If you ever wondered how Phillies owner John S. Middleton made his $2.9 billion...

If you ever wondered how Phillies owner John S. Middleton made his $2.9 billion...

Most of the group that owns the Philadelphia Phillies has chosen to keep a low profile over the years but that appears to be changing. At least for John S. Middleton who has been stepping into the public eye more frequently in the name of philanthropy.

Middleton and his wife Leigh will accept the Philadelphia Award at the Art Museum this afternoon, an award which the Main Lines Media News describes as "one of the city’s most prestigious honors that is presented annually to area residents who act and serve in the best interests of the community."

The Middletons are written about in the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning which attempts to explain their willingness to step out of the shadows a bit because being more visible to the public can help further the charity work their donations have started. The couple has given an impressive $30 million to Project HOME which helps fight homelessness, $16.2 to the Philly School District, and $16.3 to Penn Medicine focusing specifically on neuroscience.

Very generous stuff indeed. The profile also shares the source of the Middleton's fortunes:

Having enough money to give it away in serious chunks came relatively recently for the couple. In 2007, Middleton sold privately held cigar maker John Middleton Inc. - started by his family as a Philadelphia tobacco shop in 1856 and at the time the world's third-largest cigar maker - for $2.9 billion to Altria Group, parent of Philip Morris USA. He was 52.

Having enough money to give it away in serious chunks came relatively recently for the couple. In 2007, Middleton sold privately held cigar maker John Middleton Inc. - started by his family as a Philadelphia tobacco shop in 1856 and at the time the world's third-largest cigar maker - for $2.9 billion to Altria Group, parent of Philip Morris USA. He was 52.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140507_Philadelphia_Award_shines_a_light_on_Middletons__philanthropy.html#pPCkCI45LdiolhVI.99
Having enough money to give it away in serious chunks came relatively recently for the couple. In 2007, Middleton sold privately held cigar maker John Middleton Inc. - started by his family as a Philadelphia tobacco shop in 1856 and at the time the world's third-largest cigar maker - for $2.9 billion to Altria Group, parent of Philip Morris USA. He was 52.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140507_Philadelphia_Award_shines_a_light_on_Middletons__philanthropy.html#pPCkCI45LdiolhVI.99
He must have really hated, after a Phillies loss back in the day, when fans said the old idiom, "close but no cigar."

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.