Escape from New York (wth a victory)
The Phillies split their series with the Mets, exploding for 6 runs (5 unearned) in the 7th inning, which enabled them to win, 7-4. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Both Zolecki's notebook and Hayes' notebook both talk about the rift between closer Billy Wagner and Phillies trainer Jeff Cooper with regards to his rehab. Apparently, Wagner was used to taking muscle relaxants when dealing with a similar injury while with the Astros, and Cooper seems as tight-fisted as an HMO, so Wagner had to acquire them on his own. Asked what he thought of the rift, Wagner replied, "that's not my problem.... He has all the medical degrees. I've got a degree in pitching.... I'm not doubting his ability." Hopefully this doesn't get more ugly that this, and doesn't jeopardize Wagner's long-term future with the team. Jim Salisbury looks at the Braves, who are coming to town, in fourth place, for the first time (after 44 games) since May 1990. Ohhhhhh...oh...oh-uh-oh...Ohhhhhhh...oh-oh. Could their reign as division champs be over? Finally!
The Sixers had just as much luck in the NBA draft lottery as they had battling injuries all season long. Marc Narducci says Billy King "would have liked to have moved up, but the odds weren't in our favor." Stephen A. Smith is pretty much indifferent about the whole thing. John Smallwood submits his annual "the NBA needs a real minor league" article. I remember the first time I read this. Wasn't it five years ago? Phil Jasner has Billy King wondering about the "brown stains" left behind from Smarty Jones' not-so-lucky horseshoe (well, at least they didn't drop to the 10th spot...) in his fashion-conscious suit jacket. Jasner also speaks with an elated Pat Williams, who has now landed an amazing total of four #1 picks (once with the Sixers, and now three times with Orlando). Williams, referring to the Magic's horrible season, seemed proud of having "the most pingpong balls. And we earned them." David Stern also added some humor, saying he has Russ Granik preside over the proceedings now because he "was tired of congratulating Pat."
Les Bowen says Eagles' draft pick Shawn Andrews can now stop and smell the flowers. Literally. But he seems to prefer smelling pizza, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken, and steaks.
CSN has Braves-Phillies tonight at 7:05. TNT has Game 4 of Wolves-Lakers at 9:00.