Halloween candy, ranked

Halloween candy, ranked

In sadly predictable fashion, my usual area of expertise -- the Philadelphia Union -- spent the last two weeks of the season totally imploding when they had their playoff destiny all to themselves. The MLS playoffs kicked off Wednesday night without the Union (you're going to cringe when I say this, but I'm predicting the New York Red Bulls will beat the Galaxy for their first-ever title). This means the 2012 Sixers are still the city's most recent playoff team (although this year's Sixers are going 82-0 now, so we have that to look forward to).

We'll get to the Union's offseason needs (many), plans (who the heck knows with this team) and dreams in the weeks to come.

But with today being Halloween, and in deference to Enrico's Pulitzer Prize-nominated post from earlier this month -- Tastykakes, ranked -- I offer the Top 5 Halloween Candies for your perusal, ridicule and praise. If the NSA is reading this (and I know you are), just turn this into a law and demand that everyone MUST hand out one or more of the Top 5 items to qualify for Obamacare.

A few rules:

  • We're sticking to so-called "fun sized" candy. Of course, all rules below go out the window when Mrs. Freeman up the street gives out full-size Snickers.
  • We're ignoring people who try to give out "alternative" options like apples, toothbrushes and Goldfish (the cracker, not the animal). Because, really, those people don't deserve to be mentioned on a fine website like this.
  • Please show some effort if you want candy. You can trick-or-treat past the age of 12. But holding your phone in front of your face and calling yourself an "obnoxious teenager" doesn't qualify as a costume. I'm a dad now who made a homemade costume this year. And I've never been a Halloween person. So the least you can do is show some initiative.

Now, onto the important stuff. We'll go from the bottom up.

154. Candy Corn

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? That ish is gross.

98. Starburst

I love Starburst. I do. I pick up a pack quite often on an impulse run through the Wawa. But the little Halloween packs are horrendous. First, there's only two pieces in each pack. Second, there's always the chance you'll get two yellows or two oranges and then you'll want to stab someone with your plastic trident. Third, if you don't eat them on the walk to the next house, you'll open them later to find them stale enough to rip your teeth out.

87. Smarties

Another candy I like at times. But come on, lady at the top of the hill, you have 54 steps to reach the front door. Show some damn effort.

32. M&Ms*

Again, a quality candy. But totally disappointing in the fun size packs. This is also what my wife bought for us to hand out, so you might want to skip our house (*NOTE: If they make the Pretzel M&Ms in a fun size and you find them, put up the bat signal and I'll be over right away. Those things are the No. 1 jawn).

... Now, for the good stuff ...

6. Nerds

Totally underrated, and just missing out on the Top 5. Lots of candy in a little box. Plus you get to tip it back and dump it in your mouth LIKE A BOSS. Don't sleep on the Nerds.

5. Skittles

The only non-chocolate item in the top 5. Who doesn't love Skittles? They're sweet, they're delicious and they provide a nice changeup from the chocolate-heavy pillowcase/bag/basket/oversized hoodie you're toting around the neighborhood. All the flavors are equally excellent, which is not something I can say about my beloved Sweettarts which have been ruined ever since the green ones went from lime to sour apple because it poisons the whole pack and makes every single one taste like freaking sour apple which is horrendous WHY DID YOU DO THIS!?!?

4. Milky Way

Often forgotten in the world of Snickers and Reese Cups, I prefer the caramel/nougat combo over bars with peanuts or peanut butter. Why? No, I'm not allergic to peanuts. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. But I'm THAT GUY who absolutely, positively despises peanut butter and chocolate together (I assume Obama and the NSA are coming to get me now).

3. 3 Musketeers

My second-favorite childhood candy of all time (see Sweettart rant above) is a Halloween staple. It's underrated in the candy world, getting pushed aside by Snickers (eww) and Milky Way. A solid two bites in every fun size bar, and even better if you freeze it and then throw it against the concrete before enjoying. Plus, how do they make that awesome fluffy filling? Really, I want to learn.

2. Twix

They're chocolaty, crunchy, caramel-y. They're delicious. Maybe it's just the crunch -- which forces a more active eating experience -- but you feel like you get a lot more for your doorbell-ringing effort. Enough chews to savor it before digging back in the bag for more. The only way this could be better is if they brought back the old Cookies N' Cream variety from back in the day (seriously, there's a real petition -- just digi-sign it). Oh, nostalgia.

1. Kit-Kat

The best chocolate candy money can buy. The right amount of crunch mixed with a perfect amount of sweet. Just melty enough to get on your fingers but not melty enough to be gross. Plus, the fact that you can break it into two pieces before eating makes you feel like you're doubling your haul. There really should be a live Google map of houses giving away Kit-Kats.

Enrico's note: the views in this post are those of the author alone. Do not hold any ill will against other members of this site because he didn't include Snickers. You're gonna rank Smarties higher than Starburst? Did someone lace your candy?

Larry Bowa on Jim Bunning: His words 'resonated throughout my career'

Larry Bowa on Jim Bunning: His words 'resonated throughout my career'

Beyond the center field wall at Citizens Bank Park, retired Phillies uniform No. 14 was draped in black cloth on Saturday afternoon.
 
Jim Bunning, who wore that number during six seasons with the club, died late Friday night at his home in Kentucky. The Hall of Fame pitcher, who went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, was 85.
 
Bunning was a workhorse right-hander who pitched with smarts and competitiveness during his 17 seasons in the majors. He also pitched with the Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers. He averaged 35 starts and won 89 games during his six seasons with the Phillies. He also authored one of the most iconic moments in club history when he pitched the franchise's first perfect game on a searing hot Father's Day in 1964 against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
 
Talking about a perfect game as it is unfolding is considered baseball taboo. To mention it is to risk jinxing it. But Bunning broke tradition and in the late innings of that game talked openly with teammates in the dugout about the possibility of finishing off the feat.
 
"Jim Bunning was way too practical of a man to worry about a jinx," former teammate Rick Wise once said. Wise pitched the second game of that Father's Day doubleheader. It started 20 minutes after Bunning completed his perfecto and Wise had trouble finding a ball and a catcher to warm him up because everyone was busy celebrating the perfect game.
 
Bunning went 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA in 591 career games. He led the American League with 20 wins in 1957. He led the league in innings twice and strikeouts three times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996 and went into Cooperstown as a Phillie.
 
Bunning had two tours with the Phillies, 1964-67 and 1970-71, and was a straight-laced competitor who expected effort and excellence from his teammates. During his second time through Philadelphia, as he was nearing the end of his career, he was a teammate of a young shortstop named Larry Bowa.
 
"I remember him coming up to me and saying, ‘Don’t ever, ever lose your energy. I don’t want to turn around and see your head dropping because you’re 0 for 3,’" Bowa recalled Saturday. "He said, ‘I don’t ever want to see that.’ He said, ‘You’ve got to be accountable. You’ve got to play with energy. You’ve got to play every inning of every game.
 
"I made an error one day and he turned around — I didn’t even want to make eye contact with him — he turned around and he was rubbing the ball and looked at me and I went, 'Yeah, I know I should have caught it.' He was just that intense."
 
Bunning had a mean streak on the mound. He led the league in hit batsman four times.
 
Bowa recalled the time Ron Hunt — a notorious plunkee — did not get out of the way of a Bunning breaking ball. As Hunt ran to first base, Bunning admonished him.
 
"He went over and said, 'Ron, if you want to get hit, I’ll hit you next time and it won’t be a breaking ball.' That’s what kind of competitor he was."
 
Bunning suffered a stroke last year.
 
"I knew he had been sick," Bowa said. "Tremendous, tremendous person who taught me a lot about the game in a short time.
 
"He always gave me good advice. He talked about self-evaluation with me all the time. He said you’ve got to be accountable in this game, no one gives you anything in this game. I never had a pitcher mentor me like he did. In spring training, he told me, ‘Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.’ It was that simple. I said, ‘Yes, sir.’
 
"When a guy like that takes the time with someone who is just starting, it’s, I mean, it resonated throughout my career."

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Tigers placed Ian Kinsler on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring ahead of their doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Outfielder JaCoby Jones was recalled from Triple A Toledo to fill the roster spot. He was scheduled to start the first game of the twin bill in center field.

Kinsler sat out five games because of the same injury this month. He has a .239 batting average, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 41 games this season.

Also, the Tigers acquired the contract of pitcher Arcenio Leon and Chad Bell was optioned to Toledo. Bell pitched 2 1/3 innings on Friday. Pitcher William Cuevas was designated for assignment.

Leon spent the 2016 season in the Mexican League before signing as minor league free agent last winter. He'd be making his major league debut.

Indians: Ace starter Corey Kluber expected to rejoin rotation next week
CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber, sidelined most of the month with a strained lower back, is expected to rejoin the Cleveland Indians rotation on Thursday against Oakland.

Cleveland's ace right-hander hasn't pitched since May 2 when he left his start against Detroit after three innings. He threw five scoreless innings for Double-A Akron on a minor league rehab assignment Friday.

Kluber is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts. He pitched 249 1/3 innings last season, including 34 1/3 in the playoffs. Kluber also pitched on three days rest three times during the postseason, two coming against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Kluber was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and two shutouts in the regular season and went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six playoff starts. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and was third in the voting last season.

Indians manager Terry Francona didn't say whose spot Kluber will take in the rotation.

Padres: OF Manuel Margot placed on 10-day DL with calf strain
WASHINGTON -- The San Diego Padres placed Manuel Margot on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf before Saturday's game against the Washington Nationals.

The centerfielder left Wednesday's game with calf soreness. He was in a walking boot ahead of Friday's series opener.

Second on the team in at-bats, the 22-year-old Margot is batting .259 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

"He's just sore right now," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He'll take off four-to-five days and keep the workload really minimum. After that, see how he progresses."

Outfielder Franchy Cordero was called up from Triple-A El Paso for his major league debut. He is expected to start Sunday and receive much of the playing time in center field.