Friday, January 16, 2015

Baseball Hall of Fame is a Joke.

Well, it's 2015, and I haven't blogged in a long time.  Time for that to change.

You may recall that I'm involved with the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (  We just held our 11th Annual Induction Ceremony in November, and inducted a great new class.  We are now in the process of establishing the ballot for our 12th Class to be inducted later this year.  I'd like to think I have at least a little visibility into a Hall of Fame process.  Well, at least an opinion.

I also think my opinions have credence, as a few years ago I wrote this blog:

Since then, 3 of the artists I called out as being egregiously missing from the Rock and Roll Hall have been inducted!

I'd like to make some comments about the Baseball Hall of Fame this time.

As I did with the Rock and Roll Hall blog, I'm not going to say that anyone who's been inducted should be shown the door.  Per the Baseball Hall of Fame, their mission is to:
to preserve the sport's history, honor excellence within the game and make a connection between the generations of people who enjoy baseball. 
Seems simple enough. 

Rules to get in are simple too.
Candidates to be eligible must meet the following requirements:
A. A baseball player must have been active as a player in the Major Leagues at some time during a period beginning fifteen (15) years before and ending five (5) years prior to election.
B. Player must have played in each of ten (10) Major League championship seasons, some part of which must have been within the period described in 3(A).
C. Player shall have ceased to be an active player in the Major Leagues at least five (5) calendar years preceding the election but may be otherwise connected with baseball.
D. In case of the death of an active player or a player who has been retired for less than five (5) full years, a candidate who is otherwise eligible shall be eligible in the next regular election held at least six (6) months after the date of death or after the end of the five (5) year period, whichever occurs first.
E. Any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate.
And yes, those are the only posted criteria.

Yet, the following eligible players are not in the Hall:
  • All-time Home Run Leader, and 7-time MVP
  • Best Hitting Catcher of All-Time
  • 7-time Cy Young winner
And, the following ineligible player is not in the Hall:
  • All-time Hits Leader
It seems impossible to have Hall of Fame without these 4 individuals.   This also doesn't include a 580+ and 600+ home run hitters who are also on the outside looking in.  How is this possible?

I don't care - it's just plain stupid.

The Baseball Hall of Fame started inducting players in 1936.  However, Major League Baseball didn't have a minority player until Jackie Robinson famously broke the color barrier in 1947.  He didn't end up being the Hall's first black inductee until 1962.  Minorities didn't gain over 25% of the playing positions in baseball until the 1970's.  You have almost 100 years of institutional bias and racism in the sport.  A flawed inductee pool to begin with.

But, there was minority baseball happening in the first half of the 20th century.  If integrated, there's no way some of the Hall of Famers would have been Hall of Famers - they may not have even been Major League players!  There would be DIFFERENT Hall of Famers - of color.  Remember, only 18 Negro League players were elected by the veterans committee into the Baseball Hall.  Think about this as well, the Boston Red Sox didn't have their first black player until 1959, the Philadelphia Phillies until 1957.

So, the sport, and its Hall of Fame has flaws to begin with.

Let's not even mention that noted racist and bigot Ty Cobb is in the Charter Class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The members of the Baseball Hall of Fame elected before 1962 do not have an asterisk by their name saying they played in the "Racist Era" of the sport.  All the numbers that Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens put up are still in Major League Baseball's Record Book.  None have been stricken.  None are on Baseball's ineligible list.  All are eligible per the Hall's own posted rules.

Bonds and Clemens have every indication that they probably are guilty of taking PEDs.  Piazza is linked but has no real credible evidence against him.  It really shouldn't matter.

Now for a little bit of a slam on a new inductee.  Did anyone ever go to a ballpark to go see Craig Biggio play?  Nice player.  Congrats on getting into the Hall.  Like them or not, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza were baseball icons.  They packed stadiums, and elevated the game itself.  For them to be missing from Baseball's official roster of all-time greats is simply a disservice to the game itself.  But, since baseball and its Hall are so flawed to begin with, perfectly appropriate.

I'll get to Pete Rose later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

End of an era.....

I suppose I should edit this blog to reflect what happened.......

This guy (Mouphtao Yarou) got a key rebound, and passed to freshman Ryan Arcidiacono for a tying 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in regulation.  Villanova won in overtime.

Now, if you haven't, read why this game is so important to me.......

As 99.9% of kids do when you grow up in or around Syracuse, NY your athletic rooting interests pretty much begin and end with Syracuse University Football and Basketball.  Growing up in the 1970's and 1980's I saw unbelievable change to Syracuse University athletics and the overall connection of the University to the region.

First and foremost, Syracuse University decided to make a bold leap, and replace ancient Archbold Stadium, which was one of the oldest facilities in use at the time.  And boy did they replace it.  The 50,000 seat Carrier Dome was built on the Archbold site and became the new home for both the Football and Basketball programs in 1980.  I happened to be attending Syracuse University basketball camp in the summer of 1980, and took a tour of the new building the day before they inflated the roof! 

Secondly, Syracuse was a charter member of the Big East Conference in 1979.  This new league consolidated the best East Coast basketball programs into a monster that would eventually land 3 teams in the 1985 Final Four.  The basketball program at Syracuse went from playing to roughly 9,000 at wonderful Manley Field House to its official capacity for basketball at 34,616.

Syracuse basketball was good before the Big East.  Syracuse basketball became a national power in the Big East and because of the Big East.

I decided to skip town for college, and ended up somewhere very familiar from a basketball standpoint:  Villanova.

Syracuse - Villanova games have always meant a little bit more to me than any other games I watch or attend.  Only time I'm not rooting for Syracuse is this game.  There have been many special games in this series, and Villanova carries the best winning percentage of any Big East team in the Carrier Dome.  The top-3 crowds ever in the Carrier Dome are for Villanova.

Due to the conference landscape radically changing due to football television revenue realities, Syracuse is leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.  Villanova will be moving forward into a new league after next season.

This means that this Saturday's Syracuse - Villanova game in Philadelphia is the last time these teams will meet in a Big East conference game.  As someone who was weaned on Big East basketball, weaned on Syracuse basketball, and now a Villanova basketball fan, this is a sad, sad thing. 

I remember being at the Big East Tournament at the Carrier Dome in 1981 (that's right, the tournament was not always held at Madison Square Garden).  I saw Leo Rautins elevate Syracuse to victory and the Big East Championship in triple overtime over, you guessed it, Villanova.  I remember coming back to Syracuse in 1989 to see Villanova beat then #1 and undefeated Syracuse by 19 points.  I've seen every great player for both sides over the past three plus decades.

Pearl Washington, Ed Pinckney, Derrick Coleman, John Pinone, Lawrence Moten, Kerry Kittles, Roosevelt Bouie, Tim Thomas, Sherman Douglas, Scottie Reynolds, Carmello Anthony, Randy Foye and so many more.  Jim Boeheim has been a constant on the Syracuse bench.  Villanova has had the incomparable Rollie Massimino, to Steve Lappas and now the dapper Jay Wright.  So much history.  So many memories.  For one last time.......


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Inside the Thought Process

First Blog post in a while, and the first of 2013.  I hope to bring much more to the blog table in 2013.

As I've talked about before, I really enjoy cooking (and eating, of course).  It seems based on Facebook posts from friends that I know many other foodies.  Several friends also have dedicated food blogs.  Pretty cool, actually.

Thought I would walk those interested through my personal approach to creating and trying to make something new.

This past Sunday, the family went for a full grocery shopping excursion to our local Giant.  We haven't done a full run in a long time.  Got all the necessary staples to restock our pantry and fridge properly.  Got supplies for a weeks worth (and more) of breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  Only issue is that our Giant has very basic "proteins" aka meat and seafood.  I was food-jazzed, and the Giant just didn't cut it.

So, after unloading and unpacking all our stuff, I declared that I was going up to the Collegeville Wegmans to find something "fun" to make.  No recipe in mind, just looking for inspiration.

My first job was as a Produce Clerk in the Liverpool, NY Wegmans.  I've been preaching the Gospel of Wegmans here in Philadelphia for decades.  Used to visit Wegmans on my visits back to Syracuse, and would marvel at how much better it was than the portfolio of groceries in the Philadelphia area.  Now, Wegmans has come to me, and is my "go-to" spot for special meal supplies.

Now, what to make?

Wandering through the hot food areas for ideas.  ooooh.....Sushi area.   Look at those crabcakes.  Venturing down to meats....Berkshire Pork.  Wagyu!!!!!  Cowboy Veal Chop.  So many options. Wegmans carries duck, so I meander over there.  No duck.

But wait.....

What can I do with Duck Bacon????  That sounds yummy.  So, I look around some more.  Notice boneless turkey breasts.  Brain working.  Turkey is next to chicken.  TURDUCKEN!!!!!  Thank you Paula Deen. Now, how can I incorporate chicken without having something that will take 5 hours to cook?  Wegmans has various chicken sausages.  BANG.  Apple-Maple Chicken Sausage - precooked even.  Will add a nice complement to the richness of Duck Bacon.

Now, what delivery vehicle?  Clearly, a Roulade!  As close as you can get to taking these things and stuffing them in each other.  First step, lay out the bacon.  Second step, take thinly sliced turkey, and lay on top of the bacon.  I seasoned with Lowry's salt and Herbs de Provence......

Next, place the Apple-Maple Chicken Sausage roughly in the middle.......

Finally, use the edges of the foil to help roll this into the desired "roll" end shape.  I refrigerated the wrapped up roll for about 30 minutes before placing in the pan.

Then,  I placed in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Wasn't quite sure how long to cook this thing for, so I set the timer for 30 minutes.  Wanted to reach an internal of 165.  Checked at 30 minutes, and we were at 148, a little low for my liking - even remembering that the temp will go up 10 degrees while resting.  Put it in for 10 more minutes.  That did the trick, got up to 158, resting would do the rest.  Placed on serving platter to look pretty.....

There was no greater feeling than cutting and plating these succulent roulades.  Looked and smelled spectacular.  Served with buttered baby red potatoes and sugar snap peas with garlic and mint......

Everyone loved it - including our six year old.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful.  The apple-maple chicken sausage really did cut the richness of the duck bacon.  The turkey stood out on its own as well.  So, I think I've stumbled upon a great way to take the mysterious Turducken, and make it accessible enough for a family dinner.

Hope you enjoyed this, and let me know if you try this yourself!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bourdain in the HOUSE!!!!

So, I was reminded that I haven't posted a blog post in eons.  It isn't because there isn't enough going on, but because there seems to be too much going on.  In a beautiful karmic happenstance, I found a perfect blog worthy subject.

I happen to be a GIGANTIC fan of Anthony Bourdain.  His books and television show cut to the core of being a "foodie".   I don't always agree with him, but I always respect what he has to say.  For example, I truly disagree with his pretty over the top bashing of Sandra Lee's "Semi-Homemade" approach and franchise.  To me, "Semi-Homemade" is 100% better than not trying at all to cook at home.  Not everybody has the time, willingness nor ability to make food at home all the way from scratch every time.  Plus, this allows me to justify posting a picture of Sandra Lee....

But in general, I'm on board with Anthony.

Anthony has two really compelling shows for people who love to travel and are adventurous about eating:  No Reservations and The Layover, both on the Travel Channel.   Per, Bourdain is in Philadelphia!!!! 
Acclaimed chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain is storming through Philly Tuesday.
Bourdain is in the city shooting an episode of his Travel Channel show "The Layover," which profiles what somebody can do in a city in 24 to 48 hours.

Around noon Tuesday, Bourdain and his crew took a trip down 9th Street near Christian in Bella Vista and stopped in DiBruno Bros. to try a few things.
"The perfectly ripe and ready raw milk Stichelton cheese at @DiBrunoBros was a major score," Bourdain Tweeted.

Adam Balkovic, who works at DiBruno Bros., said that its owner Emilio Mignucci, took Bourdain around the Italian Market before he headed to the sandwich shop Paesano's. At Paesano's, Bourdain dug into sandwiches with owner Peter McAndrews: the Liveracce (crunchy fried chicken livers, sliced sopressata, sautéed onions, Bibb lettuce, and roasted tomatoes), Gustaio (lamb sausage, sun-dried cherries, fennel and peppers), Arista (pork with broccoli rabe), Paesano (brisket).
Nathan Baynes of Paesano's said the Liveracce was Bourdain's favorite and that he was "impressed by his candor" toward others as people clamored to get photos with him. Bourdain also hit up the Mutter Museum (its website announced the Bourdain declared that it has "the best gift shop ever"), and made his way to the Barnes Museum, the Barnes Foundation said in a Tweet. (Source:
 It would be a dream come true to escort Anthony around Philadelphia for The Layover, and I don't disagree with some of the choices.  However, what I see so far does not scream for me the "perfect" layover in Philadelphia.  Knowing his shows, and watching him for well over 6 seasons, here's what I'd recommend for the Philadelphia version of "The Layover".

1.  The Standard Tap, Northern Liberties - Smelts.

Anthony is a foodie.  Anthony likes to drink alcohol as an essential hobby.  The Standard Tap has got to be on his destination list.  They could mention the Duck Confit salad, they may eat a terrine du jour, perhaps try the chicken pie.  But, if Anthony Bourdain comes to Philadelphia and does not have a craft beer and smelts at the Standard Tap, I'm going to be VERY angry.  Thus, #1.

2.  Mutter Museum, Center City - cool gross stuff

They certainly got one right by bringing Anthony to the Mutter Museum (how do I get the proper dots over the u in Mutter, anyway).  This is the Museum of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, and home to the largest collection of medical oddities anywhere in the world.  Kathleen and I have been here, have the coffee table book from here, and recommend it to those we know who would "get it".  This item in the museum will directly lead Anthony to order a salad at his next stop:

3.  McNally's Tavern, Chestnut Hill - The Dickens 

Chestnut Hill is a short cab ride from Center City.  Anthony could swing the fare.  There is no doubt that I would send him to McNally's on Germantown Avenue.  Home of the original Schmitter, now served at Citizens Bank Park.  However, that would be a highlight, but I would get Anthony "The Dickens" from McNally's.  They fresh roast a turkey every morning for this sandwich, which is basically Thanksgiving in a roll.

4.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Center City -

OK, who the F sent Anthony Bourdain to the Barnes Foundation?  Now, it is a world class facility, with an unparalleled collection.  BUT, it is not Philadelphia's finest moment.  If Anthony watches "The Art of the Steal", he'll cut the footage from the episode.  So the Philadelphia Museum of Art is too passe, with the ubiquitous stock footage to be of Anthony running up the front steps Rocky-esque.  For something essential to Philadelphia, you send him to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts on Broad Street in Center City.  Has everything from essential classics to modern masterpieces of every genre.
5.  Chubby's, Roxborough - Cheesesteaks

It is a Philadelphia episode.  Anthony, by law I believe, must eat a cheesesteak.  Pat's and Geno's have the lights and the fame, but product that pales in comparison to others in the city.  Tony Luke's is great, but that place gets enough Food Network coverage.  Jim's on South gets enough publicity from its cooks selling drugs from behind the counter.  On Henry Avenue in Roxborough, sit D'Allesandro's and Chubby's.  Both great.  I'm taking Anthony to Chubby's because of the complementary hot pepper bar, which has nearly dissolved my tongue on a couple occasions.

I happen to believe that would make 5 interesting segments that could create a Layover Philadelphia show that would really feel Philadelphia.

Honorable Mention:  DiBruno's Cheese, Chinatown Underground Market, Oyster House, Vetri, Rodin Museum, Insectarium, Rotunda Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Citizens Bank Ballpark

Friday, January 20, 2012

Common Sense in Government, a Lost Art

So, was reading the Philadelphia Inquirer over coffee before work this week, as I am compelled to do.  I actually am so old school, I do not read this newspaper on a Kindle, iPad, iPhone or computer.  I read an ACTUAL NEWSPAPER!  Anyway, I came across this article......

So, the basic premise of this decision by Pennsylvania's government is that if you have $2,000 or more in savings, regardless of your income, you do not qualify for food stamps.


Let me preface these comments with a necessary disclaimer:  I am a registered Republican.  Which means my opinions on matters of social justice and economics are meaningless to you equally knuckleheaded Democrats.  I understand.   But I will blog away regardless.

This is quite possibly the most shortsighted decision possible for this program.  To call this "dumb" is insulting to those things that are truly dumb.  For numerous reasons, there is poverty in this country.  Conversely, we happen to be one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.  So, it makes complete sense that there should be mechanisms in place to help feed people in this country who lack the resources to adequately finance proper nutrition. 

In my opinion, having $2,000 in savings should be the MINIMUM you have in savings to qualify for food stamp benefits.  It is a positive indicator that you are committed to stable personal finance, are able to understand how to budget and save, and are on the road to eventually (hopefully?) not needing government subsidy.  The food stamps are a necessary part of the delicate financial picture for low-income households, and help support these people.  Taking away food stamps for those who have been able to, in this low-income situation, cobble together a meager $2,000 in personal savings is not just unfair, it is punitive. 

There is a very fine line between getting by and being broke for low-income households.  Having $2,000 in the bank ain't living the dream (that's to you, Pennsylvania government) if you're making $22k a year.  Enacting this rule encourages low-income households to NOT use proper budgeting and savings techniques. 

Think about this down the line, Pennsylvania needs to run an asset test on you.  Can't have more than $2,000.  So, you've saved a little, but can't put it in the bank.  So, every gainfully employed person is going to either be spending that money, or putting it in a shoebox under the bed.  You think crime in North Philly is bad now, wait till folks on food stamps need to pass that asset test.  That's cash money in those rowhomes, just ready for the taking.

If you have less than $2,000 in savings, and have the same low-income profile as the person who may have saved $2,000 or more, you should not get food stamps.  You should get FOOD.  Radical thought.  If you do not have the wherewithal to have any financial basis, then we're going to eliminate the middleman for you.  Until you PASS the asset test, you get the same amount of value in actual, balanced food products.  The government has done this before, and we certainly have the ability to construct a basic, balanced box of food to be regularly available for pickup (and even delivery) for our most needy, low/no income citizens.  Once you've risen up a little, can PASS the asset test, then you get your card, and gain the ability to choose how the food stamps will help augment and support your food and nutrition requirements. 

I recognize that this is not a perfect solution, is rather harsh, and all that stuff.  But which is worse?  Enacting a rule that penalizes folks trying to do the right thing, and encourages folks to do the wrong things or enacting a rule that benefits people moving up and away from needing subsidy in the first place, but still provides necessary food for those in poverty?

Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit on, the Pennsylvania "asset test" food stamp rule is something that ALL of us should be communicating with our elected officials about.  It is a very bad thing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Needs to Turn it Up

Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2012, and the inductees are:

Performer Category:

Congratulations to these inductees.  BUT HOLD ON ONE SECOND....

How can any serious institution that is focused on preserving and honoring the best of the best in Rock and Roll music have such glaring oversights in its inductee body.  I am not saying any of the inductees should be out in favor of those I (and many others) feel should be honored.  But I question the entire organization for such GLARING omissions.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame roster is filled with the chart topping, the pop, the rock, the obscure, the innovators, the leaders and the followers.  Given the existing widespread backgrounds of inductees, can someone tell me why the following artists have not already been inducted?


If you were to poll "in the know" music critics and musicians of who the top guitarists, bass players and drummers are in rock, one of the top players for each would be the same if that poll was taken in 1980 or today.  Alex Leifson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart are universally regarded as masters of their instruments.  Brought together as songwriters and as Rush, they have made influential album after influential album.  They have sold out arenas for decades.  They are, arguably, the most musically accomplished hard rock band of all time.  They have also sold millions of records, so it isn't for lack of public interest that they are ignored by the Hall.

Hall and Oates 

I had to triple check that they were not in.  They wrote and released some of the most unmistakeable pop music of the 1970's, 80's and on through the 2000's.  There are artists enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that had one or two major hits.  Hall and Oates had 34 Billboard Hot 100 singles.  Hall and Oates could be in the Hall of Fame for their songwriting alone, let alone their harmonies and playing (which many existing members are in this institution for alone).  Major miss.  And PLEASE ignore their music videos in the debate!!!

The Cure 

It is great that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is honoring groups like the Beastie Boys and the Chili Peppers in this years class, both were (and continue to be) vital and influential.  But turn on your car, satellite or internet radio today, and listen.  How much of that music and its influences can almost directly be traced back to The Cure?  The Cure was, and still is arguably, the most influential "alternative" band in history.  Their look, sound, lyrics and overall approach has been  lifted by so many.  


That's right, Kiss is NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I don't care if you don't like their music.  Kiss IS Rock and Roll.  There is no logical reason for their to be now 27 classes of inductees without Kiss as a member.  Van Halen, Queen, Aerosmith, and now the Chili Peppers are in.  Kiss should be too.


From their late 60's and early 70's horn-fueled arrangements on through their 80's power pop, Chicago has been a songwriting, musicianship and hit machine.  They have also sold over 120 MILLION records during their sparkling career.  Chicago has also gone on to tour relentlessly, often with Hall Inductee Earth, Wind and Fire.  They sparkle live, and their songs have passed the test of time.   There are groups enshrined in the Hall that bring far less to the table than Chicago.  (Not to bash, but new inductee The Faces had one US top-40 hit)

Joan Baez 

Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Joan's folky, politically left leaning catalog.  But, there is no mistaking the relevance of somebody who has had a fifty-plus year run prominent in the music scene.  A Godmother to the modern singer-songwriter as well as a Godmother to the modern reinterpreter, Joan's is a voice, a presence, a career and an influence that is gigantic in the big picture.  Are the Indigo Girls the "Indigo Girls" without someone like Joan Baez?

Joe Jackson 

This Blogger's Personal Choice Selection.  Often overlooked, underrated and forgotten.  Major talent.  18 wildly varied studio releases, formed out of the punk generation of the late 70's, but always a little "smarter".  Major jazz influences throughout his career, with an emphasis on efficient and crisp songs, as well as an overarching theme of melancholy.  A thinking man's repertoire.  Elvis Costello came from the same roots, and has gotten the nod to date in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It is time to recognize an artist who has delivered just as much, and to me, more.

Agree or Disagree with any of these?  Have any of your own?  Take a look for yourself:  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Friday, August 12, 2011

Best Day of the Year Super-Blog Preview!

Unless you're from specific regional epicenters of this avocation (Memphis, Kansas City, Carolina, Texas), "real" BBQ is something that one day you never really knew about, then you have some, and quite literally, your food world is changed.  The methodical low and slow techniques coax incredible tenderness and depth of flavor that you simply cannot create on the traditional backyard grill, or by other methods like slow cookers or par-boiling, etc.

I have to be 100% honest here, my first exposure to something even remotely resembling BBQ would be *GASP* McDonald's debut of the McRib in 1981.  I completely remember the sweet/tangy sauce, and it being really interesting and *GASP* tasty.

Cue to the early 2000's.  Plenty of business travel under my belt - including several trips to real BBQ hotbeds.  This aligns with the growth of the Food Network, and shows on this very topic.  Jack McDavid and Bobby Flay hooked up for a VERY kitschy show called "Grillin and Chillin".  They'd do all kids of neat BBQ in as traditional yet inventive way as possible.  Southern-bred Jack McDavid just happened to have a restaurant right here in Philadelphia!  Wife and I visited Jack's Firehouse, and really were excited by his array of BBQ specialties.  I had to try and cook this - I was hooked!!!

Did a little research and started on a Brinkmann Smoker.  Tiny, but functional.  In 2005, I read an announcement for a forthcoming BBQ contest at the new Phillies stadium run by all-time great Garry Maddox.  My buddy Tom Bera was starting to get into BBQ as well, so I called him to see if he'd want to team up and have us compete.  I'm on the Board of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, and we used this event as a an opportunity to push our mission and get some exposure.

So this was a BBQ rib contest, in multiple rounds.  If your ribs were part of the top half of the first round, then you resubmitted for round 2, then there was a round 3, then a final round.

We made it all the way to the final round.  Unfortunately, we ran out of our "good" ribs and didn't win.  In our first competition, though, Tom and I finished in the top 5!!!  That was incredibly cool.

Tom went on to form his own amazing BBQ Competition Circuit Team - Blind Pig BBQ.  He's gone on to win numerous major awards throughout the eastern US.  Given time constraints, I've pretty much only competed at the Maddox event every summer - but done plenty of practice at home!

Equipment-wise, I've upgraded to the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker (the Bullet, to those in the know!).  We accessorize the Bullet with two Weber Kettle Grills.

Two years ago, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame BBQ team was again at the Garry Maddox BBQ competition.

 In a great showing, our rib submission came in 4th out of 45 teams!!!!  So that means two top-5 finishes in this competition in 6 years of competing.  Really proud of that achievement.  Here's a pic of the award-winning submission:

So, tomorrow we compete in our SEVENTH Stephen Starr-Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge.  I'm going to document the experience for you, to provide some insight into all that goes on and what it takes to participate and compete in one of these events.

The process starts this afternoon.  I'll keep you posted!