Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's still baseball season

Remember the days when the baseball season would have ended yesterday?

For too many summers, the Phils would be mired with a losing record, hopelessly out of the race.

Salvation was a shimmering mirage off in the distance of another red-hot summer. In other words, the first day of Eagles training camp.

Yes, the Birds are back at Lehigh University in Allentown. Veterans and rookies reported Monday. Andy Reid, resplendent in his finest Hawaiian shirt, addressed the media late yesterday afternoon. The rest of the team’s veterans are expected to show up Thursday.

But this isn’t most summers. Tonight the Phillies open a dramatic three-game set at Shea Stadium in New York against the hated Mets. The teams are dead even, tied atop the National League East.

The Phils send newly acquired starter Joe Blanton to the mound tonight. He gets the pleasure of going mano a mano with Mets’ ace Johan Santana. There’s more drama tomorrow night when Brett Myers returns to the Phils’ starting rotation after a stint in the minors in an attempt to get his troubled season back on track.

For now, the Eagles are not the big sports story in town. At least until Thursday. That’s when Brian Westbrook either will or will not show up for camp. Westbrook, the motor that makes the Eagles’ offense go, is unhappy with his deal with the Birds. He wants more money. He’s probably worth every penny of it. Right now it’s simply a matter of how much the Eagles will fork over.

We’ll deal with that Thursday. For now, bring on the Mets.

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