It’s time for
the Week-in-Review . . . Rob’s Rants. Hopefully, it will be
more than just a new name. Same style, more edge. Let’s go:
· If not for two moronic calls – one by the manager and one by a set of clueless umpires – the Phillies might actually be on the winning streak everybody has been praying for that would get them back in contention for the playoffs. Charlie Manuel brought Jonathan Papelbon into Sunday’s game in the middle of the 9th inning and watched him blow a 7-3 lead and a sweep of the Braves. Why? Yes, Jeremy Horst had pitched the game into a save situation, so God forbid Charlie not bring in the designated closer. Horst was fine – he had an out, one guy got a hit, and he walked a guy. Charlie panics too much with pitchers. Horst wasn’t falling apart; he still had a 4-run cushion. Roll with the guy or bring your damn closer in from the beginning of the inning. We’ve seen Papelbon enough to know he can’t come in with guys on base. And he proved it again giving up a walk-off grand slam. Enough with going by the book.
· I still don’t know what the hell the umpires called Tuesday night, and I don’t think they do either. With the bases loaded and one out, Nate Schierholtz hit a line drive that the center fielder clearly caught on a hop. I never saw the umpire but the broadcasters said he called an out. Ok, so everybody stayed put – as they should have based on the call. Then the Reds threw to second and home, and were somehow out of the inning. It was complete bullsh--. If the ump called it a catch, the only way to get an out with a force play is to catch a player off the bag before he tags up. If either the Reds or the umpires believed that was happening, there would have been no throw nor call at home. There was both. If it’s not a catch, there’s no way to get a force out at home after tagging second. After the inning umpires made up a scenario that made sense, saying it was a catch and they doubled up on John Mayberry, who stopped running because of the confusion, when he didn’t get back to second. I repeat, it was complete BS. The Phillies lost 2-1 when they easily could have scored at least one run there and still had bases loaded with 1 out. This isn’t a typical shoulda, woulda, coulda. The Phillies should be on an 11-2 run and 7-game win streak, 6 games out of a Wild Card (as I write Wednesday evening) with two of the five teams they need to pass in their rearview mirror. I’m not saying they would get all the way over the hump, but two Ws and two teams passed would sure look good right now.
· It’s amazing to me that Jeff Lurie continues to have his “state of the Eagles” press conference before every year. He kisses his own ass more than anyone I’ve ever seen.
· People were so desperate to pull something newsworthy out of Lurie’s nonsense they’re turning his quick reply of “no” to a question of whether or not 8-8 would be good enough for Andy Reid to keep his job into an ultimatum for the coach. Let’s get serious. It wasn’t an ultimatum. First of all, even though every time I go through the schedule I come out with 8-8, nobody really thinks they’re going .500. And, if they do, Lurie will weasel out of the statement – which didn’t really qualify as a statement – somehow.
· Listening to sound clips of Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg earlier in the summer talk about how much confidence he had in Mike Kafka, who was just cut by the team, illustrates how useless it has become to talk to coaches. They don’t say anything. Ever. I rip people who want to canonize Buddy Ryan because he never won a damn thing, but at least he would tell people what he thought. And by the way, it’s partially the media’s fault that coaches do nothing but spew PC-type nonsense. They make a controversy out of any statement from a coach who actually says something, and don’t have the stones not to cover things like Andy Reid’s post-game when everyone knows right now he won’t say a damn thing at one of those things all season.
· I still shake my head when I remember that ESPN kept Jon Gruden over Ron Jaworski on the Monday Night Football broadcast. But it really shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s the network in a microcosm – noise over substance. Gruden says absolutely nothing during a game – everybody is the next Hall of Famer in his book – while Jaws is widely considered one of the best analysts out there.
· Brian Dawkins has signed as an ESPN analyst. I have a bad feeling on this one. Dawkins was known for wearing his heart on his sleeve as a player, and anything short of that is going to be a huge disappointment. No one, absolutely no one, comes off as genuine on that network. I hope it doesn’t happen but the corporate stank on B-dawk ain’t gonna fly.
· Shutting down Stephen Strasburg has to be one of the dumbest and most uncompetitive things ever done in baseball history, if not all of sports. The Washington Nationals are currently tied for the most wins in baseball going into last night, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and the guy says he’s fine a year removed from Tommy John surgery. There’s no dominant perennial contenders like the Yankees or the Red Sox looming in the playoffs. From what I heard even Tommy John thinks it’s stupid. It’s just one more reason to hope the Nats never win squat. (See Jayson Werth for the first.)
· Boomer Esiason apparently does a radio bit giving quick opinions on football. (Yeah, sounds familiar, I know. And people might actually care what he says.) On Tuesday I heard him say the Big 10 should consider Michigan State on their first offensive possession against Michigan because MSU players were ripping the Wolverines’ players as they were pounded by Alabama. Stop. Can we please just stop the pussification of America? Fine, it was classless, but they’re college kids. There’s plenty of things to worry about with keeping them in line, and a little trash talk isn’t on the list. If the Wolverines are upset, they have a chance to do something about it on the field.
· Franco Harris is a moron for putting a life-sized cutout of Joe Paterno in a window of his luxury suite at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Penn State is desperately trying to move on from the Jerry Sandusky crimes, which like it or not includes removing the Paterno image from the football program as much as possible, and Harris went out of his way to give the media a reason to mention it. Obviously, the story was going to be mentioned in the Lions’ first game, but it was just obnoxious for a famous alum to fly in the face of what the university is trying to accomplish. They should do whatever they can not to renew his suite license (or however PSU handles suites) ASAP.