Feb

4

Mike Schmidt is the only 3rd baseman so far to hit over 500 home runs. If Alex Rodriguez hadn't switched positions, it is more than likely that Schmidt would be the only one ever. Yet, for most of his career, the fans in Philadelphia were inclined to blame him because the Phillies had failed to win a championship. When the Phils finally did win the big one - because they got a bullpen to go with the starting pitching, someone asked Schmidt what he thought. He laughed and said, "It is amazing how much my character has improved from last season." The journalist took him at his word. Sport is wonderful, but at the professional level the outcome of a game is rarely determined by the character of the borrower. If Asante Samuel's hands hadn't betrayed him and Tyree and Manning hadn't made a play that they could not repeat again if they practiced it a hundred times, no one would be talking about the Giants' brilliant performance or their sterling character.

Last year Tom Brady managed to be missing when it came time to congratulate Peyton Manning for finally winning a playoff game against him. Love them or hate them, the Patriots' quarterback and his coach are consistent. They think they should win every game, and they don't want to stand around making nice when all they are thinking about is how to adjust the blocking scheme so that next time they catch the fake drop back and stunt by the Mike linebacker. As John McGraw did in his time, Bill Belichick views the game he coaches as being a war, not a game. It must be something in the water of the Chesapeake.


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