Where's Was Phoebe?

Well, I wanted to post something about last night's Society of Professional Journalist panel on blogging, but since I've been hit with an unexpected wave of intense reporting, I simply don't have the time. Until I can give my nickel's worth, here's what journalist Rebecca Wakefield, who was on the panel with Ron Gunzberger and I (Sun-Sentinel movie critic Phoebe Flowers was a no-show after promising SPJ she'd appear on the panel), wrote about it. Wakefield, as has been noted here in the past, started a new online magazine called category305, which I am going to link to on the right in the next couple of days.

Other than that, this weekend is all about the World Series. I'm rooting for Detroit, mainly because the fire in that team's engine is supplied by one of my favorite players, Pudge

Rodriguez. I was sick when the Marlins didn't offer Pudge a decent deal to return after he led them to the World Series (and carried the team on his back to beat the Giants in the division championship). When Ivan went to the then-lowly Tigers I figured he'd make them a winner, I just didn't think it would happen so quickly. Here's a column I wrote about the occasion (scroll down to the second half if you don't want to read about Dave Wannstedt, too). It has a couple of great Dave Hyde-isms. Here's what I said then about one of the greatest catchers ever:

Pudge is the opposite of the only other truly great catcher I've seen play, Johnny Bench. (Mike Piazza doesn't make the cut because he plays the position like a bush leaguer.) Bench made the ungainly, hunching catcher's spot seem absolutely graceful. He was cool and easy on the field like a southern breeze. Pudge doesn't make it look easy -- he has worked too hard for that. He isn't cool either. Rodriguez burns. And the furnace brimming behind that facemask fueled the World Series run.

Now, thanks to moneyball, we're left with a void where the Pudge used to be. And that will make for a cold October in Fishland this year.

I don't feel so strongly about Pudge as I did then, though, especially after steroids allegations surfaced and he lost about 30 percent of his body weight. Was the loss of size related to steroids? I don't know, but it bummed out my son -- who I took to a World Series game with me in 2003 -- and that bummed me out. But he's still one of the greatest competitors I've ever seen. And the hitting, starting pitching, and relief pitching of Detroit looks awesome right now. The Tigers (who I've already won some cash on during this post-season) are going to take out the Cardinals in, I'm gonna say, five games.

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