Phelps as Good as Gold by Jeff Lyons
Talking the talk is one thing. Walking the walk – or swim – is something completely different.
Alain Bernard was doing his share of trash talking before Monday’s 4x100 freestyle relay. He said his French team would “smash” the American men and take the gold. Yeah, not so much.
In one of the most thrilling races in Olympic history, American anchor Jason Lezak slid past Bernard to beat the French by .08 seconds for the gold. While Lezak and teammates Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones and Garrett Weber-Gale celebrated wildly – with Jones nearly falling into the pool – the bewildered French looked on, trying to figure out what happened.
Last night, Phelps won his third gold medal of the Beijing games (the ninth of his career) and he goes for two more tonight. His next gold medal will make him the most decorated Olympian in history.
I like going to the pool as much as the next guy. I've never been much of a swimming fan, though. These Olympics have changed my mind. Phelps is one of those athletes that comes along once in a lifetime. He's shattering world records and being a nice guy while doing it. It's a treat to watch him and watch history unfold with my family.
The Eagles did right by Brian Westbrook. Coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner aren't usually fond of reworking contracts for players. But they did the right thing when they extended Westbrook for three years. The contract reportedly guarantees Westbrook $13 million over the next two years. Westbrook IS the Eagles offense. He's one of the most dominant players in the NFL. He led the league with 2,104 yards from scrimmage last season, which including rushing for more than 1,000 yards and catching 90 passes. Not bad for a third-round pick out of Villanova.
Cornerback Lito Sheppard remains unhappy with his situation. He wants to be traded. It says here the Eagles should hang onto him, unless some team wants to throw a number-one receiver Philadelphia's way. Depth wins football games in the NFL, and with Sheppard, Assante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, the Eagles have one of the deepest defensive secondaries in the game.
I stayed up to watch the Phillies after I watched Phelps win his gold last night. I should've gone to bed right after the pool. Kyle Kendrick got shelled and the Phillies lost a golden opportunity (I'm in an Olympic frame of mind) to increase their lead over the Mets and Marlins. At least they didn’t lose any ground. But I did take pleasure in watching the Mets bullpen implode yet again, this time against the Pirates on Monday afternoon.
Cole Hamels, winless in his last six appearances for the Phils, gets the start tonight. The Phillies haven't scored much when Hamels has pitched of late, so I think it's time for a little small ball. I'd love to see Jimmy Rollins lead off the game with a bunt single and steal second. Shane Victorino then moves him to third with a ground ball to the right side and Rollins then scores on a double by Chase Utley. If only it were that easy. If there's one pitcher you want to get runs for, it's Hamels.
Jeff Lyons, senior managing editor of the Philadelphia Bar Reporter and Bar Reporter Online, is a fanatical Philadelphia sports fan. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.