Is there anyone out there who can be compared to Tiger Woods?
In his first start of the season Tiger left the rest of a good field gasping for air after the first few rounds, prompting Justin Leonard to say "There's two tournaments going on. I'm going to try to win the tournament that Tiger's not playing." Then Tiger went on to easily win the tournament, announcing he felt stronger and better than ever.
It's as if the Mets began the first week of the season by collectively tossing three no-hitters, belting fifteen home runs and throwing in a triple play for good measure.
The called Wayne Gretzky "The Great One", a moniker that seems pitifully understated in describing Woods.
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It wouldn't come as a surprise if the Phillies-Ryan Howard contract squabble grew more acrimonious over the next few weeks as each side digs in its heels. The Phils' alleged brain trust is already underplaying their differences, a sure sign the gulf between them is even greater than $3 million.
Every commentary on the subject mentions the Albert Pujols factor, as in, how much was King Albert paid, for how long and at what point in his career. Frankly, I'd rather have Pujols on my team if I were building one, but that's besides the point. Howard was the leading power hitter in the NL in the last few seasons and big boppers have always commanded big salaries. The Phillies don't have much of a choice if they want to lock up Howard for the long-term and keep him happy in the short one.
On the other hand, Howard's reading on the disrespectomter rises with each passing season, as in, he feels disrespected. When either the subject of his contract or long-termstatus as a Phillie comes up, there has been more of an edge to him since last year's contract negotiations.
Like it or not, management has to understand he is the face of the franchise, the one player most identified around the country as a Phillie.
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Mike Lieberthal retired. Quietly, without ever calling much attention to himself, Lieby set most of the franchise records for his position. He played wounded for half of his career, which is a shame. Looking at his lifetime stats, it is surprising to realize he batted .274 over his thirteen seasons. One always had the sense he came through sporadically at best, about one in four times.
The biggest knock on Lieberthal in the last few seasons he spent in Philadelphia is that he never seemed to take command of the team as its longest-tenured player, nor did he ever seem to take charge of the pitching staff, especially during a game.
In the end, his was a quiet career...perhaps too quiet given the position he played.