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@FakeWIPCaller’s Essential Phillies Preview

Apr 1, 2013, 9:36 AM EDT

The outrageous, indefensible anti-Philly bias of the national media has once again reared its ugly, prejudiced head.

The national media, showing they once again just don’t get it, and continue to exhibit a risible contempt for this city and its fans, are refusing to pick the Phillies to win the NL East. ESPN has them finishing third, and out of their panel of almost 40 experts, not a single one picked the Phils to win the division, not even alleged “Philly Guy” Jayson Stark.

And it’s not just ESPN. Even Sports Illustrated has predicted that the Washington Nationals will win the World Series. How can a team that’s never won a playoff series, and can’t even sell out their own stadium on opening day, win the World Series?

The Braves, meanwhile, don’t have a single starting pitcher who I’ve heard of, the Mets are a joke, and the Marlins? They’re so cheap it reminds me of the Phillies in the Bill Giles days.

The Phillies still have the core of a championship team: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels, Kendrick. It would’ve been nice if they’d been able to bring Shane Victorino back, or maybe swing a trade for Jayson Werth, but the Phils have added just what they needed — veteran leadership — in Michael Young and Delmon Young, as well as a budding superstar in Ben Revere.

Why can’t the national guys see that? Does their contempt for this city and its lunchpail, blue-collar fans run that deep? Shame on all these national reporters picking the Phillies to lose the NL East. Their bias has never been more obvious or offensive. When they say “I pick the Nationals,” what they really mean is, “Philly fans threw snow balls at Santa Claus.”

That said…

This team is old and slow.

For some reason they refused to spend any money this offseason, as apparently John Middleton would rather spend that cigar inheritance money on another new boat than on a true established superstar like Josh Hamilton. And those of you still doubting that the Phillies are cheap, they were valued this week, by Forbes magazine, at $893 million, while their payroll is a mere $150 million. No fan in this town should stand for that.

And look what everyone else in the majors is doing. The Tigers paid almost $200 million for Justin Verlander, while the Phillies paid about $1 million for John Lannan. That about says it all: you get what you pay for.

Then there’s the question of Roy Halladay. Now I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to be one, but as a fan who watched several spring training games, I feel I’m qualified to diagnose Halladay. I hurt my shoulder back in high school, and it looks an awful lot like that. Roy’s just plain not the same pitcher he was, and clearly never will be again. I can’t see him winning more than 14 or 15 games this year.

And let’s not forget — Charlie Manuel is still the manager, and he costs us 10-15 games each year with his dumb moves. They refuse to bat Ben Revere leadoff, as apparently Ruben and Charlie have fallen under the sway of those pencil-necked nerds who care about on-base percentage. Yuniesky Betancourt had a better batting average in spring training than Ted Williams had in 1941- and the Phils couldn’t find a way to keep him. And Domonic Brown? We’re really counting on that guy? I still say we should’ve traded him for Carlos Beltran five years ago like I wanted.

Perhaps, like a caller suggested Friday, the Phillies should have traded Howard, Utley, Rollins, Halladay and Lee to the Dodgers last year, when they had the chance.

I’m feeling third place. But I’m a true fan giving his honest assessment of his team- not like those biased ESPN hacks, who just hate us.

Other Philly sports takes:

- Of course, there is one Phillies hero we can all look up to. A Delaware man last week took advantage of a botched mail delivery and stole $37,000 worth of Diamond Club tickets and distributed them to friends. Every fan deserves a friend like him — our very own Philadelphia Robin Hood.

- Donovan McNabb resurfaced last week, tweeting in order to mock Tony Romo for his new contract extension, since the Cowboys QB got $55 million guaranteed with just one career playoff win. Never mind that the win was against McNabb himself- in the 2009 air guitar game, or that Donovan isn’t exactly in position to criticize someone else for lack of postseason success. And besides, Donovan keeps forgetting that if you haven’t won a Super Bowl, you don’t get to say anything about football, ever.

- Speaking of McNabb, even though the local media continues to give him a pass, it’s comforting that Bernard Hopkins doesn’t, and neither does John Cena.

- Multiyear, multi-million dollar contracts from three different teams in four years, when he hasn’t accomplished a thing in this league? Whoever Kevin Kolb’s agent is, he deserves a raise.

- The Phillies last week had a “Pup Rally,” a pre-season pep rally in which Phillies fans were invited to bring their dogs to cheer on the team. I was wondering why the Eagles have never had a Pup Rally, but then I remembered exactly why.

- Are Andrew Bynum’s knees in strong enough condition for me to drive him to the airport?

- Worst news of the season for fans of the orange and black: Sidney Crosby suffered a jaw injury, one which required surgery, and the Flyers had nothing to do with it.

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