Just a few months after the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb, another thing happened to Angelo Cataldi that infuriated him for years.
McNabb is long gone, but bring up beach tags and the longtime 610-AM sports personality's bitterness over his 1999 beachfront brouhaha with Avalon comes surging back.
"I try to avoid Avalon whenever I can," Cataldi said yesterday. "I am one of the top enemies of Avalon, and I am proud of it."
Cataldi was renting a home in Avalon in August '99 that came with beach tags. The beach-tag patrol found Cataldi and his daughter Meredith on the beach one day without the tags, and he said that they wouldn't let him go get them. Instead, he was charged and fined.
"The beach-patrol guy was on this big power trip," he said. "I said I wasn't going to leave."
Cataldi appealed his conviction and eventually lost a drawn-out battle to challenge the constitutionality of beach tags. He said he never had a shot.
"The judge basically said, 'You lose, you have no case, and screw you,' " he said.
The ordeal persuaded Cataldi to buy in Sea Isle City, where he said he pays for beach tags because of laziness and lack of conviction. He has a tender spot for any shore town that doesn't make you pay to sit on the beach, though, and strong opinions for those who want to change it.
"It's a terrible idea - it's stupid," he said of bringing beach tags to Wildwood. "All it's going to do is infuriate people who are already spending a ton of money in hotels and restaurants."
Avalon spokesman Scott Wahl said that Cataldi is always welcome in the town that claims to be "cooler by a mile." He can even hit the beach, too . . . as long as he buys a tag.
"We do have free parking," Wahl said.