Sunday, July 03, 2005

Don McKee: Break Up the Phillies
The underachieving Phillies have gotten a surprisingly free ride this summer, while the fans are heaping scorn on manager Charlie Manuel and savaging general manager Ed Wade.

Very few fans (or members of management) have been willing to hold the players' feet to the fire.

Luckily, plain-spoken Virginian Billy Wagner did it for them Thursday night. And the lefty was as subtle as a 100 m.p.h. fastball at a batter's chin.

"You've got to know how to win before you can start thinking about playoffs," Wagner told The Inquirer's Jim Salisbury. "There are a lot of reasons to have faith. This ain't over. But anybody who says we have a clear shot to the playoffs right now is fooling themselves. We've got to win."

Wagner even joined the growing chorus that says further trades or additions won't help a club that seems determinedly blasé.

"Adding pieces isn't going to make us any better," Wagner said. "If you don't learn to win and show some fight, it doesn't matter."

Wagner still thinks - or says he thinks - this collection of pacifists can rally and save the season.
No reasonable person can fault the management for spending oodles of money to bring players who were nearly universally applauded at their acquisition. (Lest we forget, this team was a near-unanimous choice to win the NL East before last season.)

Unfortunately, the recipients of a $95 million payroll that again is the National League's second-highest said "Thank you very much," and retreated to their state-of-the-art clubhouse, replete with a professional chef to prepare them gourmet meals.

Perhaps overloaded with rare steak and talapia, or weighed down by their wallets, these players have dawdled in mediocrity for more than three years.

That's long enough to come to the conclusion that it just ain't happenin' with this group.

Back up the truck, indeed.

Humorful bluntness. That's why I love Philly.


"rare steak and talapia".

That's humorous.
A prime example of excess destroying progress. Could the same be true of USA?
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