Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Not The Start They Were Hoping For

The Phillies dropped the first game of their 13-game road trip yesterday, 11-3, to the Marlins. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes and Dennis Deitch have the game stories. Kevin Millwood says these trips to Florida have been good, except "from 7:05 to 10:05 it has pretty much sucked for us here." Jim Salisbury writes about Ed Wade heading to his Clearwater bunker so he isn't bothered by annoying reporters this last week before the trade deadline. He concludes:
Florida is an important state for the Phillies this week. Over in Clearwater, they're trying to pick up some talent. In Miami, they're trying to pick up some wins. Neither will be easy. But if the Phillies are going to stay in the race for the long haul, they will need success on both fronts.
Zolecki's notebook reports that Ryan Madson is likely headed to the disabled list today. Rich Hofmann has something to say about this:
The assumption all along was that, if nothing else, Wade would come up with the reliever to bolster a bullpen teetering on the edge of overwork. Well, teeter became totter sometime after 9:30 last night, when the Phillies announced that righthander Ryan Madson has an injured right hand and is "99 percent" certain to be going on the disabled list after an examination in Philadelphia today.
He goes on to add:
The question has been there for weeks, unasked and unanswered: If you have guys in your bullpen you can't use except to mop up, why are they there? Now, take away Wagner and Madson and it becomes official: The Phillies cannot survive this road trip without some immediate bullpen help. The stretch here is too hard, and too crucial - 13 road games in 14 days in four cities. And the Braves have now moved 1 ½ games ahead. The trade deadline is no longer Saturday, not if the Phillies are serious about this thing.
Bill Conlin weaves in Trading Places references and imagines what would have happened if he had ended up as the Phils' GM and Ed Wade was the Daily News columnist. He also provides a few more details about the "incident" that Ed Wade had with a reporter over the weekend:
Wade sputtered an angry denial and was still steaming when a veteran sports writer, who has filled in for his paper's baseball beat men for years, asked for a trade-deadline update. You have to understand this is a question Wade non-answers every day with name, rank, serial number and little more. But the way the GM game is played, it's a question a beat writer must ask to perform - using one of Ed's favorite phrases - due diligence. Wade started the exchange by suggesting if the man came out to the Money Pit more often, he wouldn't have to ask the same question he has been non-answering for weeks. The writer suggested Ed should call his editors and request he be assigned more often.
Marcus Hayes also writes that, without issuing any ultimatums, Billy Wagner is keeping a close eye on what moves (if any) the Phils make this week, as he has an option to become a free agent after this season.
What they do as the trading deadline gets closer will weigh as part of my decisionl. That, and where we finish, and what they do right after the season - what free agents they want, who they bring back, all of that. It's not, like, if they don't bring in Randy Johnson I'm leaving. I just want to see what they do.
Dennis Deitch also finds it curious that Placido Palanco sat out last night's game. Polanco was apparently not happy with the move. He concludes, "Oftentimes a sign of an imminent trade is when an everyday player sits out a game or two so an injury doesn't throw a wrench into the deal. The Yankees and A's are in the market for help at second base. Stay tuned."

Bob Brookover has a look at the players headed to Eagles' training camp this week. One of the players who may (or may not) be at camp is rookie Shawn Andrews, whose agent is still trying to work things out with the Eagles' front office. As there was when Jeremiah Trotter was signed to a contract a few weeks ago, there seems to be some confusion among the writers as to just where things stand with Andrews' situation. Bob Brookover has Andrews' agent saying "it's not looking like he's going to be in camp on time." Les Bowen has the agent saying, "I'm working on a counterproposal right now, but I don't think the deal will be done." Bob Grotz has the agent saying, "we're trying to get him into camp and we're working on doing it now, and we'll keep working on it." Doesn't sound very promising does it? Yet, Mark Eckel reports the following:
Eagles first-round draft pick Shawn Andrews should be with the team when rookies report for training camp at Lehigh University tonight. At the latest, he should be there when the rookies practice for the first time tomorrow morning. According to sources close to the situation, Andrews' deal was "90 percent" done as of yesterday afternoon and just needed some final touches.
So which is it? Meanwhile, Jack McCaffery offers his look at the upcoming season:
There will be Eagles in Bethlehem Wednesday, and they will be executing purposeful football tasks for the first time since their annual loss in the NFC final, not including minicamps and volunteer gatherings. And that means it is the best time of all for a primal scream that has not had as much reason to reverberate in 23 years: How 'bout those Eagles?
The Daily News' John Smallwood looks like he's the only writer (from a Philly daily paper anyway) who made the trip to Jacksonville to report on Team USA. The Inquirer had to resort to an AP feed for an article about Allen Iverson's thoughts on being reunited with his old coach Larry Brown. Marc Stein has a more indepth interview with Iverson, and gets his thoughts on being named co-captain of Team USA, to his feelings on Larry Brown's winning his first NBA title, and whether he had ever considered being one of the many players who withdrew from the Olympic squad. I would have hoped to read these answers from a certain Sixers beat writer in a certain paper called the Daily News instead of having to surf to ESPN.com to find them. Finally, Don Steinberg has a look at the "airfare economics" that many sports teams in other cities are using when it comes to gouging their fans more than they already are. He also has some good quotes from the local teams as to why they don't engage in such questionable practices.

CSN has Phillies-Marlins at 7:05.

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