Inquirer and Daily News Again Go After Phillies… Then Ask Readers if Cliff Lee is Washed Up

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Day two of the war to end all wars: sports writers from the Inquirer and Daily News, trying to protect their medium and existence, fire more shots at Phillies’ gestapo.

Yesterday, we told you about articles written by Inquirer reporters Frank Fitzpatrick, Bob Brookover and Phil Sheridan. The latter questioned the Phillies’ player development decisions, but it was Fitzpatrick and Brookover who went after the team the hardest. They took direct aim at the Phillies’ decision to let Ryan Howard receive a cortisone shot near his Achilles last September and the team’s ensuing transparency relating to that procedure, Howard’s Achilles surgery, and continuing rehab.

The Big Poker took exception to the articles.

For the second time this season, Ruben Amaro held a press conference to tell reporters that he and the Phillies don’t lie, don’t have anything to hide, and have the players’ best interests in mind.

Here’s what Amaro had to say, as captured by Howard Eskin, via CSN Philly:

If you were unable to watch:

“I think that there was an insinuation that maybe the organization didn’t have the best interest of the player, and that’s not true at all. Obviously, we have a tremendous investment in Ryan, and to be frank with you, we’re probably the most conservative when it comes to cortisone shots. Probably the most conservative club in baseball.”


Amaro also made it clear that Phillies doctors were well aware of the risks of giving Howard a cortisone shot – something that many medical professionals say can weaken tendons – near his Achilles.

Reporters, of course, had some thoughts about the odd, impromptu in-game media scrum:

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And Delco Times beat writer Ryan Lawrence on Amaro's comment about being judicious with cortisone shots:

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Today, Sheridan and Daily News beat writer David Murphy continued to go after the Phillies. 

First up, Sheridan:


This became an issue Sunday when Amaro chose to call an in-game news conference, assembling a couple of dozen reporters in a tiny room behind the press box at Citizens Bank Park, to complain about "innuendo and insinuations" in the article. He proceeded to give the Phillies' side of the decision to give Howard a cortisone shot.

This explanation would have been a great help several weeks ago, when the Phillies told The Inquirer's Frank Fitzpatrick they would "take a pass" on cooperating with his report. The lesson, if anyone is willing to learn it, is that it would have helped the Phillies as well as the paper. It also would have helped that future athlete looking for all the information possible to make a similar decision.

But there is plenty in their history to illustrate that they choose secrecy and a kind of condescending disdain when dealing with the media, who in turn convey information to the millions of fans who pump millions of dollars of revenue into this franchise. The decision to "take a pass" on answering reasonable questions was consistent with their history. So is disliking the outcome. 


And Murphy, who added nothing new to the conversation but wanted to throw his hat into the ring anyway:


 The Phillies’ biggest problem is not with their medical expertise, but with their media expertise, and their glaring inexperience with life as the No. 1 show in town, especially when the No. 1 show in town is underachieving. After Howard’s surgery in October, the club published a press release that quoted Amaro as saying that it would be “five to six months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level,” a timetable so optimistic that anybody with any degree of knowledge about Achilles’ injuries should have ignored it. It has been a little more than 7 months post-op , which is still in the early part of most announced timetables for returns from the injury. But those 7 months included the appearance of a projected timetable flip-flop, the appearance of an infection setback flip-flop, and, of course, the “Chase Utley is going to be ready for Opening Day … oh wait, no he’s not” flip-flop, which can make 7 months feel a lot like perpetuity.


Their points are mostly good ones. Still, after seeing your comments, it’s clear that most of you don’t care what the Phillies do and say as long as they win. But I’m not sure I agree with that.

This isn’t about the Phillies not playing nice with the media. It’s about them being so disconnected that they (and this includes many of the players– ahem, Chase Utley) scoff at fans’ interest in the team. The media is there to gather information for you (even though there often exists a wild disconnect between what they write and what you care about).

It’s safe to say that nearly all of us are very interested in the health and progress of Howard and Utley, arguably the team’s two best hitters, who are making a combined $35 million this season and are owed roughly $155 million on their contracts. Yet, as with most things, the Phillies are overly protective and downright disdainful, often for no reason other than to be difficult, when the topics come up.

Had Amaro told reporters two weeks ago what he did yesterday, or had Brookover been allowed to watch Howard take batting practice last week, this would probably be a non-issue right now. Instead, the Phillies are getting slammed… for the second day in a row.

 Then again, maybe you can't blame them for being so standoffish with the media when nonsense like this on runs alongside articles criticizing the team:

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Despite yesterday's poor start, Cliff Lee still has an ERA of 2.66, 40 K, 5 BB, and 0.86 WHIP. Nice question.


32 Responses

  1. is loaded with hacks and I wish for the day they go belly up. The multiple choice question only proves it more so. This is why Bryz has problems in the media. When these hacks don’t get their asses kissed properly they go on the offensive towards the team/ players they cover. It’s stupid of the media really. Stay classy Hackish scribes, stay classy my friends.

  2. I’ll never understand the media and (some) fan obsession while dudes are rehabing. How about leave them be, and allow them to get better. How about not throw around wild accusations without SOLID proof.
    I’ve never seen fans really care about perceived media lock outs. Shut the fuck up, whiney reporters.

  3. I’m still pissed he traded Richards, but could care less about Carter.

  4. A lot of this (especially Murphy’s excerpt) plays into their fraudulent “sell-out streak”. Kyle – have you seen the reports yet of them putting remaining tickets on stub-hub for $1? If they go to stub-hub apparently that is considered a “sale” whether it sells or not from there. We all see the empty seats.

  5. I’m having a hard time deciding which side is the more self-serving, the Phillies or the writers.
    No wait, its obviously the “scribes” who generate page views and indirectly $ with every outraged posting.
    Mr. Molehill meet Mr. Mountain.

  6. honestly, the sports section of the Inquirer is the only decent part of that paper, and the writers are arrogant asshats for most sections, excluding sports. Sports has *normally* been OK there.
    I get that they don’t like that Rube has not been feeding them. However, there is a lot of sensationalist-type journalism being done by the sports section that makes talk radio look sane, which is becoming a reason for me not to visit their site or read their coverage. I like the Phillies, I like Ruben Amaro jr. I think they do try their best to keep athletes healthy and on the field. But they are reporting on THEIR beef with the organization that they cannot do their job. I don’t care. It sounds like all of you local MSM sports reporters are doing this to 1) increase readership through sensationalism, 2) have a forum for you to whine on, 3) be extremely passive aggressive in attacking the phillies.
    If you all really have a problem like this and you wanted to air it out that the phillies organization is messing up with players and treatments, put Amaron on the hotseat during a press conference. Don’t do it on a sports page for him to read. Its like high school girls fighting through a blog, except the blog is a newspaper, and the girls are “professional” reporters, and the Phillies media department.

  7. What a shit news organization.
    Cry me a fucking river Brook and the rest of the stupid fucking hacks.

  8. Cliff Lee is washed up? He has been pitching fantastically. Anyone who uses the Win as a statistic to gauge the effectiveness of a pitcher is no longer entitled to voice an opinion regarding baseball.

  9. What makes the question even dumber than it already is is that none of the options are “Yes.” Obviously he isn’t done, but why ask the question in the first place if you’re telling us what we have to choose as the answer anyway?

  10. You realize that the team doesn’t have to say a word, right? We aren’t shareholders. We are fans. We aren’t entitled to anything just because we bought jerseys or tickets or whatever. For the media to get all butthurt because they didn’t get every little thing they wanted is just ridiculous. Besides, the media is doing what it is supposed to do. Stir the pot and make you read, and it is working.

  11. And people wonder why Philadelphia comes across as having negative-minded fans when its own papers/online news outlet presents them with a ridiculously stupid question like that when Lee is among the leaders in several pitching categories. Wins mean jack shit.

  12. Who the hell do they think they are going after Cliff like that? That’s like posing the question “is Halladay over the hill?” because he hadn’t won any of his previous five starts before the most recent one. Of course he isn’t…he’s just not getting the run support, just like Cliff. No wonder the newspaper business is failing miserably.

  13. I refer to this as the WIP-inizaton of Philadelphia. WIP has been feuding with teams and making outlandish statements to make the local teams look bad for years …just everyone else is seeing how successful they’ve been doing it and are trying the same formula. Sports reporting in this city is heinously pore for such a big market.

  14. come on. hired that blog hack Ryan Petzar who made a name for himself by creating fake twitter accounts and creating fake trade rumors. Now he walks around the Phillies press box like he is an actual journalist. would you expect anything less from them when they are hiring guys like that????

  15. Where is all this reporter machismo when Andy Reid gives his press conferences?

  16. Somewhere Andy Reid, Banner, Roseman and Luries are in a room @ the NovaCare Complex having a chuckle at all of this, since for once they arent at the frontline of all this bullshit.

  17. I see the sports writers are trying to make the sports section the same low level of quality the rest of those newspapers are. The quality of those newspapers is as much to blame as the digital age is for their decline.

  18. It’s always in the team’s best interests to cooperate within reason with media requests for coverage and interviews. Otherwise, in cases like this for example, it just leads to a lot of “well then what are they hiding?” speculation if access isn’t granted.
    What’s the worst thing that could happen? Howard has a setback and we find out 24 hours before the team would otherwise be willing to let us know?

  19. Mike: Good question. I suspect Reid has the Eagles beat writers either ridiculously pussywhipped or rendered numb and apathetic from 13 years worth of droning nonsense he vomits up after every game.
    While I normally stick up for the writers who are the conduit of information about the teams for the fans, but I can’t go along with this campaign against the Phillies. Sure, I can understand that Amaro is stonewalling them something awful, but that doesn’t mean they should gang up on the team like they have. Makes no sense.

  20. I just took a huge shit, unfortunately, we were out of toilet paper. Yesterday’s Inquirer was tucked behind the tank but i chose to wipe my ass with my 40 dollar bvd boxer briefs. Why risk contamination?

  21. Think I would enjoy philly sports so much more if the media would just go away…forever…

  22. I am so outraged that this site is about nothing more than page views that I’m going to give it some every single day so I can point it out in the comments.

  23. I don’t care about Ryan Howards emotional state or how they handle his business. I just want a realistic estimation of when we can see him again. And I won’t feel bad for Chase Utley at all when Galvis takes his job. He kept playing through an injury because he didn’t want his daddy to call him a pansy and now he’s hurting his team because he failed to get on the routine that he needed to be on.

  24. The Phillies aren’t transparent and neither are the Eagles and Flyers. And like NickfromGermantown said, anyone who thinks Win/Loss is a useful statistic in how good a pitcher is doesn’t know baseball.
    Murphy is probably jerking off to his article right now.

Comments are closed.