In retrospect, it's shocking that any of us were shocked.

Andy Reid has spent nearly nine years telling us that 30 is middle-aged in pro football, that 32 is nearing retirement and that 34 puts you in the rocking chair.

Donovan McNabb will be 31 in November.

Even disregarding the injuries he has suffered over the last four seasons, McNabb is as subject to the calendar as are the rest of us.

So it should not have been even an eye-opener that the Eagles felt compelled to draft a quarterback - a real prospect with the chance of starting for a playoff-quality NFL team someday - in last weekend's festivities.

Yet Eagleville was flabbergasted.

You have to wonder why. The very same fans were up in arms when the Birds released Duce Staley, Brian Mitchell, Hugh Douglas, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent due to creeping 30-something.

What made any of us think McNabb would be treated any different?

The week before the draft, the Eagles insisted they did not need any immediate help on either side of the ball, and their actions on draft day showed they meant it.

Reid has consistently begun replacing players as they hit 30 and his actions show he believes in that system.

Whether you agree with him is up to you. But nobody should have been surprised.

PhilaTrivia. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins entered the weekend tied for second in the National League in home runs. Who was the last full-time shortstop to lead the NL in homers?

Batter up! Is it time to ask what's wrong with Ryan Howard? The reigning National League MVP was hitting a robust .205 as the Phillies began play against San Francisco on Friday night.

It's impossible to determine how many games the Phillies lost in 2005 because Charlie Manuel insisted on hitting a struggling Jim Thome in the cleanup spot. Would putting Howard sixth in the order until he regains his "eye" be completely out of the question?

Quote of the week.

John Facenda Jr., son of the greatest voice that ever graced NFL Films, has sued the NFL to stop the league from merchandizing his father's voice and name.

Prior to his death in 1984, the great broadcaster gave the NFL the right use his voice on tape in any capacity except product endorsement. John Facenda Jr. has zealously guarded his father's legacy, and for a good reason.

"He does not want to wake up one day hearing his father's voice advertising condoms," said his lawyer, Paul Lauricella.

No Bo in the Bronx.

With Joe Torre wriggling on the hot seat as the Yankees continue to struggle, team observers say the manager is relatively safe.

While no one can safely predict George Steinbrenner's actions, nearly everybody agrees that Torre is safe - for now - because there is no logical successor.

How about Larry Bowa as the next manager of the Bronx Bombers?

No way, wrote Bob Klapisch of the Bergen County Record.

"He has the experience," Klapisch wrote, "but is too hard-nosed and old-school for most of the veterans. His hiring, even on an interim basis, would not be received well."

Gee, and all this time you thought it was only Scott Rolen.

Funny times

I made an unaccountable blunder last week, saying no team from New York City (or Philly or Boston) was in the NHL or NBA playoffs this spring. All this while the

New York

Rangers were advancing to Round Two of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The aftermath was one of the biggest surprises I've had in 32 years with this paper. I got more than 150 e-mails, a dozen questions on the Philly.com Web site and several angry phone calls.

My previous personal record on any one topic was 162 responses to a column suggesting Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb might have blown the Super Bowl.

So it would appear that readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer are more interested in the New York Rangers than they are in the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, Flyers and Penn State (my usual topics) combined.

Live and learn.

Trivia answer. Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, who led the NL in homers in both 1958 and 1960 while playing short. (He was switched to first base later in his career.)

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