McCaskey in the house!

Kris WilsonNeedless to say, the e-mails are flying fast and furious amongst the J.P. McCaskey alums scattered across the area. The biggest sentiment, of course, is rooting for a nationally televised Eagles game when the starting lineup announces itself with the pre-recorded, transposed messages spread over the screen.

No. 84, Kris Wilson, McCaskey High School…

You’re damn right!

Kris Wilson, of course, is the newly signed free-agent tight end for the Eagles. After four seasons playing behind Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City, Wilson, who also plays H-back and fullback, inked a three-year deal. Wilson was also a second-round draft choice of the Chiefs in 2004 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he totaled 88 receptions, 1431 yards, and 15 touchdowns as a four-year starter. A two-time Big East All-Academic team selection, Wilson is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

That’s the press release stuff. But most importantly, Wilson graduated from McCaskey High in ’99, a full decade after yours truly. Unfortunately for Wilson, his McCaskey football team did not finish the regular season 10-0 and advance to the District III championship game, which, truth be told, is not something every team can do. But surely Wilson has played in much bigger games since the ones he played at the Barney Ewell Complex.

Anyway, with Wilson in the fold it gives me a good excuse to start checking out the Eagles again. They were pretty boring until they got a McCaskey guy… but then again it always takes people from the J.P. to liven things up.

Fava beans and a nice chianti

Hannibal LecterSnow flurries are fluttering around here in The Lanc and it’s cold again. Perhaps going from perfect, sun-soaked 60-degree mornings in Florida to blustery winter evenings in Pennsylvania is a lot like jet lag.

Oh well, Mother Nature is perfect in her demented little way, so whatever… it’s just weather.

Anyway, it would have been nice to spend a few more days in the Tampa Bay area, specifically to head up to Dunedin to check in on the Blue Jays and their new third baseman. Apparently, he used to play for the Phillies or something like that. Also working out with the Jays this spring are fellow McCaskey High alums, John Parrish and Matt Watson. Parrish, a lefty pitcher and a wintertime signing for the Jays after spending the last few seasons with the Orioles and Mariners, could figure into the Toronto bullpen in 2008.

Watson is a non-roster invitee for Toronto after spending last season playing in Japan. Prior to the stint in Japan, he played in the Expos, Mets and A’s organizations with 34 big-league games under his belt.

So far this spring, Watson has gotten into two Grapefruit League games and is 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Parrish hasn’t appeared in any games yet, but he’s expected to pitch against the Devil Rays this afternoon.

***
This spring, Major League Baseball required the first and third-base coaches to wear batting helmets when on the field. This decree comes as a reaction to the death of minor-league coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was hit by a line drive below the ear while coaching first base. Needless to say, a handful of coaches aren’t too jazzed about the new mandate, but have complied in almost all cases.

All except for one guy, of course.

“That’s not for me,” new Dodgers’ third-base coach Larry Bowa told MLB.com.

“My question is, how can I be in the league 40 years and the league says who wears a helmet and who doesn’t? One guy got killed and I’m sorry it happened. But bats break and they can be a deadly weapon. Do something about bats.

“Umpires get hit with line drives. I’ve probably seen 50 of them get hit. If coaches have to wear helmets, umpires should. I’ll sign a waiver. And there should be a grandfather clause. These are very cumbersome. They talk about delay of game, and when the helmet falls off, you’ll have to stop the game. It should be an option. I know I’m talking for a lot of guys who won’t say anything. I’ll write a check for 162 games if I have to to not wear it.”

Bowa makes salient points. However, after seeing Bowa in action for four years as manager of the Phillies, perhaps simply wearing a helmet isn’t the best call.

No, Bowa might be better off out there with one of those masks they put on Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

Next time: Billy Wagner and C.J. Wilson.