Friday, July 23, 2004

Up and Down

The Phils mounted a failed comeback yesterday afternoon and fell, 10-8, to the visiting Marlins, dropping again into a first-place tie with the Braves. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Harvey Yavener says the clutch hitting seems to be "hit-and-mostly-miss." Dennis Deitch describes the season as a "maddening jog up the down escalator." Zolecki's notebook broke my rule from yesterday about not using the words "Pythagorean theorem," so we won't talk about it any further. Mark Lelinwalla looks at Jack McKeon's decision to put in closer Armando Benitez in the middle of Jason Michael's 3-1 count yesterday, with the bases loaded. Hayes' notes says that "since trade talk including Kevin Millwood began (talk the Phillies, to Millwood's digust, did nothing to dispel), Millwood is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA." Bill Conlin has some stinging words for Pat Burrell:
He's the only athlete in the town's checkered professional sports history to be consistently cheered during a season where he hit .209 while stranding more people than the last transit strike. This guy was Teflon with a coating of olive oil, dancing away from blame like a drop of cold water on a hot skillet. Well, big guy, the red laser dot is in the middle of your forehead now.
Jim Salisbury has a look at the upcoming series against the Chicago Cubs and reports the bizarre news that Chicago mayor Richard Daley is threatening to shut down Wrigley Field because of falling concrete from the upper deck. Kevin Mulligan says the city of Chicago is thinking of stealing the idea of the former "Eagles Court" for those hooligans outside of Wrigley Field. Speaking of Chicago, Don Steinberg talks about Comcast SportsNet extending its reaches into the nation's third largest market. He notes:
Unlike in Philadelphia, Comcast won't withhold Chicago games from local satellite TV. "In Chicago, we need to distribute by satellite in order to reach all the homes in the territory," said Jack Williams, chief executive officer of Comcast SportsNet. "It's really a distribution issue... Philadelphia is a small market geographically [where] we don't need to distribute by satellite." Comcast also will sell Chicago games to competing cable operators, because it doesn't dominate TV land lines there as thoroughly as it does here.
In other words, we don't allow satellite to carry CSN because we can get away with it in Philadelphia, and we weren't able to impose our monopolistic will in Chicago. Hopefully the legislators in this city and state remember that in the fall when the whole "give us a new tax-free skyscraper headquarters" issue comes up again. Steinberg also mentions an NFL documentary, Football in Philadelphia, which airs on the NFL Network next Tueday. Again, Comcast customers are screwed. You'll have to wait until the DVD comes out in September.

Marc Narducci looks at "one trade rumor that won't die" that has Antoine Walker coming to the Sixers for Glenn Robinson. Narducci also says another Eastern Conference team is talking to the Mavs about trading for Walker. Jon Marks indicates newly acquired Kedrick Brown would have to be thrown into that deal in order to make the salaries match. Dave Zeitlin has some remarks from Jim O'Brien that seem to insinuate that Eric Snow might not have remained a starter had he not been traded to the Cavs this week. "If Willie Green beat out Eric Snow, that would have been uncomfortable for Eric." Responding to reports about an increasingly "bulkier" Kedrick Brown, Phil Jasner quotes Jim O'Brien, "I think, if you took Kedrick's body fat, you'd be shocked at how trim he is. He's a big guy. The first time I ever stood in front of Kedrick, I was shocked at the size of his shoulders. I've never known him to be out of shape." I will say one thing, after seeing him at yesterday's press conference, Jim O'Brien is right, he is "big."

Paul Domowitch has lots of questions about the upcoming NFL season. He says Carolina and Seattle are the biggest roadblocks to the Eagles' road to Jacksonville, the Patriots are still the favorites in the AFC, and that he doesn't think anybody in the NFC East poses a threat to Andy Reid's club as they look to hold onto their division crown. Finally, Frank Fitzpatrick doesn't like the NHL's move to callously layoff 70% league staff when the owner imposed lockout likely happens in September. He says with $300 million in cash reserves, the NHL should be showing a little more loyalty to its staff.

UPN57 has Cubs-Phillies at 7:05.

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