STANDING on a podium hastily set up behind second base, moments after the Phillies had clinched only the second world championship in franchise history, 71-year-old general manager Pat Gillick looked out at the cheering crowd and yelled into the microphone.

"Thanks for your support! And let's do it again!" he shouted hoarsely.

Uh, again? Isn't Gillick supposed to be retiring now?

"This is a great celebration. Let's worry about that tomorrow," he said.

Most likely, Gillick was just having a little fun. Every indication is that he plans to go out on top, just as he's said he will all along. Later, he again declined to say that.

"I just didn't want to answer the question then," he said. "And I'm not going to answer it now. This is not about where I'm going to be a month from now or a year from now."

Club president Dave Montgomery still hopes that Gillick might change his mind.

"We've been talking about it all along," he said. "I've made it clear to Pat how we feel and that the door is very much open. But he's told me time and again that he expected, expected, to retire."

One Phillies insider said Gillick reiterated as recently as Tuesday night that he plans to follow through on his plans to retire.

Poets corner

Joe Maddon is one of baseball's most literate managers, and he summed up his team's unlikely worst-to-first story last night with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes.

"A mind once stretched has a difficult time going back to its original form," he said after Tampa Bay's dream season ended. "I've always liked that. Our minds have been stretched. Everything about us has been stretched. I don't think our guys are ever going to be satisfied going home in October again."

Actually, the accepted version of the quote is, "A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions." Maddon came pretty close under tough conditions, though, and that's impressive. *