Dear Fans:

The truth has set us free.

Now that we in Phillies management have come clean and admitted Tom Gordon was indeed injured earlier this spring, we'd like to take this opportunity to correct some past prevarications:

Steve Carlton actually wanted to talk with the media. But since Lefty also believed Zionists killed Babe Ruth and the Phanatic was the central figure in a Communist plot to defoliate Clearwater, we forbade it.

Yes, you were right. Travis Lee was dead. In his initial spring here, the first baseman succumbed upon hearing Jack Russell Stadium organist Wilbur Snapp's rendition of Nessun Dorma. Lee's corpse was injected with medicinal products recovered from Lenny Dykstra's locker, propped up, and stuck on first base, where his personality quickly attracted young imitators like Chase Utley.

John Felske could not manage. Not a lick. But we think you'll have to admit he certainly looked like a manager. And after seeing Paul Owens in a uniform, that was an essential requirement.

We really wanted to make Frank Thomas and not Jeff Jackson our No. 1 pick in 1989. That changed when one of the den mothers in our scouting department suggested Thomas' shoulder might still be bothering him after that fight with Dick Allen.

Gene Mauch was not a genius. We came up with that whopper in 1961, when Mauch's 47-win team lost 23 straight and finished 46 games behind Cincinnati. Hey, what else were we going to sell? "Come see the Phils at Connie Mack. You'll get your tires slashed, your view obstructed and your love of baseball challenged."

We wanted to keep Ryne Sandberg. Pete Rose actually lost the future Hall of Famer in a 1982 poker game with a Chicago Tribune stockholder. Rose later denied ever knowing Sandberg and insisted he only played poker with family members.

We could have installed real grass in the Vet. But we figured the more fans moaned about the lousy artificial turf, the less they'd notice the mediocre teams we fielded for most of our 33 years there.

Larry Bowa and Scott Rolen were best of buddies. The two often spent spirited weekends together during which Bowa would instruct Rolen on such subjects as How to Irritate Teammates, How to Darken a Room, How to Irritate Opponents, How to Chomp Your Fingernails to a Bloody Nub, and How to Irritate Umpires.

Thank you for your patience.

We hope to see you soon at Citizens Bank Park, where we have the best food, a brilliant manager, and the team to beat in the NL East.

She's got the hat

Queen Elizabeth II will attend tomorrow's Kentucky Derby. Her Majesty, as anyone who has ever seen Prince Charles can attest, is quite a horse breeder.


Temple football had an Academic Progress Report score of 858, a total which nearly surpassed the Owls' average attendance.

NASCAR note of the week

Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen used a high-definition TV to identify the stuff Talladega fans hurled at driver Jeff Gordon last week.

"Here's what I didn't see," wrote Sorensen: "legal briefs, stethoscopes or keys to foreign cars; hard-cover books, paperback books or books with big words. . . . All I saw were the three C's (cans, coolers and chicken bones) and the two B's (beer bottles and broken glass)."

No offense to my colleague's investigative ardor, but I could have determined that on an 18-inch Dumont.

You never know

Obviously, the Eagles selection of QB Kevin Kolb was a crapshoot. Historically, the team has taken four quarterbacks in the second round.

One, Randall Cunningham (1985), was a stud.

One, Paul Campbell (1948), was a total bust.

One, Jack Concannon (1964), could never throw and enjoyed mild success in Chicago.

And one, Frank Tripucka (1949), never played here but became a pretty good QB in the early days of the AFL.