Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Phillies Odometer: The Thrill of 9,965

We're just a few clicks past midnight on Tuesday's spill-over to Wednesday -- and the personal odyssey of PF7, the Magnificent Mrs. and the superdog known as The Outlaw Josey Wales can be plotted by these sleep-over stopping points:

-- Chester, VA (Fri. nite)
-- Southern Pines, NC (Sat. nite)
-- Greenville, SC (Sun. nite)
-- Macon, GA (Mon. nite)
-- Gainesville, FL (current)

Here's a newsflash (which may not be that flashy): Georgia sucks.
There's nuthin' that the B-52s and R.E.M. can say (or sing) which'll change anyone's mind.

Another fascinating observation: Situated very near Exit 439 on I-75 (the exit which takes ya west on 136 to Live Oak), there's that giant Confederate flag on the northbound side of the interstate.
Not that it offends those of us who are transplanted California boys, but some are a mite cheesed off about the flyin' of the stars n' bars.
In fact, it was only a few days ago when Steve Spurrier voiced his disapproval over "that damn flag."

It was only a few hours earlier when some of us transplanted California boys heard Spurrier's comments for the first time -- as we were wolfing down one of those exquisite chili cheese dogs which DQ serves up real nice, y'all.

Spurrier's right about one thing, though ... he shouldn't speak up about matters which are beyond his comprehension (and, just in case you're trying to grasp the enormity of Spurrier's intelect, query anybody who got to see him up close when he was coaching the Redskins. Jeez, now there was a guy who was out to lunch ...).

Spurrier used to play his football right down the street here ... inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (home of the '06 BCS football champions), which is next door to the Stephen C. O'Connell Center (home of the '06 and '07 b-ball national champions).

This is Gator Country!
And, if you isn't a Gator, you's Gator bait!

Whatever ...

What really matters is that Chris Doering is one of the co-hosts of a drive-time sports show here in G-ville (1230 AM on your radio dial).
What's NOT to like about Chris Doering? We all remember that when Spurrier won his national championship in '96, Danny Waffle was pitchin' passes to Ike, Reidel and Jacquez ... and Doering missed out on all the fun because he was in the NFL.

Three seasons, three games played, three receptions for Indy in '96, '97 and '98 ... three seasons, three games played, three receptions w/ Denver in '99, '00 and '01 ... 14 games, 18 receptions for the 'Skins (w/ Spurrier) in '02 ... 16 games, 18 receptions for the Steelers in '03 ... three games, zero receptions for the Steelers in '04 ... on the roster for the '05 Steelers (practice squad? taxi squad? pep squad?), DNP ... MAYBE received a paycheck (a small one) from the Houston Texans in '06 (cut in preseason, we presume) ...

Exactly! It's hard to believe that Doering actually saw action in all 16 games for our beloved Steelers in '03 -- but, that's what happens when you're a 6-10 team (which will go 15-1 once Doering is kept as far away from the action as possible).

Still ... we don't know who Ben Hill Griffin is.
Or Stephen C. O'Connell.
No one does.

Speaking of a team which is now 3-9 (and nowhere near being good enough to be 6-10), the Phillies did a bang-up job tonight vs. the Mutts.

It was the Phillies' Milestone Loss No. 9,965 on the road to the totally-magical, almost-mythical 10,000 -- and Freddy Garcia's debut was a bust.

The point of interest here is that Freddy is wearing the uniform number (34) of the pitcher he was traded for -- Gavin Floyd.
FG fared no better than GF with that number.
Come to think of it, #34 has always been a source of mystique for the Phils.
Sarge (Gary Matthews) made it work ... but Mike Easler didn't during his 33 games with it in '87.
Then, it was Big Ben Rivera's turn ... and the results were mixed.

However, the more we inspect the landscape, isn't the 2007 season shaping up like the 1987 season?
Back then, there was the new pitcher acquired from the White Sox (Joe Cowley).
Back then, Scmidty was coming off an MVP season and began '87 needing 5 homers to reach 500 for his career.

HALT! No one's saying that Freddy Garcia is going to end up like Joe Cowley (5 starts for the Phils, an 0-4 record, an ERA of 15.43 and self-esteem issues up the wazoo).
And, Ryan Howard probably won't hit anywhere near 500 homers this year.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the electric John Felske was fired in June when the Phils were plodding along with a 29-32 record.
It's always difficult to remember if Paul Owens retired before or after that '87 season -- even though we all remember the short-lived tenure of Woody Woodward as GM in '88 before he was axed and Lee Thomas took over.

One person who doesn't care about the Phillies' '87 front-office paradigm is Charlie Manuel.
No doubt, Chuck wants to be around for Milestone Loss No. 10,000.
The smart money says that, despite the team's 37-44 record on the day of Historic Loss No. 10,000, Chuck will survive two weeks beyond that -- until Gillick axes Chuck to get Jimy Williams into the role of righting the ship to that 82-80 finish.

It all begins much later tonight in RFK vs. the DC Nats. Against the Bravos tonight, the Natswore various Virginia Tech caps -- and ya can't say enough about that move.
Hard to believe that a complete goofball doofus tool like Jim Bowden would think of such a tribute -- after all, this team ran out of hot dog buns during the third inning of the home opener.

Someone HAD to phone in with such an intelligent suggestion.

'Tis probably better to keep remembering those slain VPI kids than to acknowledge that April 18 is the 20th anniversary of Michael Jack's 500th homer.
A lot of us remember where we were when Schmidty went yard for that 3-run shot in the top of the 9th to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 win.

It seems a lot less significant nowadays since we'll never forget how we felt on Monday ...

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