It gets harder and harder to come up with attention-grabbing headlines when loss piles up after loss. It seems as if the Phillies last won a game in July. Actually, that's probably not that far off. They lost (again) to the Braves, 7-2, last night. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes, Dennis Deitch, and Mike Olshin have the game stories. Olshin longs for the good old days when the Philies could beat up on the Brewers. Zolecki's notebook says Ryan Howard's name could be thrown out there at the end of the season as trade bait, since he has Jim Thome, signed through at least 2008, blocking him at first base. Olshin's notebook has Howard smacking a ball off the Dodge Durango sign on the right field second deck. Bill Conlin is not very happy with this team's performance:
The team you have helped lavish with your taxpayer contribution to Citizens Bank Park, this $93 million collection of ballflesh - Ed Wade's Misfits - represent a singular milestone in the 122-year history of the franchise. These Phillies represent rock bottom. The pits. It is as bad as it gets when measuring heightened expectation against underwhelming performance.Sam Donnellon writes that blowing up this team isn't an option, and that it will be another long winter for this team.
Bob Brookover reports that Eagles' offensive coordinator Brad Childress clearly calling Koy Detmer the #2 quarterback, and says "there really wasn't that much conversation about it," stemming any (backup) quarterback "controversy." Les Bowen also reports the same, adding that Detmer's serving as David Akers' holder probably influenced this decision. John Nalbone openly wonders when rookie Shawn Andrews will be releasing a "best hits" album. Brookover's notebook talks about the extension referred to here yesterday on Brandon Whiting's delayed physical with the 49ers. Kevin Mulligan isn't exaggerating when he calls the 2004 Eagles the most "anticipated Philly sports season" ever and says "there hasn't been anything a close second." Bob Grotz has a notebook item about Terrell Owens' reaction to Hugh Douglas being a media magnet. Bob also has a must read interview in a sitdown with Andy Reid. Rob Parent says that with the re-addition of Jeremiah Trotter and Hugh Douglas, could Bobby Taylor and A.J. Feeley be far behind? Meanwhile, the New York Post's Mark Cannizzaro mentions how Herm Edwards' staff was "irritated" when the Eagles starters sat during last year's final preseason game, which "roced the hand of the Jets not to use their starters," as if that had anything to do with their 6-10 season.
Stephen A. Smith says Kobe Bryant still has lots of "issues," regardless of whether his legal troubles are now behind him. Smith writes, "someone is always doing something to him. It is never the other way around." It all boils down to the question, "what kind of man is he", and concludes that "the problem stems from his continual unwillingness to address the question at all."
Dick Jerardi wonders whether Penn State has become a "soft" team.
Mercifully, the local nine are off tonight.