Morning Bytes | Spoiled athletes, stale food, a writer's life

"Mets Fan Banned for Impersonating Sports Reporter."

That was an actual headline this week.

Before I go further, a personal disclosure: In my more than half-century following Phillies baseball, I've often had the urge to pass myself off as a Mets fan.

Anyway, I have a simple question for the offender, 18-year-old Ryan Leli.


Do you enjoy waiting at lockers? In dank corridors? In airport-security lines? In hotel coffee shops? For taxis that never come? At stadium elevators that move as slowly as Mike Lieberthal?

Do you have the patience to stand and watch a naked man who runs a 4.3 40 take 20 minutes to don a garish suit that costs more than you earn in a month before he'll turn and provide you with innocuous answers to your innocuous questions?

Can you take getting dressed down by those same athletes you watched dress up when they dislike something you've said or written?

Can you stomach a steady diet of stale stadium hot dogs and press-room gruel? If so, can you afford new pants each month?

Do like walking through dark, litter-strewn arena parking lots at 1 a.m.?

Can you work most weekends and miss your kids' games and dance recitals?

Can you pretend that you're actually interested in a struggling pitcher's release point? The number of stunts a defensive line runs? The definition of a hamate bone? A salary cap?

Are you able to string together a series of coherent sentences on an event you've hardly watched because you've been busy stringing a together a series of coherent sentences for a deadline that came long before the event had ended?

Is your detergent capable of removing ink stains from nearly every article of clothing you own?

Can you bite through your tongue whenever someone says, "A sportswriter? Wow, you mean you get into all the games for free?"

I hope so, Ryan.

Because if you can, it's a hell of a life.

NASCAR note of the week. The unwarranted harassment of NASCAR drivers continues. I mean, what kind of country are we living when you can't urinate on your own car?

Two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. was charged last week with disorderly intoxication.

He'd been relieving himself on his car in a parking garage when a police officer intervened.

When the officer said, "I hope that's worth 100 bucks," Truex attempted to hand him a $100 bill. Finally, Truex resisted the officer's efforts to place handcuffs on him.

The driver later issued an apology in which he claimed he wasn't drunk and didn't "feel I was being disorderly."

It must violate some code. Now that the NFL has instituted a more stringent drug-testing policy, can they do something about Dhani Jones' bow ties?

Probably just some oregano. Authorities at Miami International Airport now say there was nothing illegal in the water bottle Michael Vick tried to get through security even though it contained traces of a "dark particulate that smelled like marijuana".

Sounds reasonable.

I mean, the Vicks have never had any trouble with the law before.

Besides, imagine how long the security lines would be if they took time to examine every water bottle that contains a marijuana-like substance?

This just in. Eagles coach Andy Reid has said he will not allow himself to speak at his next scheduled news conference.

Not that anyone would notice.

"It's alive!" In their never ending quest to render golf courses obsolete, designers at Callaway and Nike have developed a new driver with a square head.

No word yet on when their Rich Kotite model will go into production.

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or