Football doesn’t matter today. Funeral services for Garrett Reid, 29, will be held this morning. Reality has invaded our sports cocoon once again.
For any parent, there is no news more shattering, no ending more tragic, than the sudden loss of a son or daughter. For Andy Reid, it must somehow be even worse, given the drug tribulations of both his sons over the past five years. And now it has ended for Garrett, his oldest, in the worst possible way.
Andy Reid has been coach of the Eagles longer than any other man, but only very recently have we gotten to know him. At the urging of team owner Jeff Lurie, he was sharing more, talking openly for the first time about how he came to love football, even inviting us back to his hometown in Los Angeles for his high school Hall of Fame induction last month.
Reid was trying to make up for the belligerent ending of last season, when he snapped at all questions that he couldn’t answer robotically, baring fangs that had grown over 13 seasons of frustration. We were still debating whether the new, improved Andy Reid was real when Garrett was found dead right there at training camp, where he was trying to rebuild his life.
Now there is no question Andy Reid will be different. How could he not be, after this? Parents who lose their children all agree that they endure the tragedy for the rest of their lives, second-guessing every decision, wondering if there’s something else they could have done.
Fans are in no position to judge any of that, of course. We are left with questions that, in the big picture, matter not at all. Will Reid coach effectively this season? How will this tragedy affect the team? Is Reid still coaching for his job? It’s embarrassing to raise those issues now, with the gravity of this horrific news. And yet we must, because they are much easier to deal with than the news itself.
There is no valid prediction about how this tragedy will affect Andy Reid or the Eagles, not this soon after the impact of the loss. But one thing is certain already, just two days after the announcement shattered the calm of a Sunday morning. Philadelphia will embrace Andy Reid and his family as no other city ever could. We are at our absolute best reacting to calamities.
No joy in London Games
The last time I took the Olympics seriously was in 1988, before I watched a group of stupid adults crush the dream of a young kid. The kid’s name was Anthony Hembrick, and he never got to step into the ring for the biggest fight of his life because his coaches hadn’t read the schedule correctly.
Common sense demanded that the bout be re-scheduled, but there is nothing logical about the Olympics — or at least the Olympics I got to see up close while covering the event for the Inquirer.
Hembrick worked for most of his life anticipating that one chance to represent his country, and it was destroyed by a bunch of unfeeling bureaucrats.
So pardon me while I sit out the latest example of phony competition masquerading as great television. For every Gabby Douglas, there are dozens sacrificed for our entertainment.
If you doubt any of this, watch the last round of a fight last week between Satoshi Shimizu and Magomed Adbulhamidov. Shimizu knocked down Abdulhamidov six times and somehow lost both the round and the fight.
The ref and officials were ousted, and Shimizu was awarded the verdict, but by then the Olympics were unmasked as corrupt — just as they were when badminton teams from South Korea, Indonesia and China were caught purposely losing.
So, go right ahead and enjoy the Olympics. You have a big advantage over me. You never saw the look on Anthony Hembrick’s face the day his dream was crushed.
Amaro on notice
Ruben Amaro Jr. is having a bad year. His trades have failed, his signings have backfired and his roster is a mess. The GM cost the Phils tens of millions, and the second-highest payroll in baseball has the sixth-lowest winning percentage.
What has happened to Amaro, a baseball lifer who built the best rotation in Phillies history and was hailed as the next Pat Gillick a year ago? It’s simple. He can’t fix his own mistakes.
The most telling example of this flaw arose last Friday when the Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers, offering Amaro a way out of one of the worst contracts in history. The veteran pitcher is guaranteed $75 million over the next three seasons, with a chance to raise that number beyond $100 million if a fourth year vests. Lee has two wins. He turns 34 Aug. 30.
Amaro screwed up the Cole Hamels’ negotiations by waiting as long as he did, and then squandered what may be his best chance to recoup by keeping Lee when he had a chance to dump him.
When pressed by reporters about it, Amaro said that Lee is “not going anywhere.” Maybe so, but if Amaro has one more brutal season, he definitely will be going somewhere. Because he won’t be the GM of the Phillies anymore.
– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 94 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 to 10 a.m.
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