SPRINGFIELD, N.J. - Admit it. You heart Rickie Fowler, too. The matinee idol of the PGA Tour is the unquestioned star of a series of insurance commercials in which professional golfers are hooked up to a lie detector and questioned by a woman, who clearly acts as if she finds Fowler attractive. At one point she compliments his "beautiful face," then jots "I heart RF" on the polygraph paper.
THE THRILL of the NBA draft often lies more in the development of the known than of the unknown. That sounds counterintuitive, but think about it. Which players in recent draft history have supplied more unexpected results: The one-and-done talent mutants; or, the stay-in-school plodders who continue to blossom in college?
AFTER THE INDIGNITY of Wednesday night, it's time to set the big man free. The punchless Phillies faced righthander Marco Estrada and the powerful Blue Jays. Ryan Howard, the Phillies' franchise first baseman for the last decade, was 4-for-11 with a homer and four RBI against Estrada. Tommy Joseph, the new starting first baseman
YOU COULD almost hear the briefcase clicking shut Monday evening. That's when Howie Roseman finished a four-month negotiation with Fletcher Cox, perhaps already the best defensive tackle in Eagles history and probably the best athlete in the city, depending on how you regard Claude Giroux.
IF YOU WANT to remember Ali in your own special way, then stop right here. If you revere him or if you revile him, and if you want to entrench yourself, that is your right. Muhammad Ali led a varied life in trying times, a life that justifies almost any sort of judgment.
THIS WILL TAKE some getting used to. For three years, things couldn't happen quickly enough for the Eagles. They hired fast-talking Chip Kelly, who installed his Machine Gun offense and enacted a slash-and-burn roster reorganization. Kelly got instant production from Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Sam Bradford and even Mark Sanchez.
THE PROCESS, as it was presented at its inception, begins soon. When the Sixers won the first overall pick in the NBA draft lottery Tuesday, they won their first real chance at growth since The Process first begged for your trust. This is growth, delayed. It will require patience; much more than the first three years. It will be painful, partly because of the delay and partly because of the enticing players who will fill the roster.
SAM BRADFORD'S two weeks of temporary insanity ended Monday. He returned to the team and retracted his demand to be traded after signing, just weeks before, a two-year, $35 million contract. When he resumed voluntary workouts, he was by all accounts welcomed back by teammates without animosity.
IT IS A formidable undertaking, and amusing to observe. Howie Roseman is trying to reconstruct his image. Once defensive, sometimes feral, Roseman now patiently explains decisions. He has forsaken acceptance into the testosterone-driven Old Boys Network. Smallish and bookish, Roseman is resigned to the fact that he can never be Ozzie Newsome; better, then, to emulate Theo Epstein.
Marcus Hayes is a sports columnist for the Daily News. Hired more than 20 years ago as a features writer, he has since covered the Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers beats as well as Big Five basketball, college football, golf, and the Olympics.