Who's in First?

Phillies, Schmillies, it's anybody's game

Welcome to the second half -- same game, higher stakes. The playoff race heats up tonight as the Marlins take on the Phillies. Some interesting tidbits about those Phillies: They have lost 10 straight games at Pro Player, dating back to April 2003 (pre-Jack McKeon!). Marlin All-Stars Mike Lowell, Miguel Cabrera, and Armando Benitez regularly rack up big numbers against the team. The Phillies have a little trouble going the distance, with a tendency to fade into oblivion before September rolls around. And consider, if you will, what happened the last time these two teams met for a National League playoff berth -- the Marlins swept the Phillies out of the race, and went on to clinch the wild card (and later, of course, the World Series). This year both teams, along with the Mets and Braves, are fighting for first place. "There's four clubs in contention, and any one of those clubs can win," noted Trader Jack during the All-Star Game. Exactly. The Marlins come home for a 4-game stand after 2 games in the City of Brotherly Love. Show them a little love yourselves, will you? Game time is 7:05 at Pro Player Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St. Tickets range from $12 to $75. Call 877-MARLINS. - Marlaina Gray

Copa America climaxes

Those screams in heated Spanish you've been hearing all month from the nearby sports bar, so many weeks after the NBA finals, nowhere near World Series or NFL playoff competitions, have all true Latin American sports fans dizzy with patriotic fervor. The Copa America, the South American soccer championship, can be seen as a warm-up to the World Cup itself. And soccer fans are going nuts in Miami scrutinizing their country's prospects. The Argentines have been choking, the Brazilians cruising with ease, Mexico's finest have been kicking butt, but the Colombians are the ones to look out for. The finals start at 2:00 p.m., televised at your favorite sports bar. - Juan Carlos Rodriguez

 
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