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2019: The year in Philadelphia sports corrections | Bob Ford

Regrets? We've got a few, but not too few to mention. Here's a look back at where we thought things would go, and where they actually went.

The Phillies made at least one correction in 2019. Former was added to the title of former manager Gabe Kapler.
The Phillies made at least one correction in 2019. Former was added to the title of former manager Gabe Kapler.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

They have accumulated 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 throughout 2019 did not appear because of the diligent effort of the author.

The 16th 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, the promise is that this won’t have to happen again.


In a Sept. 25 column on the Phillies, Bob Ford wrote: “It might be that someone will still have to take the fall, just from a public-relations standpoint, for the disappointing result. Manager Gabe Kapler would be a handy scapegoat, of course, but Matt Klentak has been steadfast in his support of Kapler. Sure, he’s different, the general manager has said, but we think he’s a good kind of different. In all likelihood, the team will make a window-dressing move, such as firing pitching coach Chris Young, focus the blame on all the injuries and poor luck, and otherwise stand pat.”

The Inquirer regrets Mr. Ford didn’t have a clue what would happen.


In a Sept. 4 preview predicting which player would be a pleasant roster surprise for the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “I understand that it takes a long time to master a position like defensive end in the NFL, particularly for a young player who really needs to improve his strength for the battle against the behemoths of a good offensive line. That said, I see a window for Shareef Miller, the 2019 fourth-round pick to become an interesting part of the defensive line rotation. The Philly kid who went to Frankford High and George Washington High before three strong seasons at Penn State is very quick, very intuitive, and capable of being what the scouts like to term ‘disruptive.’”

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford’s “window” did not open for a single defensive snap for Mr. Miller this season.


In an Aug. 6 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “There's no reason to question whether Ertz is among the best active tight ends in professional football. But the more you watch the Eagles practice, and the more you watch second-year tight end Dallas Goedert display his combination of blocking strength and receiving skill, the more another question does arise: Is Zach Ertz the second-best tight end on the Eagles?”

The Inquirer believes Mr. Ford was a tad hasty but hopes he was right.


In a Jan. 23 column on Roy Halladay, Bob Ford wrote: “The hat is in the Hall of Fame, of course, and after Tuesday's election announcement, so is the pitcher himself. Halladay wouldn't have gotten there without the 148 games he won for the Blue Jays, but if he were with us today and given the chance to relive one of his 395 career starts, the choice would be easy. Halladay would pick one of the five he started for the Phillies in the postseason. It wouldn't even need to be one of the three wins. The winning and losing were up to the cards that evening. Just put him on the mound in that situation, with that chance to try.

“Roy Halladay was a gracious man. He wouldn't want to insult the Toronto Blue Jays. But, in my heart, having been around him, I believe he would want his Hall of Fame plaque to portray that grim, unflinching stare that batters knew so well. And, above the brim that shaded his eyes, I think he would want a "P.” Maybe it doesn't matter now. There's little chance that will happen, anyway. The hat on his plaque, according to his wife, Brandy, will be blank, with neither the "P" nor the bird-head-in-profile of the Blue Jays logo. The tragedy isn't the affiliation or lack of it that will be on the plaque, but that Halladay won't be in Cooperstown this July to hold it aloft.”

The Inquirer and Mr. Ford regret that so many people in the province of Ontario have access to e-mail.


In a Sept. 26 column on the Phillies, Bob Ford wrote: “They have been annoying like a puppy that, after much work, shows signs of being housebroken. But, just when you believe the job is done, there is a huge, steaming 9-1 loss in the box score the next day, and then the thin trickle of a late 3-2 defeat puddling from the bullpen. What you want occasionally is for the manager to rub their noses in the failures and toss them into the yard, but that would be wrong, because everyone showed a lot of fire in the dugout, and they presented well as a team, and there was no quit in anyone.”

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


In a Nov. 4 column on the NFL, Bob Ford wrote: “If John Facenda were to return to us today, and settle behind the microphone once again to study the NFL, there's a pretty good chance he would look up and ask in his ominous baritone, ‘Where the hell are all the linebackers?’”

The Inquirer regrets the lack of brooding guardians of the middle defending their turf like silent warriors of doom.


In a Jan. 30 column on the Flyers, Bob Ford wrote: “The general manager, assistant general manager, head coach and an assistant coach were all fired as the front office grew impatient with a deliberate building strategy that had begun to look instead like a strategy for an empty building. Aside from having the roof blow off the arena, the team pretty much hit for the cycle on organizational chaos.”

The Inquirer regrets Ron Hextall was not allowed to finish his 20-year plan.


In a Feb. 7 column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: “The move makes you wonder whether the Sixers, having gotten a taste of Butler when he's trying to be good, have already decided not to keep him when he hits free agency in the offseason. And, trust me, if that has occurred to others, it occurred to Butler about six seconds after he found out about the Harris trade.

“If that's the way it shakes out, the Butler trade was good only if the Sixers win the Eastern Conference this season. The same is true of the Harris trade, by the way. The two first-round picks that went to the Clippers are a hefty price for an expiring contract.

“In a complete reversal of how they got here, the Sixers have actually imperiled the future to some extent in favor of the present. That's an interesting change for a franchise that has played the long game for a number of years. Maybe, after all this time, the future really is now. Put it this way: It better be.”

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford has not consistently trusted The Process.


In a Feb. 24 column on the Robert Kraft, Bob Ford wrote: “Kraft is no longer just the billionaire owner of the incredibly successful New England Patriots. He is now the billionaire owner of the incredibly successful New England Patriots who got his jollies paying for $79-per-hour sex acts in a Florida strip mall. That's his punishment. He can purchase his freedom from other consequences with the same bankroll he used at the Orchids of Asia, but he can't buy back his public image.”

The Inquirer regrets this does not get back the Super Bowl that team stole from the Eagles.


In a March 28 column on the Phillies, Bob Ford wrote: “The narrative is that the Phillies are built to win, and built to win right now. That's hard to argue with when you look at the batting order but let's give it a try, anyway. The lesson that baseball has imparted since the game's infancy is that success and failure eventually rests with what happens on that little bump in the middle of the infield. It isn't that the Phillies have ignored their pitching staff, but, particularly with the starting rotation, have chosen to rely more on good fortune than good arms. This is not a course of action baseball generally rewards.”

The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford was right about this one.


In an April 9 column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: “The Sixers are good, but they aren't good enough to survive a second-round series against the Toronto Raptors. They aren't deep enough. They aren't solid enough defensively. And they apparently aren't healthy enough. Even if they are sandbagging the health part, that's too many negatives to last a series without home-court advantage against a 57- or 58-win team that beat them three out of four times during the regular season.”

The Inquirer supposes Mr. Ford knew about the quadruple-doink ahead of time.


In an April 25 column on the NFL draft, Bob Ford wrote: “The early spin tells us two things that can be taken as certainties: According to the accepted expertise of draft students, including those inside and outside the NFL, this is a historically strong draft for defensive tackles; and, just by looking at the depth chart, the Eagles could probably use one of those. In this case, and with valid reasoning, many believe two plus two equals Dexter Lawrence of Clemson for the Eagles with the 25th pick. He's likely to be available, fits the need, and has the talent compatible with that slot.

“Fine, it may turn out that way, and I suspect the Eagles are indeed considering a tackle, but not on that side of the line. If we have learned nothing else in the last few years, and particularly in the previous six months, it is that everything the team has invested for its near-term competitive future revolves around Carson Wentz.”

The Inquirer has hopes for Andre Dillard, but is non-committal at the moment.


In a Dec. 1 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “That outcome would also require the Eagles to beat the Giants twice, the Redskins once, and, of course, hold serve against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. All three of those teams are 2-9 on merit. Here's the rub. They're going to lose one of those games. I don't know how, and I don't know which one, but it's going to happen, and it might even be Sunday. This is not a team for which layups can be assumed.”

The Inquirer sent Mr. Ford a nice note after this one. Hey, it was free.


In a June 5 column on baseball’s protective netting, Bob Ford wrote: “They failed to add another salient point, which is that no one watches the damn game anymore. If you find yourself at a boring movie and decide to check your Twitter mentions or scroll through Facebook to see what those wacky Russians are up to this time, there is very little chance the creepy neighbor with the chain saw will leap from the screen and give you a haircut while your attention is elsewhere. At a baseball game, the stakes are a little higher.”

The Inquirer would merely tell Mr. Ford, “OK, boomer.”


In a July 2, column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: “The question after the season ended was whether the playoffs had changed that calculus for Ben Simmons. He had endured the unending criticism for not working a jump shot into his repertoire - something of a failing for an alleged point guard. He had come to terms with his perceived role as the brooding Prince of Denmark alongside Embiid’s jovial court jester. But how would ever he accept the prospect of five more years of comparisons to Jimmy Butler? The Sixers opted not find out. Butler was useful on the court when he liked how things were going, and very nearly invisible when he didn’t. Tobias Harris represented a far safer signing between the two impending free agents, even if he was going to be overpaid.”

The Inquirer regrets losing Playoff Jimmy just a little bit.


In a July 29 column on the Tour de France, Bob Ford wrote: “The official stoppage took place on the roof of the Tour, atop the massive Col d’Iseran, but the leading riders already crested the summit and had begun a descent toward the valley of the Isere River where a freak snow-and-hail storm blocked the roadway below. They were flagged down by officials eventually, but it was chaos on the road, and Julian Alaphilippe’s shoulders sagged as he learned his race lead was gone.”

The Inquirer regrets it has no idea how this got in the paper.


In a Feb. 10 column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: “The other main reason that it was unfair to question Brown's ability was because, for much of his term here, he didn't have a whole lot to work with. The Hinkie days of streaming a long line of gypsies, tramps, and thieves through the locker room didn't leave room for real coaching. Brown would welcome the new recruits, shake their hands, and put them into the game.”

The Inquirer regrets any reference that finds humor in the excellent and tasteful Cher catalog.


In an Aug. 1 column on the Phillies, Bob Ford wrote: “Leading up to the trade deadline, the front office had to decide whether the season's expectations could still be saved. Judging by what the Phillies did, there was obviously no confidence that the situation could be fixed. This season has been the baseball equivalent of falling down a set of stairs. At some point, you stop trying to prevent the fall and start to cushion the landing. Trading for Zack Greinke is stopping the fall. Trading for Jason Vargas is cushioning the landing.”

The Inquirer regrets Mr. Ford doesn’t properly appreciate the acquisition of Mike Morin.


In an Aug. 13 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “Preventing injuries in professional football is akin to preventing seagulls on an ocean boardwalk. Maybe you can limit them by taking certain precautions - like not strolling with a french fry held aloft - but birds are going to fly and football players are going to get injured.”

The Inquirer actually prefers kettle corn but must floss immediately afterward.


In a Nov. 4 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “The Eagles' path to the NFL postseason, that magic land where football wishes are sometimes granted, was rocky and rutted just two weeks ago. It was a beaten and beaten-up team that exited AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, after absorbing a humiliating defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.

Two weeks and two wins later, however, the Eagles are still relevant in the postseason conversation. As they reached the bye week following a 22-14 win on Sunday over the Chicago Bears, their playoff path hasn't exactly become a paved superhighway, but at least some of the potholes have been fixed.”

The Inquirer is bumping along the rough highway of bad metaphors again.


In a May 8 column on the Kentucky Derby, Bob Ford wrote: “If you change lanes recklessly at high speed, cut off several cars in the process, and very nearly cause a catastrophic accident, the cop doesn't tear up the ticket just because the accident miraculously didn't take place. That, however, is what many observers of Saturday's Kentucky Derby think should have happened, rather than the disqualification of near-favorite Maximum Security, the first horse under the wire.”

The Inquirer finds itself back on the roadways once more.


In a Jan. 13 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “Nick Foles has once again taken over for Carson Wentz, but this time he didn't slip behind the wheel of a cruising automobile. He took control instead of a heap that was barely limping along the shoulder of the season, leaking oil and spewing exhaust.”

The Inquirer will take Mr. Ford in for a tune-up at the first opportunity.


In a Dec. 8 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: “All organizations say the goal is to be a contender every year and the Eagles are no different. The truth, however, is that a roster can be patched and filled for only so long before a major repaving project is necessary. That wasn't the case for the Eagles this season, but the heavy machinery might be moving into place for the next.”

The Inquirer can hear the street-work crew typing up another one.


In a Jan. 27 column on baseball free agency, Bob Ford wrote: “The wait for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper continues. There are cobwebs hanging like frayed wash on a line from the narratives of how each could help the Phillies become champions. The wait stretches on. By comparison, Godot stepped out for a latte and was back before you knew it. A call to a customer service line on Monday morning is barely a blink of an eye. Highway construction finishes overnight. The signing of a marquee baseball free agent? That takes a while.”

The Inquirer is surprised Mr. Ford didn’t have Godot waiting in traffic because of highway construction.


April 15

In an April 15 column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: “The Sixers take their team personality largely from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and it can sometimes resemble the personality of a team that has already won multiple championships rather than a team that has emerged successfully from exactly one playoff series in the previous six seasons. Acting like you've been there before is a good thing, except when you really haven't.”

The Inquirer regrets the postseason stylings of Mr. Kawhi Leonard.


In a Sept. 4 preview of NFC contenders that could give the Eagles trouble, Bob Ford wrote: “I don’t believe a little bit in the Cowboys or the Bears, but what has taken place in Seattle is impressive, and the Rams could have their hands full in the NFC West. The Seahawks are incredibly young, but they have rebuilt while still remaining competitive. Seattle led the Cowboys entering the fourth quarter of their wild-card playoff last season, but they couldn’t get a stop when they needed one, eventually losing 24-22, and that near-miss is overlooked.”

The Inquirer hopes Mr. Ford wasn’t too correct about this one.


Well, once again, I feel better. 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.