Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Working Overtime for Nothing

The Phillies dropped another game yesterday to the Mets, losing a 4-1 decision, and spoiling an otherwise good pitching performance by Kevin Millwood. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. After the game, Larry Bowa lamented, "we're just not hitting." Zolecki's notebook also mentions that Jim Thome is only 4th among NL All-Star vote-getters. He seems to encourage Phillies fans to stuff the ballot boxes a little to change that. Rich Hofmann quotes Millwood saying his "confidence is as high as it's been in awhile." Hayes talks about Bowa's lineup shakeup, which didn't seem to change the outcome last night. Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times wonders whether the Phillies will consider mortgaging their future come the trading deadline, if their hitting struggles continue, by moving young pitching prospects in exchange for some power swingers. Bill Conlin resurrects a 1998 debate and column about who is better: Scott Rolen or Mike Schmidt, no doubt sparking outrage in Phillies fans once again.

Phil Jasner says that Jim O'Brien successfully lured one of his former assistants from Boston, Frank Vogel, to his staff with the Sixers. He still hopes to add Lester Connor and Joe Gallagher, which makes sense since new Celtics coach Doc Rivers is likely bringing in all new staff of his own. Jasner also mentions, in an article where Larry Brown is looking forward to Iverson being on the Olympic team, that Iverson "has not spoken to Sixers beat writers since March 20." John Smallwood wonders who Sixers fans should root for in the Finals: LA or LB. How about "C", none of the above? Personally, I know I've watched my last NBA game of the season already. Isn't it a bit odd that a matchup of the #1 seeds in each conference would have yielded a "small market" Minnesota-Indiana Finals (hello NHL's Tampa Bay-Calgary), but instead we're "treated" to a Detroit-LA finale? Conspiracy theorists, start your engines (you don't have to go back to far, just to Derek Fisher's "buzzer-beating" shot against the Spurs, which as I, and others, have pointed out, should not have counted).

Also, a point of discussion on WIP late yesterday afternoon involved Sixers season ticket holders, who are receiving their invoices for next season in the mail, along with a promotional poster of some sort (during my season ticket holder days, I would have been able to provide a first-hand report, but all I have to go by are WIP hosts and callers at this point). Anyway, it seems as if the Sixers' marketing folks have chosen not to feature Iverson in any of the promotional materials for next year, which is quite interesting. Perhaps an indication that, approached with the right offer, the team wouldn't be against moving him. Certainly something to keep an eye on as the summer approaches, and will no doubt be a topic for discussion when next season's trading deadline approaches as well, especially if O'Brien doesn't get the Sixers ship righted quickly.

Tim Panaccio reports on Robert Esche's successful surgery yesterday, and notes that his rehab and subsequent return will be two months earlier than originally projected (mid-July instead of mid-September), meaning he should be able to participate in the World Cup of Hockey in August.

CSN has Mets-Phillies tonight at 7:05. ESPN2 has Red Sox-Angels at 10.

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