I’m not going to say it was the least informative press conference of all-time. And, I won’t say that it was the least entertaining, but if you think you came out of Monday’s (at times labored) affair with a new story, then you are squeezing your Ipad a bit too tight. This was standard vanilla, with Cliff Lee leading the way. He managed such gems as, “cart in front of the horse,” and “every team is even right now.” It was five guys going through the motions, each dealing with it in their own way. About the only interesting moment was when one reporter forgot Blanton was on the ’08 World Series team, either that, or he crafted his question before it was official Joe was coming along for the ride. Summarizing the starters…
Cliff Lee: Lee, to his credit is willing to answer a question. There was a lot of looking around, waiting for someone else to answer. Lee will answer your question, but he’s a strong believer in common sense. Don’t ask Cliff something you know the answer to. He’ll become visibly upset with your deliberate journalistic process. Also, he doesn’t like any nickname that involves the 4 aces. He wants it to be five. So, naturally my first thought is that they should be called “Five Guys: Burgers and Fries.” Second Choice, “Five Alive.”
Halladay: Halladay is probably the least controversial player on the planet. He makes Lee look like an open book. The start of the press conference had the feel that Halladay would get asked most of the general questions, as if he was the de facto spokesperson, but pretty soon it was apparent he wasn’t going to offer anything. Cliff stepped in with long-winded answers that said nothing.
Oswalt: The other Roy looked bored out of his mind. He gladly passed any question generally addressed to “Roy,” off to Halladay, and when someone did ask him something specific he seemed to almost startle back to consciousness. About the only newsworthy item, though still a rehash, is that Oswalt isn’t certain he’ll pitch past this season.
Hamels: Hamels wanted to be the star of this show, or should I say he was like a puppy who retrieves a ball and then wants his pat on the head. Cole efforted a few jokes, he went out of his way to praise and mention Joe Blanton, but there is something about Cole that makes him come off as corny…perpetually. Even when he says something that might be funny, coming from him, the timing is almost always a miss. He claimed to have no ego. There was no follow-up regarding his wife’s…
Blanton: I felt bad for Blanton. He was stone-cold disrespected by the early slight. The praise for him from the other players felt like someone dropping the, ‘she’s got a great personality,” line. He got asked more than once if he expects to be in Philly all year, and in the end there was probably not much need for him to be there. You wanted to cut everyone off and say, can’t we all just admit out loud that Blanton is severely lacking in talent relative to this group? There’s nothing wrong with that. Falsely building him up, or tip-toeing around it just made things more uncomfortable.
In the end, this Phillies rotation is very good on paper, but they probably aren’t going to be very good in the paper. Curt Schilling isn’t walking through that door. And, it’s a shame in some ways that there isn’t a media lover in this group, because the others would surely like having their privacy. Hopefully having four top-starters is enough to spread around the in-face microphones after each game.
CHARLIE GOES PUJOLS:
Now we know the answer to the question, what do Charlie Manuel and Albert Pujols have in common? Certainly Albert isn’t destined for a career in Japan, but it looks like they are employing the same contract negotiation strategy. The limits of Charlie’s goodwill, and “not being worried,” about the contract look like they are being tested. Manuel’s deadline runs through spring training, so hopefully the sides can now kick-start things and get a deal done. I’m not sure what the Phillies are waiting for. They do have their roots as spendthrifts, but quibbling over a million dollars or two makes them look foolish with the money they’ve been spending. And, Charlie is too popular right now not to give an extension to. The only way you don’t extend him is if you aren’t expecting 2011 to be a success, and there’s no logic in that. Old Chuck will have the fans squarely in his corner, and the Phillies will probably eventually have to cave on this one.
Quiz of the Day: Entertainment Hodge Podge. Category: Famous People and Speed. My Score: 43/50.
This is a sprint. You can’t skip ahead. Time is of the essence. I wasted precious seconds blindly guessing X-men characters. Beware. In the end, I was stumped, but I was also about to run out of time. Good Luck…