PHILADELPHIA — Pat Burrell wondered how Phillies fans would observe his return to Citizens Bank Park Friday.And just for the record, the Phillies play Tampa Bay again for real in June, but it's for three road games.
With a little help from the Phils, who warmed up the crowd with a striking and at times emotional video tribute, Burrell turned the page on nine years with the Phillies he vowed never to forget.
Burrell went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, a walk, a stolen base and two tips of the cap in his new role as designated hitter to spot the Tampa Bay Rays the lead in the otherwise meaningless exhibition game.
The Phils rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to claim a 3-2 victory, minor league prospect Jason Donald plating Eric Bruntlett with a bases-loaded single with nobody out. Drama always seems to mark this rivalry although you pretty much can predict the result.
That said, the night belonged to Burrell.
The Phils dispensed letter-sized prints of Burrell slugging the seventh-inning double high off the wall to spark a rally against the Rays in Game 5 of the World Series.
After the video, an emotional Burrell popped out of the dugout to wave his cap to the Phillies’ faithful, who gave him a standing ovation.
Now, I would ask that you compare and contrast with this from March 2008 (no class)...
The 76ers are talkin' about Allen Iverson once more.To be fair, Snider was complimentary towards Iverson in the article, but it was still crappy not to even go to the trouble of giving Iverson a tribute the way the Phillies did with Burrell (would the Phillies have done this for Burrell had they not won the World Series? A fair question, and I don't know the answer.)
Here he comes, 15 months after he was kicked out of Philadelphia over irreconcilable differences, A.I., The Answer, the MVP, the hip-hop hoops icon -- call him what you want -- is back in the city he once owned like few others ever have in its deep, rich sports history (with his then-new team, the Denver Nuggets).
The Sixers will not honor Iverson with a video tribute or plan to acknowledge his return in any form other than the standard announcing of his name when starting lineups are introduced.
"There will be plenty of time for accolades for Allen Iverson when he retires," (Sixers owner Ed "Freedom's Watch") Snider said.
And speaking of the Sixers, the record this year of the fired Maurice Cheeks was 9-14 (122-137 overall). Replacement coach Tony DiLeo's record is 31-21, which is OK. And the team locked up a playoff berth today, so good for them.
Are they good enough to get out of the Eastern Conference of the NBA (as opposed to the Phillies, who of course won it all last year)? Next question...