Friday, June 25, 2004

Coming Up Short

The Phillies disappointed yesterday afternoon by losing 3-2 to the Expos in Montreal, thus losing the series against them. Jim Thome first came within a few inches (OK, maybe closer to a foot) of tying the game in the 8th, when a long deep ball headed for the stands bounced high off the wall and back into play. Later in the inning, representing the tying run on 3rd, Thome, not particularly known for his speed, ran home after a fly to the outfield, but was thrown out at the plate. Again, a game of inches. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Hayes also previews the weekend series against the Red Sox, which starts tonight at Fenway Park. Jim Salisbury gets a few comments from some ex-Phils on their new team. Curt Schilling: "I came here to win a World Series. Anything short of that will be a disappointment." Terry Francona: "They're fanatical about this team. A lot of it is good. Some of it is over the top. But it's never dull. I love it." Zolecki's notebook reports that Chase Utley has been called up from the minors again. Paul Hagen wonders if the Phils will enter the trading fray this year since "it's that time of year again."

Meanwhile, the Sixers seem to have lucked out in last night's draft. Joe Juliano says nabbing Andre Iguodala after he fell to the 9th pick was an easy call for the decision makers at PCOM. Iguodala was brought in for a "secret workout" earlier this week, unbeknownst to the media. Speaking of the media, the new Sixer said a close friend of his told him "about the media in Philly being pretty tough." Phil Jasner says the pick falls in line with Jim O'Brien's "vision" for the team. John Smallwood is on board with the pick: "For the first time since they had the No. 1 overall pick in 1996 and selected Allen Iverson, the Sixers not only caught a break, but they actually took advantage of it." Caryl Kauffman has Tony DiLeo remarking that this is "the type of player who can get triple-doubles. He did it in college." Jon Marks seems to be the only writer to have mentioned the Sixers have drafted "another A.I." You can tell Jack McCaffery is not happy the Sixers are sticking with Iverson.
Well, what’s the sense of fighting the reality? Iverson is here, will be here and, well, is not so old that he cannot recapture some of the special qualities that made him the 2001 MVP.
Stephen A. Smith appears to be very angry that more than half the league passed on selecting Jameer Nelson, who, it seems, was being short-changed (no pun intended) by GM prospectors because of his height. Apparently he lacks "upside" (and until that word is banned on draft night, you can expect the parade of high schoolers to continue). He calls it "insanity. Or stupidity." Dick Jerardi has quotes from a visibly upset Phil Martelli.
It's an awful message. They don't want to acknowledge that they are hurting the game. They want to give you lip service about an age limit. They don't want an age limit. They will keep raiding and, if the kids were 10th graders and they could take them, that's what they would do.
Rob Knox notes that Nelson had the support of many who made their way to the Theater at Madison Square Garden last night. Paul Flannery has coach from Chester also lamenting Nelson not being a lottery pick.
The only thing you can say is shame on the NBA. They’re betting on all these young guys. They’re gambling. Here’s a proven winner. He’s the epitome of what we try to teach our youngsters. I guarantee you most of them will live to regret that they passed on this kid.
I think he might be right on that one. While Nelson's stock was inexplicably falling, Delonte West was the surprising pick by the Celtics at #24. Knox has Coach Martelli's reaction: "He took a chance and he won." Many thought he was making a bad decision by remaining in the draft and forgoing his senior year, but apparently Celtics GM Danny Ainge had him in his crosshairs. Adam Kilgore of the Boston Globe had Ainge speaking of West's future:
We think Delonte West can play point. Maybe not in the traditional fashion of point guards, but we think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the game because his decision-making is right up there with the best of the guards.
Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald has new Celtics coach Doc Rivers calling him "one of the best shooters in the draft."

Tim Panaccio believes Bob Clarke and Ken Hitchcock have talked Sami Kapinen out of retirement. Captain Kangaroo (sorry, couldn't resist) said he's "reconsidered, but can't guarantee a decision." Mike Kern has a somewhat comical note about David Stern correcting himself last night when he announced the pick for the "Seattle Super...er, excuse me, Sonics." We blasted him somewhat earlier this week, but today we offer kudos to Mike Kram, has a lengthy piece on the dangers posed by foul balls to fans at major league ballparks. He has a fairly sad story about a woman named Jane Costa, who got severely injured by a ball at Fenway Park several years ago. He also adds this tidbit that I did not know about:
The 1921 Spalding Baseball Guide stated: "All balls batted or thrown out off the grounds or into the stands shall, when returned to the field, be given into the custody of the umpire immediately." That changed one day at the Polo Grounds when a fan, Ruben Berman, chose to keep his foul ball instead of handing it over to an usher. Berman was forcibly removed from the stadium, for conduct that the Giants characterized as "disorderly" and "ungentlemanly." Berman sued. The Supreme Court of New York County ruled in 1921 that he was entitled to keep the ball.
Interleague play continues tonight, and CSN has Phillies-Red Sox at 7:05.

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