Tonight's Mets Starter, Jeremy Hefner, Spent the All-Star Break in His Tornado-Ravaged Hometown

Tonight's Mets Starter, Jeremy Hefner, Spent the All-Star Break in His Tornado-Ravaged Hometown

What was left of the Moore Medical Center before it was officially demolished in June. (AP)

The All-Star Game is welcome break for some, and a dream-come-true for others who get to participate in the game or home-run derby.

But for Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner, it was neither.

Hefner (4-6, 3.33), who starts for the Mets tonight against the Phillies in the first game back from the break, spent his days off this week making his first visit back to his hometown of Moore, Okla., which was leveled by a tornado in late May.

From Newsday:

Officially, 23 deaths were blamed on the twister, which touched down on the afternoon of May 20 and cut a 17-mile- long path through parts of the heavily populated town. At its most ferocious stage, it stretched to a width of 1.3 miles and packed winds upward of 200 mph.

In 39 excruciating minutes, the disaster caused damages estimated in excess of $2 billion.

None of Hefner's family members, lost their lives, although according to the NewsDay piece, his cousin is still trying to repair his kitchen, which was demolished by a tree that fell on his house.

"It's frustrating because you do the right thing, you pay your bills on time, you raise your family the right way and bad things happen, unforeseen things happen," Hefner said. "And it's frustrating because these are good people and they don't deserve it. It's not just my cousin, but all the people there."

In the event you live in New York, or will for any reason find yourself in Manhattan this weekend, Foley's Pub and Restaurant on West 33rd St. has been selling the "405 Burger," named after Moore's area code, with proceeds going to the tornado relief efforts.

Hefner will pitch tonight, but on Saturday night, he'll be at Foley's from 7 to 9 p.m. to sign autographs on the final night the 405 burger will on the menu.

Said Hefner: "This is just kind of a last-ditch effort to get as much money as possible for the people [of Moore]."

If you're not in Manhattan to buy the burger, this page over at NewsOK details the other ways you can donate to the relief fund.

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles are coming off two straight losses and the slate doesn't get any easier with the 5-0 Vikings coming to town.

It also marks the return of Sam Bradford, who was traded just before Week 1, paving the way for rookie Carson Wentz to start.

The Eagles kick off against Minnesota at the Linc on Sunday at 1 p.m., so it's time for our (cough) experts' predictions for the Week 7 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
I'll admit, this game just has a weird feel. It has the feeling like the Eagles might be able to catch the Vikings sleeping after their bye week and hand them their first loss of the season.

I was almost tempted to pick the Birds in this one.

But I'm not.

Ultimately, the Vikings are just the better team. I'm not sure how the Eagles are going to put up points against them. And I'm not convinced the Eagles' defense will be able to stop anyone after what we saw last weekend.

They keep it close, but the Birds fall to 3-3.

Vikings 20, Eagles 17

Derrick Gunn (2-3)
The good news is Minnesota's offense is ranked 30th in the league and the Vikings' run game is dead last averaging 70.6 yards per game. 

The bad news is the Vikings' defense is a monster, ranked 2nd overall and first in points allowed at 12.6.

There is not a weak link in the Vikings' D and they are fundamentally sound across the board. The Eagles' defense vows that what happened to them at Washington — allowing 230 rushing yards — won't happen again. 

Carson Wentz got roughed up by the Redskins' pass rush, and unless the Eagles' offensive line plugs the leaks, more of the same could happen this Sunday. The Birds have every reason to rebound at home, but I just don't like the overall matchup. 

Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Ray Didinger (2-3)
The Vikings aren't going undefeated. You don't go 16-0 in the NFL with a 30th ranked offense which is what the Vikings have. Yes, their defense is very good. Going back to last season they have held each of their last nine opponents to 17 points or less. They are deep, fast and well-coached by Mike Zimmer. But the offense led by Sam Bradford coughs and sputters a lot.
As a result, the Vikings will play a lot of close, low-scoring games and somewhere along the line they are going to lose. It could even happen this week when they play the Eagles. Special teams could be huge. The Eagles have a big edge with kicker Caleb Sturgis. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has already missed three field goals and two PATs. However, the Vikings return men -- Marcus Sherels on punts, Cordarrelle Patterson on kickoffs -- are very dangerous. I expect the Eagles to keep it close but in the end I have to go with the superior defense.
Vikings 21, Eagles 16

Andrew Kulp (2-3)
Which Eagles defense shows up on Sunday? If they can limit Minnesota's anemic ground attack, which ranks dead last in the NFL, this should be a close game. Sam Bradford is playing really well, but it's not like he's airing it out all over the place.

Then it becomes a question of how Halapoulivaati Vaitai responds to a rough debut. The Vikings pass-rush is fierce, so it doesn't get any easier this week. As long as the protection gives Carson Wentz a chance, that will at least give the rookie signal-caller a shot at making a few big plays.

For some reason, I like their chances at both. It's going to be another ugly one, but the Eagles do just enough to squeak by.

Eagles 20, Vikings 19

Corey Seidman (2-3)
I foresee a low-scoring game in which the Eagles are more competitive than some might think.

But in the end, the Vikings have the personnel and the defensive-minded head coach (Mike Zimmer) to get key stops down the stretch.

Vikings 20, Eagles 16

Andy Schwartz (1-4)
You’re still reading? 

Well good for you. Much appreciated. 

Because clearly I certainly don’t know what to expect from this team. 

But let’s forget all that for the moment and look at the Bradford Bowl. 

The Vikings’ offense is hardly scary (30th in the league in yards per game behind the Rams and Niners), but their defense is (second in yards per game behind Seattle).

The Eagles’ offense is hardly scary (22nd in yards per game), and their defense (sixth in yards per game) was pretty scary a few weeks ago.

So let’s look at the intangibles. Which team needs this game more? The Eagles. And they’re at home. 

But given the outcomes the last two weeks and that Minnesota is unbeaten and coming off a bye, it certainly makes sense to pick the Vikes, who are favored by 2.5.

Then again, the Eagles not too long ago were unbeaten and coming off a bye … and we all know what happened.

So I’ll say the Birds pull off another upset and remain unbeaten at the Linc. 

Just don’t bet on it.

Eagles 6, Vikings 5