The Philies kick off a road trip against the Montreal Expos tonight. Todd Zolecki reports on the progress of starting pitchers Randy Wolf (on target for a return against Boston this weekend) and Vicente Padilla (who suffered a setback in his last outing). Zolecki also has a brief note about Jim Thome being named NL player of the week. Dennis Deitch has Larry Bowa saying "it would be a travesty if he's not on the All-Star team." Deitch notes that it's likely NL All-Star manager Jack McKeon would have to add Thome to the squad. Sam Donnellon writes a puzzling piece in support of MLB commissioner Bud Selig, and believes he "will go down as one of the most significant commissioners in this sport's history, and in sports history." I don't think Selig is anywhere near on the level of David Stern, who took the NBA from relative obscurity in early 80s into the successful league it is today. Of course, having Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan during that era probably didn't hurt.
Hitting on a theme I mentioned yesterday, Jon Marks is concerned many of the young players eligible for the draft just aren't ready for the NBA. He sums up the basic problem this way:
Kids, who have been told forever they are too good to waste their talents on school, have bought this dream hook, line and sinker. There are too few youngsters who elect to stay in school to enhance their understanding of the game and gain a better appreciation for the other four guys on the floor.Marc Narducci has his second in a 3-part series previewing the NBA draft, today looking at college prospects, with Emeka Okafor at the head of that class. Stephen A. Smith seems to continue on a theme that started over the weekend by an area writer (we'll get to the culprit soon enough). Smith says he hopes Iverson finally "does things the right way" (Copyright, Larry Brown, All rights reserved). Brown's only regret about his championship is that he wishes "we could have done it in Philadelphia. It would have been really, really neat." Brown pretty much reiterated that, and spoke highly of Iverson, when David Letterman brought up the topic on last night's Late Show. Joe Juliano has a look at swirling trade rumors, including some that dredge up a trade scenario from quite some time ago, Allen Iverson for Vince Carter. I must have missed all those NBA Finals appearances by Vince's Toronto Raptors. In response to Howard Eskin's report on Sunday Sports Final that the Sixers were inquiring about the availability of Tracy McGrady (a pretty much moot point now, as we'll talk about in a bit), Phil Jasner has Billy King responding, "my job is to make calls. That's what I do." Speaking of Phil, Rich Hofmann has lots of nice things to say about Jasner, who will be honoroed by the Hall of Fame later this year. Hofmann writes:
That is what you come back to, over and over - that outlook, and that enthusiasm for the job. We all have mind's-eye pictures of Jasner. Here's mine: glasses perched on his nose, firing away at the keyboard like a madman, so intense, so into what he's doing that it's almost comical if someone taps him on the shoulder. He jumps about 3 feet into the air, every time - such is his concentration, and his caring, even after all this time.Finally, we will again turn our attention to the writings of one Jack McCaffery. He writes a completely Eskin-esque piece of drivel today, even worse than the collection of words that substituted for a column over the weekend. Here are a few gems from today: "Aging, injured, reluctant to practice, unwilling to play when it does not suit his mood, Iverson has become an intolerable energy drain to a Sixers organization in full-speed retreat." He also claims that "McGrady, Carter, Bryant and Francis are all bigger and better than Iverson, all have some measurable style and would not leave the Sixers without an obvious franchise marketing focal point." Just ask how successful Orlando's and Toronto's "marketing focal points" were in last year's standings. He attempts to head off criticism of his article by claiming, "this is not just a garden-variety anti-Iverson rant." No Jack, not at all. It's a complete rip job. Howard Eskin's job as WIP host is already taken, thank you very much, but thanks for playing along. We will keep your resume on file.
Also in the useless drivel category, Mark Kram submits this utterly lame article about a so-called "curse" which-shall-remain unnamed. He talks about the efforts of one "long-suffering Red Sox fan (as if there is any other kind)." Nothing like mailing it in, right Mark? Peter Vecsey is having trouble keeping up with all the latest NBA trade rumors, but he definitely has Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis switching addresses come July 1.
CSN has Phillies-Expos at 7:05.