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What, you never saw Jason Vargas practice tai-chi on the mound?
What, you never saw Jason Vargas practice tai-chi on the mound?
Robert Vignon

Wild Finish

Phillies and Fish meet for three

FRI 9/16

With just over two weeks left in the regular season, the National League Wild Card race has turned into a five-team game of musical chairs. The standings shuffle more than Jack McKeon, and there's no telling which team will end up with its ass in the seat when the music stops next month. The Florida Marlins continue to do just enough to stay near the top of the hunt, but they still haven't made a late charge. Fortunately, neither have the Astros, Phillies, Nationals, or Mets. For any of these teams, one hot week will make the difference between making it to the postseason or having to drive their $100,000 cars home to their multi-million dollar houses and model girlfriends to watch the playoffs on their gigantic high definition flat-screen televisions -- the horror!

With the Phillies coming to Dolphins Stadium (2269 NW 199th St., Miami) this weekend for a three-game set starting on Friday, it's a perfect opportunity to make that run. Hopefully, the series will show shades of the 2003 season, when the Marlins' late charge was helped by pounding Philadelphia down the stretch harder than a Pennsylvania hailstorm.

The first pitch gets tossed at 7:35 p.m. Call 305-623-6100, or visit -- Paul A. Leone

Night Watch

What was that noise?

THU 9/15

As any horror movie buff will tell you, a full moon in late September means one, and only one, thing -- werewolves. Of course, a more realistic view calls for a relaxing night under the stars. So with a full moon this Thursday night, you could either stock up on silver bullets or come out to West Lake Park (751 Sheridan St., Hollywood), where the moonbeams provide the perfect setting for a Moonlight Paddle Tour through the park's natural mangrove habitat. As 7 p.m. rolls around, park guides lead paddlers through the werewolf-less trails. There's really no need to be afraid of any hairy beasts attacking you. Now, as for Swamp Thing, that's another story altogether. Admission is $15; reservations are required. Call 954-926-2480, or visit Kayaks and canoes are provided. -- Paul A. Leone

Steers, No Fears:

Pro bull riders do it with beef

SAT 9/17

Some of us are better than others at putting up with a lot of bull. For example, the 700 worldwide members of Professional Bull Riders, Inc. Not content with being just one part of the rodeo circuit, since 1992 they've been heading out on their own tours just to hop on the backs of beasts while wearing Kevlar vests and cowboy boots. The top 45 riders are competing throughout the year in the 31-city Built Ford Tough Series, including the Jacksonville Brats Invitational this weekend at the BankAtlantic Center (One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise). Events start Saturday at 7:50 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Note that there's a cowboy church service at the center on Sunday at 10 a.m. You'd pray, too, if you were strapped to a 2,000 pound chunk of bucking beef. Tickets start at $15. Visit, or call 719-471-3008. -- Dave Amber

Trash Talk

SAT 9/17

During last year's Coastal Cleanup, over 850 volunteers collected 4,855 pounds of garbage along 22 miles of shoreline in Broward County -- and that was with just three hours' work! This year, garbagemen, bag ladies, and scuba divers are needed again at 14 sites from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and especially, gloves. Call 954-519-1480, or visit -- Deirdra Funcheon


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