The deal with Cliff Lee is making Reuben Amaro look more and more like a genius as the season wears on. Lee, while he has had a few cold spells has in the latter half of the season looked almost unhittable much of the time. Not only that, he has also shown tremendous prowess with his bat. Lee has been the final piece to add to a Philadelphia rotation that should put fear into the hearts of opposing managers going into the postseason. Perhaps the best part of this story though is the fact that here is a player who gave up money in order to play for a team he really wanted to play for. How many players do that today? My hat is off to Cliff Lee, and I hope that he ends the season with a ring.
I have been a Philadelphia sports fan for what seems like forever, closely following both the Phillies and the Eagles even as they languished in last place as doormats of their respective leagues. Names such as Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn and Jim Bunning are etched in my memory as well as a few less known names such as Art Mahaffey, Chris Short, Dick Farrell, Solly Hemus,Willie Jones, Alex Gonzales, Johnny Callison, Don Demeter, Greg Luzinski, etc. Eagles players such as Wilbur Montgomery, Sonny Jurgenson, Ricky Waters, Reggie White, Harold Carmichael and Pete Retzlaff are a few Eagles from different eras that also come to mind. However, as I look at today’s Philadelphia sports scene, there is one major difference that jumps out at me. Today Philadelphia has owners of the current franchises that are truly committed to winning and are willing to pay for it.Witness the way the Phillies and the Eagles have anted up to bring in high quality talent. I believe the Flyers and the 76’ers are also committed to that same philosophy although I believe the front offices of the Eagles and the Phillies are a bit more astute with their moves. Certainly, following Philadelphia sports has become more interesting in recent years. For those harshly critical of the FO’s of these teams, take a long look back into their history and enjoy the present.
Last night three players who were not with the San Francisco Giants in what may well be a preview of this year’s NL championship series. Cliff Lee, who was with the Rangers last year and who perhaps has a little bit of payback in mind for the Giants, shut the Giants out in a complete game win, once again showing the dominant form that gave him a 0.24 ERA in the month of June. He was backed up by solo home runs by Hunter Pence and John Mayberry in the second inning. Hunter Pence has demonstrated why the Phillies were willing to give up four prospects, including their two top prospects, to bring him over from Houston to fill the void left by the departure of Jayson Werth. Pence is batting .360 as a Phillie while showing good power. Having him batting behind Ryan Howard seems to have also rejuvenated Howard’s game. Meanwhile, John Mayberry has made a serious push to demonstrate that he truly belongs on this roster. If the Phillies can continue their torrid pace of late, October could be very interesting for Philadelphia fans.
How much does DeSean Jackson mean to the Philadelphia offense? Certainly he makes the offense more dangerous by stretching the field and bringing a double team much of the time allowing other receivers to receive single coverage. Not to mention the threat he is to go the distance any time he touches the ball. I think that any of the people in the Eagles Front Office would say that he is an invaluable piece to their plans, so why is there no contract? I believe it comes down to a matter of principle. DeSean Jackson is still under contract for the coming year, so the team has every right to expect him to be in camp just like every other player on the roster. I truly believe that the team will negotiate a new contract, compensating him well after he arrives at camp because they do value DeSean’s contributions; and I don’t believe they want to see him hit the market as a free agent. However, the team does not want to set a precedent by allowing one individual to hold them hostage to his demands much like another wide receiver tried to do some years ago. Hopefully wisdom on both sides will prevail and DeSean Jackson will soon rejoin the fold and be rewarded commensurate with what he brings to the table.