will trades help the phils?

As we approach the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, one which is sure to be filled with a flurry of late activity, what do those Fightin’ Phils need to stay in contention? Let’s take a look.

The Obvious

Okay, so Jon Lieber’s quest for seventeen wins may not happen this year. And Cory Lidle may see as many losses as wins. Wolf is gone. Padilla, well, you fill in the rest. Myers has been no better than a number four starter. Tejeda is a rookie. This has become the epitome of a patchwork rotation, so our first stop on the ‘What Do The Phillies Need To Win?’ Train is starting pitching.

Rumors about a Barry Zito

respecting bobby abreu

Philadelphians can proudly hold their heads high because, legitimately, they can say that they saw all this coming. They knew it would happen. We couldn’t be prouder of the always memorable number 53, playing right field for the Phillies. Bobby Abreu.

His second time elected as an All-Star and for his first time as a starter. Any stat-jockey knows he’s twice merited the nomination, but that’s it, only twice in the All-Star Game. What’s going on here; why hasn’t Bobby been in there more often?

Well, Philly, while you and I may know it, apparently, the rest of America didn’t until this year. Bobby Abreu is a bleeping superstar.

Consider this: in 2004, the starters were Sammy Sosa, Lance Berkman, and Barry Bonds. Abreu had lots of votes (probably by compulsive Phillies fans who just could not bear being passed over) to be the additional player named. Sosa was hitting .276 while Abreu was at .301. And if final numbers were any indication of how merited these All-Star selections are, it’s obvious Abreu got shafted.

Sosa’s 2004 stats: .253 avg

pa tourism off the map

Pennsylvania plans to offer MP3-compatible travel guides to tourists who want to get off the beaten track and download a soundtrack to enhance their vacation travels.

The state’s effort is a way to further define niche markets — in this case, technology-hip travelers whose sightseeing goes well beyond the Liberty Bell. At the same time, for a state that spends $12.4 million a year in tourism marketing dollars, the technology is relatively cheap to offer online.

Soon, we envision podcasts that will include real stories from the most interesting regions of the commonwealth that will enrich your travels as you listen, star tours for the parks with the darkest skies in Pennsylvania, music from local artists, tales from our county fairs and farmlands and reviews of attractions, restaurants, hotels, etc., said Ed Tettemer, president of Red Tettemer, the Center City advertising agency for the state office of Tourism, Film and Economic Development.

MP3 files are increasingly being used as an inexpensive alternative to travel books and guides. Before this month’s Live 8 concert in Philadelphia, Washington Crossing-based iPREPpress.com, which creates study guides, offered free Wikitravel self-guided tours of Philadelphia that could be downloaded onto an iPod or similar device. Another company, AudioTreks, offers a audio downloads of Old City tours for $14.

In Pennsylvania’s case, tourism officials have embraced alternative technology to reach younger travelers while stretching marketing dollars.

Earlier this summer, the state’s travel Web site, Visitpa.com, offered space to six pre-selected bloggers to post travel experiences online.

Red Tettemer won the advertising side of the state’s tourism business in February 2004. Public relations is handled by Center City-based Tierney Communications, while the Web site is managed by Ripple Effects Interactive, which is based in Pittsburgh and has an office in Philadelphia.

Tettemer, who grew up in Doylestown, visited many of the state’s 67 county seats as a child. His father was a deputy sheriff who would take the family on road trips to the county courthouses and sheriff’s offices, where he would walk in and introduce himself — with his sons behind him rolling their eyes.

Today, Ed Tettemer is likely to fire up his ’76 Eldorado convertible, and seek out the most interesting attractions and obscure places to find the state’s best indigenous foods.

I was born to do this job, Tettemer said.

The state hasn’t decided what spots to highlight for iPod usage.

But some possibilities could include:

temple: economic engine

Temple University produces a little more than $1 out of every $100 generated in the five Pennsylvania counties in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to a recent report.

[Temple is] one of the 15 or 20 most important economic engines in the region, said Stephen P. Mullin, a senior vice president and principal with Econsult Corp., which released the report.

That’s good news for the North Philadelphia university, which commissioned the study as part of a campaign to make people in the region and state aware of its impact on both.

Our overall feeling is that Temple tends to be taken for granted in the region and its real impact in Philadelphia and in the wider region isn’t well understood, said David Adamany, Temple’s president.

Whether or not it’s understood, Temple’s impact is large. Econsult found that the university annually generates $2.7 billion and creates 17,818 full- and part-time jobs in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The economic output of the entire region is about $200 billion per year, Mullin said.

The economic activity produced by Temple results from the direct and indirect effects of its spending on operations and construction, plus the direct and indirect effects of spending by Temple employees, students and visitors. Econsult separately calculated the amount added to the economy by Temple’s 120,000 graduates in the region and found that they annually generate $8.7 billion and produce 42,386 jobs.

Econsult calculated the job and dollar figures for Temple and its graduates using statistical models it obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the Commerce Department. It didn’t base its calculations for the graduates on their total income. Instead, it used the amount of their income attributable to their education, which is the difference between the earnings of people who have college degrees and people who only have high school degrees.

How Temple’s economic impact compares to the economic effects of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University can’t be determined because neither of those two schools has had an economic impact study done recently.

With about 34,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Temple is roughly the size of Penn and Drexel combined. Most of its students come from the area and just under 70 percent remain in the region after they graduate.

A study conducted for Pennsylvania State University last year found it was responsible for almost $345 million of economic activity in the five-county region in 2003. Much of that was attributable to its campuses in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

Penn State, which has its main campus in central Pennsylvania, generated $6.1 billion in the state in 2003. Temple’s statewide economic impact was about $3.1 billion, according to Econsult, which used figures from Temple’s 2004 fiscal year to make its calculations.

Those figures were no doubt bandied about in Harrisburg the past few months as both schools sought to increase their appropriations from the state.

Temple was asking for $180 million, a 6 percent increase over the $170 million it got in 2004-2005, but about the same amount it received 2001-2002.

Penn State was asking for $344.8 million, a 9 percent increase over the $317.2 million it got last year. That amount would also be about the same as it received in 2001-2002.

Both schools are private but affiliated with the state, as are the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University in Chester County.

new skatepark on track

Philadelphia is hoping to make law-abiding citizens out of its outlaw skateboarders

The idea is that a proposed, $5 million skatepark near the Philadelphia Museum of Art will not only pick up skateboarders banned from Center City’s LOVE Park but also be a magnet for corporate donations.

With proverbial helmet in hand, a nonprofit called Franklin’s Paine Skateboard Fund is looking to raise the $5 million from the skateboard industry’s equipment manufacturers, apparel makers and retailers, as well as from Philadelphia corporations.

The bait: tapping into Philadelphia’s youthful street skater demographic, offering proximity to Philadelphia’s arts-rich Benjamin Franklin Parkway and naming rights. Could Campbell Soup Skatepark or Tastykake Park be far behind?

What we’ve learned is the neighbors on the [Ben Franklin Parkway] are the most important selling point. Philadelphia is known for its arts and culture, but it’s also known for its skateboarding. That’s why I think it’s worth $5 million to a corporate sponsor, said Joshua H. Nims, executive director at Franklin’s Paine. Each neighbor is a $1 billion value. [Donors] would have the ability to be part of the neighborhood for a measly $5 million.

Plans for Schuylkill River Skatepark were unveiled Thursday at a public meeting. They must be approved by the Fairmount Park Commission, but Franklin’s Paine hopes to break ground by next spring.

The skatepark straddles two worlds. On one side, the site borders Eakins Oval, also known as the Art Museum Circle, giving it accessibility to museum goers. On the other, it faces the Schuylkill River bike path, a two-year-old recreational path that is part of a larger effort by the Schuylkill River Development Corp. to clean up portions of the riverfront and offer more recreational opportunities.

City of Philadelphia officials donated the land for the skatepark and a $100,000 grant, which Franklin’s Paine used to commission architectural plans.

I could see people dropping their kids at the skatepark and going to the museum, said Anthony Bracali, chief architect of the park and owner of AB Arch LLC in Old City.

Skateboard parks tend to fall into two groups: privately run ventures that rent skateboards, pads and helmets and offer food concessions, and publicly funded parks, which tend to be outdoors and more bare bones, with riders providing their own equipment.

Still, Schuylkill River Skatepark would differ from the kinds of skateboard parks that have flourished in cities as diverse as surf-rich San Diego to snowbound Manitowoc, Wis. — parks that feature giant bowls similar to the rounded contours of a (dry) swimming pool, catering to so-called transitional skaters.

In this case, the skatepark would be, first and foremost, a park, with benches, grass and other enticements to nonskaters — an overture to bicyclists, runners and parents with baby strollers.

It would also have the curbs, ledges and contoured walls favored by urban skateboarders.

To move forward, Franklin’s Paine (a takeoff on Revolutionary patriots Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine), needs money — at least $60,000 just to start a large-scale fund-raising effort, with input from a development consultant.

Skateboarding’s patrons have ranged from brands like Mountain Dew, a sponsor of the ESPN XGames, to Vans, a maker of skateboarding shoes that also has developed private skateboard parks.

Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk set up the Tony Hawk Foundation specifically to help fund community skateboard parks nationwide. Yet grants top out at $25,000. In 2002, the organization gave the Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund $5,000.

For Nims, a 30-year-old South Carolina native who came to Philadelphia to attend Temple Law School, the trick to taking Philadelphia’s skate scene mainstream may be as daunting as an aerial 360.

Skateboarding’s outlaw image has been mythologized in such movies as Lords of Dogtown, which focused on three California skaters in the 1970s, but the reality is that much of skateboarding has been channeled into for-profit skateboarding centers — where kids are required to wear pads and helmets and pay fees to skate.

Yet the outlaw element remains, begging the question whether skateboarders might continue to favor LOVE Park, where they are prohibited from skating and which two weeks ago hosted a mass demonstration by skateboarders.

Will they really depart LOVE Park — itself an icon in Tony Hawk’s video game — for a legal skatepark?

Yes and no. Yes, there is a rebellious element, but not as much as is perceived by non-skaters, Nims said. I think if they’re looking to ‘grind’ some granite and they can do it in a peaceful place; that’s all they want.