Morning Bytes | No splendor in the grass at the Series

A few observations after watching Game 1 of the 2007 World Series:

Do we really need this competition to see which grounds crew can create the weirdest pattern in the infield grass? The trend has reached its ridiculous apex with the outline of two socks behind Fenway Park's mound. What's next? David Ortiz shaving the outline of a corn pad in his geometrically challenged beard?

I've seen him play only a handful of games, but Dustin Pedroia is already a starter on my all-annoying team. Boston's sneering, hyperactive second baseman reminds me of Fernando Viña and Jose Reyes, little guys who overcompensate for their lack of stature by being as irritating as possible.

I know there are some people who don't enjoy them, but Fox's Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are an extremely competent and entertaining broadcast team, maybe the best I've ever heard in baseball.

How bad is the National League? The last three pennant winners were Houston, St. Louis and Colorado, three teams with shortcomings as blatant as those of the Eagles' wide-receiving corps. Here's a prediction: In 2008, the Rockies will revert to the version that was hovering around .500 in September instead of the version that won 21 of 22, apparently via a deal with the devil.

Colorado's biggest Hurdle might be Clint. The Rockies' manager not only goes against the book; he also often acts as if he's never even read it.

Umpire Ed Montague's Game 1 strike zone needed its own zip code. It strayed from the plate more frequently than Kate Moss. I'm not sure how Major League Baseball selected its World Series crew, but it clearly wasn't on merit. If the best umpires truly were rewarded, Jerry Crawford and Tim McClelland would be there.

A seven-length lead with 17 to go? New York Mets catcher Paul LoDuca owns a horse, Grace Anatomy, that will run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies this weekend at Monmouth Park.

She's a lock to spit the bit down the stretch.

NASCAR note of the week. Driver Ron Hornaday on his past: "I had to pick up a lot of dog poop and mow a lot of lawns to get my first motorcycle."

You don't want to know how he got his first car.

That's why he looks like Frasier. Now that Cleveland pitcher Paul Byrd has admitted using human growth hormone, his Rushmore-like forehead makes sense.

O-W-L-S . . . OWLS! An e-mail I got yesterday indicated just how bad a football season it's been in Philadelphia and just how goofy and panic-prone this city's sports fans can be.

The reader suggested the Eagles replace Andy Reid with Temple's Al Golden.

Anything-but-special teams. If you're still undecided about what to get the Eagles for Christmas, don't waste a lot of thought.

No matter what you get them, they won't return it.

Five things about the Eagles that annoy me.

1. Andy Reid's answers.

2. Andy Reid's lack of answers.

3. Reno Mahe's punt returns.

4. Correll Buckhalter's kickoff returns.

5. Sean Considine's missed tackles.

Five great things about this college football season.

1. Steve Spurrier lost to Vanderbilt.

2. Appalachian State beat Michigan.

3. Everybody beat Notre Dame.

4. Temple has won three games.

5. The Big Ten has been exposed.

Yep, he's from Philly. Jacob Frey of Philadelphia qualified for the Olympic marathon trials, which will be the Nov. 4 New York City Marathon, by finishing in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 45 seconds at the Pan-American Games.

Afterward, he was asked whether there was anything people didn't know about him that he'd like to share:

"I have an unbelievable collection of fortune-cookie messages," Frey blurted. "I even have one that says, 'You eat too much Chinese food.' "


Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.