IT’S CROWDED OUT THERE: We all know what happens when a fan runs out onto a MLB field during a game. Security comes, ties them in a pretzel knot and escorts them to the hoosegow. But if you’re old enough, you remember when fans would routinely storm the field after big moments. On Oct. 14, 1976, the Yankees and Royals were tied at 6 in the bottom of the ninth in the ALCS Game 5. The Yankees Chris Chambliss must have had dinner plans, because he sent reliever Mark Littell’s first pitch into the stands for a home run. Which sent New York into the World Series and also sent thousands of fans pouring out onto the field. Chambliss fought his way through a the mob of people who all wanted to be his friend. Eventually, he made a beeline towards the safety of the clubhouse. He never touched home. You won’t see a scene like that when the NLCS and ALCS wrap up this week. The players will be celebrating on the field and any fan that tries to join them may be missing a trachea.
PHANTOM MENACE: Sometimes sports nicknames form a perfect bond with their city. The Pittsburgh Steelers. New York Yankees. The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. … And sometimes the name is about as odd a fit as wheels on a bowling ball. This is what scientists call the “Utah Jazz Syndrome.” It’s an issue that afflicts the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms. What does upstate New York ’s Glens Falls region have to do with an otherworldly manifestation? Nothing. The team was named the Phantoms when it was based in Philadelphia, so it at least had that alliteration thing going for it. Next year it moves to Allentown and will be called the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Still kind of odd. This Friday, they’ll be at the Mohegan Sun Arena to face the Penguins. Be careful if you go and “boo” them. Since they’re the Phantoms, they might like that.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES: The opposite ends of the Wyoming Valley will be meeting on Friday night when the Crestwood Comets travel to Dallas to face the Mountaineers. It will be Mountain Top vs. the Back Mountain for all the mountain marbles. (Figuratively. There’s no real marbles involved.) In the Mountain Top corner, standing 1,558 feet tall is Mount Penobscot , with it’s signature radio and television towers. And in the other, measuring 1,302 feet is Friendship Hill, with its prime location about a mile from Dallas. No matter which team wins Friday night, it looks like the winner among peaks goes to the Crestwood folks by 256 feet.
PEYTON’S OLD PLACE: Peyton Manning played 208 games with Indianapolis. He won 141 of them, including a Super Bowl. As a Colt, he threw for 54,828 yards and 399 TDs – or pretty much what he’s done in the first five games thing season. This Sunday, Manning’s headed back to Indy as a Denver Bronco for the first time. And while he’s still a beloved figure there, the game means a lot more than nostalgia. Both teams are doing well and a win on Sunday would mean a lot in the AFC playoff picture. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. and NBC has got it.
TAKE OFF, EH? What the heck is a Canuck? Smart people who study such things say it’s a slang term referring to a Canadian. The origins of the term are shrouded in mystery, eh? It could be a something derived from French words, or maybe some German phrase. Or it could refer to a a wolf-spirit called a “Kannuk” from Indian mythology. No one knows that much aboot it, eh? But what we do know is that the Vancouver Canucks will be visiting Pennsylvania this week. They’ll be in Philly to face the Flyers on Tuesday and in Pittsburgh to play the Penguins Saturday. Cool, eh?