From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Sportsman of the Year

Michael Phelps is Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. Hardly surprising. He beat out Barack Obama, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods and Bernard Hopkins. Phelps also took down another local candidate dear to Philly - Charlie Manuel.

SI writer Tom Verducci nominated Chaz even though, he wrote, no one has ever called Manuel a "genius" or an "innovator."

Are you surprised by the nomination? And can you think of a more unlikely Sportsman of the Year than Charlie?

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Sportsman of the Year

I'm not surprised, because Verducci is a baseball guy, and I'm sure that, given that Phelps was going to run away with the honor, the writers were probably told to think a little outside of the box. After the Phils' improbable run, who else in that sport would you give it to? Manny? Selig? Romeo, or Casino, or whatever Pat Burrell's dog is named?

We should name a local Sportsman of the Year. You want a few never-in-a-zillion-years candidates that Chaz wouldn't even touch? Andy Reid. Donovan McNabb. Jeffrey Lurie. And that's just a few inside the NovaCare Complex.

From: Sheridan, Ford

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Subject: Sportsman of the Year

Ashley's read is almost certainly spot-on. Editors love to push for the unexpected name in a situation like that. The relief is that nobody at SI was foolhardy enough to let that desire to buck the current override common sense. If Michael Phelps wasn't the SI Sportsman of the Year in 2008, the honor would have absolutely no credibility.

And I'm a huge Usain Bolt guy, believe me. I still get chills thinking about watching the 100 meters from my purloined seats near the finish line at the Bird's Nest.

But I was shocked the SI editors passed on the opportunity to get a swimsuit shot on the cover. Don't they like near-nudity? Or does that pertain only to half the population?

As for local sportsmen, Cole Hamels is an obvious enough choice after being named MVP of both the NLCS and World Series. I might lobby for Jamie Moyer, though. He won 16 games at age 45 and played a huge role in Hamels' maturation and development. Plus, he had the presence of mind to dig up the pitching rubber at the Bank and carry it off as a trophy.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Sportsman of the Year

Locally, I'd like to nominate Matt Stairs - both for the home run he hit against the Dodgers and for his memorable quote thereafter about how nothing is better than "getting your [backside] hammered" by your teammates when something like that happens.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Sportsman of the Year

I nominate Gonzo, because before he arrived in town in August, there was this little streak going. All of a sudden, this wonderful City of Brotherly Hate, I mean Love, has its championship. A title and a tilted head. What could be better?