Not So Even-Steven

Monday, May 25, 2009


Does everyone remember how Steve Phillips dropped the ball in the Mets' Sunday Night Baseball game last week? Well, let me refresh your memory.

Bob Raissman, of the Daily News, wrote at the time:

The baseball season is not even two months old, but it's long enough to know Steve Phillips the new mouth in ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" booth, and Joe Morgan, the old one, don't agree on much.

Morgan is doing most of the disagreeing. The third man, Jon Miller? His role is now epitomized by one of the booth shots ESPN aired Sunday (Mets-Giants). While Phillips and Morgan were gabbing away, Miller, the play-by-play voice, was looking out at the field through a pair of binoculars.

Maybe he was tired of another one of their conversations. Or maybe Miller, who worked "alone" with Morgan for the past 19 seasons on "SNB," has just accepted his new - somewhat muffled - status.

The tone of Morgan's responses to Phillips makes it hard figuring if he really disagrees with the former Mets GM or is just trying to polish his own star.

Some of the stuff coming out of Phillips' mouth deserved to be thrown back in his face. Like in the fourth inning, when Phillips gave credence to inhabitants of the Valley of the Stupid, sports talk radio, as if its take on Jose Reyes is gospel.

"The talk on New York talk radio was trade Jose Reyes," Phillips said. "They believe (Mets brass) have to change the core of the team. ... And a lot of people in New York think Jose Reyes is part of the problem."

Morgan (derisively): "Well, I'm not a big believer in talk radio."

Phillips: "I'm not, either." (Hmm, strange coming for a guy who has his own daily segment on ESPN 1050.)

Then why, on national TV no less, did Phillips choose to pay homage to the first-time-long-time geek patrol?

Earlier in the game, Phillips said "winning teams" have at least one "flawless" player - a performer who does not make mistakes. The Mets, Phillips said, don't have one.

Morgan: "Being honest with you Steve, that (the concept of a "flawless" player) is wishful thinking."

Morgan should have taken it a step further and asked Phillips if he once actually thought Mo Vaughn was a "flawless" player?

There's more. After Phillips said Reyes and David Wright are part of the Mets long-term solution, he suggested that GM Omar Minaya (he referred to Minaya as "they") might want to start thinking if Carlos Beltran has a future with the Mets. For "the $17-plus million they have invested in him," Phillips wondered if the Mets were getting enough "game-winning plays" in return.

"I definitely would disagree," Morgan said. "You want more from Beltran, but you can't deny he's put up the numbers."

In all this back-and-forth, Phillips showed no spine. No one is suggesting that these debates should be taken to an extreme. Nonetheless, every time Morgan shot down Phillips there was little response. Phillips needs to counter-punch. That would make the television more compelling.

So, Eli, why do you bring it up now?

Well, newspapers, blogs, and sports talk radio were bashing Phillips like there was no tomorrow and I was wondering if Phillips was feeling the heat. He was.

Recently, ESPN has come out with a commercial comically stating how Steve Phillips is the best thing since zip-locked bags. In it, he wears a chest protector while a man throws baseballs at it as Phillips correctly guesses the speed at 88 mph. Also, he implies that he was a great GM since he discovered "David Wright at a Dance Marathon." In addition, ESPN attempts to shine more godly spotlight on Phillips as he helps a group of people, who are viewing a 3-D image poster, by telling them what the secret image is.

Are you serious?!

This is a pathetic attempt to make Phillips' likable again. (Again?) Too bad, New Yorkers and the Nation heard words out of Phillips mouth last week that are just not retractable and cover-up-able. All this commercial does is make Phillips look even sillier than when he opens his mouth on television, on the radio and in general.

Here's some advice for ya, Steve: Why not try going away for a while? Far far away.

Oh yeah...and follow lead from the zip-lock bag. Zip it.

(Editor's Note: The commercial has not yet been released online but when it does, I'll be sure to zip it right over to the blog)


gary cohen said...

Moran is an idiot, Phillips, was a bad GM, & Miller is senile!

crosby kohn said...

great article el,just any talk about phillips ,needs some victor and kazmir in it

Eli From Brooklyn said...

Lol, that's true. And Mo Vaughn too...

Joe said...

Great post Eli. Of the three though, Morgan annoys me the most.

Eli From Brooklyn said...

Thanks, Joe.

All should check out Joe's site at (good good stuff).