If the Phillies are in Florida, then the forecast must call for rain and a loss. Their woes continued yesterday, as they lost their overall 3rd in a row (and a record 13 straight to the Marlins on the road), 6-3. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes, and Steve Wine have the game (aka horror) stories. Dennis Deitch writes, "the Phillies have a new terminology for rain delays in Florida: Prolonging the agony." Todd Zolecki's notebook is the first of many to talk about the increasing tension in the clubhouse, which had Rheal Cormier being called to the "principal" (Larry Bowa's) office yesterday. Marcus Hayes describes it this way:
As onlookers gathered to gape at the pileup, the police chief stood on the curb amid mutilated egos and leaking life strewn all over the clubhouse and said, "Move along, move along, nothing to see here." Right.Rich Hofmann believes "that the players hold Bowa's fate in their hands, just as they did after last year's infamous blowup in Montreal, just as they have since the beginning." He concludes "that on the subject of Larry Bowa, the players' actions will speak louder than their words." Jim Salisbury reports on this "poisonous" incident:
Position players, for the most part, hushed up on the subject of Bowa and environment yesterday. The boys who throw the ball for a living are probably a little more vocal because they don't exactly enjoy life under pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. In fact, there's an open disdain for Kerrigan. How else do you explain one pitcher greeting broadcaster Larry Andersen with "Hey, coach!" in the clubhouse, in front of plenty of uniformed personnel, on Monday?Dennis Deitch takes a break from the clubhouse chaos and talks about a couple of the latest trade rumors, one which involves Houston's Carlos "he'll love the cheesteaks here" Beltran and the Yankee's Kenny Lofton. Dennis also mentions the potential for problems with the Phils' upcoming weekend series against the Cubs at crumbling Wrigley Field. George King of the New York Post also talks about the Phils' interest in Lofton.
The Eagles opened training camp yesterday at Lehigh University with all of their expected players. Phil Sheridan takes a look an "alternate" or parallel universe in which the Eagles selected Ricky Williams instead of Donovan McNabb. Bob Brookover writes about McNabb's increasing leadership ability and has him saying:
Although we've lost some key guys and key veterans, we also have some veterans here who have been in this situation. They know what it takes to prepare to get to the [NFC championship] and possibly further. So it's up to us to pick up our game another notch and lead the younger guys in the direction which we're all trying to get to.Apart from his headline writer's inability to properly use a spellchecker, Les Bowen has a good articlea about how McNabb got together with some of his receivers in the offseason. "The chemistry is flowing now," McNabb said, after cracking a joke about bonding over "drinks with umbrellas." McNabb also had some words for those who feel the Eagles' season doesn't begun until the NFC Championship game:
Don't talk to us until Jan. 24th, then. Cut off your DirecTV packages and don't watch us on Sunday night or Monday night, wait and read about us in the newspaper the next day. If that's the way they feel about us, that's nothing we're going to get upset about. We're going to go out and give all we have on the field. It's great to know people feel we'll be back in the NFC Championship Game.Bob Brookover has a look at the concerns regarding Shawn Andrews' nasal passages, which were recently operated on. Les Bowen also had Andrews a bit overwhelmed by the large media presence surrounding Eagles' training camp (hey Shawn, welcome to Philly!) Bob Grotz says Andrews is very thankful to be able to buy his mom a house with his newly signed contract money. He says "she's living a lot better than I am right now and that's the goal I set for myself." Jack McCaffery wonders, "has there been too much change for a franchise that regularly enters the NFC Final Four with a good chance to reach the Super Bowl?" After McNabb talked about taking the next step, Mark Eckel writes, point blank: "That next step is obvious. Anything less than the Super Bowl and the Eagles season will not be a success."
Meanwhile, John Smallwood has the Team USA basketball players saying that with "a lot of hard work and sacrifice," they can be a better team than the one that qualified for the Olympics last summer. It seems as if Smallwood is the only columnist from either the Daily News or Inquirer to be in Jacksonville this week. I've read from plenty of other writers this week, from Orlando to Boston (sorry, they didn't get linked to yesterday because it was a busy day), that wrote about Allen Iverson's feelings on being the team's co-captain. As I mentioned earlier this week, I find it curious that none of the Sixers beat writers (in particular, one who is still making his regular appearances on Daily News Live with Michael Barkann on Comcast SportsNet) were assigned to cover this. This would be the same writer who continued to belabor the point late last season that "it has been X number of days since Iverson met with the media," but who has been curiously silent on this issue since Iverson's surprise appearance at a Sixers' rookie workout in recent weeks.
At last check, the Phillies were on route to getting swept and "embarrassed" (I'm sure that's Larry Bowa's take) by the Marlins this afternoon 10-1. Has a manager ever been fired during a game before?