A Heartfelt Message
In early 2023 I was dutiful and received my pneumonia and shingles shots at the same time.
The next day while doing the speed walk I normally do three times per week, I noticed a very slight pressure in my chest and a tiny bit of shortness of breath, which I logically discerned was a by-product of the vaccines I had just received.
This seemed like a reasonable assumption at the time. Except I was wrong.
And I was almost dead wrong.
The symptoms weren’t going away, and after almost a month of small upticks of severity, I decided to go to the ER and find out what was the matter, and if indeed these occurrences were heart related.
I wasn’t worried since I regularly see my doctor and cardiologist, and always walked away with a clean bill of health.
This time the bill was payable on demand. I was diagnosed with 2 major arteries in my heart clogged at 100%, one more at 99%, and another at 60%.
So, I was admitted to the hospital and was told the remedy was a quadruple bypass. This was sobering news as I recalled the struggles my father had as a 59-year-old man who suffered a heart attack and had a triple bypass at that age.
So, I pen this column to you from my hospital bed as I await the surgery, not really sure what the future holds.
But this much I do know...
I’m grateful for a wife and four daughters and family who truly love me. I’m grateful for a successful business. I’m grateful for the hundreds of texts, emails, calls and visits from friends and associates who obviously care and are concerned for me.
And trust me, I will be grateful to have this column published...while hoping for the chance to write another.
P.S. I am now four weeks post-surgery, and I am told I am doing quite well. Looks like the JerseyMan/PhillyMan will be around a while longer... and I plan to make the most of it. My advice to all is to treat every day like the next one is not guaranteed. You will be amazed at the perspective it gives you.
Ken Dunek Publisher
George Anastasia, Jan L. Apple, Michael Bradley, George Brinkerhoff, Sam Carchidi, Alexandra Dunek, Mark Eckel, Robert Kennedy, Dei Lynam, Anthony Mongeluzo, Kevin Reilly, Mike Shute, Kurt Smith, Dave Spadaro
Event Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
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Peter Cordua (Chairman) ........ HBK CPAs & Consultants
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Joe Tredinnick Cornerstone Bank
Les Vail Workplace HCM
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“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.”
– Yogi Berra– Ted Williams
JOTTINGSBY GEORGE BRINKERHOFF
Not to be missed The Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Drive in South Jersey
WANT TO GO ON A DRIVE to see birds and other wildlife, without getting out of the car? Then you’ll want to check out the Wildlife Drive. The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects 48,000 acres of southern New Jersey’s coastal habitat. Specifically, “82 per cent of the refuge is wetlands, of which 78 percent is salt marsh interspersed with shallow coves and bays. The refuge’s location in one of the Atlantic Flyway’s most active flight paths makes it an important link in seasonal migration.” And within the confines of the Edwin B.
Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is an 8-mile Auto Tour, the Wildlife Drive, that allows you to see, at your own pace, all manner of ducks, geese, herons, grebes, hawks and many other migrating and wading birds, all from the comfort of your car. You can access this 8-mile dirt road course through the back bay area behind Brigantine and Atlantic City and witness the awesome plethora of life on display through each of the four seasons. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous you can get out of your car and walk some of the numerous hiking trails in the reserve for some closer and more personal wildlife encounters. Scenic trails, freshwater ponds, coastal wetlands, upland forests, what’s not to love?
The 8-mile auto tour is self-guided through this birding paradise, with observation towers located at Gull Point and Turtle Cove, and a boardwalk over the tidal marsh with views of the Atlantic City skyline. And there’s a virtual StoryMap of the Wildlife Drive auto tour that can be viewed from your desktop, tablet or mobile device as you proceed. It’s an interactive tour of the history, wildlife and ecology of the Wildlife Drive, the East and West pools and the surrounding tidal marsh.
And because with every season there comes a different panorama of bird life, you’ll want to return multiple times during the year to catch the incredible migratory changes. Every day on the refuge is different, and it is stunning and inspiring to see the multitudes and variety of migratory species that pass through this stop on the Atlantic Flyway. Photos can’t do it justice. Come see it for yourself.
For more info: www.fws.gov/refuge/edwin-b-forsythe.
“The last thing you want to do is finish playing or doing anything and wish you would have worked harder.”
– Derek Jeter
When The Philadelphias became The Phillies
THE PHILLIES ARE AN OLD BASEBALL TEAM.
Really old. In fact, they’ve been around so long that they are said to be the oldest continuous same-name, same-city team in all of professional sports in these United States of America. That’s pretty remarkable.
Major League Baseball recognizes that the franchise had its beginnings in the 1883 season, when the Philadelphias, managed by early professional baseball player and later famed sporting goods manufacturer, Al Reach, joined the nascent National League that year. Known colloquially as both “the Quakers” as well as “the Phillies,” for the first seven seasons, they formally became known as the Phillies in 1890.
Baseball was a different game in 1883 than now. Pitchers were required to throw underhanded as overhand pitching didn’t enter the game until 1884. Batters were permitted to ask for a high or low pitch, and seven pitched balls were required for a batter to be walked by a pitcher. Home plate was a 12-inch square and games were not allowed to be played on Sunday.
The 1883 Phillies team also turned out to be one of the worst ever in professional sports. Their start of 0 wins and 8 losses is still a club record and they finished the season in the cellar with a win/loss tally of 17-81, 46 games behind the frontrunner. Their longest losing streak was 14 games and their longest win streak was two games. Their home games were played in Recreation Park, which was located in North Philly, between 24th and 25th Streets from Ridge Avenue to Columbia Avenue. Built in 1860(!), it had gotten an upgrade prior to the 1883 season for the new ball club with a new surface and wooden grandstands with a capacity for 6500 patrons. And its dimensions were modest at best, coming in at 300 feet in left field, 331 in center and 247 to right.
same squad as “the Phillies” interchangeably. (This reference is repeated in an article from the same newspaper in September, and in fact, shares a further nickname that these Philadelphias were also known as, “the Pearls.”) This league, known as the National Association, was formed in 1871, and, though it was a league of professional baseball teams like the later National League, its records and history are not recognized by MLB as a “major league.”
Interestingly, one of the earliest mentions of a Philadelphia baseball team known as the “Phillies” appears almost 10 years prior to the 1883 team recognized by MLB as the Phillies. In an article heralded as a special dispatch to the Chicago Tribune on July 12th, 1874, it refers to a game played between the Athletics, (also of Philadelphia) and the “Philadelphias” the day before on July 11th. The article, entitled “The Athletics defeat the Philadelphias,” uses the moniker “the Quakers” in referring to the Philadelphias but also refers to this
, in a very out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-path location, just north of the Burlington County line, is a quaint gem of a park located on the edge of the Crosswicks Creek. Part of the Monmouth County Park System, Historic Walnford shows two centuries of change of the Waln family’s property from “an 18th century industrial village and family farm to an elegant country estate.” The large home was built in 1773 and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The working grist mill on the site is open for dem-
onstrations between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from April through November. In addition to historic and educational displays in the house and gristmill, there is a carriage house and various other outbuildings. Other activities including group
programs, afternoon teas, a mill maintenance program, history exhibits and art exhibits. On May 21st, it’s Walnford Day, with historic demonstrations, with the gristmill in action, horse drawn wagon rides, live blue-grass music and the Magnolia Street string band from 2 to 5 p.m. There’s something for everyone at Historic Walnford. Check out their website at www.monmouthcountyparks.com. n
MOB SCENEBY GEORGE ANASTASIA
A Deafening Silence
THEY’RE CALLING HIM the “last don” and hailing his capture as the final nail in the coffin of the Italian government’s war against the Mafia. We’ve been here before.
The arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro outside a cancer clinic in Palermo back in January was certainly a major development in the ongoing battle against the notorious Sicilian underworld. But the fact that Denaro, 60, was able to live a prosperous and comfortable life during his thirty years on the run – yes THIRTY YEARS – says as much about Sicilian society as it does about law enforcement.
Denaro, according to police reports, had several safe houses in and around Palermo and lived a relatively normal life in a small village, Campobello di Mazara, just a few miles from the town where he was born and where family members – that’s family with a small F – still lived.
He dined at fine restaurants, dressed in fashionable clothes and was partial to expensive watches and other pieces of jewelry. He also, according to one Italian news agency report, “enjoyed orgies with Palermo women while on the run.”
That hardly sounds like a mobster constantly looking over his shoulder. And it underscores a comment by Italian Prosecutor Paolo Guido who told reporters there had been a “deafening silence…shown by the community that had sheltered” the mob boss over the years.
Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, offered a different take on the capture of Denaro. He hailed the “tenacity and dedication” of law enforcement and said the arrest marked “the supremacy of the law over crime and has strengthened citizens’ trust in society.”
Those two comments frame the issue. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle.
Trust has always been the issue in the fight
against organized crime in Italy and anywhere else where it has flourished. Too often the glamour and bravado of Mafiosi have pre-
Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Falcone, his wife and bodyguards were killed in a massive explosion from a bomb planted under a highway as the prosecutor’s caravan made its way from the airport to downtown Palermo on May 23, 1992. Less than two months later Borsellino was killed when a bomb planted beneath his car was detonated as he was leaving an apartment after visiting his mother.
The Sicilian-born Falcone is credited with developing the Italian version of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a major tool in the war on organized crime. He did this while convincing mob boss Tommasso Buscetta to cooperate. Buscetta’s turncoat testimony was a major factor in the historic Mafia maxi trial in 1986 in which more than 300 mob figures were convicted.
(A movie The Traitor released in 2019 is an excellent biopic of Buscetta and captures the impact of his testimony on the Sicilian Mafia.)
sented a distorted vision of who they are and what they’re really about.
Greed, power and wealth, not honor, loyalty and family, are the cornerstones of the organization.
Denaro was a vicious Mafia boss, a leader of the so-called “massacre wing” of the Corleonesi clan. He was a successor to Bernardo Provenzano and Salvatore Riini, two equally vicious mob bosses who also were captured after years on the run. Both died in prison, the fate that appears to await Denaro.
All three were suspected of orchestrating two of the most outrageous mob hits in Sicilian history, the 1992 murders of prosecutors
Falcone and Borsellino were Italian heroes and their murders were major factors in turning public sentiment against Cosa Nostra in Sicily. Their assassinations were part of a national campaign of terror launched in the 1990s by Denaro and his clan against the Italian government. Bombings of public buildings in Milan, Florence and Rome that left ten people dead and forty injured further galvanized a populace that for decades had been either indifferent toward or resigned to the existence of the Mafia in its midst.
Denaro, who was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison while on the run, once boasted, according to several news reports, that he had killed enough people to fill a small cemetery. One of his victims, according to police, was the 12-year-old son of a suspected mob informant. The boy was kidnapped and held for more than a year before he was strangled to death. His body
There had been a “deafening silence... shown by the community that had sheltered” the mob boss over the years.Denaro
was then dumped in a vat of acid in order to deny his family an opportunity for a proper burial. Denaro also ordered the murder of a rival mob boss and the boss’s girlfriend. The woman, authorities said, was three months pregnant when she was killed.
SOMEONE ONCE WROTE that in order to understand the Mafia, you have to understand Sicily. This was a reference to the troubled history of the island which for centuries was ruled by outsiders. At different times, the French, the Spanish, the Greeks and the Moors dominated the island. Out of this came an almost innate distrust of authority and a sense that only family, only blood relatives, mattered. Only they could be depended upon.
The concept of “omerta,” now described as the Mafia’s code of silence, came into being during the era of occupation. Omerta, in a very literal sense, meant to be a man. And a man in Sicily during that era took care of his own problems. He never sought the assistance of authority since authority rested with outsiders. He never shared information with those in power. He dealt with his own problems in his own way and
in his own time.
“Revenge is a dish best served cold” is a Sicilian proverb that comes from that era. So is this: “He who is deaf, dumb and blind will live a hundred years.”
I visited Sicily with my wife and a half dozen of her family members back in 2007. This was a year after Bernardo Provenzano had been captured. He had been on the run for more than 30 years, but routinely visited the village where his wife lived. She often did his laundry.
I asked one of my wife’s cousins how it was
possible that on such a small island – Sicily is about the size of Arizona and has a population of about five million – Provenzano was able to avoid arrest for so many years. How was it possible, I asked, that no one saw him?
My wife’s cousin shook his head and smiled at my naivety.
“People knew not to know,” he said.
I thought about that when I heard about Matteo Messina Denaro’s capture and read the news reports that detailed how he had avoided arrest and lived a luxurious life while on the run for thirty years. n
A Great NBA Rivalry
IF THE SIXERS get to their desired destination this spring, it’s highly plausible they will encounter the Boston Celtics along their journey. On February 25th, the two teams met in the third of four regular-season meetings, with the Celtics winning 110107 thanks to a closing-seconds three-pointer by Jayson Tatum. It was the third win for Boston in three tries this season when facing their division rivals.
But in the latest head-to-head match-up, things unfolded in a way that revealed what a possible playoff series between the two would look like. Should the two meet in a seven-game series this spring, it will be the 22nd playoff series all-time between the two. Boston has won 14 of those series, including the last five. The last time the Sixers beat the Celtics in the postseason was 1982, when Philadelphia took the seven-game series 4-3.
Getting back to February 25th, the most telling item to come out of that three-point defeat at the Wells Fargo Center was Joel Embiid proving to all that he is unstoppable at this stage of his NBA career. That night in South Philadelphia, Embiid finished with 41 points and 12 rebounds. He got to the foul line for 18 free throw attempts and made 17. He also handed out five assists. It was the 20th game this season that Embiid has dished out five or more assists. The Sixers all-star center revealed postgame he had a breakthrough that February night at the offensive end of the floor.
“I was not going to give my secret up, but I’m unguardable [sic],” Embiid said. Most of the time, you know, what we saw on film was when I caught the ball, I was waiting for the double to come and just waiting to get doubled. Tonight, as soon as I caught the ball, I had to make a quick move. Get a shot, and if I didn’t, make a quick move to get a wide-open shot for some of my teammates. So, I did pretty well tonight. That’s a good step for me because, obviously, playoffs, and with the remaining games, I will be doubled every night. So, I got to find a way to get closer to the basket or not let them double me and attack quickly.”
Mission accomplished by the six-time all-star. He was not the only
one who recognized his new solution to an age-old dilemma.
“We got him deep, and he didn’t wait,” Doc Rivers said. “He went quick. Everything was quick and decisive. You know, that’s what we told him. You got to be decisive. Whenever he goes to the paint, they go low. So, if you go quick, they can’t do that. Your size, you swallow them, and I thought he did that. I was pleased with how he attacked tonight.”
EMBIID LED ALL SCORERS that night, but it was Boston who exacted their will on the game. The Celtics take and make the second-most three-pointers in the NBA. They attempt 42 per contest and, on average, make 16. February 25th, they were 16 of 36 from downtown. It would be a manageable defensive assignment to guard the arc if not for the highlevel penetrators Boston possesses, as well as having five individuals on the roster that shoot 40 percent or better from threepoint range. Because Boston is seventh in assists in the league, the ball movement and sharp shooting combine for the Celtics to have one of the top two records in the NBA throughout this season.
“Do you think what you do defensively, or what players you put out there, some percentage of those threes will be reasonably open? Threes don’t just happen to fall from the sky,” Jim Lynam, Sixers postgame analyst, explained. “Boston wants to shoot a lot of threes, so what they do is structure their scheme to force you to guard drives, and as a result, they kick the ball out; that’s how they get so many threes. They have a lot of dribble-penetration kind of players.
“So, for the people who say the Sixers give up a lot of open threes, of course, they do. That’s what this league is. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Sixers are one of the best defensive teams.”
The Sixers are third in points allowed and top ten in defensive rating. Still, Doc Rivers, like Lynam, knows a simple truth, “Good offense beats great defense all day. That’s just how it goes.”
And how it will go this spring remains to be seen but brace yourself for entertaining playoff basketball featuring two teams determined to demonstrate their strengths are indefensible. n
The last time the Sixers beat the Celtics in the postseason was 1982, when Philadelphia took the seven-game series 4-3.
KEVIN REILLY Perspective
IT WAS OCTOBER 29, 1979, on a chilly, rainy October morning as I sat alone on the edge of my hospital bed in the dark before dawn at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, waiting patiently for an orderly to transport me to pre-op for a surgery that would forever change my life.
I was 29 years old, married and the father of two toddlers and a newborn baby. As I sat in the darkness trying to grasp the circumstances I would be facing and my continual battle to eradicate this demon Desmoid tumor, I couldn’t help but think that this was just a bad dream, and I would wake up from another football concussion at Veterans Stadium with the stinging smell of a broken ammonia cap beneath my nose.
Unfortunately, this was not a dream. I had three prior operations and nine doctors’ opinions at various hospitals about stopping the severe pain in my left arm from a random tumor that popped up during football season and just wouldn’t go away. My life was in jeopardy.
Now, as I sat there, I tried to brace myself for the worst that was yet to come– a forequarter amputation that would result in the loss of my left arm, left shoulder and four ribs.
Fifteen minutes before being wheeled into the operating room, the man who eventually saved my life, Dr. Ralph Marcove, appeared at my bedside and handed me a release form to sign. It was only three short paragraphs, but one sentence absolutely shocked me: “As the patient in this operation you fully understand and acknowledge that there is a 33% chance that you may not survive the event.” I didn’t see that coming and during the fifteen-minute wait, I prayed that God’s will be done, and I begged forgiveness for all my earthly sins.
That one sentence lifted the fog of calmness that I had from the sedatives given to me earlier. And from my Catholic upbringing I began to pray the “Act of Contrition” with a purpose and priority that I had never known before.
I slumbered in and out of consciousness in
the intensive care unit several times before I saw a wall clock and realized I was still alive. After an eleven-hour surgery to remove a rare tumor that was trying to take my life, I had made it through!
Three days later I was out of the ICU and back in my hospital room. Now, with clear eyes and mind, I started wondering how I would make a comeback from this disaster. Did Dr. Marcove get all the tumor, will I be able to work, could I drive a car? And on and on.
Fortunately, before I went too far down that depressing rabbit hole, a Pittsburgh Steeler running back by the name of Rocky Bleier called me. We had a 45-minute conversation that included some tough love and new perspective to my situation. He knew all too well
and others who will search you out for help.
Thanks to Rocky Bleier, I learned the importance of perspective early in my comeback and the importance of paying it forward. I have learned another life lesson: helping others is very fulfilling and it makes you happy.
FOR MANY YEARS NOW, I have been honored to speak and work with people who could benefit from my situation of overcoming adversity and thriving in a new normal. I was trained as a Peer Visitor and was asked to speak to US soldiers who had been severely injured in the Afghanistan War. They were rehabbing at a military facility, Walter Reed Hospital in Virginia. When I arrived to
that my ego, pride and overall confidence from tackling OJ Simpson, John Riggins and Joe Namath during my NFL career to being an “amputee” was going to be a huge transformation. His advice that day was a game changer for me and worth sharing since it changed my whole perspective on life.
• Do not limit yourself from any endeavor or challenge until you fail at least 10 times.
• You are not alone in the amputee world.
• Keep perspective on how lucky you are to be alive and project a daily positive attitude.
• Your goal going forward is to be the best “one armed man that you can be.”
• Most importantly, you must pay it forward to other people: amputees, cancer patients
speak to them, there were about 12 amputees working on physical therapy in the gym and learning how to function now that they were missing a leg, arm or both from battle. When I walked in, they saw a “veteran,” one of their own maybe. I wasn’t military, but they were rookies in their new reality.
Most of them were in their twenties and thirties. Their attitudes were positive, but they had a lot of life questions for me, “the onearmed guy” to answer, especially being a seasoned survivor of a life altering amputation.
Some of the most pressing questions: Will my “phantom” sensation of feeling my missing limb, ever go away? Will I ever be able to get a good job? Will anyone ever want to date me?
Fortunately, I was able to answer them positively and used myself as an example.
Being a Peer Visitor gave me the opportu-
Thanks to Rocky Bleier, I learned the importance of perspective early in my comeback and the importance of paying it forward. I have learned another life lesson: helping others is very fulfilling and it makes you happy.
nity to help the soldiers learn life skills that could help them reenter into careers after leaving Walter Reed. It was a positive experience for me seeing them get results. Then one day I met Marine Captain John. When he met me, he was wearing his impressive Marine Corps uniform, looking fit and with a bigger than life, gregarious personality. He was squared away in every aspect of the interview process, and he was also the first triple amputee that I had met. He was missing both of his legs below the knee, his left arm and one eye. Just when I thought I could not have been more impressed with Captain John, he asked me, “Kevin, do mind if I ask you a question? Did you lose your dominant arm or your nondominant arm”? I replied, “ I’m lucky, because I lost my non-dominant arm.” He said, “me too. Aren’t we lucky!?” WE??? I guess we are lucky, but I’m not in the same hemisphere as him! I was humbled, to say the least, and on those days that I feel frustrated or defeated trying to do something one handed, I get perspective by thinking of Captain John.
I think of the positivity and resilience coming from these people, like Captain John, and I dust myself off and get back on my horse. I firmly believe it was his perspective that kept him moving forward. I guarantee it is a mental game changer for any problem one faces in life.
This quote by Steven Furtick says it all; “Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport!” The conversation that I had on that lucky encounter with Rocky Bleier changed my world the second that I changed my perspective. In 45 minutes, I went from wondering if I was going to be on permanent disability for the rest of my life to what do I need to do to get back to being a marketing rep for Xerox and overachieving my yearly budget. I made my first President’s Club that year.
But that’s not the end of the story, after 20 years of marriage, my wife left me without a clue for another man. Several years after that, I admitted that I had an alcohol problem and started going to AA. How did I conquer those 2 mountains? PERSPECTIVE! I Buttoned my chin strap, kept my head down and helped put 3 great kids through college and then met a wonderful woman and have been happily married for 11 years. I haven’t had a drink in 9 years and at 71 years old I just competed in a 5k race with my 11-year-old granddaughter.
Here’s the bottom line—nobody goes through life undefeated but if you believe you are not alone and you trust in yourself and your talents you can be “the best version of yourself!”
St. Francis de Sales said it best; “Be who you are and be that well!” n
GET FITBY ALEXANDRA DUNEK
Sometimes in life, we receive reminders in unsettling ways…
If you started off this issue by reading the Publisher’s Column, then you know my dad underwent emergency surgery for a quadruple bypass recently. Fortunately, the surgery was successful & he is recovering well. I know he vows to make some lifestyle changes including better, more balanced food choices. Honestly, this is something we could all, including myself, benefit from doing.
According to the CDC, two in five adults have high cholesterol, but there are ways to manage it & lower your risk such as making better dietary choices, daily exercise, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking & managing your stress.
In addition to eating a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains & some omega 3’s, it is recommended to avoid foods containing artificial trans fats & choosing foods lower in high saturated fats. Artificial trans fats are mostly found in processed foods containing hydrogenated oils (added to extend shelf life) while high saturated fats are found in fatty cuts of meat, dairy and fried food to name a few.
For more guidance, follow Alexandra, NASM Certified Personal Trainer on Instagram at @TipsfromAFitChick
Here are some heart-healthy options:
• Air-popped popcorn
• Brown rice
• Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
• Fruit (berries are high in fiber) & unsweetened dried fruit
• Nuts such as peanuts, almonds & walnuts (limit to a serving size)
• Lean protein such as chicken & fish high in omega 3’s such as salmon
• Non-starchy vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, cauliflower & broccoli
Start with adjusting one meal a day… see what you can add to it that makes it more balanced or heart healthy. It’s also important to find moderation with your favorite treats. Moderation is optimal for longterm success with your health goals. If you are looking to make some changes, take this as your reminder. There is no time like the present… I know one person who would agree.
It’s A Dog’s LifeBY KURT SMITH
TThe volunteers at Animal Aid USA take a trip to rural Georgia every four weeks to rescue stray and abandoned dogs and give them a home. To date, they have rescued 40,000 dogs from unimaginable conditions.
Our canine friends teach us one of the most important lessons of life: it’s too short for anything less than unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness, all the time.
Karen Talbot, Rachel Monaghan and the volunteers at Animal Aid USA have taken that lesson to heart. Their mission is to return the favor of unconditional love to as many dogs as possible.
As anyone who participates in their rescue caravans can tell you, it’s a big challenge. Talbot herself says it’s not for everyone. “It’s grueling on that road.”
Animal Aid USA gathers volunteers, vehicles, water bowls, blankets, crates, and whatever else is needed, for a trip to rural Georgia from Williamstown every 28 days. They then gather abandoned dogs from local shelters in the area, load the dogs into vehicles, and take a 16-hour overnight drive back to New Jersey to place dogs with no-kill shelters to be adopted.
A 64-word paragraph can’t begin to capture the level of effort involved in the operation. Monaghan, a regular volunteer, describes the process:
“We leave at 6:00 at night and arrive in Georgia around 9:00 AM the next day,” she explains. “Once we get down there, we prepare our vans with water bowls and line all our crates. If we have litters of puppies in our vans, we’ll extra line the crates because we usually have to change them while we’re driving.
“That’s on a Thursday. Friday is when we do all of our preparation. In the morning, we’ll clean the kennels again and then we prepare for transport. We usually have about 30 crates in each van, we put puppy pads and towels or blankets in all the crates. Karen tags them all so we know which dogs are gonna be in our van.
We prepare extra water bowls, extra towels and stuff to clean up any messes that happen.”
“At around 4:00, we start the load, we’re out of there by 5:15. Everyone’s just going in every direction. It’s like all hands on deck.”
Talbot, who spends much of her life preparing for the trips, likens it to a Broadway production.
“All of the preparation and the dress rehearsals and everything that you have to do lead up
to one moment, and that one moment is “It’s load-up time.” That’s when everything has to be done, done, done, because the first dog in is gonna be in there the longest, and it’s all about getting them all in the right crates and making sure everybody fits.
“Once they’re all in we do our giant prayer circle and we’re off.”
The crew of vehicles with its precious cargo, including the rig mostly driven by Talbot’s hus-
band Dante, then drives through the night… the only time D.C. traffic on I-95 is avoidable… back to New Jersey, where dogs are unloaded and placed with Animal Aid USA’s adoption partners. The project is both exhilarating and exhausting.
“Then you get home and you crash,” Monaghan laughs.
SO WHY RURAL GEORGIA, 16 hours away, every four weeks? Surely there are plenty of stray and abandoned animals in New Jersey?
Probably. But in Georgia and several other states, many rural counties don’t have the resources to care for stray dogs. Sadly, it isn’t often even for a lack of funding. There’s simply a different attitude towards dogs in the places where the caravan goes.
It was quite the culture shock for Talbot, as it would be for any animal lover.
Monaghan laments that “All the shelters are pretty much kill shelters. None of them do public adoptions or rescue. If they’re not claimed by their owner, they usually get euthanized.”
Talbot describes the horrific conditions that dogs endure. “They’re not even shelters. They’re death holes. They’re a cinder block hut with a carport on top that they call a shelter. There’s no A/C, there’s no heat, and some of
An Animal-Loving Bachelor
The rescue caravans at Animal Aid USA operated under different names in its early years, including MOMS (Making Of Miracle Stories) Rescue and Paws For A Cause, as Karen Talbot worked to raise awareness of dog rescues in rural Georgia.
Talbot fondly recalls the story of the huge contribution from Lorenzo Borghese, a name you may know... he was The Bachelor in the show’s ninth season. Borghese is an animal lover himself, and he wanted to help when he saw a documentary about the rescue operation.
As Talbot understood, his endorsement meant far more than a financial contribution he could have made.
“I was contacted by somebody who knew Lorenzo,” she remembers. “They wanted me to get introduced because [Talbot’s husband] Dante and I had started to take trips to Georgia. We went on our first trip in January of 2011, and on that trip, we had a borrowed van, and we went down for 23 puppies.
“Once I met with Lorenzo, what I loved about him was there weren’t layers to get to him. He was the real deal, he reached out to me personally. I gave him a copy of the documentary which we had done.
“He knew that Dante and I were going back and forth to Georgia and funding everything on our own dollars and credit cards. Once he left our meeting he went home, watched this 25-minute documentary and was hooked.
“He said, ‘Are you looking for a check? Are you looking for money?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want your money. I want something more important. I want a voice. People know who you are, they recognize you, they don’t know me.’”
Borghese suggested creating Animal Aid as an umbrella for MOMS Rescue, to which he then lent his endorsement to. The “USA” was added when they learned that another “Animal Aid” already existed.
“That’s when Animal Aid was born, and so we incorporated Animal Aid as a non-profit. All the while, I still kept Making of Miracle Stories, and Animal Aid just took off.”
Borghese adding his voice undoubtedly helped the effort. Talbot made a wise choice asking for it over a check... which she says would have been spent in a week and immediately forgotten.
them don’t get fed. They’re just there to hold until they’re killed.”
Hearing the stories can take an observer from “Why do people do all of this to rescue dogs?” to “How can anyone with a heart not do something?”
IN RACHEL MONAGHAN’S CASE, she wanted to do something to overcome her grief after losing her own dog unexpectedly. She learned about Animal Aid USA through a friend and has been hooked ever since her first trip.
“I was planning on going on three trips that year,” she remembers, “and I ended up going on I think six. I just became a regular caravan member.
“The best part for me is seeing the transformation. Obviously, it’s awful what they go through, but seeing the resilience of them, and how they just still continue to love and trust people.”
Talbot says of the people giving their time to
the caravan, “I’ve discovered that it’s not just them saving dogs. This movement has saved them. It’s saved their marriages, it’s stopped them from drinking, it’s made their life better at home. It’s their outlet to get away for a while to do something bigger than them.
“Nobody gets that until you come on a trip.
Our motto at camp is ‘Our strangers leave as family’. And it happens to everybody. If you have a soul, it happens to you. It can’t not.”Photo Rachel Monaghan Photo Rachel Monaghan Borghese Karen Talbot
On the Animal Aid USA website, you can watch a video of them being featured in “To the Rescue” docuseries, with host Tommy Habeeb narrating the full experience of the caravan going back and forth from Williamstown.
The video shows the Georgia compound where dogs are held until the caravan arrives, as well as the medical facility where vets handle spays, neuters, and heartworm treatments. Habeeb hears about the entire process from Talbot, who describes the logistics from dog food deliveries to the 38-foot transport rig that holds 64 crates.
Throughout the video, you see Georgia dogs in their natural state of being adorable, making the work that Talbot describes as grueling seem not only worth the effort but not difficult at all. But Talbot shares that people are exhausted by the end of the project, wondering what they’ve signed on for until the sun comes up during the ride home and they see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The caravans could easily be a reality show, you might think while watching. But Talbot is quick to shoot down pitching the idea of a reality show to a network, as this writer suggested.
“It’s a real reality show every 28 days down there,” she says. “But for me, living it on a daily basis and being in Georgia... Rachel’s amazing, it’s not a bad idea for her to set up a YouTube channel with a following where we are real and raw.
“You’re not getting raw in reality TV. And you’re also controlled, and it’s scripted, and I am the furthest from being controlled or scripted.
“They don’t like that at all!” she says with a laugh. The video is well worth a watch... go to “www.animalaidusa.org/to-the-rescue” to see it.
Our motto at camp is ‘Our strangers leave as family’. And it happens to everybody. If you have a soul, it happens to you. It can’t not.”
In the face of a mentality that has existed
for generations in this part of the world, Talbot and her team have taken on the most difficult of tasks: not just rescuing dogs…over 40,000 of them now…but also changing an established
mindset that creates the need for their rescuing.
“You see it, in just the blank stares,” Talbot says. “People cannot believe that, first of all, we would drive that far for a dog, and second of all, why?
“What we’ve learned is with our continuous journeys there, and the trust that we’ve built with these people. They know we’re not there to do anything except help. We want to change the next generation, we want to break this cycle, which we are.”
Talbot has seen that transformation in personal relationships, such as with a hardened animal control officer who now reaches out to
Put It On Your Bucket List
Karen Talbot and Rachel Monaghan were happy to invite this observer to join them for a caravan trip. It’s something to consider, even if you just like long overnight road trips and need a worthwhile reason.
As Talbot says, the caravan has even saved marriages, and she cites her own as an example. Her husband Dante, who now drives and maintains the big rig of the caravan, had at one point tired of her devotion to the cause and requested a divorce.
“I immediately chose the dogs,” Talbot says.
“The following summer after the giant Georgia puppy caravan, we then had our documentary premiere in Philadelphia, and all the people that came on the caravan... the pilot, the rescue groups, everybody, was in attendance at the Trocadero.
“Dante was there because we were still friends, and he saw what I was doing from our bedroom on a computer, and he vowed to make it up to me the rest of my life if we got back together.”
The power of puppy faces. “It’s really funny because the reason we divorced was dogs, and once we re-married and got back together again, he’s worse than I am with dogs.”
Hopefully, your marriage isn’t in need of helping dogs to save it, but if you’re interested in lending a hand and the life transformation that all of the volunteers speak about, you can reach out on Animal Aid USA’s website and see if they need help with the caravans, which they usually do.
“Put it on a bucket list at least once in your life,” says Talbot.
Karen for help with dogs he finds.
“We laugh about it today,” she reflects. “When he first met me, he grunted at me, wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. I said look, I’m not here to point fingers, I’m here to help.
“A couple of years went by, and he started to talk to me, he gave me his cell phone number. Then a couple of years later he was just like, ‘Hey, Karen, listen, I got a so and so dog that just came in, you think y’all can take this one?’
“And this relationship blossomed. Plus, some Tastykake cupcakes from up here helped too,” she adds with a chuckle.
KAREN TALBOT doesn’t spotlight her own role in rescuing dogs, even though it’s considerable. To her, it’s simply her life’s work. She always emphasizes the word “we” when speaking of the efforts of everyone involved.
“I had an idea, and I had a vision, but a vision is just a vision unless an army comes together to actually make that vision become a reality. We’re
all volunteers, it’s just a life-long mission of ours.”
By providing the education, awareness and resources, she says, “We are empowering the next generation to make a change in their world for companion animals. You’ve got rescue groups all over. But are you changing the mindset while you’re doing it?
“We are, and I think that’s what I’m most proud of.” n
UNION WANTS TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING IN 2023
With a relentless and gritty style of play that’s uniquely Philly, a stadium with stunning views of the Commodore Barry Bridge and the Delaware River, and a home atmosphere that head coach Jim Curtin has called “the best party that there is in Philadelphia,” the Union of Major League Soccer are no longer the best kept secret in the Philly sports landscape as they enter their 14th season.
Add in that on the field in 2022: the team
reached the MLS Cup Final for the first time; led the league in goals scored (franchise record 72) and fewest goals allowed (MLS record 26); tied for the league lead in points (67); set a team record with 19 wins; had the league’s Coach of the Year (Curtin), Goalkeeper of the Year (Andre Blake), and Defender of the Year (center back Jakob Glesnes), this team has high expectations and is focused on making the next step of capturing the MLS Cup while also contending for four other trophies in what will be a busy 2023.
AMONG THE BEST
It’s been a steady climb into the upper echelon of MLS for the boys in blue. Curtin, who has been at the helm since midway through the 2014 season, has guided the team to the MLS postseason in five straight seasons and six of the last seven.
Each year the team has seen postseason improvement. In 2018, the Union were eliminated in the knockout round. In 2019 the team won its first-ever postseason game and in 2020, the team led the league in points to earn
the Supporters Shield but was bumped out of the playoffs in the conference semifinals. In 2021, they finally reached the Eastern Conference Final, only to suffer a tough one-goal loss to NYCFC with 11 players (five starters) sidelined due to COVID protocols, setting the stage for the record-shattering 2022 season.
“If you go back over the last five seasons, we’ve gone one step further. It was winning that first playoff game (2019), then we had the COVID year of 2020, then we get past that hump into the Eastern Conference Final (2-1 loss to NYCFC in 2021), then get to a heartbreaking loss in the MLS Cup Final last year, so the next logical step – I wish it were so simple – is to win it.” Curtin said following a training session the week before the 2023 season opener – a 4-1 home win over Columbus
on Feb. 25.
“We know how hard it is to get back there. At the start of every season, there’s hope in every franchise and you have 28 other teams that think they have something special but very few teams actually do. I think we’re one of the consistent teams now over the last five seasons where we’ve built a winner and we’re now expected to win which is a new role for us.”
The Union will play their usual 34-game MLS schedule to pursue the MLS Supporters Shield, with a potential of six more playoff games to capture MLS Cup, but the team is also participating in the U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and Leagues Cup (a new annual competition starting this summer between clubs from MLS and the top league in Mexico, Liga MX). So, the potential for more than 50 games across all competitions this season is possible.
Captain and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who is as Philly as any pro athlete you’ll find among the five major pro teams in town, is in his eighth season with the club, and in his tenure, the team has really seen its profile rise in direct correlation to its winning percentage.
“We had a fantastic season last year with all of the records and defensively how strong we were and getting to the MLS Cup Final,” said Bedoya, who recorded a career-high six goals and a career-high-tying six assists in 2022. “The linear progression we’ve made as a club in my time here has been incredible. Credit to everyone involved. But in this league, there’s so much parity, so it’s very tough to make it again year after year. But we’ve shown the level of consistency that we need to be successful.”
According to Curtin, consistency is a big deal for the Union. In fact, it starts with him as he enters his 10th season. The team returns all 11 starters from last year’s record-setting team, which connected for an MLS record-tying 49 home goals in 2022. Midfielder Dániel Gazdag set a franchise single-season record with 22 goals, good for second in the league, and he became only the sixth player in MLS history to record a 20-goal, 10-assist season. Gazdag and forward Julián Carranza (career highs of 14 goals and nine assists in 2022) each scored twice in the Union’s 2023 season opener.
“Consistency is the key word that you hit on,” said Curtin, the two-time MLS Coach of the Year (2020, ’22) and the youngest to win the honor twice. “That’s what we’ve become. We’ve become a pretty consistent group. The continuity of our 11 starters is really strong. They know each other’s strengths and, more importantly, they know each other’s weaknesses and they really can cover for each other on the field. We’ve not only kept all of those guys but we’ve added some real pieces that I think give us more depth than last year.”
Bedoya agrees that with all starters back from 2022, it should really help them start fast.
“The fact that we’ve been able to keep the core of the team intact with our starting 11, where other teams may have a lot more turnover is a benefit to us. And then, with the added depth pieces that we’re going to need throughout the season because of so many games, this is the deepest team we’ve had since I’ve been here and that’s awesome.”
DEFENDING THE HOME “FORTRESS”
Another reason for their success? The homefield advantage of Subaru Park. The Union were unbeaten at home in 2022 (12 wins, zero losses and five ties). And in the past four seasons, the Union have lost just six times at the stadium in Chester, PA, going 44-6-13, including the 2023 season-opening win.
“Homefield advantage is huge in this league just because of the travel and the way it’s all set up. In front of our fans, it gets loud in there, the atmosphere has been unbeliev-
able and that helps us a lot,” Bedoya explained on the team’s training grounds just days before the season opener. “We have to keep taking advantage of Subaru Park being a fortress and winning our games at home. It’s tough to win away games here in this league and the fact that we’re able to have a strong winning percentage at home is huge.
“My kids are starting to go to school and it’s great to see families from their school come up to me and say, ‘Wow, that was my first Union game and the atmosphere is awesome,
it’s even more exciting than going some of the other games I’ve been to’ – no disrespect meant to the other teams in town – ‘people are loud, they’re chanting, singing, celebrating, it’s fantastic.’ ”
Curtin glowingly talked about his club’s edge at home.
“A lot can be said about the advantage we have here,” he said, nodding toward the stadium which sits across from the team’s practice fields. “(Subaru Park) has a real buzz. It’s not the biggest stadium in the league or the fanciest. It’s not the newest with the most amenities or suites but, it’s kind of ours.”
Curtin’s description was reminiscent of fans’ thoughts on Veterans Stadium, the notorious and often maligned home of the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. The stadium also housed the Philadelphia Atoms (1973-75) and Philadelphia Fury (1978-80), both of the North American Soccer League.
“Exactly,” Curtin said, concurring on the assessment of his description while being no stranger to the Vet. An Oreland, PA, native he grew up a huge Philly sports fan. The 43-yearold is a Villanova grad who became the Wildcats soccer program’s first-ever MLS draftee in 2001 and was inducted into the Villanova Varsity Club’s Hall of Fame in 2018.
“I won’t go as far as to say it’s got a
Wrigley Field nostalgia to it but there’s something cool about the building, with the river and the bridge the way it is and the way our fans get behind us. I just know every team hates coming here and that’s a real badge of honor. It’s very Philly and we like that.”
SPEAKING OF PHILLY
Besides Curtin, who lives in downtown Philadelphia, the Union roster boasts five players with Philly area roots: defender Brandan Craig and midfielder Quinn Sullivan call Philly their hometown. Forward Chris Donovan (Drexel University) lists Paoli, PA. Plus, midfielder Jeremy Rafanello (Delran, NJ) and defender Matt Real (Drexel Hill, PA) are both local. As kids,
unlike generations prior, they all grew up with MLS to aspire toward and had the benefit of being able to watch the Union in action and inspire their dreams.
“When I was really young, MLS was barely a thing,” the 22-year-old Donovan explained. “The Union weren’t a thing yet. I was only a fan of the other Philadelphia sports teams. But since its inception, it’s really been right in my backyard. YSC Academy (Wayne, PA) is like five minutes from my house. That’s where the Union Academy trains so I’ve been right around it my whole life. It’s really special to be doing it here and while my goal was always to play in MLS, it worked out perfectly to be here – it’s where I want to be.”
Sullivan, who turned 19 at the end of March, has deep soccer roots in the Philly region. His grandfather, Larry, was the head coach at Villanova (1991-2007) and was Curtin’s head coach there. Quinn’s father, Brendan, was a three-time All-Ivy League midfielder at Penn (1993-95) who had a six-year pro career. And his mom, Heike, was a captain of Penn’s women’s team in 1994 and ‘95.
“This is truly the definition of a hometown team,” Sullivan said of the Union the day before the Columbus match after a training session in Subaru Park. “Growing up in [the Bridesburg section of the city], which is not
too far, I was able to come to games here... It’s definitely cliché to say it’s an honor, but it truly is to be able to say I represent Philadelphia, and my family has such deep roots in Philadelphia soccer culture that it’s really special that they’re able to come watch me play on the weekends.
“I think our team is a microcosm for the city,” Sullivan added. “We’re diverse, we’re unique, everyone is hard-working on this team and we’re a unit. You think of all of the hardworking people out there that truly have made Philly what it is and we just feed off of that energy in the stadium, make it our own, and put it to good use on the pitch. But I think we’ve really encapsulated what Philadelphia soccer and Philadelphia really means as a whole.” n
Newcomers Could Help Propel Phillies Back to World Series
The surprising Phillies got hot at the right time last year and fell just two games shy of winning the World Series.
What will it take for the defending National League champions to get back to the Series this season?
Here are ten ways:
1Several players pick up the slack while Bryce Harper is sidelined for the first few months.
Harper, one of the best players in baseball, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is expected to return by the All-Star break in July, or perhaps as early as late June. (We’re betting on the latter.)
How will the Phillies survive without their top player?
Well, they did surprisingly well last season while he was sidelined for two months with a broken thumb, compiling a 32-20 record. And that was without star shortstop Trea Turner.
With Turner now in the fold, Taijuan Walker added to the rotation, and the bullpen fortified, there is reason to believe the Phillies can duplicate their success until Harper returns.
2Newcomers Craig Kimbrel and lefty Gregory Soto bolster the bullpen.
Those two additions, along with Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado, give the Phillies four quality arms for the late innings.
Kimbrell, 34, signed a one-year, $10 million free-agent deal. He had an inconsistent season with the Dodgers last year, compiling a 3.75 ERA and 22 saves. The righthander lost his closer’s role late in the season. He has had inconsistent seasons in the past and seems to rebound the next year.
That’s the Phillies’ hope, anyway.
A potential future Hall of Famer, Kimbrel has superb career numbers: 394 saves, a 2.31 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP. He also has 1,098 strikeouts in 688 1/3 innings.
The Phillies’ other big bullpen move was acquiring Soto in a five-player trade with De-BY SAM CARCHIDI
troit. Outfielder Matt Vierling, utility player Nick Maton, and prospect Donny Sands, a catcher, were sent to the Tigers.
Dave Dombrowski, president of the Phillies’ baseball operations, liked the players the Phillies moved to Detroit.
“But we just felt the opportunity to add another back-end arm that we really, really like,” he said, adding that having Soto under contract for three years was also part of the equation.
Last season, Soto had 30 saves and a 3.28 ERA. He and Alvarado are two of the hardest throwing lefthanded relievers in the majors.
The Phillies are expected to go into the season without a preferred closer, which is how manager Rob Thomson wants it.
A year ago, the Phils’ bullpen had a 3.97 ERA (18th in the majors), an improvement from 2021 (4.39, 19th). It should make strides again this season.
Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola remain healthy and give the Phillies two aces.
Wheeler was brilliant in Game 6 of the World Series before Thomson’s ill-fated decision to remove him turned around the game. And the series. Wheeler left with a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning after having thrown just 70 pitches. The Phils lost, 4-1.
If the Phillies are going to return to the Series, Wheeler (12-7, 2.82, 1.04 WHIP) and Nola (11-13, 3.25, 235 Ks, 0.96 WHIP) will be the pitching leaders. Both are coming off strong seasons.
They are ranked among the top 10 pitchers in the majors, according to Audacity Sports. Wheeler is No. 7, Nola at No. 10.
Nola, 29, is the most durable pitcher in the majors. Since 2018, he has made more starts (143) and thrown more innings (871 2/3) than any pitcher in baseball.
Wheeler, 32, dealt with arm fatigue late last season, but he was hitting the high 90s
with his fastball when this year’s spring training rolled around. In 2021, Wheeler led the majors with 213 1/3 innings. He missed six starts late last season, but then made six in the postseason.
Nola and Wheeler will anchor a staff that includes reliable Ranger Suarez (10-7, 3.65) and free-agent signee Walker (12-5, 3.49 with the Mets last year). A spring-training injury to promising rookie Andrew Painter made Bailey Falter (6-4, 3.86) the favorite for the No. 5 starter spot. Lefty Cristopher Sanchez (2-2, 5.63) was among the candidates in a deep rotation.
join the Miami Marlins. He started out slowly and never got into a rhythm.
This spring, he made an adjustment – he’s standing closer to the plate – and seemed more comfortable in the batter’s box.
Castellanos is coming off a season in which he hit .263 with 13 homers and 62 RBIs. It was his lowest homer output since 2014, and his lowest, full-season RBI total since 2016.
The Phils need him to rebound and have a typical season: .276 with 24 homers and 87 RBIs. That’s what he has averaged in his 10-year career.
5 Speedy shortstop Trea Turner is as good as advertised.
Bryce Harper campaigned for the Phillies to sign his former Washington teammate. They listened.
Nick Castellanos rebounds from a disappointing first season with the Phillies.
The right fielder had a sharp decline from his previous season with the Reds.
Some say it was an unsettling year because he didn’t sign until just before the season and had been apparently prepared to
The 29-year-old Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract in December, giving them one of the game’s marquee players. The signing shifted Bryson Stott from shortstop to second base, and the new double-play duo bonded by going out to dinner and playing golf in the offseason.
Two years ago, Turner won the NL batting title. Last year, he hit .298 with 21 homers and a career-high 100 RBIs with the Dodgers. He has led the league in steals twice and
If the Phillies are going to return to the Series, Wheeler and Nola will be the pitching leaders. Both are coming off strong seasons.
stole 27 bases last season.
Oh, and he leads the majors in stolen bases and is second in hits over the last five seasons.
Said Dombrowski: “I really philosophically believe that you win with star players.”
The Phillies landed another one.
6The Phils are motivated by their World Series loss to Houston, using it as fuel to stay focused throughout the season and playoffs.
Think back to last year and how the Phils’ hitters collapsed in the latter part of the World Series. In the last three games, the Phillies scored a total of three runs and had a total of nine hits.
Do you think that will motivate them to show how much better they can be?
It’s strongly possible.
The Phillies, after all, had a strong offensive
team last year, finishing fifth in the National League in runs scored. The World Series failures were because of the added pressure, and because the Astros have world-class pitching.
This year, Harper (when he returns), Turner, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, Castellanos. First baseman Rhys Hoskins was expected to be a huge part of the offense, but he tore the ACL in his left knee late in spring training. Darick Hall is expected to handle most of the first-base duties, but there are other options.
But don’t sleep on Alec Bohm.
The lasting memory of Bohm last year is of him getting booed by the home fans after he made another error, and the third baseman responding in a way that, well, was somewhat expected.
It was easy to read his mouthed words: “I hate this f---ing place,” he said. Surprisingly, it turned into a cathartic
moment for Bohm. After that, his fielding, which had been atrocious, improved greatly. And by the end of the year, he was one of the few Phillies you trusted to get a big hit.
He finished with a .280 batting average with 13 homers and 72 RBIs. The Phillies need him to keep getting better, especially with Harper out at the start of the season, if their offense is truly going to be elite.
7 Having manager Rob Thomson for a full season translates into more victories.
Forget about his costly decision in Game 6 of the World Series. If you judge him by his full body of work, Thomson was a success story.
The Phillies had a 22-29 record when overrated Joe Girardi was fired in early June and replaced by Thomson. They were 5 1/2 games out of the second-wildcard spot. Under the unassuming Thomson, they went 65-46 the rest of the way, played more small ball, and upset St. Louis, Atlanta, and San Diego to reach the World Series.
The players love playing for him, and he seems to squeeze the most out of them.
“What’s most important is our expectations, and not somebody else’s,” Thomson said in spring training. “You can’t control
If you judge him by his full body of work, Thomson was a success story. The players love playing for him, and he seems to squeeze the most out of them.
what other people’s expectations are of you.”
His expectations, he said, are simple: You prepare, you compete, you’re selfless, and you have fun.
Thomson said there’s a “different level of intensity” when the regular season starts, “so I’m making sure they stay calm.”
Like their manager.
MLB Pipeline’s Pitching Prospect of the Year. He struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings in 2022.
Thanks to his size, stuff, command, and four-pitch mix, he is regarded as a future major-league star.
That process may even start this season.
10 The up-the-middle defense – catcher Realmuto, middleinfielders Turner and Stott, and centerfielder Brandon Marsh – is improved.
Having Marsh for a full season will help the defense. Ditto having Turner and Stott as the middle infielders. Both are very athletic, and that is extra important this season because of the no-shift rule.
Andrew Painter recovers and shows his minor-league dominance wasn’t a fluke.
Painter is the Phillies’ young pitching phenom, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound righthander who down the road figures to be their ace.
Early in spring training, he made his first start. The next day, he had a “tender elbow” and a litany of tests showed he has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
The Phils will be careful with him, which means Falter has become the probable fifth starter. But Painter, provided he doesn’t have any setbacks, could be here at some point this season.
He could be the team’s “ace in the hole.”
Painter was dominant on three minorleague levels last year, his first full season. He reached double-A Reading and earned
9 Kyle Schwarber benefits greatly from the no-shift rule and having Turner get on base in front of him.
Schwarber batted just .218 in 2022 and had numerous would-be hits taken away by the shift. With the shift gone, his average should increase.
That will also help raise his RBI total. So will this: Schwarber will probably bat No. 2 most of the time, not leadoff like last season. Hence, more of his would-be solo homers will be two-run shots with Turner batting ahead of him.
Schwarber slammed a league-leading 46 homers last year, including 31 solo shots, and had 94 RBIs. Turner has a .355 career on-base percentage, and that should enable Schwarber to knock in more runs.
In spring training, Thomson was leaning toward batting Turner leadoff and Schwarber No. 2.
As for Realmuto, he remains the league’s best defensive catcher.
When the Phils were in their heyday from 2007-11, they were solid up the middle on defense. (See Shane Victorino/ Aaron Rowand, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz.) The same is true with today’s team.
On the flip side, the Phils have questions about their corner infield defense, which consists of third baseman Bohm and probable first baseman Hall. Bohm, however, made great defensive strides in the second half of last year. The corner outfield defense is also a question, though right fielder Castellanos made some remarkable plays in the postseason.
The 2023 Phillies aren’t perfect, but offseason additions should help them overcome their deficiencies. n
BASEBALL ROCKSBY MICHAEL BRADLEY
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS about Kevin Beale’s job as Senior Director, Business Development & Suite Sales with the Phillies is that he is part of the team that secures acts for the large concerts staged each summer at Citizens Bank Park.
Many big-name acts have played to full houses from CBP’s outfield stage, and each has a collection of management, staff, roadies and others charged with making sure things run smoothly on the road. Beale interacts with them as the show approaches, in a furious push to make sure everything goes well. When the music ends, and the crowd goes home, what has been an intense relationship evaporates.
“I love working on concerts,” says Beale, who is entering his 24th season with the Phillies. “There are so many different parties involved, and it’s a crazy sprint. We announce the show, it goes on sale, and then things die down. As the show gets closer, we sprint again. The night of the show is an unveiling, and then everybody’s gone.
“There were a couple people here from England for Elton John who were really nice. I hope I see them again, but you never know when our paths are going to cross again. It’s kind of cool.”
Turning Citizens Bank Park into a Concert Venue
Since 2005 – one year after it opened – the Phillies’ home has hosted shows, and this season will be no different. Jimmy Buffett was the first performer to play at the stadium, and since then some giants of the music world have thrilled audiences at the Bank. Included are Paul McCartney, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Police. The concerts usually sell out, and they provide the Phillies with some extra revenue at a time when the team is on the road.
They also create a unique set of challenges for Beale and the Phillies organization, who usually have a week or so to set up, stage and break down the concerts, all while making sure the playing surface holding the stage and thousands of fans remains at a major-league level.
“It’s another opportunity for fans to come to Citizens Bank Park,” Beale says. “We have 81 home games, with opportunities for the playoffs, and the building is dark when the Phillies aren’t playing. We can get people down to see concerts and fill some of those dates.”
This year, the ballpark will host six different concerts by four artists, Dead and Company
on June 15, Morgan Wallen (June 17), two Bruce Springsteen shows on August 16 and 18 and two straight nights of Pink’s “Summer Carnival” on September 18 and 19.
In addition to those standalone shows, the Phillies will present two post-game concerts.
On July 10, the indie pop trio AJR will perform, and on July 1 Shaquille O’Neal, under his stage name Diesel, will present an EDM show. Yes, it’s THAT Shaquille O’Neal.
“I think it will get a lot of traction,” says Jamie Trout, the Phillies Senior Director, Mar-
keting Events and Special Projects.
Philadelphia’s outdoor venues have been sites for concerts for decades. JFK Stadium hosted Live Aid in 1985 and countless other epic performances, like the 1976 Yes/Peter Frampton/Gary Wright show that drew 130,000 people, the ‘77 Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd-headlined gig, the 1980 Roundup Southern Rock extravaganza, several Grateful Dead experiences, and the 1984 Jacksons Victory Tour. Veterans Stadium hosted the Rolling Stones, McCartney, The Who, Madonna,
Pink Floyd, and Dave Matthews Band, among others, while the Linc continues to be a popular stop for many big-time artists, including, over the years, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, both of whom will be there this year, Springsteen, the Stones, Kenny Chesney, One Direction and Coldplay.
That tradition continues this year at CBP, with standalone and post-game offerings designed to make as much use of the facility as possible and to provide opportunities for local music aficionados to experience some live shows.
“The idea is to offer added value to fans,” Trout says. “We treat it like our other promotions, whether it’s a bobblehead giveaway or something like that.
“Hopefully some people will come out to the game who don’t usually do that.”
WHEN THE PHILLIES LEAVE TOWN on June 11 for a seven-game road trip after hosting the Dodgers, it won’t be long until the ballpark will no longer be about America’s Pastime. A little bit of prep work will follow the game with L.A., and on Monday and Tuesday, the stage and speaker towers will be built to accommodate Dead & Co. on June 15 and Wallen two days later.
“In an ideal world, we have four days to prepare,” Beale says. “We have done a more consolidated build.”
Wednesday the 14th will be “production day,” when the Dead’s team will add the technology, branding, and band-specific touches. It’s also when a “third-party vendor” puts between 10-12,000 seats on a covering atop the outfield. (There is no infield seating.) When the final note floats into the sky, Wallen’s team will do the same thing to prepare for his show. The big stuff stays the same for both bands. Although Beale and his team are capable of working with a variety of different
acts, several different promoters, like AEG or Live Nation, it prefers G2 Structures, a North Carolina-based company, to put up the framework.
It’s important to make sure the field remains in good enough condition, so that when the Phillies return, they don’t face anything that can impede or hamper per-
formance. Thanks to an excellent drainage system and world-class groundskeepers who can keep the grass in good shape that usually happens, although there have been some times when some grass has had to be replaced. It happened last year, when Dead & Co. and Elton John played five days apart, and fans were able to see a large, rectangu-
lar patch in centerfield. An unusually heavy stage favored by the British rocker was the culprit.
“The concerts are usually in the middle of the summer, when it’s hot, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take,” Beale says. “We had to replace some of the field, but we knew we would be replacing the whole field during the off-sea-
son as part of natural maintenance.”
Although the inaugural CBP concert featuring Buffett and his band, was staged during a torrential rainstorm and left the grass with an odd, striped look for a couple weeks that replicated the rows of field seats, it is rare that there is any significant or longterm damage to the turf.
As for other details about the stand-alone concerts, Aramark, which handles the Phillies concessions, provides the hot dogs, soda and beer. As for clean-up, OVG – which handles the ballpark’s daily custodial care – makes sure the stadium is ready for the next event.
“By 4 p.m. the next day, everything is off the field, and the stands are clean,” Beale says. “It looks like there was no concert. There’s a lot of coordination and a lot of people working long hours. I’ll watch the group collecting the chairs, and they move 100 miles per hour.”
For the post-game concerts, the Phillies work with Ballpark Music, an Atlanta-based production company that partners with eight other MLB teams, three NFL franchises, several colleges and some minor league outfits, along with Major League Baseball itself to provide entertainment before and after playoff and World Series games. “They handle everything, soup to nuts,” Trout says.
After the game, it takes about a half-hour to get the stage, which is considerably smaller than those favored by the bigger shows, set up behind second base. Fans who pay $30 extra are allowed to come onto the infield dirt to watch the show. Artists usually perform for about an hour, and the stage is removed right after the music stops.
“One of the biggest factors when we decided to give [post-game concerts] a try, was that we wanted to make sure the promoter knew there could be no issues for the next day’s game,” Trout says.
Many of those who stick around for the concerts are baseball fans hoping to get a little more for their money. But some of the bands’ supporters show up later in the game and are interested exclusively in the music. Whatever the motivation for the patrons, the Phillies’ aim for the post-game shows is the same.
“Certainly, we see an increase in ticket sales and an increase in concessions,” Trout says. “It’s sponsored [by Jim Beam], so there is a little extra there. We just want to create a fun, exciting atmosphere.
“We don’t want to book a show just to book a show. We want ones that we feel will be impactful.”
And maybe to make some new friends along the way.
For a little while. n
Music For the Life Road
Jeff Beck 1944-2023
In 2001, I went on a baseball trip to six cities. I visited what was then Miller Park in Milwaukee and beautiful PNC Park in Pittsburgh in their inaugural seasons. I saw Detroit’s Comerica Park in its second year when Detroit fans still lamented the loss of Tiger Stadium. I watched the sunset from the Sears Tower in Chicago, rode several large roller coasters at Six Flags Great America, and tried Skyline chili in Cincinnati for the first time.
But my fondest memory of that trip is none of these things.
The best part of the 2,500 miles was cruising on Midwest highways in the morning sun, fresh hot coffee in the car, listening to a new CD from my favorite musical artist for road trip tunes.
A benevolent God had held me back from buying Jeff Beck’s You Had It Coming album when it was first released in 2000. It was $15.99 after all…more than a month-long subscription on Spotify today…and I wasn’t independently middle class then. But just before the trip, I broke down and paid the 16 bucks for Beck’s newest CD.
A bargain at twice the price. The album being fresh…and so damned good…made it my #1 most played CD on my trip. And it wasn’t even close. You Had It Coming, something else, and then back, the whole trip.
My favorite music listening environment is in the car on the highway, and no artist made better music for the road than Jeff Beck. You didn’t have to know much about him to know he was into cars…the cover of the Guitar Shop album is a brilliant cartoon of Beck working on a guitar on a lift as if it were an automobile repair shop. It stood to reason he would make great cruising music.
His catalog contains a wide variety of styles, from the 1970s funk jazz of Blow By Blow, to the instrumental rock classic Wired, to the electronica of Jeff. And of course, there was his work with the Jeff Beck Group, the Yardbirds, and Rod Stewart.
But whatever the page in Beck’s career, the music was always bluesy, jazzy or haunting enough to make it perfect for listening on the road, daylight or darkness. “Stand On It” from Guitar Shop, “Blue Wind” from Wired, “Roy’s Toy” from You Had It Coming, and countless others. I can always find something on my Jeff Beck playlist, for the road, for whatever my mood.
It is, of course, worth mentioning that he was considered a guitar god, especially by his peers. Upon his passing in January, there were glowing tributes all over Facebook…from Paul McCartney, Alice Cooper and countless others, about his considerable technical skill. Beck’s ability to coax otherworldly sounds from a guitar made fans of a lot of people.
But while I can always follow along with the guitar playing in a Beck classic, to me his true legacy is simply a wide catalog of music featuring cruising appeal above all else.
Rest in peace Jeff, and thanks for the companionship on the long road. nBY KURT SMITH
HUNGRY TO GET BACKBY DAVE SPADARO Eagles Insider
THE BUSES, six of them, rolled in together from Philadelphia International Airport the day after Super Bowl LVII, largely in silence for those making the ride to the NovaCare Complex. Handfuls of fans gathered outside to welcome back the Philadelphia Eagles from the 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a stark contrast to five years earlier when the streets were lined with celebrators after the team’s Super Bowl LII victory.
This was the reality for the Eagles, whose outstanding 2022 season – a 14-3 record in the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, two dominating wins in the conference postseason – came to a sudden end in Glendale, AZ at the hands of Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid, and a myriad of mistakes made by the Eagles that ultimately cost them Super Bowl glory.
“When you play in the Super Bowl, you have to play your best game and we didn’t do that,” All-Pro center Jason Kelce said after the team’s fourth-ever Super Bowl appearance. “Give them credit. The Chiefs played their game and we expected them to do that.
“We just had too many breakdowns that ultimately cost us the game.”
In that sense, then, it was a team effort in falling just short of their second Lombardi Trophy in five seasons. A 10-point halftime lead disappeared as Kansas City pushed back in the second half, and the Chiefs were dominating in the critical fourth quarter.
But the mistakes started early for the Eagles, and they added up in the loss …
• Quarterback Jalen Hurts, otherwise brilliant, lost control of the football on a thirdand-5 run and, to make matters worse, inadvertently kicked the ball into an open part of the field, where Chiefs’ cornerback Nick Bolton scooped it up and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing extra point tied the game, 14-14, a sequence that came back to haunt the Eagles. The Eagles, just one play before, had a third-and-1 opportunity, but right guard Isaac Seumalo was penalized for a false start, putting the Eagles in the thirdand-5 squeeze.
“That’s on me,” said Hurts, who accounted for 374 yards and four touchdowns of total offense in a power-packed performance. “I always hold
myself to a very high standard with everything that I do. Obviously, I try to control the things that I can. I touch the ball every play. Obviously, you want to protect it. It did hurt us, it hurt us. You never know what play it will be.”
• Philadelphia’s defense held Mahomes and the Kansas City offense in check in the first half, allowing just 128 total net yards and six first downs. But the second half was a different story. The Chiefs opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and then followed it up with a 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to edge ahead, 28-27 early in the fourth quarter.
• After the offense had a three-plays-and-out series, Arryn Siposs got off a poor 38-yard punt that Kadarius Toney returned 65 yards to the Philadelphia 5-yard line. Three plays later, on third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Mahomes threw his third touchdown pass of the night and Kansas City went ahead, 35-27.
• Hurts led the offense on a final drive and capped the possession with a 1-yard touchdown run, followed by a rugged two-point
WHEN YOU PLAY IN THE SUPER BOWL, YOU HAVE TO PLAY YOUR BEST GAME AND WE DIDN’T DO THAT.”
– JASON KELCEPhoto Philadelphia Eagles A.J. Brown hauls in a touchdown pass in Super Bowl LVII
conversion run. Tie game, 35-35. Five minutes, 15 seconds remaining. All the defense needed was one stop and Hurts would have another chance.
But that didn’t happen. Kansas City gained three first downs in those final moments of a magnificent game and then, on a third-and-8 play from the Philadelphia 15-yard line, Eagles cornerback James Bradberry grabbed the jersey of Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, was penalized for defensive holding and Kansas City had another first down and a chance to run out the clock.
That’s exactly what the Chiefs did, setting up placekicker Harrison Butker for a 27-yard field goal with 11 second remaining to provide the winning points.
And so, the Eagles, one day later, rode in silence from the Philadelphia International Airport, up I-95 North, exiting onto Broad Street and finally taking a left onto Pattison Avenue and then a right into the NovaCare Complex.
One day later, the players cleaned out their lockers and moved into an uncertain offseason. They learned in the 2022 season that Hurts is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL now heading into his fourth year as a dynamic, multiple-threat player who is a natural leader. They gained more faith in head coach Nick Sirianni, who has taken the Eagles to a pair of postsea-
son appearances in his two years at the helm.
The roster is ripe with young talent that will continue to mature as the Eagles look in 2023 to do what no team has done since 2003-2004: repeat as NFC East champions. It’s not going to be easy, not by any means. The coaching staff has two new coordinators. Free agency, which begins in mid-March, will be challenging as a large handful of key veterans are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Hurts is eligible for a second contract, which should be among the most lucrative in the league and that falls on general manager Howie Roseman, who has so much on his plate – including the
10th and the 30th overall selections in the 2023 NFL Draft – to handle in the weeks ahead.
There are going to be salary-cap concerns and hard decisions ahead – and that’s all part of the task of returning to greatness after such a tough loss at the summit of the NFL season.
“We were close. And all that does to me is make me hungrier to get back and that’s about the last time you’ll hear me say get back because what you’re going to hear me say is we’re going to do it one day at a time, one day at a time, because that’s the right mindset,” Sirianni said a few days after the season ended. “But that doesn’t stop you from when you see the red and yellow confetti fall or you have a piece of it stuck on your shirt, that you don’t think to yourself, ‘I have to do everything I can to help our guys get back to this moment.’
“Maybe that’s not a wisdom thing, maybe that’s more of my drive and I know our players’ drive and I know Howie’s drive to be like, ‘Oh, my God, we were there.’ We talk about climbing the mountain. We climbed the mountain. We’d look one step at a time, one step at a time, one step at a time, and then we slip right before we were able to put our flag at the top of the mountain. All that does is make you more determined, driven, to make that climb again, to get back to the top and hopefully stand at the top.” n
‘‘ WE WERE CLOSE. AND ALL THAT DOES TO ME IS MAKE ME HUNGRIER TO GET BACK.”
– HEAD COACH NICK SIRIANNI
In fact, it’s happened just three times in NFL history. The last time was in 2008 when New England had the 10th pick in the draft after losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. The two times prior to that was Washington in 1992 and San Francisco in 1995.
Thanks to some shrewd trades over the past two years, the Eagles will be the fourth team to accomplish the rare feat when they select 10th overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft with a pick acquired from the New Orleans Saints. The Eagles will also have the 30th pick in the draft, which will allow general manager Howie Roseman to make more moves should he choose to do so.
According to the draft trade chart that most teams use if Roseman were to package both of his first-round selections he could move up to the No. 4 overall pick, which is currently held by the Indianapolis Colts.BY MARK ECKEL
It’s not often a Super Bowl team gets a top-10 pick in the following draft.
Best of the Best in 2023 NFL draft
Bryce Young, Alabama — The 2021 Heisman Award winner will likely be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Young is without question the best quarterback in this draft but does not come without questions. The biggest is his size. He measured in at the Combine at 5-10 1/8 and 204 pounds. That’s small for an NFL quarterback. Because of that, there are durability concerns. As far as his play, there’s no doubting his arm strength, accuracy or leadership ability.
Bijan Robinson, Texas — Another clear-cut choice at the top of his position. Robinson, 6-foot, 214 pounds, will be the first back taken and he could crack the top half of the first round. Last fall he ran for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. He can also catch the ball which has led at least one scout to compare him to Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
Jordon Addison, Southern Cal — At 6-0, 180 Addison is a little smaller than some teams prefer and his numbers last year (59 receptions, 875 yards, 8 touchdowns) dwarfed his numbers at Pitt in 2021— 100/1,593/17. Still, he’s the consensus best of a very average group of receivers in this year’s draft.
Dalton Kincaid, Utah — Most will say Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer is the best, but in a very good tight end class, Kincaid may turn out to be better than Mayer, Georgia’s Darnell Washington and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave. All four should go in the top 50 picks. Kincaid, 6-4, 241, is the best pure receiver of the talented group.
Peter Skoronski, Northwestern — The grandson of Bob Skoronski, who was a starter for the Vince Lombardi Packers dynasty of the ‘60s, Skoronski, 6-3, 305, played tackle for the Wildcats but could move to guard in the NFL. One scout said he would be a good tackle for a long time but would be an All-Pro guard. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson and Georgia’s Broderick Jones are also highly regarded.
Jalen Carter, Georgia — Carter’s arrest and misdemeanor charges for speeding and reckless driving in an incident in which two people were killed have drawn some red flags. Carter is still expected to be the next defensive player from the National Champion Bulldogs to be a top NFL draft pick. The 6-3, 310-pound Carter will likely go in the first five selections as long as his college production (32 tackles, 3 sacks) and the off-the-field issue does not overshadow his enormous potential.
Will Anderson, Alabama — A pure pass rusher Anderson, 6-4, 235, might be the best overall player in the draft and the first non-quarterback selected. His 22 sacks in the past two years in the SEC are impressive. He may have to put on some weight to play with his hand down in the NFL. A better fit for him might be as a stand-up 3-4 linebacker.
Drew Sanders, Arkansas — Some favor Clemson’s Trenton Simpson here, but Sanders, the Alabama transfer, has been extremely productive. The 6-4, 235-pound Sanders had a great year for the Razorbacks with 103 tackles and 9 1/2 sacks. He should hear his name called near the end of the first round.
Christian Gonzalez, Oregon — You could argue all day between Gonzalez (6-2, 201) and Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon (5-11, 182). We’ll go with the bigger man out of a more pass-happy PAC-12. Gonzalez, who transferred from Colorado, shows good man skills and picked off four passes last fall for the Ducks. He should be a top-10 pick.
Brian Branch, Alabama — It’s not a very deep safety class, but Branch, 6-0, 192, sits at the top. The Crimson Tide standout can play anywhere in the secondary and can match up with receivers outside or in the slot. NFL scouts see him as a safety with the skills to play nickel corner. He should be selected in the top half of the first round.– Mark Eckel
The Eagles biggest needs going into this draft and before free agency began appeared to be on the defensive line, the secondary and the offensive line. History tells us the team likes to draft offensive and defensive linemen with early picks.
Eight of the Eagles last 12 first-round picks and 12 of the last 17 have been either offensive or defensive linemen. Take a closer look and when the team picks in the top 15 of the first round they have taken an offensive or defensive linemen with eight of their last 10 picks and 12 of their last 15.
So, with age creeping up on Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, who are also both free agents, and Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph basically one-year rentals an infusion of youth on the D-line could be in order.
On the offensive line, the team seems to be ok with an eventual replacement for center Jason Kelce in 2022 second-round pick Cam Jurgens. They may look for someone to eventually take over for right tackle Lane Johnson in this draft.
In the secondary at cornerback, James Bradbury is a free agent and Darius Slay is in the final year of his contract.
If the Eagles were to make a move up the draft board from No. 10 it would likely be for one of two players — Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Both are expected to be gone within the first five picks. They could also have their eyes on Texas Tech defensive end Ty Wilson, who has risen dramatically and could also be a top pick.
STAYING AT 10
If Roseman and the team stay at No. 10 they would hope to land one of two defensive line-
men from Clemson or one of the top offensive linemen. They could also hope that Carter, because of off-the-field issues, might drop. If all of that fails, they could switch gears and land one of the best cornerbacks in the draft. Here are the possibilities:
Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson — The consensus No. 3 edge rusher behind Anderson and Wilson, Murphy figures to get picked in the range of No. 10. With good size, 6-5, 273, and both speed and power as a pass rusher he would be an ideal replacement for Graham.
Brandon Breese, DT, Clemson — Some might consider Breese a bit of a reach at No. 10, but he’s widely considered to be the second-best DT in the draft. Injuries (ACL, kidney infection) marred his last two seasons with the Tigers, but he moves very well for a 6-5, 316-pound man and would look good next to last year’s No. 1 pick Jordan Davis.
The two best offensive linemen in the draft are Northwestern’s 6-4, 305-pound Peter Skoronski, who could play right tackle but shorter than ideal arms project him as a guard and a really good one at that, and Ohio State’s 6-7, 308-pound Paris Johnson. Some have compared Johnson to former Eagles tackle Tra Thomas.
It’s probably less than 50-50 that Skoronski or Johnson make it to No. 10. In that case Georgia tackle Broderick Jones, 6-4, 315, becomes a lesser possibility.
The three top cornerbacks are Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. One will almost surely be gone by No. 10, but the other two should be there. The Eagles, however, have not taken a defensive back in the first round since 2002 (Lito Sheppard), have taken just two since 1990 (Ben Smith), and have never taken one with a top-20 pick.
If the Eagles keep this pick, they could get whatever they don’t get at No. 10.
Cornerbacks Kelee Ringo (Georgia) and Deonte Banks (Maryland), defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (Pitt) and tackle Darnell Wright (Tennessee) could all be in play.
Don’t be surprised if Roseman trades this pick to replenish his lack of mid-round picks and perhaps add another pick in 2024. n
Plastic Surgeon Dr. Paul Glat Reflects on Transforming LivesBY JAN L. APPLE
spot, a receding hairline, unwanted wrinkles or simply a diminishing of that once youthful glow. All of these scenarios and more have brought patients to the Bala Cynwyd office of plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Glat.
Glat, who has been in practice for more than 25 years, prides himself on providing compassionate care and treating every patient like a member of the family. Recognized as one of the leading plastic surgeons in the region and nation, he performs an extensive variety of cosmetic procedures on the body, breast and face, including non-invasive skin rejuvenation. “I do the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery and reconstruction,” said Glat, “from head to toe –children through 100-year-olds.” Patients are predominantly from the Greater Philadelphia region, but some travel from New York, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Glat focuses on the individualized needs of every patient, with a tiered approach to treatment. In fact, before anyone undergoes a procedure – surgical or non-invasive – there is an extensive consultation process. The end goal is for each patient to look and feel better.
Hair Restoration and Groundbreaking Technology/Alma TED
“Our practice has evolved to do a lot of hair restoration, which is a little different from most plastic surgery practices,” said Glat who is committed to offering the latest technologies. Every year, the physician treats hundreds of patients – men and women – for hair loss. He added that his practice is one of the busiest in the country for hair restoration procedures.
Glat, who resides in Conshohocken, is quick to point out that sentiments over hair loss vary widely. “Hair loss can be devastating for some people; others couldn’t care less,” he said. And those seeking his services for hair restoration come from all walks of life and professions. Some, for example, are executives or in sales
“I like doing procedures and I like seeing the results of my work. For the most part, there are positive results. It’s generally a happy specialty.”Photos courtesy Dr. Paul Glat Dr. Glat
positions and want to look younger. Others are just generally unhappy with their appearance and crave a refresh.
Over the past year, Glat has introduced a cutting-edge treatment, known as Alma TED, for hair restoration. “Overall, we’ve had a very high satisfaction rate,” said Glat. TED, short for TransEpidermal Delivery, is described as a revolutionary, non-invasive hair growth treatment for hair shedding, hair thinning and hair loss. “There are no needles, and the machine uses an ultrasound technology that delivers a potent hair growth serum to the scalp,” said Glat. “A typical treatment takes about 20 minutes.”
The serum was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss. The serum, he explained, contains over 50 state-of-the-art growth factors and peptides designed to produce thicker, stronger, healthier hair. The technology has been in use in Europe and Israel for the past six or seven years. In fact, the ultrasound technology was developed in
Israel by a company called Alma.
TED has become increasingly popular among new and existing patients. “I am so excited about TED because I have rarely seen something so successful and effective with a minimum of risk or downtime,” said Glat. “It’s non-invasive, there’s no pain, no needles and no anesthesia. My patients and I are truly im-
pressed with the technology.”
Jon Marks, radio talk show personality and co-host of the Marks and Reese Show on 94.1 WIP Sports Radio, is extremely pleased with TED. The 46-year-old isn’t shy about sharing his positive experience with listeners. When he was in his mid-30s, he said he had a receding hairline and was starting to go bald. Suffice
it to say, he was unhappy with that look. In 2012, he sought out Glat’s services. At the time, he underwent a procedure for hair restoration. “The results were better than what I expected,” said Marks. He was so pleased that he returned for a touch-up in 2021 and then again in 2022 when he was introduced to the TED treatment. “I refer Dr. Glat to family, close friends and colleagues,” said Marks, who is so much happier with his appearance. “It was relatively easy and seems too good to be true, but it is true.”
Hair Loss: A Side Effect of COVID
Glat noted that a number of his newer patients – men and women – have complained of hair thinning and hair loss following a COVID infection. Although there is no scientific evidence confirming this, Glat has observed an increase in inquiries. “This new treatment (TED) is an excellent solution for these cases,” he said.
Besides the marked interest in TED, Glat’s practice is also one of the busiest in the region for hair transplants. This highly intricate procedure involves removing hair from the back and/or sides of the head and moving it
to other areas, such as the crown. “Each hair follicle is extracted one at a time, almost microsurgical, and transplanted to another portion of the head,” said Glat. The procedure can take upwards of six to eight hours. Typically, results can be achieved after one session; some patients may require an additional procedure.
One hair transplant patient, who chose to remain anonymous, described the results as truly amazing and was very impressed with the team effort and office staff. “Every single aspect about hair loss and hair recovery was explained in detail,” he said.
Working With Children
Glat has been voted multiple times as “Top Plastic Surgeon of the Year” by Philadelphia Magazine and nationally as a Top Doc by Castle Connolly. He is also recognized as one of the leading plastic surgeons in the nation for his work with children. He is Chief of Plastic Surgery and the Director of the Burn Unit and Craniofacial Program at Philadelphia’s St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. His work there encompasses reconstructive surgery: treating burns, traumatic injuries and birth-related conditions like cleft lip and palette. Glat said his surgeries have a dramatic
impact, such as transforming a child with a severe deformity into someone who is more confident. Helping in a child’s recovery is extremely gratifying for him.
Glat, who is originally from New York City and grew up in White Plains, Westchester County, graduated from New York University School of Medicine and received advanced training at the NYU Institute of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Following a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he relocated to the region. He decided to pursue cosmetic surgery for several reasons. “I like doing procedures and I like seeing the results of my work,” he said. “Surgery and in particular, plastic surgery, was so appealing. For the most part, there are positive results. It’s generally a happy specialty.”
Glat is pleased that his career has enabled him to improve the quality of life for patients. “All of what I do is very satisfying,” said Glat, “whether it’s the kids or the cosmetic surgery because it can change and transform lives.”
For more information, visit www.drglat.com
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Michael Barreto Metropolis Passenger Logistics
Brian Barry Keller Williams Cherry Hill
Robert Beach Procision Commercial Realty & Procision Business Brokers
Kevin Beaford WSFS Bank
David Beety PeopleShare
Robert Bender The First National Bank of Elmer
Tom Bentey Suburbanite Productions
Tom Bernetich BDO USA, LLP
Brian Bielawski Dynamic Advertising Solutions*
Matt Blatz PCS
Christine Blithe ARS Truck & Fleet Service*
Eric Blumenthal Commonwealth Capital, LLC
Ken Bode Integrity Staffing Solutions
Anastasia Boucher Workplace HCM, Inc.
David Boughter BBSI
Michael Bowman Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board
Carrie J. Boyle Boyle & Valenti, P.C.
Michael Brady LPL Financial
Al Branca AXE PRIME, LLC
Kimberly Bryson Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ
Rebecca Caimano First Tee Greater Philadelphia
Taylor Campitelli Intelligent Staffing Company
Mark Caprarola CapWealth
Ethan Capri Capri Bookkeeping Solutions, LLC
Michael Carpino Univest Bank
Nastasja Casamento Paycor
Vince Ceroli Vantage Property Managers
Mike Chapman Tourneau
Ren Cicalese Alloy Silverstein Group
Rudy Cislak Diversified
Geoffrey R. Cleveland Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Jon Cofsky whitepenny
Justin Colantonio Total Technology Resources
Cheryl Colleluori HEADstrong Foundation
Mike Commisso Docutrend, Inc.
Joseph J. Console Console Matison LLP
Trevor Cooney Archer & Greiner P.C.*
James Corbett Project Refit
Peter Cordua HBK CPAs & Consultants
Kathryn Covolus LexisNexis
Michael Craig Pennworth Financial Services
Rob Curley TD Bank
Justin Deal PayDay Employer Solutions*
Lenny DeFiore Daynas Party Rentals
Anthony DeGerolamo DeGerolamo Financial Strategies
David DeMuth CFO Consulting Partners, LLC
Sheri Desaretz Looking Forward Coaching
Gary DeVito Zarwin Baum Devito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C.
Kevin Diduch KD Law Group*
Devin DiNofa Keller Williams Real Estate*
Erin Dimitriou Smith Triou Marketing, LLC
Chris Dohl The Alias Group
Lia Domenick Allstate
Bob Doria Medford Village Country Club
George Duffield, Sr. National Integrity
Ken Dunek New Opportunity Publishing
Doug Easlick Graham Company
Anna Ehlenberger Converge HR Solutions
Donald Eichman Alcom Printing
William Emerson Emerson Group
David Epstein Intelligent Staffing Company
Gennaro Esposito DFX Sound Vision
Ryan Esposito Constellation Brands
Bill Evans Liberty Fox Technologies
Mark Evans Mark Evans LLC
David Ewing Coldwell Banker
Gary Farnesi WSFS Bank
Josh Feldschneider Pine Valley Investments
Mark Fisher Fisher Wealth Management
Patrick Fisher WSFS Bank
Jerry Flanagan JDog Brands
Sean Flanagan Always A Good Sign
Stephen Flanagan JDog Carpet Cleaning
Steve Foreman Financial Business Systems, Inc.
Lisa Frattali Chelsea Wealth Management
Lynn Fraser Emerson Group
Jennifer French Ronald McDonald House Southern NJ
Mike Fuller Maggianos
Frank Furfari Vantage Financial
Denise Gardner DeGerolamo Financial Strategies
Shane Gardner Gary F. Gardner, Inc.
Julia George Understand Benefits
Damien Ghee TD Bank
Jim Gibson Alcom Printing
Dave Gill Haefele, Flanagan & Co., P.C.
Dr. Paul Glat Paul Glat MD, FACS
Mark Godofsky Surety Title
Ryan Golembiewski Cloud113
Steve Goodman Greater Philadelphia YMCA
Sean Grannan New York Life Insurance Company
Chris Green Richard Green & Son Public Adjusters
Liz Green Richard Green & Son Public Adjusters
Jen Groover Thuzio
Cathy Gunn Cathy’s Catering
Sharon Hammel Republic Bank
Berkley Harmon Insperity
Pete Hatton Hutchison Mechanical Services
Amy Jo Haven-Reynolds Haven Marketing
John Herring Liberty Bell Bank
Paul Hewitt Compliance Services Agency
Pam Hisler Republic Bank
Robert Hoey Janney Montgomery Scott
Robert Hoey, Jr .Janney Montgomery Scott
Yvonne Holden Holden Law
Michael Holt Holt, McNally & Associates
Sloane Horton Caesars Sportsbook & Casino
Will Houston Custom House Technologies
Nichole Howard Nichole MCH Photography
Kristi Howell Burlington County Chamber of Commerce
Stephen Hruby, Jr. Patriot Landscaping Services
Edward Hutchinson Hutchinson Mechanical Services
Michael Hyland Gateway Mortgage
Tim Irons T.C. Irons Insurance
Mike Jaconelli Tam Lending
Ron Jaworski Ron Jaworski Golf
Timothy Jennings Telecorp
Chris Jerjian Kiwi Offices
Keith Johnson Laurel Lanes
Jessica Jones Simplifi Payroll & HR
Kenneth Justice KMJ INC.
Abbie Kasoff Say It With Clay
Corey Katzen Forefront Telecare
Keith Keller SpeedPro South Jersey
Lisa Kelly Foundation Title
Bob Kennedy Insperity*
Robert Kennedy The Kennedy Companies
Eileen Kevany The First 7*
Assad Khoury Ilkem Marble and Granite
Phil Kirchner Flaster Greenberg
David Klemic Klemic Performance Method
Damon Kline Remington & Vernick Engineers
Eric Knoblauch Northwestern Mutual
Dan Knupp Caesars Sportsbook & Casino
Anne Koons BHHS Fox & Roach
David Kryszczak Four Star Event Catering
Edward Labman Univest
Marjorie Lakatos Townsquare Media
Joe LaGrossa McKella 280
Keith Langan Surety Title Company, LLC
Julie LaVan Valor Enterprises
Lou Lesperance LifeBrand
Bryan Levens SNEVEL Technologies, LLC
Brian Libby Primepoint
Robert Lipinkski Cherry Hill Cigar Club
Rachel Lippoff A Kid Again
John Lorenzo TwoTwo Creative*
Michael Lunney McGriff
Eric Lynn Northbound Strategies
Douglas MacGray Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC
Chris Maciborski Weisman Children’s
Doug Madanick Kulzer & DiPadova, P.A.
Matthew Malinowski Corporate Source
Tom Matera AnnieMac Home Mortgage
Betty Maul FrontEnd Graphics*
Kyle McCallister Philadelphia Union
Jim McCormick Burns Honda
Brian McGroarty Core Title
Tanya McKeown Jefferson Health
Steve Meranus EBE Events and Entertainment
Carson Merine Keller Williams Realty
Jeremy Messler Jeremy Messler Photography, LLC
Marla Meyers Legacy Treatment Services Foundation
John Milne EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants
Brian Minker Able Technology Partners, LLC
Justin Mirigliani Checkmates Charitable Association
Samir Mody Keller Engineers of New Jersey*
Rachel Monaghan Metatron Marketing, Inc.
Anthony Mongeluzo PCS
Ron Monokian We Make It Personal by Joy’s Hallmark
Kerry Morgan 21st Century Blueprint
Dan Morroni Morroni Custom Clothiers
Harry Mumma SolomonEdwards
Devin Muracco CLM Advisors
Peter Musumeci TD Bank
Carolyn Natrin Insperity
Kathryn Newell IDS Drones Inc.
Andrew O’Brien Vantage Real Estate
Joe O’Donnell Fulton Bank N.A.
Joseph Ohlweiler The Alternative Board Southern New Jersey
Sheryl Oliver New Jersey Angels
Marc Oppenheimer Parx Casino
Michael Pallozzi HFM Investment Advisors, LLC
Rae Pastore Durand, Inc
Tom Pellegrino Everest Discovery LLC
Mike Perlow Perlow Productions
Devon Perry Garden State Wine Growers Association
Philip Philippou Topgolf Mount Laurel
Jaime Picozzi SimplyPut Consulting, LLC*
Kenneth Pitoscia Greentree Mortgage Co., LP
Victor Pitts Comcast Spectacor
Frank Plum Workplace HMC Inc.
Roy Plummer Armed Forces Heritage Museum
Michele Plunkett VSA Prospecting
Peter Ponzio Penn Investment Advisors
Casey Price Price & Price, LLC
Steven Quagliero Vantage Labs
Geoff Rabinowitz New Balance
Soleiman Raie Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C.
Chris Rathke Independence Blue Cross
Ryan Regina Big Sky Enterprises, LLC
Keith Reynolds RVN Television
Matt Ribaudo BostonMan Magazine
Raegen Richard Edward D. Jones, LP
Robert Richardson Allied Document Solutions and Services, Inc
David Roberts radius180, LLC
Patrick Rood Rood Financial Services
Michelle Roshkoff J.Hilburn
Mike Rosiak Weisman Children’s Hospital & Voorhees Pediatric Facility
Andrew Ruhland National HR
Bill Sablich Outfront Media
Robert Salotto First Financial Lending
Richard Sanford Dauntless Design Collaborative
Michelle Sapp Arhaus*
Sergio Scuteri Capehart Scatchard, P.A.
Jeremy Shackleford WSFS Bank
Hala Shawaf-Barson VoIP Doctors Business Telecommunications
Robby Sheehan BBSI
Lee Shields Marcum
Jennifer Sherlock Jenna Communications, LLC
Dr. Joel Shertok Process Industries Consultants
Gary Shickora Northwestern Mutual
Joe Silva HBK CPA’s & Consultants*
Joe Simone Regional Resources Energy Group
Josh Smargiassi Boomerang
Chris Smith Micro Integration Services, Inc.*
Ralph Smith Capehart Scatchard, P.A.
Michael Snyder Spark Creative Group
Richard B. St. Maur, III Coordinated Project Solutions, LLC
Robert Sullivan Schooley Mitchell
Melissa C. Tagye Truist Wealth
Scott Tanker Tanker Consulting Services
Mark Tate McGriff
Dr. Keisha Taylor NAF
Thomas Taylor Repice and Taylor, Inc.
Robert Telschow, Jr. Colliers Engineering & Design
Brooke Tidswell Farm Truck Brewing
Christopher Toppi Compass Wire Cloth Corp.
Manuel Torres Insperity
Kenneth Toscano New York Life Insurance Company
Joseph Tredinnick Cornerstone Bank
Jim Turpin Chelsea Wealth Management
Tracie Ullman Life Transformations TU
Les Vail Workplace HCM, Inc.
Carol Van Auken Full Sail Media
John Vanderslice Strategic Solutions Group
Emory Vandiver Interactive Security
Joseph Velez 3D Voice & Data
Angela Venti Alloy Silverstein
Matt Verney TRUIST
Josef Vongsavanh Center City Photo
Douglas Walker Walker Cutting Services
Jeff Walter Athletes In Cannabis
Anthony Ward PCS
Eileen Ward LoCorr Funds
Jennifer Washart SERVPRO
Bill Webb Saratoga Benefit Services
Michael Weinberg Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith, P.A.
Phil Wessner Fulton Bank
Andrew Whipple Greentree Mortgage Co.
Michael White Edge Tailoring
John Wilchek, Jr. John Wilchek Photography
Christofer Wilhelm Gateway Mortgage
Pamela Wilson Bank of America
Jason Wolf Wolf Commercial Real Estate
Nicholas Yodock Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Vittoria Zaslavsky TD Bank
Jim Ziereis Tropicana, Atlantic City
Jack Zoblin Genesis Cloud Advisors LLC
Jason Zucker 76 Solutions
Four Hidden iPhone Features Everyone Should Know About
YOU’RE PROBABLY NO STRANGER TO TECHNOLOGY
You use your smartphone for everything from staying in touch with friends and family to getting work done on the go. But did you know that your iPhone has some cool features that you may not be aware of? Here are four hidden iPhone features that everyone should know about.
Shaking to Undo Text
Have you ever typed out a message on your iPhone, only to realize that you made a mistake and need to start over? Instead of using the backspace key to erase your mistake, try shaking your iPhone instead. When you shake your iPhone, a pop-up menu will appear that gives you the option to undo your last action. This feature is especially handy for those moments when you accidentally delete an entire paragraph or misspell a word.
Disabling the Hang Up Button on the Side in iOS 16
You probably keep your iPhone in your pocket or bag when you’re not using it. But did you know that the hang up button on the side of your iPhone can be easily activated if it’s accidentally pressed while in your pocket or bag? To prevent this from happening, you can disable the hang up button in iOS 16. Simply go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Call Audio Routing and select “Speaker” instead of “Automatic.” This will route all incoming calls to the speakerphone, so you won’t accidentally hang up on someone while your iPhone is in your pocket.
Using Your Mouse as a Keyboard
If you’re someone who prefers to type on a keyboard rather than your iPhone’s touch screen, you can use your mouse as a keyboard. Simply go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch, and turn on the “AssistiveTouch” toggle. This will add a small circle to your iPhone’s screen that you can use to navigate and type. To type, simply click on the circle, and then select “Device” > “Keyboard” > “Hardware Keyboard.” You can now use your mouse to type out messages, emails, and more.
Using the Mirror Feature to Take a Better Selfie
Taking selfies is a common practice, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the perfect shot. Thankfully, your iPhone has a mirror feature that can help you take better selfies. Simply open the Camera app, and then swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center. From there, select the “Mirror” icon, and your iPhone’s front-facing camera will switch to mirror mode. This will allow you to see yourself as you take your selfie, so you can make any necessary adjustments before snapping the photo.
Your iPhone is more than just a device for making calls and sending messages. It has a range of hidden features that can make your life easier and more enjoyable. So, the next time you pick up your iPhone, try out these four hidden features and see how they can enhance your user experience. n
THE WINE MANBY ROBERT KENNEDY
Low Alcohol Wines
OK, WE NOW HAVE ARRIVED on the footsteps of April 2023. Spring is upon us, and hopefully, winter is somewhat of a distant memory, or at the very least, somewhere in the rearview mirror. Perhaps our New Year’s resolutions are also a distant memory now that the first quarter of 2023 is gone? Right after the New Year, some of us decided to get back into the gym and lose that “Holiday Ten” that so easily hitched its way to our body weight during those last two months of the year. To lose that ten, some of us swore off alcohol, which meant no wine during the month of January. What is it referred to? Dry January? Not an easy task for those of us who absolutely enjoy imbibing, but certainly indicative of how poorly we Americans keep our New Year’s resolutions. We tend to fold our tents quickly when it comes to our wonderful passion and pastime: Great wines. So, is there
For comments, questions, suggestions and/or feedback, contact Robert Kennedy at rkj@Kennedy-companies.com.
any way of “having our cake and eating it too”?
There are options out there for some of us who are making every effort to keep the caloric intake down while reducing our alcoholic consumption. One of those beverage alternatives would be to seek out non-alcoholic wines. I know many of us have been impressed with the non-alcoholic beers that simulate the real stuff. Somewhat. But what about those wines that tout reduced alcohol and low calories? Low-alcohol wines can have as little as 35 calories in a five-ounce pour. So, can we really have our cake and eat it too?
According to Nielsen, sales of de-alcoholized wines grew at a 43% pace in the first two quarters of 2021. Consumers are looking to moderate their intake of both calories and alcohol, but making every effort to enjoy the libation in the same way with the fruit of the vine that we have come to know and love. In a wine that has about 0.5% ABV [alcohol by
volume], there still could be the same benefits with that of the 12-15% alcohol by volume or ABV wines; namely sacrificing calories and ABV, but retaining polyphenols such as resveratrol. However, removing alcohol from wine grossly reduces the aromatic compounds, and thus makes it much more difficult for the aromas to reach the nose. Unfortunately, the process of removing alcohol can also remove tannins, which provide structure to the wine.
NOW, DE-ALCOHOLIZED WINES or non-alcohol wines, as they are also coined, do not mean zero alcohol. It means, by definition, that these wines must contain less than 0.5 percent ABV. Some of these appeared on the market as far back as 30-plus years ago. Many of us might remember Sutter Home Fre and Ariel, which was produced by J. Lohr, some 3 decades back. More recently, Giesen in New Zealand has added a line of non-alcoholic wines. Trinchero Family Estates also recently launched a premium nonalcoholic bottling line, Luminara, for those looking for something much better than had been on the market. But how much better?
The Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Ariel Vineyards are notably decent. The 2020 vintage has certain balances with a good nose and an average finish. These two varietals have components that are structurally sound with a solid tannic background. Not great but good.
So, if you are like most, and have a true penchant for the nectar of the gods, de-alcoholized wines may not be for you. However, wineries are producing better product offerings in this category year after year, and the improvements have been impressive. But it is certainly not all or nothing. Go for the gusto when needed and pull that cellared beauty on special occasions, but err on the side of moderation. You can have your cake and eat it too, but pick and choose wisely when limiting your intake of calories and alcohol, and you might just find some of these low-alcohol wines not that difficult to swallow. n
Low-alcohol wines can have as little as 35 calories in a five-ounce pour. So, can we really have our cake and eat it too?