May 11, 2007

Purchase Tickets at the Door for May 12 YLD Comedy Night with Ty Barnett

width=90,height=130 Ty Barnett, stand-up comedian and finalist on NBC's hit "Last Comic Standing," will fill the Academy of Natural Sciences with laughter when he headlines the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2nd Annual Comedy Night at the Academy Saturday night. Read more...

Bar Night at the Phillies June 12

width=90,height=130,align=right Join your colleagues and friends as the Phillies take on the Chicago White Sox at Citizens Bank Park at Bar Association Night at the Phillies on Tuesday, June 12. Click here to order tickets online. The sign-in ID to purchase tickets is BARN and the password is 0612.

PBS' Gwen Ifill to Deliver Higginbotham Lecture at the June 7 Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon

width=90,height=130 Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of PBS' "Washington Week" and senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," will deliver the Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture at the Association's Thursday, June 7 Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon.

A lifelong champion of individual rights, Judge Higginbotham had a legal career that spanned nearly half a century. Since Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, delivered the first Higginbotham lecture in 1999, notables such as Juan Williams, Charles J. Ogletree, Chaka Fattah, Cornel West and Kweisi Mfume have filled the role. New members of the Association's 50-, 60-, 65- and 70-Year Clubs will also be honored at the event. The Year Clubs recognize attorneys who have been practicing law for 50 years or more.

Ifill is frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections, most recently the Vice Presidential debate during the 2004 election. She spent several years as a Washington Week panelist before taking over the moderator's chair in October 1999.

Registration is available at philadelphiabar.org.

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Purchase Tickets at the Door for May 12 YLD Comedy Night with Ty Barnett

Ty Barnett, stand-up comedian and finalist on NBC's hit "Last Comic Standing," will fill the Academy of Natural Sciences with laughter when he headlines the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2nd Annual Comedy Night at the Academy Saturday night. In addition to a night filled with entertainment, attendees will join together to raise money for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation -the charitable arm of the Bar Association, supporting legal agencies assisting the indigent, elderly and disabled, as well as abused women and children. The event, which runs from 7-11:30 p.m., features comedy, dancing, an open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction.

Click here to watch Barnett's performance on "Last Comic Standing."

Comedian and Philadelphia-native Chris Coccia will open for Ty Barnett and serve as emcee for the night.

The YLD Comedy Night is part of an annual mission to raise money for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation by promoting access to justice for all people in the community, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination. That mission is accomplished by providing grants and technical assistance in support of quality legal services, addressing unmet legal needs and providing education on matters in the public interest.

Tickets are $65 per person and the show is open to the public. All tickets are general admission. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Phed Up by Jeff Lyons

The last time I filled this space, I wrote that I wasn't worried about the Phillies and their slow start. Guess what? I'm officially worried.

Injuries to closer Tom Gordon, Ryan Madson and Ryan Howard and some really questionable moves by manager Charlie Manuel have the Phils four games under. 500 and 6 1/2 games out of first place. And to be honest, I don't see things getting any better, even after Wednesday's late-inning heroics.

The bullpen was a concern before the season started. Now, with four minor-league refugees forced into duty, the situation has worsened. They moved Brett Myers out of the rotation to take over for Gordon. Antonio Alfonseca has been awful lately and the only reliable arm belongs to Geoff Geary. But Geary can't pitch every day. And it's hard to watch Fabio Castro, Yoel Hernandez, Francisco Rosario and Clay Condrey when you've got your hands covering your eyes.

And then there's the manager. The players seem to like him. He's caught a lot of flak for his "down-home" demeanor and his less-than-stellar camera presence. But a couple of moves this week against Arizona really concerned me.

On Monday night, Freddy Garcia was had thrown just 70 pitches and was doing quite well. Manuel decided to pinch hit for him in the 7th inning, and the bullpen promptly cost them the game. Why not let Garcia stay in the game and bunt, moving a baserunner to third? On Tuesday, he let Adam Eaton bat for himself in the 7th inning with runners on first and third. Instead of using a pinch-hitter, Manuel let Eaton hit and he grounded out to end the inning. Eaton then gave up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. It's clear Manuel let Eaton stay in because he had no confidence in his bullpen.
Something needs to happen before the season slips away. The Braves and Mets are playing too well for the Phils to stand by and do nothing.

It's time to get rid of Manuel. It's been said that managers don't really have that much of an impact on the outcome of a game, but I disagree. Those two moves this week really hurt the Phils and probably cost them both games.

Charlie is a swell guy, but from here it looks like he's in over his head. I don't want to see Jimy Williams, the current bench coach, replacing Manuel. I want someone new. Somebody like Terry Pendleton, a former National League MVP and now a coach for the Braves. He's been around successful teams through his career. Or John Russell, the manager of the Phils top farm team in Ottawa. He's interviewed for a couple of big league jobs and will have a job in the show before too long. Either of those two would be fine with me. I don't want to see any more retread signings.

The Phillies also need to consider putting Howard on the disabled list. He's got leg issues and sitting out for two or three games isn't going to do any good. He needs two weeks to get healthy so he can start mashing the ball again. Wednesday's pinch-hit grand slam was encouraging, but we won't know more about his legs until this weekend.

General manager Pat Gillick deserves some, if not most, of the blame for this mess. He knew the bullpen was a disaster waiting to happen, yet he did nothing. He gave us Wes Helms to play third base. Wes Freaking Helms almost makes me miss David Bell. Gillick traded away Bobby Abreu for nothing.

With the way things have been going lately, I'm not really optimistic about the rest of the season. We can hope Gordon and Madson come back from their injuries and pitch well. We can hope all of the starting pitchers go deep into games, negating the need to use AAA pitchers in tight spots. And we can hope Ryan Howard returns to form. That's a lot to ask for.

All winter long, I look forward to the return of baseball. These first six weeks have pretty much spoiled the fun.

Jeff Lyons, senior managing editor of the Philadelphia Bar Reporter and Bar Reporter Online, is a lifelong Phillies fan whose astrological sign is the hit and run.

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