Archive for the ‘Phillies’ Category

Almost the Only Orderly Thing in a Very Unorderly World

Thursday, November 5th, 2009


And then there were a series of tableaux, some familiar – Jeter’s raised arms and yell, Rivera’s grin, Posada’s near-skip towards the mound – and some new: Mark Teixeira’s fiercely goofy expression as he jumped up and down, Nick Swisher tearing wide-eyed and open-mouthed towards the infield, Francisco Cervelli hopping around like a caffeinated bunny, Joe Girardi’s gaunt face an open book of anticipation and then, for just a moment, pure, unguarded happiness.

That’s from my Bronx Banter writeup of last night’s Yankees World Series win. I hope I did it justice – not the game, which was pleasant but not a classic, but the outcome. The last time the Yankees won the Series, I was a college sophomore – I watched the games with my Mets fan friend Dan, on my common room coach – and it had never even crossed my mind to write about baseball. Of course I understand that nine years isn’t a long time, not even close, between sports championships; but in an individual life it is a pretty major chunk of time. And “time” is my theme for the day, since the Yankees clinched about 10 minutes before my birthday.

Anyway, I’ll just cling to the Series for another day or two, because it’s going to be a long, cold, baseball-free winter. But I’m going to keep the blog going throughout – Mets and Yankees and general baseball news, plus maybe some movie and book reviews to pass the time – and while I haven’t figured out the details yet, I’m even planning to move off Blogger and onto a real site at some point in the next couple of months.

For now, though (look away, Mets fans):

One More for the Money; Also Facial Hair

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

My writeup of last night’s game is up at the Banter.

In other vitally important news (via Rob Neyer), I am quite pleased to see that Diamondbacks reliever Clay Zaveda – who also has a fine baseball name – has won the American Mustache Institute’s coveted “Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year.” It is well deserved. The Phillies and, especially, the Cardinals, among other teams, could learn a lot from this guy about proper facial hair technique. (Last night a friend of mine expressed the opinion, unprompted by me, that Jayson Werth “looks like a human rattail”).

To summarize:

This is how it’s done.

No.

No.

Absolutely not.

A THOUSAND TIMES NO.

At Least It’s a More Creative Chant Than "Phillies Suck"

Friday, October 30th, 2009

My writeup of last night’s game, which perhaps predictably half-turned into an essay on Pedro Martinez, is up at the Banter.

This seems like too short of a post to put up all by itself, so: bonus dog photo.

Hopefully I’ll get a Name of the Week post up later.

The Cliff Lee Affair

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

There’s not much point in urging fans to relax, to not freak out so much about one bad game… after all, isn’t irrationally investing our emotions sort of the point of baseball fandom? There’s nothing logical about the enterprise to begin with.

Still, it’s always a little startling how quickly one game can flip the general fan mood (as measured, highly unscientifically, by talking to a few friends, reading a bunch of blog comments, and checking in with the huge Yankees fan who works the late shift at the deli on the corner). Cliff Lee’s performance last night – which was not only great, but also just so Steve McQueen cool – seems to have flipped the consensus from “Yankees in 6″ to “Phillies in 4 and I just hope a Yankee hits the ball out of the infield again, some day.”

If Pedro, of all people, wins tonight’s Game 2, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Baseball Player Name of the Week

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Courtesy of astute reader Perpetual Memory Loss, I give you:

Phillies pitching prospect Antonio Bastardo.


You might laugh, but it actually sounds pretty badass. I’d imagine that last name would have to make you tough, in a Boy Named Sue kind of way.

I Have Run Out of Synonyms For "Agonizing Loss"

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Man… where to start with that Mets game? I can’t remember the last time a team suffered four losses that agonizing one right after the other. I mean, certainly other losses have meant more — the Mets still do have a two-game lead, even though it doesn’t feel that way — but these were just lost in such an insanely maddening fashion. First the blowout, then they let the Phillies tie game two on a grounder that should have rolled foul but didn’t. The next day their dramatic comeback is aborted by an interference call. Then today, they battle back twice, from 5-0 and 8-5 deficits, and look like they’re about to salvage some tiny positive feeling from the smoldering wreckage of this series… and instead their bullpen implodes again. Absolutely brutal. And now they have to go to Atlanta, and with the Phillies breathing down their necks, they actually need to win.

Having been rendered more or less speechless (which by the way is not easily managed, so congrats, Mets), I will only say, once again: at least it isn’t boring.

If you’re a Mets fan it may make you feel very slightly better to listen to this fan-written song about Endy Chavez, which is what the Mets were singing in the locker room the other day when he came off the DL. But only very slightly.

Too Bad He Didn’t Take Better Care of His Body, Like That David Wells

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

So when I said I thought Mike Mussina would bounce back tonight somewhat… I, uh… well, I guess six runs in three innings is better than seven runs in 1.2 innings? Yikes.

That was an extremely painful game to watch, on a human level more than a sports fan level. Mussina’s struggled before, but not like this; he’s been one of the best pitchers of his generation, and this might be the end, and he’s not ready for it. The post-game interview was just heartbreaking. “I don’t even know how to describe it because I’ve never had to deal with it before,” he said. Watching him on the mound was awkward, almost embarrassing, like we should turn off the TV and give him some privacy. Give Mussina credit for sticking around to talk to reporters — I would have been out of there like a shot, I’d imagine — but he looked, and sounded, shattered. No confidence; none of his trademark snarkiness, even. Can an athlete really lose it that fast? From Tyler Kepner’s NY Times story:

“Right now, I let go of it and I don’t feel like anything good is going to happen,” Mussina said. “It’s tough to pitch that way. You can’t play the game that way to feel like you have no control over anything, and that’s how I feel right now…”…

…The Yankees owe Mussina more than $11 million for next season, but he seems to be nearing the end. It is a scary and sudden reality, and it has knocked him as low as he has ever been.

“It feels like I’m never going to pitch well enough to get to the sixth or seventh inning again,” Mussina said. “That’s just how it feels right now.”

I have to believe that given time to make adjustments, Mussina can be, if not good again, at least mediocre –I don’t care how old he is, I refuse to believe he’s a less viable pitcher than Sir Sidney Ponson — but unfortunately, time to make adjustments is exactly what the Yankees don’t have.

In less agonizing news…

–Meant to mention this earlier, but Scott Proctor pitched against the Mets on Friday night, and not very well — walk, hit, hit, balk… “It’s possible he may have been somewhat overused,” said Gary Cohen gingerly. It is indeed. However, I see Proctor has wasted no time in taking advantage of the Dodgers’ more relaxed grooming rules and is already sporting a big off-putting tuft of chin-beard. So at least he’s got that going for him.

Makes you wonder, how many Yankees would grow awful facial hair if only they could? You know Brian Bruney is just yearning for a goatee.

–In general, though I’d prefer them to stay right where they are in the NL East, I like the Phillies: Ryan Howard seems thoughtful and kind in interviews, Jimmy Rollins is funny*, Shane Victorino has a solid nickname in “The Flyin’ Hawaiian,” and Antonio Alfonseco has six fingers on each hand, which is awesome. Then there’s that great clip of the whole team helping the Rockies’ grounds crew with the tarp during a dangerously windy storm, which still makes me smile. But they do have one really glaring flaw in their likeability… and its name is Brett Myers. On the plus side, screaming violently at a reporter for no good reason is certainly a huge step up from smacking your wife around on a street in Boston. Baby steps!

Wait, THIS guy hit his wife? No way!

–Finally, Jim Dolan has donated to the Hilary Clinton campaign. Okay, that’s it, I’ve finally made up my mind: I’m going with Obama.

*I still can’t believe people got so worked up over his pre-season comment that the Phillies were going to be “the team to beat.” What’s the guy supposed to say? “I look forward to another year of frustrating near-misses”?

"Team’s Real Hot, Stand Up Proud/ Do The Wave, Shout It Loud!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Wait a minute. I’m confused. I was told the Phillies were going to be a really good team this year… wasn’t I? I’m sure I was. In fact, I believe a number of Phillies told me so themselves.

Okay, okay, it’s early. I don’t really doubt that the Phillies will get their act together and play well this year. But man, they looked awful tonight — no effort or concentration in the second half of the game whatsoever, even though they were only down by four runs at the time. The Mets announcers had a cheerful little discussion that began, “this is the kind of game that gets managers fired.” The Mets looked good, but the Phillies helped them out. Tom Glavine couldn’t find his control, probably because it’s fucking freezing outside, again, but got great defense and thoughtfully pitched out of trouble. “Crafty little devil,” said Ron Darling, admiringly. Moises Alou had two very serious home runs to left, without batting gloves no less (because batting gloves in 35-degree weather are for the weak and puny, apparently), and my arch-nemesis Geoff Geary gave up two hits and a run. Mwa ha ha!

Meanwhile: I may have posted this before, but please, please follow this link to the memorable rap Let’s Get Metsmerized!, as performed — er, “performed” by members of the 1986 Mets. My personal favorite lyric: “When they want a batter filled with terror/ They call on me, Rick Aguilera!” I promise you will not be sorry. (No promises about your ears not bleeding, though).