Speed Read: LaBelle Spell Can’t Quell Philadelphia

Philadelphia just can’t catch a break. First Game 3 was pushed back because of little black rain clouds and very very frightening thunderbolts of lightning, and the conclusion wasn’t until well after 2 a.m. EST. Sunday night’s Game 4, meanwhile, was delayed by Patti LaBelle’s 2-minute-28-second rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Patti LaBelle's national anthem

While jazz legend “Bleeding Gums” Murphy might be a fan of such renditions, ALLENTOWN MORNING CALL sports editor Keith Groller was soon pining for the Backstreet Boys’ version. Some did appreciate the total change in melody, like the HARTFORD COURANT’s Roger Catlin, remarking that it thrilled and soared with the best of them.” Whatever final ruling comes from Simon, Paula and Randy, LaBelle does seem to have a bit of baseball foresight in her soul:

“I’m going to feel like a queen when it’s over … The fans are great. And I’m going to be more proud tonight, when they win 14-0.”

Maybe not 14-zip, but how does 10-2 sound?

Joe Blanton home run World Series Game 4

The Phillies are now in the driver’s seat while the Rays are struggling to breathe in the trunk after Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard (twice), and Joe Blanton — the pitcher!? — successfully swung for the fences and cured their RISPitoid arthritis in the same game. But while Howard might have sandwiched in five RBIs, the more impressive feat is Blanton’s unlikely solo swing, which was the first World Series home run by a pitcher since ‘74. So congratulations, Ken Holtzman. You’re no longer languishing on a Trivial Pursuit card!

Through four games, Philly’s up 3-1, so a Game 5 win tonight will cement the trophy with all the flags in the glass case at the CBP. As for Tampa, well, their 3-4 tandem of Carlos Peña and Evan Longoria are totally and thoroughly hitless in the Series. That might have somethin’ to do with the two game deficit.

And contrary to rumors circulating around your breakfast nook, it wasn’t just a baseball day yesterday.

Why bring in the middle man? Have a coffee, Peter King. NBC’s Bob Costas chatted directly with area football franchise owner Jerry Jones for over 11 (!) minutes about the State of the Dallas Cowboys — everything from Romo’s pinky to Pac-adam’s suspension to the new stadium and back.The best part might be at the tail end of the fireside chat:

Costas: You don’t mind it, you like it a little bit that sometimes there’s a motley collection of characters on your team and maybe there are some character issues and some othe things that go beyond the field that’s kind of part for the course in Dallas, isn’t it?

Jones: Well I’m gonna take exception with the “motley” aspect of your description, that’s not the case, but what I will agree to is that just because you got a football helmet on and a football uniform doesn’t mean there aren’t all kinds of personalities that can be very successful, and yes I have gotten to be a part of teams that have had different characters wearing that star. but they come together for a common reason and that is for the team to win the championship. Win. Win.

I repeat, they’re not motley. So, the tamest possible description of the Cowboys’ raucous character pool, and Jones isn’t cool with it. From now on, they’ll the Playmakers. (So which one’s the closet homosexual?)

Also, he said he won’t fire Coach Phillips this year. Confidence!

Jim Zorn mad at reporter

If you don’t check out what else is happening, I can neither confirm nor deny if an NFL coach will be all up in your spice:

  • DC SPORTS BOG chronicles Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn getting antsy with a reporter. After a win. (Caveat: against the Lions.) I can tell by the sullen look on your face that you want to watch the video.
  • I’ll see your Zorn, and the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE will raise you a Mike Singletary rant. Look at the interim coach bring the heart hammer down on tight end Vernon Davis:

  • THE SPORTS HERNIA notices that Jimmy Rollins took a page out of the Matt Stairs book of wisdom and really got his ass hammered by a guy during Game 4. No greater feeling. Especially when you’re called safe.
  • Who says there was no Sunday Night Football? It just happened to be in the collegiate level. Undefeated Tulsa crushed UCF 49-19 and is still just the fourth best non-BCS school in the most recent rankings, clocking in at No. 18. The other three? Utah (No. 10), Boise State (No. 11), and the Class Of The MAC, Ball State (No. 16).
  • But enough about the stupid non-power conference teams. Doody on them! It’s all about schools in Texas and Oklahoma. We already mentioned Tulsa, but Texas (No. 1), Oklahoma (No. 4), Texas Tech (No. 7), Oklahoma State (No. 9), and TCU (No. 13) give the superstate of Texlahoma five teams in the top 15. This is proof the region hasn’t had a drought in a while. This week’s big matchup, as there always seems to be two of those teams locking horns every week: Texas vs. Texas Tech.
  • It’s media day for North Carolina basketball. But I hope you weren’t looking forward to seeing Tyler Hansbrough, because he didn’t show up, the WILMINGTON STAR-NEWS reports. Begin the nervous conspiracies … now.
  • “What ifs” are so much fun. Joe Posnanski shares with America a column that would have run had Jamie Moyer been the story of Game 3. For this very reason, now I wish Tampa Bay had never come back to tie the game.
  • BLOGCRITICS SPORTS’ Sal Marinello dispels any myths that the players reportedly testing positive for diuretics used them as a weight loss solution. A Wheel of Fortune-type hint: _t_r_ids.
  • The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION was front and center at the Pep Boys Auto 500 where Carl Edwards flipped to victory, but Jimmie Johnson is cartwheeling over his second place finish, adding to his points lead.
  • And the BLEACHER REPORT organizes the NBA’s ten best trios of all time. Marbury-Randolph-Francis is conspicuously absent.

Which team will be the first to win this year?

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