Remember the misery?
Author: Mike Sielski
Thoughts big and small ... The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced its inaugural class of inductees last week, and though there wasn't an undeserving selection among the 19 inductees, the list feels incomplete.
It's wonderful that Ken Avallon, the PSHOF foundation president, wants to honor the city's sports heroes, but the hall won't capture completely the essence of Philadelphia sports unless it memorializes the misery the town's sports fans have felt for so long.
There's no site for the PSHOF yet, but once there is, maybe Avallon will consider these potential additions and candidates:
The Wing of Inept Coaches:
Joe Kuharich, Rich Kotite, John Felske, Terry Francona, Doug Moe, John Lucas, Bob McCammon, Terry Simpson.
The Wing of Unfulfilled Promise:
Eric Lindros, Randall Cunningham, Von Hayes, Jerry Stackhouse.
The Wing of Dumb Draft-Day Decisions:
Jeff Jackson, Chad McConnell, Ryan Sittler, Kevin Allen, Antone Davis, Mike Mamula, Jon Harris, Leon Wood, Kenny Payne, Shawn Bradley, Sharone Wright.
(This wing will feature a special memorial remembering the 1986 NBA Draft and the Sixers' decisions to trade Moses Malone and the No. 1 overall pick for Jeff Ruland, Roy Hinson, Cliff Robinson and a lifetime of ridicule.)
The "How Did We Let Them Get Away?" Wing:
Charles Barkley, Brad Daugherty, Reggie White, Ferguson Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Peter Forsberg.
The Moments of Weakness Wing (for those players and coaches who made mistakes that changed everything for the worse):
Danny Osark, for leaving Greg Luzinski in left field for the ninth inning of Game 3 of the '77 NLCS;
Jim Fregosi, for trusting Mitch Williams in Game 6 of the '93 World Series;
Doug Favell, for allowing Gerry Meehan to score the goal that kept the Flyers out of the '72 playoffs;
Terry Murray, for flip-flopping his goaltenders in the '97 Finals;
Larry Brown, for using Aaron McKie to guard Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups;
Mike Michel, for missing those kicks against the Falcons in the '78 playoffs;
Harold Carmichael, for the illegal-motion penalty that wiped out Rodney Parker's touchdown in Super Bowl XV;
Barry Gardner, for failing to chase down Joe Jurevicius in last season's NFC Championship Game.
Of course, these are only suggestions. You are free to offer your own.
The Phillies face the Florida Marlins in a three-game series at Veterans Stadium beginning Tuesday, and those three days might be the franchise's most important in a regular season in 10 years.
It's not just that the series could determine which team will secure the National League's wild-card berth. These three games are the Phillies' best chance to regain their cachet in the DelawareValley. The Eagles, potentially 0-2 should they lose today to New England, will be in the midst of a two-week layoff because of their early-season bye, and the region's sports followers likely will have their attention focused on the Phillies' fortunes.
This is a bit of conjecture, but I suspect that people have been reluctant to give themselves fully to the Phillies this season because they are afraid they will again be let down, because they're always keeping an eye on the sky for the falling safe. Taking at least two of three from the Marlins would restore a measure of faith.
Philadelphia is a football town now, but it used to be a baseball town, and it could be again if the Phillies give their fans what they have been looking for - a reason to believe.
None of the Phillies broadcasters should be permitted to refer to the team's shortstop as "J-Roll" until Jimmy Rollins has grasped fully the game's fundamentals and proves himself worthy of such an audacious nickname.
Rollins is an above-average fielder who hits .260 with some pop, but who too often swings like a slugger. He's Dickie Thon in cornrows. Referring to him as "J-Roll," as if he were a player on par with A-Rod and Nomar, is simply silly.
Is the problem Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb? The play-calling or the quarterback's reluctance to try a tight throw? Seems a little of the former, a lot of the latter.
Reid called three passes in that infuriating four-play sequence from the 1-yard line Monday night against TampaBay, proof that his reluctance to run the football hinders the Eagles' offense. At the same time, if you could have watched Monday night's game from the press box, with the entire field in full view, you would have seen Eagles receivers getting open downfield - as open as an NFL receiver can get - and McNabb checking down to a dump-off.
It's admirable that McNabb wants to guard against interceptions, but he can't be so cautious if the Eagles are to carry out those all-important offensive cliches: moving the ball, making plays, putting up points.