm a good putter, but that's about it.  I usually let my teammates take all of my other shots 'cause I have no idea where I'm going to hit it."

Be sure to stay tuned to the AllStarInc website and Facebook page for more news about Hollis and where you can come see him and say hello.

In case you've never met him, he's the REALLY BIG guy with the REALLY BIG smile....oh yeah, and some bling!

Get down and dirty with our friends at JT Brewski's Pub, located at 510 S Oak Avenue in Primos PA right across from the Septa R3 Media/Elwyn Train Line.  Follow them on Twitter @jtbrewskis and on Facebook for specials, events, and all things Brewski's!
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Will BoSox Fans Be Bitter This Weekend? Eh...Let 'em Eat Steak!

It's going to be a VERY busy weekend for Philly sports fans!  Besides the Sixers’ playoff games, the Phillies have a pretty important weekend of their own. 

Inter-league play begins for 2012 as the Phils host some of baseball's royalty with the Boston Red Sox visit this weekend.  Both squads have had some early-season problems and find themselves in the unlikely position of being in last place in their respective divisions, but the Phillies are showing signs of life, having won four straight headed into tonight's game against the Cubs in Chicago.  Not much has been made about the weekend series against the Red Sox, but you know that Jonathan Papelbon MUST have had these dates circled on his calendar for quite some time.

Over the years, I've spoken to many players from different sports about playing against teams they had played for previously, and what it meant to them.  The opinions are pretty diverse.  Some guys play it off as being just another game, but it seems like the stickier the exit, the more intense the return match becomes.  It's a natural way to feel, I suppose.

Despite the fact that most players understand that the world of sports is a "business,” that doesn't mean they won't take exception to their life and the lives of their families (in some cases) being uprooted and forced to change via either trade or free agency.  In Papelbon's case, he has to be the one smiling at the moment as he has enjoyed some pretty decent early success with his new team, not to mention a pretty HUGE contract.

Meanwhile, his old team (the Red Sox) have struggled with the closer role and are still wondering who might win that job.  Many of Pap's old teammates have remarked about how much they miss their old closer, on the field as well as in the clubhouse.

Early speculation was that possibly Andrew Bailey could be the team's closer, but he injured his thumb and has a long stint on the disabled list left.  At the moment, Alfredo Aceves is the reliever with the most saves so far (seven), but he also has a 5.74 ERA to go with those saves.

I'm sure CBP will have many Boston fans who made the trip to Philly in the stands.  I also have a feeling that the Phillies sweeping the BoSox and having a couple of those wins saved by Papelbon will leave a very bad taste in the Red Sox fans' mouths. 

Then again, it's not a long drive to Tony Luke's on Oregon for a cheesesteak to help the Sox fans get rid of that bitterness.  Hopefully, they have a very good GPS or are willing to ask directions! 

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cookin’ up UGLY Wins....The Sixers’ Recipe for Success!

Hand over the clipboard Doug Collins.  Let me have a crack at the Celtics! 

This series can be very easy for the Philly basketballers.  All they have to do is the SAME thing they have been doing all year...annnnnnnnnd maybe shoot the ball a bit better.

Winning ugly has been the way that the Sixers have achieved their success pretty much all year.  It was never more evident than in the series against the Bills where NOBODY will be lining up the level of play against the NBA's greatest teams.

Gritty defense, an occasional spurt of offense, and some opportunistic bounces of the basketball and voila!  The Sixers are preparing for the Celtics in round two.

Let's face it, it didn't hurt that the Bulls best two players were hurt, too.

In the Boston Celtics, you have a team that's just asking to get knocked out and the Sixers are just the team to do it.  How Atlanta, a team with some pretty good young talent, lost to Boston is beyond me.  In a way, the Celtics won much like the Sixers...ugly.

So, if you're expecting something reminiscent of the days of Dr J., Larry Bird, and all of those great Celtic vs. Sixers match-ups over the years, be sure to have the vomit bucket at arms’ length at all times.  This is not going to be pretty basketball.

The biggest advantage this Sixers team has over this Celtics team is depth.  The Celtics pretty much rely on their top five players.  That may need to change a lot since it looks as if Ray Allen may have a cranky ankle giving him trouble all series. 

Fortunately for the Sixers, the candidates to take Allen's minutes aren't anything that will remind you of a "solid NBA player."  Sorry Celtics fans; that's just the truth.

Avery Bradley?  Keyon Dooling? Marquis Daniels?  C' chance.

The Sixers should play 9 deep and run whenever they get the chance.  Throw as many fresh young bodies at the Celtics as possible.

Coach Collins should view this as a war that gets won by winning four battles.  Even in games they lose, they need to exhaust the Celtic starters to the point where they're out of gas in every second half of the game.

The biggest matchup is Hawes against Garnett.  Even at 36 years old, Garnett is still a force inside and will be a mismatch for Hawes.  Hawes will need lots of double down help from his teammates and hope that the Sixers can rotate fast enough to the open shooter.  Don't be surprised if you see Collins experiment using Lavoy Allen against Garnett early in the series.

But, Hawes can turn the tables on Garnett, too.  Kevin Garnett will NOT come out and cover Hawes at the 3 point line.  If Hawes can knock down open jumpers it will cause the Celtics lots of fits.

The matchup the Sixers can exploit is Iguodala vs. Pierce.  Iggy is much more athletic and I believe he'll send Pierce into a shooting nightmare.  Pierce is a smart player, so I don't think this is going to be a travesty, but I do give Andre the nod.

Rondo and Holiday are going to be battling each other the whole series, and it should be a very entertaining battle.  Hopefully Holiday will get the Sixers out and running.  If Collins has him slowing things down it will only play into the Celtics game plan.

The other big problem the Celtics have is that they really don't have an answer defensively for Brand (unless they decide to let Garnett cover him instead of Hawes).  If Brand asserts himself offensively he could be a HUGE difference for the Sixers.

All of the other names (starters or not) like Lou Williams, Turner, Young, Allen, and maybe even some Jodie Meeks, should be in and out of the game like a revolving door.  The Sixers shouldn't let the Celtics have enough time to figure out who everybody's covering before making another substitution.

A prediction?  The Sixers win this series in NO MORE than six games.  That would take at least one win at the TD Garden and then holding serve at home.  If they can find a way to win game one, the Sixers could win this thing in FIVE games!

Wear them down and late in games, as well as late in the series, the Celtics will be cooked.  Grind it out, and win ugly.  It's what the Sixers are good at doing....don't stop now!  Let's not try to get cute. 

There you go Coach's easy!  Stick to the "AllStarInc Plan" and you'll be facing the Heat in the Conference Finals in about two weeks! 

Oh, and Doug...if you have any questions...hit me up anytime. 

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Friday, May 11, 2012

In the Dirt With...Matt Stairs

On October 13th in 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club found themselves at a potential crossroads.

With the game tied in the 8th inning 5-5, they were battling the LA Dodgers for the chance to advance to the World Series.  Lose this game and the series would head back to Philly tied at two games apiece.

History will show that a veteran journeyman will march to the plate and hit a Jonathan Broxton pitch into orbit sending the Phillies on to victory that night.  It was a huge assist in the team's march to eventually be World Champs in 2008, the franchise's first title since 1980.

The 2008 season brought many home runs to Phillies fans, but many believe THAT particular home run by Matt Stairs is one of the biggest moments in Phillies history.  In fact, many Phillies faithful believe the ball that Stairs hit is STILL circling the earth somewhere and it’s become a bit of a fun "old wives tale" in that respect.

Matt's career amazingly spanned from his rookie season in 1992 to when he finally announced his retirement this past off-season after spending the 2011 year with the Washington Nationals.  He played for an incredible 13 different teams over the 19 year career. 

Talk about a guy who gets around?

I actually feel partly responsible for getting him that last year with the Nationals.

I had booked Matt at a show in Valley Forge during the off-season following the 2010 year.  The Padres had just released Matt and it looked like his career might be over.

That day we had all heard the incredible news about Jayson Werth being signed to his mega-millions contract by the Nats.   Many people don't know this, but Werth used to regularly turn to Matt whenever his swing wasn't quite right, asking for advice as to what he was doing wrong.

Also attending the show that day was Nationals assistant to the GM and ex Phillies great, Bob Boone. 

I introduced myself to Bob and told him that Matt Stairs wanted to come over and say hello.  I also happened to mention how close Matt and Jayson have been over the years.

Boone looked up from signing autographs and said, "Oh really?  Matt's here?  I'd love to say hello."

A phone call by me to Bob Garber (Matt's agent at the time) telling him about the days' events, and the next thing you know, Matt's signed by the Washington Nationals!  How about that?

Well guess what?  Matt may be on the move again, and he MIGHT be headed back to Philadelphia.

Matt has done some work this season for the Boston Red Sox TV network helping out with postgame and pregame coverage.  He's also been appearing on the MLB radio network fairly regularly as a correspondent adding his expert opinion about the state of baseball today.

Next week, Stairs returns to Philly for a VERY busy weekend.  On Friday 5/18, he is tentatively scheduled to be sitting in for a couple of hours with Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano on WIP radio from their Chickie’s and Pete's location in South Philly. 

Could this be an audition? How would the sports fans of the city feel about one of its 2008 championship baseball heroes back in town doing radio?

Obviously there would be lots needed to make that a reality, but you never know. 

On Saturday, May 19th, Matt is headed to a return engagement at one of AllStarInc's favorite venues, Carl's Cards & Collectables, 22 West Eagle Rd. in Havertown PA.  Stairs appears at CCC from Noon to 1:30 P.M.   Long time Phillies player, Terry Harmon (2B/SS) will also be there from Noon to 2:00 P.M.  You can go to or call 610-789-4996 for more information and to order autograph tickets.

On Sunday, May 20th and Monday, May 21st, Matt will be taking part in Ron Jaworski's Celebrity Golf Challenge in Atlantic City.  All the proceeds from this charity event benefit the Jaws Youth Playbook.  Their mission is to “improve the overall health and wellness of at-risk youth in the Philadelphia region.”  A big fan of charity, Matt helps a great deal with the SPCA of Canada.  Helping Jaws (another AllStarInc client, of course) raise money for kids was a "no brainer" AND he gets to play some golf, too!  For more information on Jaworski’s charity event, you can visit the website at

Since his retirement, Stairs has been bitten by the golfing bug and now plays whenever and wherever possible.  Between hitting the links and still playing ice hockey at 6 AM daily, one might wonder how he has time for anything else...or how he can even walk the next morning!

In a ceremony on June 9, Matt will be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.  When I heard about the honor, I told Matt that I didn't even know he was a bowler (Brunswick® is one of the leading makers of bowling balls)! 

Matt replied "It's NEW Brunswick and it's a province in Canada, you dope."

I actually knew that, but I enjoy the chance to kid him whenever possible.  It's Matt's sense of humor that makes him a really fun guy to be around and it's that personality that I think will make him a very successful media personality.

I once asked Matt which team was his favorite to play for, and he surprisingly answered "It has to be the Oakland A's..... because that's when I was actually good."

He followed that with, "But the year or so in Philly was awesome!  You can't beat the feeling winning a championship gives you.  And, the fans have never let me forget how thankful they are.  Phillies fans are really great fans."

Remember that Matt only played two other post season series during the rest of his entire career; once in 1995 with the Red Sox, and then again in 2001 with the A's.  Both times his team was bounced immediately.

A year and three months in Philly and he got the chance to play in TWO World Series, including the winner in 2008.

If you get a chance to see Matt next weekend, please be sure say hello and let him know what that home run means to you.  I know he hears it all the time, but I also know he never gets tired of it.

Visit us for our recurring series, "In the Dirt With..." as we profile professional athletes from all sports.

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