The Phanatic Magazine
Before getting started on this week’s topic, a few Phillies points heading into the Trade Deadline (even though Pat Gillick made far more moves after that point last year):
As far as current members of the roster go, send Rod Barajas down to Ottawa and have Jayson Werth join him when (if?) he gets healthy. Neither free agent acquisition has done anything this year accept collect a paycheck and take up space. Plus, this allows for far more deserving players such as Chris Coste and Gregg Dobbs to get more face time in the field.
Either extend Aaron Rowand’s contract this week or trade him. Because if this season ends with him in the open market, start planning the bon voyage party now.
Regardless of Rowand’s fate, hold onto Michael Bourn. He’s young. He’s improving each game. He’s good insurance. And there’s jack in the farm system right now, so you might as well invest what you have in the future.
If all you can get is a #4 or #5 starter, don’t. We have enough of those already.
Now back to our regularly scheduled column topic…
It’s official: We have become a society living in an age of instant gratification, materialism and fixation with celebrities – just look at VH1’s Sunday night programming.
You can also refer to ESPN.
At one time the central source for sports news coverage, consider it now a sell out along with VH1 and its slutty younger sister, MTV (yes, I know MTV was around first, but its obviously geared toward a younger, more promiscuous audience). ESPN currently features its share of mindless entertainment, once filled with a diverse array of sporting events and intelligent debate, presently replete with reality shows, award festivities and… okay, seriously, what is the d-e-a-l with annual ritual of covering a spelling bee?
And if you are going to run it, at least make it relevant - have athletes participate. Who wouldn’t love to see someone like Dexter Manley get put on the spot, or the following dialogue to occur:
Moderator: Mr. Owens, your word is “egomaniacal.”
Terrell Owens: Can you use it in a sentence?
Moderator: Seriously? Sure, you’re entitled. Let’s see…Because of your selfishness and disregard to authority, your teammates, the fans and humanity in general, you possess the qualities of an egomaniacal bastard.
(By the way, for those who don’t remember Dexter Manley, feel free to google him to understand the joke reference.)
ESPN has also had a summer project known as “Who’s Now,” a tournament-style showdown, featuring a cross-section of contemporary athletes left in the hands of the viewer to determine who truly has the most pop-culture pedigree.
Who’s “Now?” Who cares!
A far more interesting experiment, I believe, is to figure out which currently employed athlete has fallen completely off the recognition radar. Yes, that’s right: Let’s find out “Who’s Then?”
ESPN started with a superfluous list of 32. For the basis of time, word count expectations and sheer laziness, let’s skip right to the quarterfinals. No ranking necessary. Why? Because, apparently, that’s what they do “now.”
Sammy Sosa. How the mighty have fallen. Once credited (along with fellow home-run hitting outcast Mark McGwire) as the man who saved post-strike baseball, his unreal series of 60+ jacks and quirky – but endearing – hops and hand gestures were followed by a steroid scandal, an “accidental” corked bat and a premature clubhouse exit. He’s now living in obscurity as a Texas Ranger. Yes, the baseball version, not as Walker.
Kerry Wood/Mark Prior. These guys have to be lumped together because of the uncanny similarities. Both Cubs. Both touted as franchise pitchers. Both quick out the gate to take baseball fans – and fantasy owners – by storm. And both injured so damn often that they are considered mere afterthoughts now.
Steve Francis. Remember “Stevie Franchise?” Remember when he was so highly regarded that it took the likes of megastar Tracy McGrady to pry him out of Houston. Now go back to last month, when he was a throw-in to the Zach Randolph-to-New York deal, followed by NBA doormat Portland Blazers buying out his contract just to let him go. Now he’s back with the Rockets and nobody really cares.
Eric Lindros. We here in Philly know far too well the pain of his demise. We also believe that Colorado owes at least one Stanley Cup and a thank-you card. Once coined “The Next One,” now just one of many living in NHL anonymity.
Brett Favre. Speaking of pain, it’s starting to become painful watching him extend his brilliant career, in apparent denial of his obviously deteriorating skills. The three-time MVP seems to find more cornerbacks open than his own receivers. It’s okay, Brett. Let it go… let it go…
Randy Moss. What’s sadder than Favre and his fading talent is that Moss could probably still be one of the best in the game – if he really wanted to. Somewhere along the way – while he was still en route to flirting with some records – he decided that it was much easier to simply become a pouting jerk who takes plays off. He’ll have a chance at revival in New England, but frankly, he doesn’t even deserve it.
Oscar de la Hoya. The “Golden Boy” was just that. One of the few whom even a casual observer of the sport could instantly identify, he made boxing cool outside the ring – while continuing to win bouts inside of it. After getting exposed a few times, he may be beginning to realize that - like the token ugly chick on Rock of Love - personality only gets you so far.
Andy Roddick – He once hosted Saturday Night Live and dated Mandy Moore. He was supposed to bring extended tennis dominance back to America and become its face after Andre Agassi rode off into the sunset. Instead he gets beaten by a CANADIAN this weekend and has become just as obscure as the sport itself in either country. Somewhere right now John McEnroe screams that I can’t be serious. I’m sorry, John. I am.