Yo, come bowling on Sunday and help this little guy fight cancer

Yo, come bowling on Sunday and help this little guy fight cancer

This little guy is Shane Metzgar. Shane is in midst of battling a rare form of childhood cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Let me rephrase that. Shane is in the midst of doing to his rare form of childhood cancer what Matt Stairs did to Jonathan Broxton in 2008 and what Sheldon Brown did to Reggie Bush in 2006, which is to say he’s going to absolutely obliterate it. You can read more about Shane here and here.

Shane’s father Paul and I grew up together. More precisely, Paul and I competed against one another from about the age of 8 until we became teammates at the age of 12. Paul grew up playing soccer for Olney. I grew up playing for Fox Chase. Our teams would face each other multiple times a year. Eventually, both of our families moved to Cheltenham and we played together for the first time as 7th graders. Paul always competed his ass off. Based on his first few months of treatment Shane has inherited his father’s will to win.

To this day, 30-years or so after we first played against each other, Paul and I remain friends. The Metzgars are a Philly sports family. Paul’s father coached girls’ basketball and volleyball for many years at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. In fact, his MLK girls’ teams won back-to-back public league titles in the early 90’s. Paul’s sister was a decorated soccer player who went on to play collegiately at Stetson. His brother Dan recorded 20 assists in a single season while playing soccer at Cheltenham and played for Bloomsburg. What I am trying to say is that Shane comes from a family accustomed to competing and having success.

I should also mention that with any luck Shane will inherit his mom Michele’s smarts (she has a master’s in public health).

You may be asking why you are reading about this on this website. Well, the bonds that formed when Paul and I were teammates many years ago are still strong. When a teammate is down you rally around them and help. This is a Philly story if there ever was one – we love the underdog. We love and support people with Philly roots. We love athletes who have heart. No one has more heart than Shane. No one is going to fight harder. He’s one of us.

With that said, I am writing to encourage you to join Shane and his family and friends for a fundraiser at North Bowl this Sunday from 4-8PM. Tickets are $50 (kids under 10 are free) and includes bowling and food. There will also be a silent auction with lots of great Philly sports items up for grabs.

[reserve your ticket here to help Shane fight cancer | HelpShaneFightCancer on Facebook]

If you are unable to make it to North Bowl on Sunday then you can still help by visiting Shane’s GiveForward website and making a donation. Funds will go towards covering any out of pocket costs insurance won't cover and to raise awareness about childhood cancer. Any funds that are not used will go to CHOP's oncology department and to THON, Penn State University's childhood cancer fundraiser.

On behalf of the Metzgar family and their friends we appreciate any support you can offer as we #HelpShaneFightCancer.

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received a majority of votes for the first time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell , on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

"Anxiety was very, very high," Bagwell said. "I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of cool."

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Lee Smith, who had 478 saves, got 34 percent in his final time on the ballot. Jorge Posada, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez were among the players who got under 5 percent and fell off future ballots.

Brown: 'No chance' Ben Simmons plays vs. Rockets next week

Brown: 'No chance' Ben Simmons plays vs. Rockets next week

Brett Brown squashed any chatter of Ben Simmons playing in the Sixers’ Jan. 27 nationally televised game against the Rockets.

“There is no chance,” Brown said Wednesday before the Sixers took on the Raptors.

On Tuesday the NBA announced the Sixers' matchup with the Rockets was added to the ESPN lineup while the Heat at Bulls game was dropped. 

That night, Simmons posted two photos on Instagram: a picture of him in Sixers warmup gear at the Wells Fargo Center with the staring eyes emoji and later a post of himself working out at the training complex. 

“I am a social media hermit. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Brown said. “But I do know that there is no chance that he will play then.”

Simmons has been sidelined the entire season since suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot during training camp. The team has reiterated there is no timetable for his return.