Hitting woes. Men left on base. Pitchers who can’t hold a lead. Fielders missing obvious plays. Friends, Romans, countrymen, this is not just a Philadelphia Phillies problem. You see it every night in the highlight reels, the blooper reels, Sports Center and MLB Tonight. Only when it happens in Philadelphia do we, the lucky phew, consider it a Shakespearean tragedy.
Now if you listen to the professional “againsters” on local sports talk radio, the cloud of doom descended upon Citizens Bank Park (and by extension, whatever busses/planes/transports to road trips) around the time Mick Billmeyer was spotted in the bullpen in Denver’s Coors Field “stealing sign” with a pair of binoculars. Anyone who ever read “Ball Four” knows he was probably just checking out broads. But the fact remains that since “Binocular gate” things have not quite been the same in South Philadelphia.
Some may point to the Cliff Lee deal as 2010’s death knell, but let’s be honest, nobody said there was going to be any math (unless it’s computing ERA or BA).
So we endure the latest chapter in the career of Jamie Moyer with a touch of sadness, knowing full well he’ll fight like hell to get back into form. He’s got history on his side. And we tolerate Jayson Werth’s follicular follies, as he tries to find the right beard/hair combo to restore his April/May hitting glory. And we bitch about Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino’s penchant to swing at the first pitch, while we quietly recite Rollins mantra about “the leadoff guy only leads off once.” And we watch Citizens Bank Park sales of Milt Thompson’s instructional hitting DVD drop lower than that Brett Myers wife-beater t-shirt you’ve been eyeing for years now.
In short, this season is like last season, and last season was like the season before that. Believe me; I’ve been to lots worse Phillies games. And I’ve been in the stands when it seemed like it was me and 5,000 of my closest friends watching the Felske Follies or the Francona Fraud (can you say “Scott Rolen Day?”). And don’t even get me started on Nick Leyva.
So for you “rookies” out there who are panicking because you haven’t been able to lock in the dates for the playoff games yet, and don’t understand how streaky a game baseball can be, take your nose out of “Moneyball” and watch the faces, the emotions, and the body language of this year’s Phillies roster. No “trotting” out to left center field for a loose fly ball like certain Marlins players; no head case shortstops traded away from the Braves because the old man just couldn’t deal with it anymore; no general managers flying out to Arizona (again!) to give a vote of confidence to a Metropolitans skipper; just a professional ballclub working a few kinks out.
It wasn’t until the end of August, 2008 that people in this town really began to believe there was a chance – I know, I was there and the excitement was palpable, not just in the ballpark but at stores, in cabs, on the street, just as I saw it there in 1980, 1983, 1993, and beyond. In that regard Jimmy Rollins was right, we are sometimes a bunch of front runners. A long season with peaks and valleys; this past few days (I was in the house tonight for the sweetness that is Werth & Howard both hitting two-run homers) appear to be a beautiful peak in a recovery. Jayson’s got his goatee working, Chase is doing one-armed infield practice, Greg Gross is a different voice getting through to the players (hey, listen to the same thing over and over again from one guy does get kind of stale after a few years). And if Shane Victorino's left oblique strain is enough to cause Domonic Brown to finally get the call, well so be it.
As of this writing the Phillies have taken four straight from the Rockies, including an impressive “we got to you” display against their ace, Ibaldo Jimenez. And tonight a big win over the Diamondbacks who are suddenly without Dan Haren (and aren't you glad we didn't get him in time for him to get hurt in his first start for the Angels). It says here that the Phillies "stand pat." No Oswalt, No major deals, ride Happ, Kendrick, Hamels and Blanton hard, look for the ocassional Minor League call -up of a middle reliever, live and die with Heart Attack Lidge, and have SOME FUN. Enjoy yourself. Eat a Phillies Phrank with those incredible potato rolls. No ketchup, just mustard. And by all means, don’t tase me, bro. I’ll see you in the stands.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Great Mamet Lines...The Spanish Prisoner provides a few...When Joe asks her how things are in the inner office, she replies: “My troika is pursued by wolves.” Equally cryptic are a succession of dud pseudo-proverbs mouthed by Ricky Jay as George Lang, Joe's close friend and a company lawyer. “Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due,” he says; or “We must never forget that we're humans. Because we're humans, we dream. And when we dream, we dream of money.” “Somebody said: 'Nobody going on a business trip would be missed if he didn't' arrive.” ...And from "Heist:" "Everybody needs money. That's why its called money."
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I clipped this out of a newspaper earlier this year, and still get a laugh out of it...It's a blurb about a then-upcoming performance of the David Mamet play "American Buffalo" at a North Jersey theatre company, and after a brief description of the play, the dates and the location, the following was printed as an "AUDIENCE NOTE: David Mamet's sparse, streetwise language is legendary for its abundance of profanity." 'Nuff said.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
First of all, let me recommend without hesitation "Inception," the new movie from Christopher Nolan...We saw it Saturday afternoon, and it's been a long time since I sat thru a two-and-a-half hour movie without leaving to go to the men's room...Kept my interest, kept my attention, kept me guessing right up to the final shot, and it was worth every minute of it...Those who know me well know that I loves me a good caper flick and this is one in spades...We've also recently seen the Joan Rivers documentary, which I was prepared NOT to like but instead I enjoyed it a great deal...And we caught a sneak preview of "Dinner for Schmucks" a couple weeks ago, which I really enjoyed...I encourage you to catch it when it finally does come out...And I can't wait for "The Other Guys," with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg...Speaking of which, check out "Cop Out" on DVD or on-demand...We saw it in the original release a few weeks ago and enjoyed it for what it was, a 2010 update of a 1980s/1990s cop buddy flick...Especially enjoyed some of the in-jokes and Seann William Scott's performance...Going to see another revival of "The Third Man" tomorrow night, which is always a good thing...Been at Citizens Bank Park a lot this year so far, and my lucky Phillies shirt is 4-0 in our last four trips...I'm just sorry I can't go every night, maybe I could help them out of their current slump...It says here that the Phillies trade for Dan Haren before the week is over...And of course wait for Nelson Figueroa to clear waivers (again) and bring him back again...I hope that will be the signal for the Phillies to say bye-bye to Jose Contreras and Danys Baez...I've got an idea for how Jayson Werth can get his mojo back...Shave his head and his beard...And sign a deal RIGHT NOW with the Phillies before his market price drops any further...Now if only our local sports talk radio guys will stop beating the dead Cliff Lee horse (and leave poor Domonic Brown out of it)...How did his parents come up with that spelling anyway?...Rest in Peace, "Maje" McDonnell...Until the Phillies trade Brad Lidge to the Yankees, I'll see you in the stands!