The news came in Thursday afternoon and a feeling of sickness came over Philadelphia Phillies fans all over the region.
The Anaheim Angels had signed stud superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton, the last big free agent fish left on the market, to a five-year, $125 million contract. The Phils had made an offer – three years, $80 million – but it wasn't THE offer.
Then the Philadelphia Eagles decided to place defensive tackle Mike Patterson on the inactive list because of a viral illness – a move that meant Patterson would lose $150,000 in salary.
This move was really a slap in the face for a player who was fighting back from brain surgery – yes, brain surgery – to play for the Birds once again. Why be so cold to a dedicated player who was the longest tenured on the roster.
Eagles management, which has been dragged through the mud the whole year for its decisions, were blasted by the Philly media and fans all day. Then, late Thursday afternoon, management reversed course, saying Patterson's salary wouldn't suffer. (Ah, the power of the media.)
The loss of Hamilton, though, cannot be reversed. And while it was nice to hear talk from new centerfielder Ben Revere, that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing for Phillies fans about the upcoming season. No Hamilton probably means no playoffs. And no hope.
Phils General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had the cash to get Hamilton and there was hope earlier in the week that the big fish would be reeled in. But now we have to settle for guppies.
The football season will end in January with a losing record for the Birds and the loss of the team's longtime coach. Yet, we can't even get excited about spring training in February with no Hamilton.
At least the Grinches in Eagles management did the right think with Patterson. But the Phillies decided to go the Scrooge route.