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Apathy now ruling the Birds nest

When Marty Mornhinweg and Jim Washburn screamed at one another and hadto be separated on the sideline, they provided the perfect postscript toone of the worst days in recent Eagles history.

When Marty Mornhinweg and Jim Washburn screamed at one another and had to be separated on the sideline, they provided the perfect postscript to one of the worst days in recent Eagles history.

The offensive coordinator and the defensive line coach were the last two people in Lincoln Financial Field who actually cared. Let the record show that more than 50,000 fans left by the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, and the final moments of the 38-20 loss to New England were witnessed by hundreds of fans, not thousands or tens of thousands. Even before the exodus, the chant to “Fire Andy” was tepid by Philadelphia standards.

The fans don’t care anymore, nor should they. Oh, they will always love the Eagles; it’s in their blood. But that doesn’t mean they have to love these Eagles. Even the rare player worthy of their adulation — for example, LeSean McCoy — brings only frustration. The Eagles are a football team that their own mother couldn’t love.

Of course, it starts with Andy Reid, a coach so lost that he can’t justify using the best running back in the NFL — McCoy — with the ball five yards from the end zone. Reid also hired a defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, whose unit was called for three offsides penalties and were caught twice with 12 men on the field — and that was just in the first half.

This Eagles team is absolutely impossible to support. DeSean Jackson not only alligator-armed an easy catch in the end zone and bungled another sure TD, but then he openly admitted his primary goal is self-preservation. Asked if he was worried about his health on the field, he replied: “Always.” He finished the game where he belongs, on the bench.

And then there’s Vince Young praising himself for a “good game” after losing by 18 points. And Reid explaining the absence of Nnamdi Asomugha and Jackson from the lineup by saying, “I wanted to give some other players an opportunity.” And president Joe Banner politely declining comment on his team for the 11th straight week.

The endless parade of stupid plays and insulting behavior generates no anger anymore, just apathy. That’s why the battle between Mornhinweg and Washburn was meaningful. It was an honest expression of emotion on a team devoid of it now. By most accounts, they were arguing about the play-calling, and at one point they nearly came to blows.

When cooler heads prevail, the two coaches will realize what the rest of us already have. These Eagles are not worth the trouble. Until Andy Reid leaves, there is no point to this madness — and absolutely no reason to care.

Brains of the city’s operation

The smartest person in Philadelphia sports, once thought to be Joe Banner or Ed Snider, is no longer a matter of debate. It is Ruben Amaro Jr.

The latest mind-bender performed by the Phils GM was the acquisition of utility slugger Ty Wigginton for a player to be named later. Not only is Wigginton ideal for a Phillies team missing Ryan Howard for at least a month or two, but for the insurance he provides at the corner positions in the infield and outfield.

What made the deal another master stroke for Amaro was the inclusion of $2 million by the Rockies, half of Wigginton’s salary next season. Add those two million to the two that Amaro fleeced from Houston in the Hunter Pence trade last summer, and a staggering $11 million donation he coaxed out of old pal Ed Wade when the Phils got Roy Oswalt. That’s a total of $15 million.

Let that sink in for a minute. The Phillies added an ace pitcher, a star outfielder and one of the best bench players in the game and raked in $15 million in exchange for … what? I posed this question on my WIP radio show last week, and no one could remember a single name.

Granted, one or more of those kids could still become stars, but that possibility doesn’t diminish Amaro’s amazing ability to add top players to his roster and millions to his budget every year. That Stanford education is really paying off for Ruben Amaro — and for all of us.

All bow to Phillie Phanatic

Hip Hop died last week at 15, the latest victim of a big green monster who devours all mascots. This may be a four-sport city, but there’s only room for one, furry cheerleader: the Phillie Phanatic.

There was really nothing wrong with Hip Hop. He was athletic, energetic, cute and friendly. When the Sixers were good and president Pat Croce was the ringleader, he added nicely to the circus atmosphere. But he wasn’t special, just as Big Shot was blah before him, and Lil G, and Swoop on the Eagles.

When will the other teams realize that they are in the presence of true greatness when the Phanatic works his magic at Citizens Bank Park?

There are really only two options. One is to go without a creature; the Flyers seem to be doing fine without one. The other is to convince the Phils to share the Phanatic. Citizens Bank Park would still be his home base, but special visits to the other teams would be better than doomed attempts to find the next Phanatic.

Obviously, the new Sixers owners don’t agree. They have hired the Jim Henson company and Dave Raymond, the originator of the Phanatic, to build a new monster. This is a rookie mistake.

The Phanatic is the biggest sports star in this city. Please don’t tell him, though. We don’t want him to get a big head.



– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.