Friday, July 16, 2004

Not Exactly the Start You Were Hoping For

The Phils started the second half of the season last night in disappointing fashion, dropping an extra innings affair at Shea Stadium, 3-2. Sam Carchidi and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. The game winning play was a bases loaded infield "single" (scored very generously in my opinion). As I watched the game, I thought the "hit" was quite playable, and should have been caught by catcher Mike Lieberthal at the plate for the force out. The Phils are now 3-7 in extra innings games. Carchidi's notes column has Larry Bowa guessing that it will take 90 wins for the Phillies to take the NL East, which means they will have to do much better than they have so far. Hayes says pitching coach Joe Kerrigan will cease his laissez-faire attitude and will revert to his more hands-on approach. He also has Bobby Abreu calling the All-Star game "the greatest experience of my career." Rich Hofmann has a look at the upcoming difficult stretch for the Phillies and says, "while they can't win the National League East in the next 3 ½ weeks, and they can't lose it, there is the chance to move from favorite to long shot." Frank Fitzpatrick wonders how, with a taxpayer-funded new playground, the Phillies have the audacity to charge admission for ballpark tours ($8 adults, $5 children). This does seem a bit ridiculous, and is something the city should have included in part of its negotiating package with the team. But as usual, the politicians in this city can't get anything right. In the Business section of today's Inquirer, Andrew Cassel looks at capitalism at work with the vendors outside the ballpark.
Contrast this with what happens inside the stadium. It's clear from the moment you pass the ticket gate that different rules apply. Prices aren't based on competition, but on somebody's calculation of what the traffic will bear. That is to say, each pretzel, Pepsi, or plate of nachos costs just marginally less than whatever would make the average consumer walk away.
A very contrite Jeremiah Trotter was introduced as an Eagle again yesterday. He apologized to Eagles fans, and seemed to demonstrate sincere humility throughout his press conference. Even in today's papers, there continues to be confusion over how much the veteran minimum for a player with his years of experience, but it looks like the majority seem to indicate it's in the $535,000 range (thought Comcast Sportsnet still reports it as high as $775,000 on its main page). Several writers have quotes from the press conference. Mark Lelinwalla:
Sometimes in life you make bad decisions, and I should have never left Philadelphia in the first place. I was praying a lot, hoping God would lead me back here, and he did, so I'm happy things worked out the way they have.
Paul Domowitch:
But God is so good. He allows you to make mistakes and still fixes them for you.
And finally, this interesting revelation quoted by Mark Eckel:
I had this dream that I called coach Reid we talked and I apologized to him. When I woke up, I was breathing heavy. That might have been God's way of telling me something. I called my agent (Jimmy Sexton) and told him I needed to talk to coach Reid. He said he would get me his cell phone number. I couldn't believe I got through on the first try. Coach told me when he's on the boat the calls usually don't go through. If he had leaned one way or the other, I wouldn't have gotten him.
Sam Donnellon is sick and tired of teams just looking good on paper. Bob Grotz has the humbled Trotter fine with not having his old #54, now worn by Nate Wayne. "I don't want to step on anyone's toes or ruffle anyone's feathers," Trotter said. "I'll play without a number. I'll be the blank-man."

Phil Jasner clarifies the details of Brian Skinner's 4-year, $20.7 million contract. Stephen A. Smith looks at the mess that the NBA has been this summer. He mentions that with Kenyon Martin getting traded to the Denver Nuggets, "now Jason Kidd wants to be traded." I have not heard this elsewhere.

UPN57 has Phillies-Mets at 7:10.

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