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Bob Ford: Annual cleaning of wordsmith's barn

They have accumulated once again like old traffic tickets stuffed into the glove compartment. Despite the best intentions and resolutions of each new year, a large number of corrections and clarifications that should have been published in this section throughout 2008 did not appear because of diligent effort of the author.

They have accumulated once again like old traffic tickets stuffed into the glove compartment. Despite the best intentions and resolutions of each new year, a large number of corrections and clarifications that should have been published in this section throughout 2008 did not appear because of diligent effort of the author.

The Fifth Annual Corrections Column is not something we're proud of, but it is time to come clean, ask forgiveness, and make a new start. Once more, promise, this won't happen again.

In a column Jan. 27, Bob Ford wrote: "The Giants are no better than most of the semi-competitive circus acts in the National Football Conference. On a given day (although no given day this season, one must note), the Eagles are every bit as good as the Giants. As are the Cowboys, Packers, Bucs, Seahawks and, ye gods, maybe even the Redskins. The Giants are a nice little team playing way over its head at the moment - or at least over the height-challenged heads of the rest of the conference."

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford only occasionally has any idea what he's talking about.

In a column Jan. 23, Bob Ford wrote: "On the last corner before the last turn into Gen. Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, perhaps the only remaining metropolitan airport accessible by residential streets, strip clubs and tiki bars, one final thought on the motel marquee tried to shine through the thickening snowfall."

The Inquirer has a thought about this lead paragraph but will keep it to itself.

In a column April 3, Bob Ford wrote: "The same people who decry college football's rigged system of eliminating the small fries in favor of the power potatoes are the ones salivating over this weekend's proceedings in San Antonio, Texas."

The Inquirer rejects this analogy because of its high concentration of empty carbohydrates.

In a column on May 8, Bob Ford wrote: "Just as fascinating is Stefanski's hope that burgeoning star Thaddeus Young can develop into a slightly better ball handler and become the regular small forward, moving aside to make room for the power forward acquisition. If that happens, where does Andre Iguodala play? History tells us it isn't shooting guard. It certainly isn't point guard. The answer might turn out to be: in another city."

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Stefanski did not pay more attention to Mr. Ford's suggestion.

In a column on May 2, Bob Ford wrote: "One thing general manager Ed Stefanski has certainly learned - something he no doubt knew beforehand - is that the Sixers aren't going to win anything without a real three-point shooter on the roster."

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford's assumption was not accurate.

In a column on May 20, Bob Ford wrote: "It appears likely that Big Brown, a sizable bay colt romantically named in honor of United Parcel Service, will complete a historic run to the Triple Crown at Belmont Park in three weeks."

The Inquirer regrets that no one can mess up a Triple Crown like Mr. Ford.

In a column on July 16, Mr. Ford wrote: "The Spectrum was a wonderful building in which to see a game or a concert - except on the off chance you needed to use the bathroom at some point. The intimacy of the place lost some of its charm then, particularly to the women who could not press the sinks into emergency service and instead stood shifting from one foot to the other in those long lines that snaked along the narrow concourse."

The Inquirer would like to point out that, emergency or not, it never used the sinks for such purposes.

In a column on July 15, Bob Ford wrote: "That's how Manuel is. He kind of sneaks up on you and rassles you down before you see him coming. It's hard to dislike a guy like that, although Philadelphia gave it a nice effort. Time to give it up, however. The team is still winning and, admit it or not, that is more because of Charlie Manuel than despite him. Y'all know it, too."

The Inquirer is forced to admit that Mr. Ford was right about Mr. Manuel for several years.

In a column on June 3, Bob Ford wrote: "Offices are odd environments, and all employees are not always happy. Over at CBS3 - now there's an office - the FBI allegedly believes anchor Larry Mendte surreptitiously studied Alycia Lane's private Yahoo account. With the possible exception of Rich Eisen, Lane probably doesn't want any strange men peeking at her Yahoo."

The Inquirer regrets snickering just a little at that one.

In a column on June 16, Bob Ford wrote: "Someone find M. Night Shyamalan and get him down to Citizens Bank Park tonight. There's a horror story to be told. Yes, it is the seemingly annual invasion of the denizens of Red Sox Nation. It is a nation whose currency is based on being cloying, self-important, pompous, overly loud and, regrettably, ever-present."

Mr. Ford regrets that so many Boston Red Sox fans have active e-mail accounts.

In a column on June 29, Bob Ford wrote: "There are two versions of exactly what led to the incident, but everyone agrees on the final scene, in which outfielder Reggie Abercrombie lifted Shawn Chacon from atop general manager Ed Wade. It must have been very exciting there at the end, with Wade able to see nothing but Abercrombie and fist."

The Inquirer could not possibly regret this paragraph more than it already does.

In a column on Aug. 28, Bob Ford wrote: "An organization dedicated to women that perpetuates the stereotype that how a woman talks and how she looks is more important than what she accomplishes has lost its bearings."

The Inquirer could not agree more but does have a fondness for that Natalie Gulbis.

In a column on Aug. 31, Bob Ford wrote: "First impressions are deceiving, and that might be true of the first impression of the 53-man active roster announced yesterday by the Eagles. Here's the first impression: This isn't the 53 that will be on the roster a week from now. Can't be. First of all, the Eagles have to get a fullback."

Mr. Ford regrets that this first impression was not deceiving at all.

In a column on Sept. 5, Bob Ford wrote: "Regardless of how the race in the division turns out - and the Phillies may yet pin the Mets in the muddy trough - the organization let down its players and fans by not doing enough to solidify the roster. Should the Phillies get past the Mets - and starting the process tonight wouldn't be the worst idea - they probably aren't good enough to go very far in the playoffs."

The Inquirer does not regret that Mr. Ford didn't know his rear end from third base in this instance.

In a column on Nov. 2, Bob Ford wrote: "And amazingly enough, it turned out to be the Phillies. After all those years, after all that speculation, it was the baseball team that broke the streak, ended the drought, cleared the pigs for takeoff, brought the blue snow from the October sky and released the hounds. In other words, not the Eagles. It is as if the bride and the maid of honor conspired on the bouquet toss, but the flowers bounced from her hands and landed in the lap of the goofy kid sister."

The Inquirer, once having gotten past the drought, pigs, snow and hounds, did like the bouquet analogy.

In a column on Nov. 17, Bob Ford wrote: "If you can't beat the Cincinnati Bengals, not only aren't you going to the playoffs, you don't really belong there."

Mr. Ford must learn someday about making statements like that.

In a column on Nov. 24, Bob Ford wrote: "Reid could think twice about the situation and give McNabb another chance, explaining away yesterday's second half as a wake-up call. They have been so inextricably linked for a decade, it is hard to imagine this cold afternoon in M&T Bank Stadium was really the last stop on the line."

The Inquirer regrets it got a little carried away, unlike Mr. Ford, by the whole benching thing, in retrospect.

In a column on Dec. 22, Bob Ford wrote: "The Eagles went out and saved the coach's job yesterday. Unfortunately, it was Jim Zorn's."

The Inquirer has to admit it was funny at the time.

Well, once again, I feel better now. The slate has been wiped clean for the new year and there will be no repeat of the same mistakes, the same hiding of corrections. As always, trust is our bond.