If today's baseball championship games were to do battle, here's what the billing would be: All the Time vs. Not Very Often.
In the Public League, the combatants at La Salle University, with a 3:30 start, will be - surprise, surprise - Frankford and Central.
Those two have met in four of the last five finals and have combined to win eight of the last nine crowns.
The only crown exception came in 2002, when tiny Girard Academic Music Program stunned the Pub diamond world. Central triumphed in '01, '06 and '09 while Frankford did so in '03, '04, '05, '07 and '08 (while victimizing Central in each of those last three title runs).
Meanwhile, the Catholic League final (3:30, at Widener University) will feature two teams from the high-enrollment Red Division, Archbishop Ryan and Monsignor Bonner.
Over the previous 20 seasons, those schools combined to make just four appearances in the final and just once did success result.
That occurred in '98 as Ryan bested Father Judge, 6-1, in nine innings. Ryan lost to Archbishop Carroll in '04 and to St. Joseph's Prep in '07 while Bonner fell to Prep 3 years ago.
Bonner's last crown came in '89, thanks to a 5-3 success over La Salle. That one featured these oddities: Outfielder Jack McCoy, the Southern Division MVP, capped a sixth-inning rally with a hit he collected while sporting a cast on his broken left hand. Also, Jeff Tinari, who entered with a 1-2 record, pitched a five-hitter.
Ryan and Bonner met in two previous finals. The former won both, 8-3 in '84 and 3-2 in '74. Righthander Tom Filer, a former major leaguer (and currently the pitching coach for the Pirates' Double A team in Altoona), spun a four-hitter in the '74 meeting.
Central is slated to play today without senior pitcher-third baseman Kevin Pfeifer, who was ejected from Thursday's semifinal win over GAMP for slamming his helmet, and yelling at umpire Jim Carpino, after being called out on a close play. (Still photos, culled from a video taken by the parent of a Central player, strongly appear to show Pfeifer was safe.)
Central coach Rich Weiss and others, including parents, spent the holiday weekend peppering Dave Connolly, the Pub baseball chairman, and Robert Coleman, the league's overall sports czar, with e-mails asking them to overturn the ejection and/or prevent Carpino from being part of today's umpiring crew, as he's scheduled to be.