Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ahhhhhh not again

I don't want to jinx anyone, so I've been silent as the Phils improbably crept back into the wild card race. They're only one game out now, with the Reds looking bad. Hell, the whole league looks bad.

But then...


I notice that a certain team has won 8 straight...

(clamming up)

And they're just two games behind, even more improbably, with a cast of youngsters.....


the Florida Fucking Marlins.

(getting flashbacks of 2003, diving under tables)

(Honestly, you're at .500 right now. Just stay there. Just go even for the rest of the way, and you'll probably win this thing. I don't care if it will be the least impressive playoff berth in baseball history. Just freaking be medicore and let there be a playoff game in Philly for the first time in 13 years.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Maybe Bud is not Paul's bitch?

The following is a letter I sent to Bill Simmons, the Boston fan / columnist for ESPN's website. I've been wanting to discuss this topic with an expert for some time. Yes, it's more about football, but it brings up a good point about baseball, because most of America has chosen football over baseball (including me, I'll be honest) and Tagliabue is much much much much more respected than Selig. I argue in this piece that while that's true, Tags has a major fault that Selig at least trumps him in. Hopefully, this will incite some debate on this space.


Hey Sports Guy,

With all the commotion surrounding the search for a new NFL commissioner, and the talk of inheriting a position held by such great men recently, I thought of something people seem to be ignoring. I know this sounds crazy, and I'm asking for a lightning bolt, but has it ever occurred to anyone that Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue were overrated? Or at least, that they were kinda bastards when you think about it? Bear with me.

People commend Tagliabue for getting a lot of new stadiums built. And he did that. But it's how that happened it that bothers me. Tagliabue allowed the whole Cleveland Browns debacle to happen, which was one of the sadder parts of football history. Those fans lived and died with football, then watched as Art Modell hoisted a trophy for Baltimore. But the people in Baltimore were celebrating, because 15 years before they had been screwed over by the Irsays. And so on with a number of other cities. The commissioners allowed Bill Bidwill to ditch St. Louis (though, yeah, they were eventually better off with the Rams) and L.A. to lose both teams (though, yeah, no one here seems to care).

For years, Tagliabue allowed owners to blackmail fans with the threat of moving. Give in to the tax money for a new stadium, they were told, or watch your team jump ship. People in Houston and Cleveland watched as their former teams made Super Bowls in new cities, and not only that, they were then given crappy expansion teams with many more restrictions on them than Carolina and Jacksonville had. The two recent expansion redux teams haven't done much, while those new market teams in the Southeast had the chance to be good right away. Why stick it to those football-crazy people in Texas and Ohio? Why not make it easy for divisions to be organized?

Compare this with baseball, which has many more problems, but fewer moves. Few people respect Bud Selig remotely as much as Tagliabue, and he's made a lot of mistakes, but only the Expos have moved in the past 30 some years. There are still teams in places like Pittsburgh and Kansas City and Milwaukee, even if they are hopeless (that's another problem).

As a Philly fan, I've suffered a lot, but I never had to worry about anyone leaving town, and I think that's a much worse fate than perennial chokers. I hope that Goodell keeps the great business of the league going, but not by alienating fans and threatening moves to any team that doesn't have a brand new stadium. Am I the only person to think so? Does this make any sense?


Justin Leo,

Orange, CA

(well, not for long, but whatever)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

damn you all

So a while back I was gonna write a piece about how the Phillies should not trade Bobby Abreu, one of their most consistent players over the past decade. Even if they were losing, and they are, I was going to go on and on about his solid hitting and base stealing and how they should get rid of Pat Burrell first. Ther just wasn't enough reason for it.

Then I saw it on TV when I was at the beach: Abreu in a Yankees uniform.





I guess the Phils figured it was better to trade him away from the NL, away from any rivals.... but seriously, the Yankees? I kept reading how depleted their farm system was.... so how could they offer something nice in return? And why do you keep helping Satan, even if he's not in your league, to hang around? There was a chance, with all the good teams in the AL, that the Yankees would miss the postseason this year. How glorious would that be? But no, they had to boost the Yanks up at a spot they desperately needed, and now they're even with the Bosox (or ahead of them, pending results).

Meanwhile, the Phils keep unloading people, albeit with decent moves (Bell and Lidle were not worth it). But they could have kept Bobby. He's worth the money he was seeking, and even if he was having a slightly down year, his numbers from the last few seasons prove that he's always reliable. Get rid of Burrell if you must, but not Bobby.

By the way, the NL is still awful, and even though they keep losing, they're not out of it. If they think these moves will give them a jolt, then by all means, but sending Abreu packing seems to me to be sending the message that they're giving up. Don't give up, Phils. You absolutely have a shot to be in it. The Reds, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers... who else is in it? There's no one great.

I'm leaving the East Coast now, but I'll be back to knock some heads in if this ball club does not get its act together.