The Phillies didn't start their 6-game road trip the way they wanted to, as they lost to the lowly Expos, 5-2, dropping a full game behind the Marlins for first place in the division. The teams are even in the loss column, as the Phillies have 2 games in hand. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories, including one irate Bobby Abreu, who expressed his displeasure over a questionable called third strike, which landed him an ejection. Hayes has Abreu taking a bit of ribbing on returning to the dugout following his ejection. Zolecki's notebook gets GM Ed Wade's thoughts on sending Marlon Byrd down to the minors: "As much as I didn't want to send him down, I thought it was appropriate at this point to do that and get his mind clear. And get his confidence back." Hayes thinks Vicente Padilla will be out at least a month, whereas Dennis Deitch claims that "simple math can conclude that Padilla doesn’t have much hope of returning to the rotation before August." Deitch also laments that the Phillies are "bobbing in the ocean of mediocrity." Looking to tonight's game, Jim Salisbury says, "Kevin Millwood needs to start winning ball games, and he needs to start doing it now." Sam Donnellon takes Phillies fans to task since they have apparently not voted for Jim Thome en masse:
You, the so-called city that loves you back, could not even be bothered with punching a chad, or clicking your mouse a few times online. Passionate fans, my fanny.Paul Hagen ranks MLB's ball parks, and then provides his reasons for the ranking he gives Citizens Bank Park.
Marc Narducci concludes his 3-part preview of the NBA draft, this time focusing on the international talent. Phil Jasner wonders just how much disinformation Billy King and the rest of the Sixers' brass have been floating lately:
When coaches and general managers respond to reporters' questions, are they shooting from the hip or shooting from the lip? Are they total truth-tellers, or are they offering degrees of what they want you - and, in turn, their competitors - to know? Are they providing clues to their blueprint, or merely leaving a masterfully misdirected trail of bread crumbs?Caryl Kauffman has King's take on speculation that the Sixers might move up in the draft: "There’s all kinds of deals under consideration right now. The likelihood of anything happening? I couldn’t put a number on it." Phil Sheridan believes "King's legacy will be defined largely by his decisions this week." He feels that "it will be frustrating for Sixers fans to watch O'Neal and Vince Carter and Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady change teams while the Sixers stand pat." The Sixers have no way to land O'Neal, McGrady and Francis are accounted for, and I'll take Iverson over the what-has-he-ever-done Vince Carter any day, thank you very much. Speaking of this latter rumor, Joe Juliano quotes King as saying the Iverson-Carter rumor has "no validity." Kauffman, linked earlier, said this rumor was "nothing but speculation by local radio hosts." I haven't been able to catch WIP much lately, but I'd venture a guess that Eskin was leading the charge on this rumor. Al Morganti worries that not trading Iverson "is the safest path to take, but it is hardly the path with the best chance of landing the Sixers in the promised land of a world championship."
Ray Parrillo looks out how NBA scouts' perceptions of Jameer Nelson have changed in a year. In that article, Jim Lynam, currently an assistant coach under Maurice Cheeks in Portland, and a former Sixers and St. Joe's, says, "It's apparent that Jameer is better than a lot of people thought he was." Dick Jerardi had a phone chat while Jameer was waiting for a connecting flight in Chicago, and Nelson admitted he has "no clue" who will be calling his name on draft night. Jack McCaffery is incredulous that the Sixers will end up with "a lottery pick and take a guy who might be a good college player three years from now -- and at the same time, perhaps, dismiss Nelson, who was the best player in all of college basketball?" Jerardi also has a look at Delonte West, and where in the lottery he might get drafted.
Rich Hofmann writes about the life and legacy of Roger Neilson. Now onto legends: the Daily News reports that a Wilt Chamberlain sculpture will be unveiled today at the Wachovia Center.
CSN has Phillies-Expos at 7:05.