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Friday, November 25, 2005

Thome Traded / Monday Night Pick

Is it possible Pat Gillick, the new general manager of the Phillies, has already outperformed Ed Wade? This guy stepped up big time by moving Jim Thome out of town for centerfielder Aaron Rowand and two prospects from the Chicago White Sox. I know absolutely nothing about Rowand or the other two, and don't care at the moment what they do next year. This trade is about Ryan Howard, and finally shows that the Phillies want to do more then have guys like Gentlemen Jim in the dugout.

I don't have a problem with Thome. He got hurt, and you can't blame him for Charlie Manuel and Wade not having the guts to sit him in favor of Howard. It was ridiculous to watch Howard — who won the National League Rookie of the Year playing virtually half a season — languish on the bench and in the minors because they didn't want to offend Thome. Wade actually discussed trying Howard in the outfield next season instead of having him supplant Thome.

I'm not a "baseball guy," but a little leaguer knows you don't tinker with the Rookie of the Year in order to appease a rapidly aging, over-paid veteran. While I was never ready to bury Manuel, his comments after the trade about being with Thome throughout his career and assurances that Thome would bounce back proved to me he was in Thome's pocket. Being gracious is one thing. Talking as if you're a proud pappa — especially about a guy he left very much in the way of a budding star — is a poor sign that he let feelings get in the way of managing. The fact that Wade never dealt with the problem only strenagitatione aggitation of fans who felt the Phils wanted to be nice more then they wanted to be winners.

At least it looks as though Gillick wants to change that.

Now that that guy is gone . . . Now that Terrell Owens is gone, I've been wondering if other franchises — you know, the ones that own Super Bowl rings — would have let this happen. Yes, T.O. is an idiot, which he'll prove yet again by not firing Drew Rosenhaus this offseason. I still don't think he comprehends that Rosenhaus is the only guy that benefitted in this debacle. T.O. has lost millions, while Rosenhaus saw the only possible way for him to make money off T.O. begin to occur — that is, having Owens' contract, one way or the other, end with the Eagles.

But, I digress. While I agree with what the Eagles ultimately did, I'm left to wonder: How would Jimmy Johnson, Bill Walsh, or Tom Landry handled this situation? Would they have let it get this far? I realize they all won prior to free agency, but they all won. Somehow, some way, I don't think they end up with a gaping hole in their team at wideout.

Finally, Donovan McNabb better step up next season. The Mr. Corporate America, good boy image is getting old . . . and fast. I'll give him a free pass up til now because he's won more than any Eagles quarterback I've ever seen, and he's had a lot of unfair stuff happen to him in Philadelphia (Think: Angelo Cataldi). He was also in a no-win situation this year — he was hurt, and his best wide receiver reverted to being a moron. But, the free pass is up. It's time for Donovan McNabb to toughen up. I'm sick of his vanilla answers, his feelings getting hurt, and the commercials with his mommy.

Monday Night pick. After a nice 2-0 start to the weekend, I'm going to finish it off with the weekend capper. I like Pittsburgh +9 versus Indianapolis on Monday Night Football. Other games intrigue me, especially the Saints, Chargers, and Bears, but there are too many question marks with all three.

Bird watching. This may be their last chance for a W. Avert your eyes, anyway.

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