Why? Who knows? He’s going nine on TV. It’s not like it’s more work. That fourth inning, when he turns the microphone over to his backup band, it’s like listening to Eddie Fisher trying to follow Sinatra on stage. Painful.Like a lot of you I’ve been procrastinating, hoping my old carrier, DirecTV, and Time Warner would play nice and give us all a break. Fat chance. The Easter Bunny didn’t show up again this year either. Greed always trumps goodwill with these guys.We’ve been on a heck of a roll, haven’t we? Frank McCourt comes to town, raises parking from $10 to $15, trashes the ball club, then laughs all the way to the bank with our money. He still owns the parking lot land and stands to make millions more if the land is ever developed, according to ESPN.com.The new guys come in with Magic Johnson as their face — buying themselves instant credibility. They pledge allegiance to the team’s great fans, raise the parking to $20, then sign a sweetheart deal for TV rights that ultimately winds up shutting out 70 percent of those same great fans from seeing the games on TV.I hope we don’t get any greater. We might not be able to get into the stadium next season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Call the cops and tell ’em there’s one less Dodger fan being held hostage in Los Angeles today. He escaped yesterday in the back of a Time Warner Cable truck.Yeah, they finally got me. I switched.I’m now one of the 30 percent of Dodger fans in this city who gets the “privilege” of watching the home team on TV. Lucky me.In the end, it was all Vin Scully’s fault I folded. If he was doing all nine innings on radio, I could have held out until the money ball guys settle this mess, but Vin only goes three. An appetizer. The players could care less. They’re too busy trying to renegotiate their contracts. The guy who needs a new contract is that father of four sitting out in the bleachers with an empty wallet because he’s blown a day’s wages taking his kids to the game so they can see the back of the Dodger ballplayers heads.No, loyalty to this ball club, for me, comes down to Scully. Lasorda deserves it, of course, but his role these days is as a greeter — signing autographs and letting the well-heeled sitting in the $500 seats get a selfie with him.Scully’s still punching the clock at 87. Still in the game. I wasn’t squandering another season waiting for the money ball guys to get their act together when he’s so close to the finish line of a brilliant career.Part of me wishes he would have weighed in on this standoff and been our voice, but that’s not Scully. He plays it down the middle, always has. That’s one of the things we admire about the guy. He doesn’t take sides, just calls a clean game.Still, you’ve got to think he’s a little ticked that in the twilight of his great career, 70 percent of his audience can’t hear him. It’s like Pavarotti playing a farewell concert to a nearly empty Coliseum or Sinatra singing goodbye to a few fans up in the cheap seats at Madison Square Garden.It’s all wrong. This is not the way he should be going out.The funny thing is I used to hate the guy when I was growing up in the Bronx. Mel Allen was our guy. Red Barber and that new kid Scully over in Brooklyn were the bums, and we used to beat them up pretty good come World Series time.Then my family moved to L.A., and my buck ninety-nine Sears transistor radio couldn’t handle the 3,000 mile trip back to the Bronx to pick up the Yankee games. I held out as long as I could then, too. I still hated the Dodgers.But Scully got to me. Made me a Dodger fan. It was that singular voice that demanded you listened. Cronkite had it, so did Sinatra and Kennedy. When they opened their mouths, you were mesmerized by the sound of their words.It was as close to perfection as a Ted Williams swing.Now, sitting here 60 years later, I can’t remember one call Mel Allen ever made, but I can recite you chapter and verse of Scully’s.I can still hear the shock in his voice the night in the old L.A. Coliseum when Willie Mays dropped a routine fly ball, and the choke in it when the lights dimmed and 93,103 fans struck a match for Campy.And now, at the end of his career, the voice of the Dodgers is being held hostage from most of the people in this city for a ransom none of the money ball guys seem willing to pay.I’ll pay it. Just tack it on my bill with all those other extras. For Scully, it’s more than worth it.Dennis McCarthy’s column appears on Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE THAN 500 runners and walkers took part in today’s annual Ballyliffin Coastal 10 Mile Challenge – Ireland’s most picturesque event!The event, which takes place in and around the roads, byways, hills and even the beach at Ballyliffin, drew a huge crowd of supporters.And there were entries from all over Donegal – as well as all over Ireland, some fantastic runners from England…and one from France! John Harkin from Carndonagh won the event in a time of 56 minutes; but it was all about the taking part with other runners and walkers still passing the finishing line on Ballyliffin strand up to two hours later.Organiser and Olympic Team manager Patsy McGonagle was delighted with the entry – and the clear blue skies.As those taking part went for a traditional dip in the Atlantic Ocean after the race, Patsy told donegaldaily: “This is only the second year of the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge but it has already caught the imagination of so many people.“It is certainly the most picturesque run/walk in the country.” That was evident by the large number of visitors from outside Donegal – many of whom took breaks from the run to take pictures along the coast.The staff at The Strand Hotel in Ballyliffin (www.ballyliffin.com) were superb after the event – laying on soup, tea and sandwiches for runners and supporters.A full list of runners/walkers and their times will be posted on donegaldaily later tonight along with pictures from the race.In the meantime, enjoy our video of the start of today’s event.VIDEO: 500 PEOPLE TAKE PART IN BALLYLIFFIN COASTAL CHALLENGE was last modified: June 18th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
QPR have been quick to revamp their squad after relegation from the top flight, and their latest addition is striker Sebastian Polter from Mainz.The 24-year-old has agreed a three-year deal at Loftus Road but those who weren’t watching his loan spell at Union Berlin in the German second tier last season may know little about him.Bundesliga commentator and writer Kevin Hatchard spoke to West London Sport about Polter’s background and what QPR fans can expect.Leads the lineAt almost six foot four, Polter has all the characteristics of a target man but Hatchard believes there is more to his game.He said: “Polter is a hard-working striker who is willing to make runs and challenge for headers.“He is strong in the air, but his ability to hold the ball up means he can also bring other players into the game.“And, as he showed in his recent spell with Union Berlin (14 goals in 29 games), he is a composed finisher.”Taught by TuchelPolter has benefited from the tuition of Thomas Tuchel, whose work at Mainz made him one of the most highly-rated coaches in Europe. After a sabbatical, Tuchel replaced Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund but part of his legacy at Mainz can be seen in Polter’s ability to fit into any team shape, says Hatchard.Delighted with our new signing! I think Seb Polter is gunna be top quality for us! Big, aggressive frontman! Just what we need!! #QPR— Joe_QPR* (@QPRJ0E) July 2, 2015He said: “If you spend any time playing for Thomas Tuchel, you get used to being tactically flexible.“For example, Polter should have no trouble playing either on his own or in a partnership.”England might suit himPolter has chosen to break away from Mainz just as they have sold the man who was keeping him out of the side, Shinji Okazaki, to Leicester City.He played 13 Bundesliga games for Mainz, without scoring, but Hatchard believes last season’s successful loan spell and the style of football in the Championship will give him the confidence to get back among the goals.Hatchard added: “He struggled to get sufficient game time at the highest level, and at Mainz he was stuck behind Okazaki, who at the time was one of German football’s most consistent strikers.“The physical nature of the Championship will suit him, and he already speaks good English, so that will be very helpful. He won’t find the pace of the English game hard to adjust to.“If he gets a good run in the team and gets good service, I think he’ll score goals.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Ray Maota Children with physical challenges suchas a cleft lip undergo surgery to givethem a smile. (Image: Hospital Nazareth) Mthobi Tyamzashe, chairman of the Vodacom Foundation, says they’re privileged to help youngsters regain the full use of their facial expressions. (Image:Vodacom) MEDIA CONTACTS • Marc Lubner Chairman, The Smile Foundation +27 11 783 4177 • Mthobi Tyamzashe Chairman, Vodacom Foundation +27 11 653 5885 RELATED ARTICLES • Goodness in the most unlikely places • South Africa in hospital spending spree • Universal healthcare plan on track • New ambulances for North West A revamped ward was recently unveiled at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to coincide with the Vodacom Smile Week, during which affected children undergo free reconstructive facial surgery.Smile Week ran from 29 November to 3 December 2010, and the ward was opened on the first day of the campaign. The refurbishment was sponsored by Vodacom and the Smile Foundation, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.Previously, the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Baragwanath had only six cots for paediatric patients, while adults were spread out across other wards. Thanks to the alterations, the department will now have a dedicated facility for all its patients, whether they’re waiting for or recovering from surgery.“This is the ninth time Vodacom has partnered with the Smile Foundation for a Smile Week, and it is something Vodacom as an organisation feels passionate about,” said Mthobi Tyamzashe, chairperson of the Vodacom Foundation.During this recent Smile Week, 22 children underwent plastic and reconstructive surgery at the hospital, giving them a new lease on life. Due to the prohibitive expense, many South Africans with facial abnormalities never get the chance to access such treatment.“All children deserve the chance to reach their full potential in life and the Vodacom Foundation is very privileged to partner with the Smile Foundation in helping these youngsters regain the full use of their facial expressions,” said Tyamzashe.The surgical procedures will go a long way towards boosting the youngsters’ confidence, as individuals can be rejected by their communities due to their abnormalities. The families of affected children also benefit, as they no longer need to administer special care.Although the most recent Smile Week was the first time the Smile Foundation had partnered with Baragwanath, it ran five similar campaigns at other hospitals in 2010. There have been almost 200 young beneficiaries during this year alone.Baragwanath is situated in south-west Johannesburg and borders Soweto, South Africa’s largest and most famous township.Marc Lubner, executive chairperson of the Smile Foundation, said: “The foundation is encouraged by Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Vodacom’s trust in us and promises that we will continue to deliver augmented services to the Plastic and Reconstructive Department of the hospital, and continue to put smiles on these children’s faces.“It is a momentous time in the Smile Foundation’s history as this is the first occasion where we can show a dedicated permanent structure that ensures a long-term relationship between three critical parties, Vodacom, the Department of Health and Smile Foundation,” he added.The inaugural partnership with Baragwanath represents big things for the Smile Foundation.“By hosting this Vodacom Smile Week at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, we are entering into the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere, and we view this as the first step towards extending our footprint into Soweto and its surrounds.”Other Smile Weeks this year have been held at Tygerberg Academic Hospital and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in the Western Cape; Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg, Gauteng; Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein, Free State; and George Mukhari Hospital in Garankuwa in the North West.Life-changing treatmentThe Smile Foundation is a non-governmental organisation that concentrates on helping children with facial abnormalities, such as cleft lips and palates, receive reconstructive surgery.It was launched in 2000 as The Star Smile Fund in association with The Star newspaper, following a request by former president Nelson Mandela to secure surgery for a young child suffering from facial nerve paralysis.In 2007, after tremendous growth, the fund was re-launched as a non-profit company and named the Smile Foundation.“Through the work that the Smile Foundation does, Vodacom has supported this partnership with the Department of Health in giving children a chance to have life-changing surgery,” said Lewis.Patients are sourced through hospital referral systems, word of mouth, donor referrals, media awareness campaigns and the foundation’s toll-free number: +27 87 808 8682.Once a patient is brought to the foundation’s attention, he or she is assessed and, if the condition is serious, the child is slotted into the nearest participating hospital’s surgery schedule. If the child can wait, he or she is booked for surgery during the next Smile Week.Giving back to the communityThe Vodacom Foundation was established in 1999 to carry out the company’s social responsibility commitments focusing on health, education and security in underprivileged communities.In the past 10 years, the organisation has achieved the following:EducationIssuing 1 000 bursaries for tertiary education through the Vodacom External Bursary SchemeEstablishing about 150 new computer centres in public schoolsSupporting the national Department of Education in setting up 405 e-libraries in schoolsParticipating in a public-private partnership to build and equip the Jabavu Library in SowetoHealthEnsuring that 484 children with facial abnormalities receive corrective surgery through partnerships with the Smile FoundationEnsuring that 71 children receive life-saving heart surgery through a partnership with the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for AfricaProviding a customised mobile eye care clinic to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of HealthDonating about R25-million (US$ 3.6-million) to HIV/Aids causes through the sales of Vodacom 46664 starter packsSecurity Establishing seven sexual offences courtsSetting up hospitable care centres for rape survivorsSupporting the establishment of Kimberley’s Committee for Crime Prevention, which helps care for homeless children in the Northern CapeOrigins of one of the largest hospitals in the worldChris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the largest acute hospital in the world. It covers an area of 0.7 square kilometres and consists of 429 buildings. The hospital serves approximately 3.5-million people in Soweto and it provides half of all the hospital services in southern Gauteng.The facility is named after slain South African Communist leader Chris Hani and John Albert Baragwanath, who came from the UK to Johannesburg after the discovery of gold in the late 1800s.John Albert owned a small hostel where the hospital stands today. Although it was called the Wayside Inn, transport drivers and passengers who passed through the area called it “Baragwanath’s Place” or just “Baragwanath”.The hospital was first named Baragwanath on 23 September 1942, with Hani’s name being added to it in 1997.Hani was born on 28 June in 1942 in the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape. As a member of the African National Congress (ANC), he became an integral part of the struggle against apartheid. When he was assassinated on 10 April 1993, he was also the chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC.Renaming the hospital was part of the South African government’s campaign to preserve the history of the country’s landmarks, while making them relevant to today.
Former State Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and three other MLCs who quit the party on Wednesday formally joined the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Thursday in the presence of Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar. The Congress leaders said more Congress legislators would join the JD(U) in the days to comeMeanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) claimed that over two dozen NDA MLAs were in regular touch with the party to switch over at an “appropriate time”.The four Congress MLCs Ashok Choudhary, Dilip Choudhary, Tanvir Akhtar and Ramchandra Bharti reached the official residence of Mr. Nitish Kumar, and formally joined the party. State JD(U) chief Basistha Narayan Singh, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh and other party leaders o were present. It was said that Mr. Nitish Kumar would soon expand his Cabinet and Mr. Choudhary could be included as a Minister. Power and positionMr. Choudhary was the education minister in the earlier grand alliance government but had to resign after Nitish Kumar dumped the grand alliance to join hands with BJP.“Whatever responsibility given by the Chief Minister, I’ll try my best to fulfil it…but everything is not being done in politics for power and position”, Mr Choudhary told journalists after coming out of the CM’s house. He said despite contributing a lot for the Congress, he was humiliated by party leaders.Mr Choudhary, also said that more Congress legislators would join JD(U) in the coming days. State Congress leader Chandan Yadav on Thursday said, “Mr. Ashok Choudhary had betrayed the trust of Congress leadership and party workers …in fact, what he is today is only because of the Congress”.