Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Chicago Flop and a Reunion Tour

Playing a makeup game against the Chicago White Sox, the Phillies went down, 9-8, in a game that seemed to feature a comedy of errors (at this point, who's laughing?) Jim Salisbury, Marcus Hayes and Dennis Deitch have the game stories. Salisbury says the Atlanta Braves are assuming their annual position atop the perch of the NL East.

Meanwhile, the reunion tour that is the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles acquired yet another ex-member when they picked up Hugh Douglas, who was cut by Jacksonville early yesterday. Les Bowen has the story, and proves to be somewhat culture-savvy, as he reports on this signing's impact on fan message board activity last night, as well as understanding Derrick Burgess calling Douglas' return "like Mase coming back to rap." Paul Flannery also has the story of Hugh's return, and as usual, Mark Eckel has all the nitty gritty details of the one-year contract, including incentives, that could come to just over $3 million. Rob Parent says Douglas gives the Eagles "a semi-healthy body that can muster a few sacks here and there this season, and a more-than-capable presence for defensive coordinator Jim Johnson’s run-stop schemes."

Bob Brookover writes that Donovan McNabb isn't worried about his critics, the ones who say he isn't an accurate passer, while answering them back with "it's all about the wins." Sam Donnellon says that McNabb and Terrell Owens have to just get the job done this year, as there will be no excuses. Bill Fleischman says Comcast SportsNet will soon be entering it's "all Eagles, all the time" portion of its broadcasting schedule, and provides programming times for some of the regulars in the fall lineup.

Ron Goldwyn seems to be in disbelief that the Sports Complex will be a parking nightmare well into winter. I guess that's what happens when you mix "four sports-entertainment facilities, the only such concentration of venues in any U.S. city," with a stadium demoliition that is behind schedule. Jon Marks thinks he knows why Team USA failed to bring home the gold (who doesn't?) And finally, David Scott, of our parent site Boston Sports Media Watch, has resumed his pouring salt in Philly's wounds:
A business trip to Philly mid-week will afford Scott’s Shots the chance to drink in some Philly Media Phlavor at the very time when the Phillies are doing their usual El Pholdo and the Eagles are attempting to reel in their usual array of misguided believers (who will be crushed like soulless gnats come January).
What do they say about pride coming before a fall?

CSN has Braves-Phillies at 7:05.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Problems in Houston, Part Deux

If the Phillies get swept by the Astros, and nobody's paying attention anymore, do they still make a sound? Apparently, not much of one. Yesterday's 7-4 loss continued the Phils toward their inevitable path toward mathematical elimination. Todd Zolecki and Dennis Deitch have the game stories. Zolecki's notebook manages to compare Chase Utley with Barry Bonds and Scott Rolen with an creative use of statistics. Marcus Hayes writes that next year, pitchers and hitters need to "ignore the bandbox nature of Citizens Bank Park," and maybe that will help. "Maybe next year" seems to be the mantra already, and August isn't even over yet.

Onto more meaningful sports, Bob Brookover reports that, with Correll Buckhalter already out with a season-ending injury, Brian Westbrook is likely to see little playing time in tonight's exhibition game at the Linc. Meanwhile, Les Bowen has Corey Simon proclaiming, "I'll be reading to go Opening Day." Mark Eckel wonders if that will be good enough, since "he would have played zero preseason snaps before he is asked to chase whomever the Giants have at quarterback and stuff running back Ron Dayne." Bob Grotz is the master of 20/20 hindsight today, as he writes:
Buckhalter's loss to a torn patellar tendon planting the right leg opened the Eagles up to second-guessing. Why, for instance, didn't the Eagles add a big veteran running back until 34-year-old veteran Dorsey Levens was about the only capable body left? At various times, Eddie George, Corey Dillon and Antowain Smith were on the market.
Ron Goldwyn writes that, in their ineptitude, not only on the field, but in managing their responsibilities around the Sports Complex, the Phillies have managed to screw up things even for the Eagles. Stephen A. Smith says Team USA will win the gold, despite the negativity of the naysayers. The New York Post's Mike Vaccaro has Allen Iverson saying that if he "had the chance to do it again and represent my country, I would."

ESPN has preseason Steelers-Eagles at 8.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Problems in Houston

Sorry the links haven't been forthcoming lately, there's some major changes happening for me right now, and I'll do my best to keep this going in the mean time. Today we offer an abbreviated links session, not because I don't have time, but because, quite frankly, it seemed as if all the writers covered the same exact thing, and very few brought something unique to the table...

The Phillies continued their downward spiral, dropping yet another to the Astros last night, 4-2. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes, and Dennis Deitch have the game stories. Zolecki's notebook has Billy Wagner visiting the team doctor today for a "precautionary visit." Sam Donnellon says, no matter the future of Larry Bowa or Ed Wade, Phillies' president Dave Montgomery will be on the hot spot next year. He writes:
It's funny, in a bitter sort of way, to think that one reason the Phillies did not vigorously pursue Schilling last offseason was the thought that, at the advanced age of 37, he might break down. Instead, the rest of the Phillies' staff did. Schilling has been a workhorse in Boston.
Meanwhile, Bob Brookover reports that Corey Simon has a treatable case of plantar fascitis. Rich Hofmann believes the Eagles' success this year will depend largely on the offensive line. He writes:
The arithmetic is really pretty plain. Last season, the Eagles' offensive profile did not fit that of a championship team, not nearly. They ran only 944 offensive plays, fourth lowest in the NFL. They rushed the ball only 417 times, also near the bottom of the league. They scored enough points to win, and made enough dynamic plays, but the Eagles really didn't look all that good doing it, or all that consistent.
Les Bowen looks at the way rookie fullback Thomas Tapeh learned English when moving to this country (it involved watching Mighty Mouse).

Stephen A. Smith says that Pat Croce, while reporting at the Olympics for NBC, caught up with Allen Iverson and Larry Brown and bear-hugged them both. Stephen reminds us of the sad aftermath of Croce's departure:
Croce was supposed to be the president of the Sixers, the captain of a boat steering straight toward a parade at City Hall. It's been three years since he left - three long years of strife, mediocrity and undeniable misery.
CSN has Phillies-Astros at 2:05.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Fading Fast

The Phillies continue to find new ways to lose, as they dropped yet another to the Houston Astros last night, 9-8. Marcus Hayes, Dennis Deitch, and Mike Olshin have the game stories. Sam Carchidi proposes that the Phillies change their slogan from "Real grass. Real fun." to "Real grass. Real disaster." Carchidi's notes says Ed Wade is "not doing daily updates on [the-manager-at-least-for-now Larry] Bowa," and left reporters with a "Bo is our manager, followed by a vague "You can interpret that any way you want." Wade also seemed to get a few digs in at the media, in response to a "Trade Wade" banner hung from the bleachers this week at Citizens Bank Park:
Everyone has their opinions. Some of them are well-thought out and informed; some of them are not so well-informed and are influenced by people's opinions who aren't well-informed.
Jim Salisbury reports on the progress (or lack thereof) of the owners meetings here in Philadelphia, the most pressing agenda item of which is the relocation of the Montreal Expos. Sam Donnellon picks up on a line from the Inquirer's Jim Salisbury yesterday, when he quoted Bud Selig, "we're going to get rid of Montreal," and said Canada's Homeland Security doesn't need to take that "threat" serilously. Jack McCaffery isn't so certain that Larry Bowa will be fired soon, or even after this current season comes to an end. After all, if Bowa can play the "injury card," why can't Ed Wade? That argument might hold water if Wade wasn't responsible for the lineup Bowa has to deal with, and if he had gone out and gotten healthy replacements instead of perfoming his annual arms-folded routine at the trade deadline.

Bob Brookover says Andy Reid will be going with rookie J.R. Reed for kick return responsibilities. Special teams coach John Harbaugh commented on a bad decision Reed made in the preseason game against the Patriots, when he ran back a ball kicked into the end zone:
It's an aggressive mistake, and you would rather see an aggressive mistake, than a tentative mistake. I mean, the guy thinks he can average 50 yards a return this year, that's where his mind is at right now. But my first thought when he runs it out of the end zone probably can't be repeated for a PG audience. After that, I thought: I guess I didn't cover that part well enough.
Shannon Ryan has Carlos Emmons talking a bit of smack, as he looks forward to lining up against former teammate Donovan McNabb. He also foolishly believes "a lot [of Eagles fans] will probably still cheer for me," even though he's wearing a Giants uniform these days. Imagine that. Les Bowen reports that Reid has eased up a bit at practices, as he does not want to unnecessarily risk further injuries to an already depleted defensive team. Rich Hofmann says Jim Johnson will deserve employee of the year recognition if he can rally his defense to overcome the injuries they've faced already. Bob Grotz writes that McNabb doesn't expect anything out of the ordinary from Ray Lewis when the Eagles face the Ravens tomorrow night in their second preseason game. Marck Eckel says Jim Johnson might be interested in getting Brandon Whiting back (he was involved with the Terrell Owens deal with San Francisco), and says that the 49ers have until September 4 to decide whether he has passed his physical or not. Les Bowen says the 49ers have until September 1 (again, isn't it fairly simple to see which of these dates is correct for these reporters?)

Phil Jasner reports that the Sixers may be interested in Ibrahim Kutluay of Turkey. The New York Post's Mike Vacarro says Team USA should look to its captain to lead the way in the Olympics. Yup, that's right, Allen Iverson. He writes:
You've seen Iverson play harder than any American not named LeBron James. You've seen him be vocal when he had to be, you've seen him offer counsel when it was necessary, you've seen him demand the basketball at important stages of the game. You've also seen him take accountability for the Americans' worst singular moment in the 68-year history of this competition.
He concludes his article, "If the captain thinks it's important enough to show up every game, you think maybe it's good enough for you, too?" Perhaps that was a veiled shot to, not only his current teammates, but to the folks who backed away from their commitments to the team. Regardless, I'm sure Howard Eskin will now label Vacarro a "nimwit."

CSN has Astros-Phillies tonight at 1:05.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Houston We Have a Problem

The Phillies continue their downward spiral into oblivion, as they got blanked yesterday by the score of 5-0. Sam Carchidi, Mike Olshin and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Larry Bowa poignantly admitted, "you're not going to win many games when you score zero runs." Carchidi's notebook has Eric Milton talking about the damage inflicted on his Fort Myers' home and neighborhood by Hurricae Charley. "Everywhere you looked, it was destruction," he said. Marcus Hayes writes about Jim Thome recounting a story from the 1998 All-Star Game when Roger Clemens (on the mound tonight for the first time against the Phils) gave him some advice during the Home Run Derby. Jack McCaffery has Larry Bowa saying that the rest of this season "will test guys' mental toughness." Jim Salisbury looks at the tenure of Bud Selig as commissioner, who looks back at interleague play, division realignment, and introduction of the playoff wild card as the biggest of his achievements. He'd rather forget having to cancel the 1994 World Series.

The biggest news out of Eagles' training camp was the loss of N.D. Kalu for the season with a torn ACL. Bob Brookover reports that Derrick Burgess was visibly upset with this unfortunate turn of events. Les Bowen gets Jevon Kearse's take on the latest news on the injury front:
Just knowing that he was going out there, helping out the "threes" and giving them an extra breather, it's the last play, so you figure you just go and get a good little pass rush, then call it a day. All you can do is pray for him and hope that he can bounce back to 100 percent.
Bob Grotz gets player reactions as well, including Hollis Thomas, who says not to push the panic button yet. Brookover also gets the reaction of the players to Baltimore Ravens' coach Brian Billick's comments in yesterday's papers. Thomas had this to say:
He's not the coach of our team. He can question things all he wants. He has no idea who the leaders are in this locker room. He's not here. He's in Baltimore. What he said is just ignorant.
Bob Grotz says Ike Reese may know why Billick seems so bitter:
How would Brian Billick know? Has he ever coached T.O.? How can he even make that statement? It just seems to me there's a whole lot of animosity and a lot of bitterness about T.O. not wanting to go to Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Ashley McGeachy Fox reports from Athens, where Team USA was able to hang on to beat host Greece yesterday, 77-71. Stephen A. Smith has Larry Brown lamenting the poor shooting of his team, and by NBA players in general. John Smallwood is sick and tired of Larry Brown complaining about the players making up the roster, when he had a say in who was selected to the team. He also has some pretty insighful comments from Allen Iverson noticing how the international players play as a team. Ashley McGeachy Fox has Iverson's teammates speaking of him 'taking a licking and keep on ticking,' as he played yesterday with a broken thumb.

Sam Donnellon debunks the "Curse of Billy Penn," while at the same time apparently acknowledging the "reality" of the "Curse of the Bambino" and "Curse of the Billy Goat" in Boston and Chicago respectively. Rob Parent has Bob Clarke's reaction to Jeremey Roenick's admission to gambling, in a published report on Sunday. Clarke simply said, "it's J.R. It's just J.R."

CSN has Astros-Phillies tonight at 7:05.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

No Updates Until Monday

Sorry folks, but I am attending a conference and will not be able to post either today or tomorrow, so we'll resume with the links Monday. Go Eagles, win the first preseason game against the Patriots tomorrow night!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Home Sweet Home...Not

The Phillies failed to hold onto a lead at home for the second straight night, losing 5-4 to the visiting Colorado Rockies. This is a game they will probably regret if they miss out on the NL wild card come late September. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes, Dennis Deitch, and Mike Olshin have the game stories. Jim Salisbury says "this is getting ugly. No, it was already ugly. Now it's getting uglier." Todd Zolecki's notebook says new Phillie Cory Lidle drove in from Cincinatti yesterday, and also features Kevin Millwood's latest injury woes, which have him not returning until mid-September, which might be too little, too late, for this team. Marcus Hayes wonders if Larry Bowa should tinker with the batting order to help out Jim Thome.

Bob Brookover discusses the supposed "controversy" of some remarks by Terrell Owens that have apparently inflamed the "lesbian and gay community." Owens' comments, which were really only answers to questions about rumors that former teammate Jeff Garcia is gay, will appear in an issue of Playboy which hits the stands this week. I have a question: which members of the "angered community" are actually reading Playboy? Just asking. Sounds to me like much ado about nothing. Bob Grotz chats with Brian Dawkins, who says T.O. just speaks his mind. The Philly media just loves having him around. They haven't had it this good since Charles Barkley was in town. Of course, Howard Eskin still has it that good because he's Barkley's caddy. Or at least, he plays one on TV. Jack McCaffery wonders, amid all the mounting (hopefully not serious) injuries at training camp, whether Owens may have had a point when he questioned the physical nature of Andy Reid's camps. He writes:
Has the level of camp contact been inappropriate for this particular team, at this particular time? There is no answer now, and there will be just one eventually. Either the Eagles, three-time failures in the NFC final, will reach the Super Bowl or they will not. If they play for a world championship, they will be saluted for their every move; if they fall short, they will be criticized like no other Eagles operation in recent history. So there will be closure, but it is months away.
Bob Brookover writes that Freddie Mitchell is a bit miffed his 4th-and-26th play didn't merit consideration at the ESPYs. Les Bowen reports that Nate Wayne gave Jeremiah Trotter his old #54 back, and it only cost Trotter "free car washes for the year" at the car wash that he owns in Cherry Hill. Mark Eckel talks with Todd Pinkston, who says "there were some things going on outside of football" that could explain the dropoff in his play (including a very forgettable performance in the NFC Championship game). Some of Pinkston's comments really make you scratch your head:
I'll be honest, I was kind of down when I heard [the team acquired Owens]. I thought James [Thrash] and I had chemistry. Now, I had to develop a new chemistry with him. There might me more pressure on me this year with him here. If teams are going to double T.O., I'm going to get single coverage and I'm going to have to make plays.
You're "going to have to make plays" Todd? That is what they pay you to do, right? I have no idea what Harvey Yavener is trying to say.

CSN has Rockies-Phillies tonight at 7:05.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Pat Burrell Done for the Season

Breaking news: During the Phillies broadcast this evening, it was announced that Burrell will have season ending surgery on Friday. ESPN.com has the story as well. The injury puts another dent in the Phillies' efforts to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Salvaged Season?

The Phillies continued on the winning side of things yesterday by beating the Dodgers, 4-1, thus going just under .500 on this just-completed road trip that had some people wondering if Larry Bowa would still be the manager by the time the Phillies returned to Citizens Bank Park tonight. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Hayes says reliever Rheal Cormier met with Bowa last weekend to clear the air. Cormier has been one of the more outspoken critics of a clubhouse that allegedly had players "walking on eggshells." Hayes also has the players looking forward to returning home and playing some sub-.500 teams. Jim Thome says "you've got to win the games you're supposed to win." If the Phils do that, they should still be in the hunt for the playoffs by the time September rolls around, despite the injury bug which continues to plague them.

Bob Brookover writes that Andy Reid gave Terrell Owens a bit of a breather during yesterday's practice at traning camp. "He's had a history of groin problems, and I decided to back off his reps this morning," was the official explanation. Jack McCaffery tries to stir up the pot a bit, and wonders whether this unscheduled day off had anything to do with T.O.'s comments earlier in the week about the "physical" nature of Reid's training camp. In any event, McCaffery says, the timing was "odd." Brookover talks a bit about Dhani Jones trying to fit in with his new club. He has an interesting bit in there telling how Jones "worked" the New York City subway as a member of the Giants. Jones also says training camp is a bit different with the Eagles:
Philly is more of a market that is focused on football. It's really cool. In Albany, there are a lot of fans, but these fans are far more vocal and they really get involved in everything. People sleeping out for autographs? Man, that didn't happen in Albany.
Les Bowen has rookie Shawn Andrews making quite an impression early in camp. Bowen even references SI's Peter King and his visit to Lehigh last week. Here's what King had to say:
I saw Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews pulling this morning, and I was amazed at the kid. How can a guard be this fast? He pulls with the speed of a linebacker. And the ridiculous thing is he weighs 330 pounds. I was critical of the Eagles for dealing their second-round pick to move up to grab Andrews last April, but -- and I'm sure this will be the first time -- I may be wrong. One other guy who's having a great training camp: Donovan McNabb. Let's see what happens when the bullets fly, but his deep balls look better than I ever remember in terms of accuracy and form.
Over the weekend, Frank Fitzpatrick says the Eagles may have set some kind of NFL record with 25,000 people flocking to watch a practice on Friday. Jack McCaffery talks about the carnival atmosphere created by a championship-starved fan base:
This much is true, though: Never has an Eagles training camp seemed less like an opportunity for the Eagles to camp for the purpose of training. Instead, it has become a summertime happening of the oddest order, referred to by some as Eaglepalooza, a moveable series of day-long displays of confidence from the fans who seem to believe this football season is the beginning of the end of that 21-year sentence.
Mark Eckel had Donovan McNabb saying the Eagles could very well have "terrifying" talent this year. Eckel also believes the Eagles shouldn't have any problems winning their division, "despite the so-called improvements of the teams around them." Bob Brookover has Jevon Kearse eager to get back to the Super Bowl, so he can forget about his last visit there (as a member of the Titans, who came up "one yard short" against the Rams). Brookover also had a word for those who think Jeremiah Trotter will be a starting linebacker before long: forget about it. Bob Grotz says Mike Ditka is impressed by Donovah McNabb the person. John Nalbone shows just how different the Philadelphia fans can be: they got on Lito Shepphard's case when he allowed Todd Pinkston to blow by him on one play. This was, mind you, after he came away with a nice pick on a pass intended for Owens.

Mark Lelinwalla says Jim O'Brien is happy to have "warrior" Corliss Williams on his team, aka "Big Nasty." Phil Jasner tells the amusing story of Williams' godson talking about how Coleman beat his godfather up a few years ago. Jon Marks writes that Billy King feels that the newly aligned Northeast Division is theirs for the Sixers' taking this year. O'Brien feels "it will be a very closely contested division." One that the Sixers, with their current roster, and with the mediocre teams they are grouped with, should win the division with, I might add.

Howard Eskin had a good interview with Terrell Owens yesterday, taped earlier in the week at training camp at Lehigh. Sports Final will be on a 3-week hiatus, as NBC will be covering the Olympics in Athens for 3 weeks, starting with next Friday's Opening Ceremonies.

CSN has Rockies-Phillies tonight at 7:05.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Going for a Sweep?

The Phillies continued on the winning side of things last night by beating the Padres, 7-5, remaining 4 1/2 games behind the Braves, who also won. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Todd Zolecki has two notes columns, one on Marlon Byrd's "fresh start," and another one mentioning that Pat Burrell could be headed for the disabled list. Jim Salisbury writes that, while there's enough blame to go around for the Phillies' woes between Larry Bowa and Ed Wade, don't forget that it's the players who either do or don't get the job done on the field. He closes with a hint of optimism, sort of:
There is still time to turn around this season, and by the time the Phils return home Monday, we'll know if Bowa will get the chance to do that, or if someone else will.
Marcus Hayes chronicles the batting woes of Placido Palanco, Jim Thome and Mike Lieberthal with runners in scoring position, and calls this one of the key reasons "why the Phillies are mired near mediocrity." Bill Conlin believes that Ed Wade should have done his homework before trading for Felix Rodriguez, who apparently did not get along well with Tim Worrell when they were teammates in San Francisco. He refers to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle from about three years ago where Rodriguez apparently demanded a trade because of "a personal disagreement with a teammate."

Kevin Mulligan writes that Terrell Owens was the big hit yesterday as autograph seekers lined up more than 24 hours in advance to get the "T.O." scribbled on various items. Not everybody went home happy, however, as one fan drove 22 hours from Orlando, got to Lehigh at 9:30, but couldn't get his #81 jersey signed because he didn't have a wristband. Owens has also made it clear (through the media) that "he does not sign anything from San Francisco, including old 49ers football cards." Bob Brookover notes that Donovan McNabb seemed to have a bit of fun at Owens' expense yesterday:
One guy held up a sign that said, "Marry me, T.O." That was awesome. We ragged on him for a while about that one. That just shows the love that they have for him in Philly.
McNabb was sure to widen his eyes while emphasizing the "love" when he said this, which seemed to get a chuckle out of the gathered reporters. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Brookover reports Brian Dawkins will miss a week of camp after injuring his knee yesterday. Bob Grotz reports that Dawkins is out "indefinitely," while Mark Eckel notes that the official word is "a week," but speculates the injury may be more serious and that he could be out longer, since "Dawkins had no comment on the injury, according to an Eagles spokesman." Jack McCaffery has a further look at Jeff Lurie's "State of the Eagles" address on Tuesday, and gives him kudos for supporting the aggressive off-season moves that Andy Reid made. Bob Grotz says ESPN's Mike Ditka paid a visit to Lehigh yesterday. Ditka says the Eagles are the favorites in the NFC, but still gives the nod to the Patriots as "the team to beat."

Mark Lelinwalla has an article discussing yesterday's trade between the Sixers and Pistons, in which Billy King was able to acquire Corliss Williamson, while ridding himself of Derrick Coleman, who did not figure into the team's plans anyway. Phil Jasner writes that his Pistons sources say that neither Coleman nor Amal McCaskill, also included in the trade, are likely to suit up for the team. Meanwhile, Allen Iverson was busy hitting the first buzzer-beating game-winning shot of his career (hard to believe, isn't it?), as Team USA barely squeaked out an 80-77 win over non-Athens-bound Germany. Caryl Kauffman says Jim O'Brien "loved" seeing Iverson hit the game-winner, and that "the fact that one of our guys was the one that hit the shot feels great." At the press conference announcing yesterday's trade, Billy King said, "I just spoke to Allen about an hour ago and he was ecstatic about hitting the shot."

Ray Parillo says the Big Ten will be the first conference to adopt a video review system this year. Finally, the Dallas Morning News has former Cowboy's quarterback Quincy Carter defending his name from rumors of cocaine abuse being the reason he was released from the team yesterday:
I'm shocked. I'm at a loss for words. The one thing I know and the people who have been around me all my life know is that cocaine has never been an issue for me. It never will be. And it's disturbing that a rumor like that would come out. I have not one bad thing to say about the Dallas Cowboys, Bill Parcells or Jerry Jones. I have a lot of friends on that team. I just want my teammates and fans to know that cocaine rumor is ridiculous.
CSN has the concluding game of Phillies-Padres at 10:05, with the Phils going for the sweep.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

It's a Start

The Phillies managed to get their series in San Diego ("the greatest city in the world", according to on-the-hot-seat Larry Bowa) off to a good start last night by hanging on to win, 5-2. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Zolecki's notebook has Bowa's reaction to the constant rumors surrounding his employment status:
I couldn't care less about the talk. I couldn't care less about it. We're the only team in the history of baseball where you lose four or five games and the manager gets fired. I couldn't care less about it. I just go out and do the best I can.
Meanwhile, Phil Sheridan outrageously proposes that the Phillies and Expos swap places. He writes that the Phillies are sounding more and more like a broken record:
Is it 2004 or 2003 or 2002? Does it matter? Not to the Phillies. They are like a computer stuck in an endless loop, doomed to repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and - OK, you get the idea - until someone reboots it.
Meanwhile, Eagles' training camp coverage is beginning to dominate the sports pages more than the Phillies. Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone. Bob Brookover writes that Jeff Lurie is one happy NFL owner. Rich Hofmann has this interesting quote from Lurie that Glen Macnow played on WIP last night:
You're competing against 31 other teams. If your risk quotient is average, you'll probably be an average team. You'll probably be drafting 16th every year. You've got to be, from the top down, not risk-averse and be willing to make mistakes because the rewards are worth the risk. You take your shots. I'm a big believer in taking risks.
Hofmann notes that Lurie even managed a little self-deprecating humor, in reference to his "Eagles are the gold standard of the NFL" proclamation he made at last year's "State of the Eagles" address:
I try to have a little fun. You know, in today's world, the gold standard is kind of not-that-great anyway. You've got platinum cards. You've got black cards. You've got all sorts of credit cards these days.
Bob Grotz believes that Lurie has changed his tune a bit, noticing that he mentioned "winning the Super Bowl" (singular), as opposed to the multiple championships he may have alluded to in the past. Grotz writes, "A chunk of Eagles fans felt uneasy with the plural, for the Eagles had yet to break the ice with their first title."

Les Bowen talks about a brief scare involving Terrell Owens at practice yesterday, and also has another article talking about assistant coach Marty Mornhinweg's downplaying the part he played in landing T.O. here in Philly. Bob Brookover has a look at officials explaining the NFL's "point of emphasis" regarding illegal contact on receivers this year. Les Bowen has Todd Pinkston wisely saying, "if you look for help from a 'chuck' rule, you ain't doing your job." Bob Grotz has Ron Jaworski and Mike Quick saying the NFL is just trying to increase scoring, which will supposedly increase fan interest (and is this really necessary, since the NFL is already the biggest among the four major sports?), a la arena football. Nick Fierro explains some of the actual rule changes this year, including the banning of "choreographed multiplayer celebrations." The No Fun League at its finest. Paul Domowitch talks with Duce Staley, who can't seem to get the Eagles out of his mind. Here's some of what he had to say:
I strongly believe that, if we had been committed to the run in those three [NFC Championship games], we would've won all three.... I'm just thankful I'm able to move on with a good team that's positive. There's a possibility here I might touch the ball 25 times a game. With the Eagles, you can only dream of that. With the Eagles, to touch the ball 25 times, we've gotta be up 50-0. Even then, we might throw it on third-and-1.
A bit of exaggeration there, don't you think Duce?

ESPN's Bill Simmons is looking for suggestiosn from Philly fans about what game to show of the last championship team in this city ('83 Sixers) in a special NBA TV Weekend he is putting together for later this month. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald wrote this yesterday:
Someone in the NBA home office clearly has a sense of humor. How else to explain a Nov. 3 opening night against Philadelphia at the FleetCenter, marking the return of the prodigal coach, Jim O'Brien? O'Brien and his retooled Sixers, including a new look with Allen Iverson controlling the ball even more at point guard, certainly increases the stakes in terms of drama.
The New York Post reports that Sixers fans need not worry, that Antoine Walker is apparently headed to the Atlanta Hawks.

Don Steinberg says the Phillies are behind schedule in terms of demolishing the Vet and replacing it with lots of parking spots in time for the upcoming NFL season. I guess Bowa's to blame for that too...

CSN has Phillies-Padres at 10:05.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Off Until Tuesday

I'll be out of town until Tuesday, so we'll return with the links then. Thanks for your patience.