Monday, July 26, 2004

From No Hitter to No Decision, to Game Winning Walk-Off RBI

A strange day at Citizens Bank Park, as Eric Milton took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, gave up a cheap hit into "no man's land" in center field, proceeded to strike out two, give up a walk, and then gave up a game-tying hit. In either event, the Phillies managed to come out on top, 3-2, and the win went to Ryan Madson, who faced and struck out exactly one batter, Sammy Sosa. Sam Carchidi, Marcus Hayes and Jack McCaffery have the game stories. Carchidi's notebook has Jim Thome saying that if the Phillies go over .500 on their upcoming road trip, it'll have been a good one. Hayes has Bobby Abreu saying this about the trip: "This road trip is the one that's going to put us in the playoffs or keep us out, depending on how we handle it. Every team we'll play is fighting for their division or a wild card. Every game we've played since the All-Star break is a playoff game." Hayes also tells about an irritable Ed Wade, who was not happy about reports in this weekend's papers about whether pitching coach Joe Kerrigan could be on "thin ice", such as this one from Dennis Deitch (who Jon Marks, in an article on the subject, says is not "a regular beat writer"). Hayes also gets reaction from Phils' broadcaster Larry Andersen, who was mentioned in those articles as a possible successor to Kerrigan, and how the whole situation now becomes "incredibly uncomfortable" for him. How does he criticize the pitching staff on-air now without looking like he's throwing Kerrigan under the bus? McCaffery says maybe Kevin Millwood can be an ace yet, and talks about the rumors surrounding him:
For instance, no responsible New England-area baseball column skipped mention of the possibility that the Red Sox might acquire Millwood before the July 31 trade deadline, perhaps because Red Sox scouts were spotted last week in Citizens Bank Park. So, how humorous is the irony? As the Phillies are said to be browsing for starting pitching help, other teams seem to think Millwood is the answer.
John Smallwood has a look at Team USA, and has coach Larry Brown wondering whether they are the favorites to win the gold. Bill Conlin writes that there's only one day left until it's "All Eagles All The Time," predicting that the Phillies will soon be an afterthought. Les Bowen talks about the Eagles trying to nail down a contract with their first round draft pick Shawn Andrews. Over the weekend, Don Steinberg talked about how the Sixers front office staff brainstormed last Monday about marketing ideas for the upcoming season. Interesting ideas, and curious timing of the meeting, in light of my remarks last week on how the marketing materials enticing potential season ticket holders was postmarked on the day Snow was traded.

Sam Carchidi told us that, among players with 3,000 plate appearances, Jim Thome ranks 4th in at-bat/homer ratio (behind Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds). Marcus Hayes said Larry Bowa was a bit surprised that David Ortiz, of the Red Sox, was suspended for only 5 games for throwing bats in the vicinity of the umpires, and if he had done that, when asked how long of a suspension he would get if he did the same thing, responded, "maybe life." ESPN.com has Antoine Walker looking to possibly reunite with his old coach in Philadelphia. Jack McCaffery says Austin Croshere could also be coming to the Sixers. Bob Brookover hopes that the changes made by the Eagles after "NFC Championship Loss III" don't lead to "NFC Championship Loss IV." Speaking of their offseason acquisitions, Bob Grotz (whose headline writer, coincidentally enough, borrowed a phrase I used here last Thursday) had this to say:
Largely because of Owens, the franchise is incredibly hot. It’s fifth in the NFL in merchandising revenue and boasts the most popular player in the league, for Owens’ No. 81 is the most sought-after jersey on the market. On an autograph engagement in Lancaster, fans began lining up for T.O.’s signature the Thursday before a Saturday afternoon appearance. (italics added)
Mark Eckel wrote: "This is the year. This has to be the year.... There will be no more excuses."

On Sunday night's Sports Final, John Clark chided the fans at yesterday's game for booing Doug Glanville. Howard Eskin berated Ed Wade for not being more proactive in making a trade as the dealine approaches this Saturday. Eskin also continued to make a big deal of "369-gate," and wanted to know why the Phillies "made a big deal of it," in his words. This is a complete joke, since he is the one who has made such a big issue of this over the past couple of weeks. Eskin continues to try and make it "all about him" with "reporting" like this. With Eagles getting ready for training camp in a couple of days, this is the type of story he chooses to cover for his "Eskin Inside" report. Pathetic. Reportedly, the Phillies were upset at Eskin getting into the ballpark and taking his own measurements. Question: wouldn't it be trespassing for Eskin to be on the field if the Phils weren't playing at home and the ballpark was closed? Nice example for someone who is constantly barking at others to "do the right thing."

Yesterday, Jim Salisbury and Todd Zolecki had an article hopefully putting and end to the whole "369-gate" madness. In that article, you can see how much the Phillies front office is clearly perturbed about the whole thing (as mentioned earlier regarding Howard Eskin). PR Man Larry Shank said, after the official tape measuring was completed Saturday morning, "Whew.... You guys going to the Linc now?" President David Montgomery offered a mea culpa about the whole fiasco. As for those who aren't buying the whole "we did it for asthetics" argument (Eskin, last night, said this was baloney), Montgomery offered this reasonable explanation:
When we went to place the 369 sign, the workers said, 'It's supposed to be here.' I wanted more space between the sign and the ad. They estimated it would only be a three- or four-foot difference. I said, 'Fine, let's do it.' We weren't attempting to deceive anyone. We made a mistake.
Salisbury and Zolecki also says that the Phillies are reportedly close to a deal to land Arizona Diamondbacks centerfielder Steve Finley.

CSN has Phillies-Marlins at 7:05.

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