Friday, June 18, 2004

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The storm clouds subsided long enough yesterday for the Phillies to get both games of their first home day-night doubleheader at home. Todd Zolecki has the game stories of the 6-2 afternoon win, and the disappointing 5-4 loss in extra innings of the night game. Closer Billy Wagner had his second blown save opportunity in 11 tries, as he gave up the game-tying homer in the top of the 9th. Bob Cooney had Larry Bowa giving the surprising Detroit Tigers some props. "They got three two-out hits. That's hard to do sometimes, and they did it three times in a row." Zolecki's notebook points to some potential lineup changes in the future. Bill Conlin gets specific and says Marlon Byrd "is doomed to vanish from his protected South Philly sanctuary unless he picks up the pace." He later dabbles in some clever humor when adding, "it's no secret, though, that Bowa has turned the heat on Byrd to hit or get off the nest." Paul Hagen is happy that Ken Griffey Jr. failed in three home games to hit #500 "and that the Reds now go on the road for their next six games. It's just bad the owners get to keep the extra money that the quest generated."

Bill Fleischman writes about Comcast SportsNet trying to innovate with some of their game coverage. The Phillies are among six teams participating in a "commissioner's initiative to enhance fans' enjoyment of local baseball broadcasts." He says, "this new service will be really worth watching if Bowa has to stop in midsentence to make a decision or argue with an umpire." Actually, it would be quite humorous if they used wireless mikes here and they could catch Bowa's interactions with the umpire. Frank Fitzpatrick just calls this a "ridiculous TV development" and part of the "pre-packaged, pre-produced, gimmick-riddled, made-for-TV sports events" culture. He obviously doesn't care for what he calls a "cheap in-game intrusion." A typical FOX broadcast features many such gimmicks (if I have to endure one more meaningless fan poll, I'm going to throw a chair at the image of Joe Buck voting on his Sprint cell phone). However, Fitzpatrick is way off here on this one, I feel. For instance, during last night's broadcast, as the game headed for yet another rain delay, the CSN broadcast team spoke with Bowa on air, and got some insights into whether Kevin Milwood would be able to return to the game after a lengthy delay. This was good stuff, and something even the casual fan at home would have learned something from.

Ray Parrillo has an article on Delonte West's decision to remain in the mix for next week's NBA draft. "It was a tough decision, but in the end I had to do what I feel is best for me and my family." This was no big surprise, as the word was, this was the direction he has been leaning in for awhile. Dick Jerardi says he wasn't surprised by the decision either, since West attended numerous private workouts (some multiple times) with teams, the expenses of which he would have had to pay for himself had he withdrawn from the draft. "Now, West won't have to pay back anything. For better or worse, he is staying in next Thursday's draft." Phil Jasner briefly mentions some of the draft prospects the Sixers are looking at.

Rob Knox has additional reaction to Larry Bird's comments last week during an ESPN interview. Charles Barkley had this to say:
Every time somebody says something about race, it’s not always bad and the politically correct police are getting out of hand. Every time somebody says something about race, it doesn’t mean they are a racist. I know Larry Bird is not racist. I’ve got no problem with what he said.
Al Morganti documents the recent trend for the champions in the four major sports to be all about teamwork, and not the big name stars.
It’s a nice marketing tool to have the star players, but all it really means is that a team has a huge payroll. Thankfully, championships are still won on fields, courts and rinks, and not on the basis of who has the thickest wallet or the most stories in glossy magazines.
Sam Donnellon says Larry Brown isn't finished yet. He mentions that a San Antonio reporter joked earlier this week "that amid the celebration Tuesday night, Larry was pondering how to fix the Atlanta Hawks." He then added that Red "Auerbach's right. Until you build your own championship team, there's something missing on your resume. Which is why I doubt this is Larry's last stop." Finally, David Scott gets in yet another obligatory shot at Philly in his most recent article on our parent site:
Stephen Angry Smith seemed to be his most angry during the Finals. Can you even imagine how this guy would handle rush hour in Boston? Philly’s rush hour, from what I recall, consists of three bums chasing the cheesesteak scraps from 6 to 7 a.m.
Quite uncalled for Dave, quite unnecessary.

CSN has Royals-Phillies at 7:05.

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