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.

Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

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Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday allowed prosecutors to add a conspiracy charge against three former Penn State administrators, increasing their possible penalty if convicted of crimes for their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Judge John Boccabella granted a request by the attorney general's office to tack on a related conspiracy count to the charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Prosecutors said each felony count carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Jury selection is scheduled for March 20 in Harrisburg in the case of former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

The defendants sought permission last week from Boccabella for an appeal that could delay the trial. The judge has not ruled on that request.

They argue Boccabella erred when he declined to dismiss the child-welfare charges, arguing the statute of limitations expired, the defendants did not provide direct care for children and they are charged with actions that occurred before the law was revised.

Earlier this month, the judge dismissed charges of failing to properly report suspected abuse, and last year the Superior Court threw out perjury, obstruction and conspiracy charges.

The three administrators fielded a complaint in 2001 from a graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky, then retired as an assistant football coach, sexually abusing a boy in a team shower.

They did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities, but did tell Sandusky he could no longer bring children to the campus and they notified his charity for children, The Second Mile.

Sandusky currently is serving a lengthy state prison term after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.

Last week, a new judge appointed to preside over his appeals under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act scheduled a March 24 hearing at the courthouse near State College to "present and finalize the evidentiary portion" of the hearing.

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have released their Wall of Fame ballot for 2017 and Pete Rose is on it for the first time.

Baseball’s all-time hits king joins Steve Bedrosian, Larry Christensen, Jim Fregosi, Gene Garber, Placido Polanco, Ron Reed, Scott Rolen, Manny Trillo and Rick Wise on the ballot.

The Phillies had to receive permission from commissioner Rob Manfred to include Rose on the ballot. Rose was placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list in 1989 after he admitted to wagering on baseball during his time as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The ban precludes him from appearing on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Rose is still on the ineligible list, but Manfred has shown some leniency in recent years and Rose has been able to participate in some ceremonies. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame last summer. 

Rose was one of the stars on the Reds’ Big Red Machine, a club that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. He came to the Phillies as a free agent before the 1979 season. He spent five years with the Phils and his leadership was considered key in getting a talented team over the top on its way to winning the 1980 World Series. 

The Phillies’ Wall of Fame ceremony will take place Aug. 12 at Citizens Bank Park. 

Fans have a voice in the voting, which is has begun on the team’s website -- www.Phillies.com. Fans can select their top three choices and the five finalists will serve as the official ballot for a special Wall of Fame selection committee.