From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

I was going to ask you about the lame new Big Ten division names - until the Phils made big news. Cliff Lee is back. I know it's only December, but it's never too early for Philly to get carried away. This clearly makes the Fightin's the favorites to win it all. Right?

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

It's hard to imagine that rotation coming up short. It looks astounding on paper, but remember, for all those great starting staffs the Braves had in the '90s, they won just one World Series.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

I'm floored they got Lee back. Who would've thought 10 years ago that in 2010, one of the best players in baseball would spurn a more lucrative offer from the New York Yankees because he wanted to play in Philadelphia, because the Phillies have emerged as one of the best franchises in baseball. Think about it.

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

And for all of Citizens Bank Park's existence, knuckleheads like me have been insisting the Phils would never be able to lure top-flight pitchers to the bandbox ballpark. Once again, it's been proven that I know absolutely nothing.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

That's the craziest part here - not Frank being a knucklehead but the idea of the Phils going from a team that mashed its way to wins to a team that now has four No. 1 starters.  And all in two years.

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

For a Philadelphian, this is way too much good news to process. I can't help but think that something will go wrong, that something has to go wrong. A few sore arms. A historically punchless month or two. A clubhouse mutiny. It's so much easier to be pessimistic.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Subject: Fightin' favorites?

I bought tickets to a game last year and got stuck watching Kyle Kendrick. Just think, when you buy tickets now - if you can - you will have an 80 percent chance of getting to see a true No. 1. Talk about a return on an investment.