Monday, May 24, 2004

Fly Out | Maybe it's because I watched the third period in a darkened Connecticut hotel room with the sound turned off, but the Flyers' loss to Tampa Bay Saturday night has not been as devastating to me as I expected it to be, especially after reading all of the papers' glum post-mortems. Severely banged-up and against a clearly superior opponent, Philadelphia stretched the conference finals to game seven through will alone. The Flyers went further than any of us had a right to hope for; in essence, they were playing with house money. Unlike prior body blows, this loss was a valiant one, one that will not strip away memories of what the team accomplished just to get there. The NHL is about to hang itself with a destructive work stoppage, and when it's all over and everyone is back on the ice, the Flyers likely will be a much different team than the one which ran out of gas Saturday night. So salute their accomplishment in the face of such adversity, then prepare for a brave new world.

The Flyers' loss leaves the Phillies as the only team to continue playing. I missed just about all of the weekend series against the Padres, but no matter -- recent form held, and the Phils took two of three to leapfrog back into first over the Marlins. The Phillies blogosphere helped me catch up last night with some really spot-on takes on the past few days. As Ken Hitchcock did, Larry Bowa is making do with his own depleted lineup, but is getting just enough pitching and hits in the right places to get by. It's not especially attractive to watch -- having Tomas Perez play first and Tim Worrell close is like that season when cousins Coy and Vance filled in for a striking Tom Wopat and John Schneider on The Dukes of Hazzard -- but wins are wins, and they don't give you extra points for pretty ones.

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