Thursday, June 29, 2006

Play "How We're Going to Lose Today"


It’s time to play “How We’re Going to Lose Today” with your masters of deprivation, the Philadelphia Phillies. The objective is simple. Each player predicts who will be most responsible for the next loss, and what kind of fundamental lapse or failure that player commits.

It seems easy, as baseball, especially for hitters, is a game of failure. But the 2006 Phillies, our beloved Team Vomit, have exceeded all expectations of futility. The fatal flaw in every loss can be committed by anyone with stunning regularity! When they said “Red Means Go,” they weren’t kidding! So let’s begin. Our emcee today will be our beloved hillbilly manager Backwoods Chollie. So without further ado, Heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s IDIOT!

Chollie: Evenin’ Phillies fans, an’ it’s time to play, “How We Gonna Lose Today.” The startin’ eight is lined up in order an’ the pitcha is warmin’ up in da pen. Lookin’ like we headed t’ward anotha staggerin’ defeat. Leadin’ off is Jelly Roll. Let’s hear it fer da Fly Boy!

(Loud and prolonged booing).

Jelly Roll: Thank you, thank you very much. I’d like to get things going right away, so I’ll start swinging from the get-go. (Loud laughter). Ah, I say that Ryan Madson will get shelled for six runs in the second inning after serving up slow fatties down the center of the plate.

(Raucous guffaws).

Chollie: That’s purdy good, Jelly Roll. Dat dare pitchin’ – Uh dunno what to do about dat dang staff. Dat could be the winner. Or would dat be da loser? (Laughter). Chase, yer up next.

Chase Ugly: Hmm. Seems like Jelly Roll has a hand in a lot of our 42 losses. He’s hardly innocent. I mean, it’s like I’m the leadoff hitter after he gets his two swings and pops up. So I say…Jelly Roll runs us out of a big inning because he’s not paying attention on the basepaths!

(Loud applause).

Jelly Roll: Who the fuck anointed you a saint, Utley! Candy-ass mothafucka is the fans’ darling. Shit! Pasadena pussy boy!

Utley: I’m from Long Beach, you Oakland slum prick!

Chollie: Now settle down, boys. Settle down. We haven’t even gotten to da meat of da orduh. Comedulce, Bobby Abreu, put yer two South American centavos into dis here game.

Abreu: Well, my numbers speak for themselves. I lead the league in On Base Percentage. I walk more than Barry Bonds. And I…

(Aaron Rowand approaches from the middle of the panel).

Rowand: And you got a fucking brick glove, Gordo. How many games has that cost us? Jesus Fuck. You cost me an error the other day you’re so scrambled out there.

Abreu: Eso si que es!

Chollie: Tarnation, Co-may-duce-eh. Speak youself da King’s English like yers truly.

Abreu: Okay. I say Scarface in centerfield will puss out near the wall and let the winning hit drop in. There you go, culo!

Rowand (to no one in particular): Why me? Why did the Sox ship me to this asylum?

(Baby Girl Pat Burrell, next in line, jumps in the fray).

Burrell: Because you got “grit,” Crash.


Chollie: Awright, awright. Y’all next anywho, Burrell. By da way, ya sittin’ tonight.

Burrell: But I want to play.

Rowand: Then go diddle yourself in the dugout.

Burrell: Look, dickwad. I’m the only right-handed threat in this lineup. You hit like that whore I picked up in Boston.

Rowand: If only Myers was slapping a whore instead of his wife.

Burrell: I don’t touch bitches. I just get my dick wet every night. I have a reputation to uphold.

Rowand: Yeah, just like Jason Michaels. When’s your arrest coming?

Burrell: Shut up and let me say my piece. I know what’s fucked up with this team. And it’s spelled H-O-W-A-R-D.

(Ryan Howard stands up and glares at Burrell.)

Howard: You got a problem with 27 homers and 68 RBIs? You got a problem with me?

Burrell: I got a problem with your baseball-best 11 errors, Mr. Sophomore. Why don’t you subtract that from 27 dingers, butterfingers?

Howard: Coach, I think it’s my turn.

Chollie: Well, I dunno know ‘bout dat, Ryan. Remembuh, I had ya battin’ ’hind Bell in da seven hole to start the season, y’all.”

Howard: Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. What was that about?

Chollie: Well, y’all were proteckin’ Bell. He’s from a baseball family an' such. He gives his all ever’ day. An' look at da results.

Howard: Results? He’s played in 70 games and has 83 total bases. He boots balls at just the wrong moment. He grounds into more double plays than almost anyone else in the big leagues. Results?

Chollie: Now looky here. He has an On Base Percentage higher than Jelly Roll’s.

(Silence ).

Howard: So I guess the motherfucka should bat leadoff, then, huh?

Chollie: Say…I haven’ thought o’ dat.

David Bell: Anything for the team, Chollie.

Howard: Now wait a minute. I haven’t made my pick. I wanna win something this year, and it might as well be this game.

Chollie: Sorry, son. We was gittin’ ahead of ourselves.

Howard: Alright, look. In a few years, I’ll be in Phat City with a multi-million dollar contract. But before I sign with St. Louis, I need to put up big numbers. So losing makes it harder to put up those numbers. Why should I play this game? We should be playing “How Are We Going To Win Today!”

Chollie: That’s an interessin’ idear, Ryan, but I jus’ dunno how to win. Any sujessuns?

Howard: That’s your job, coach. Damn, how’d you ever get this job?

Chollie: I’s applied fer it.

Howard: Well, they gonna unapply you pretty quick if we don’t start winning.

Chollie: Winnin’? Who said anythin’ ‘bout winnin’? Da goal here is to be com-pet-tuh-tive. Now, play da game. How we gonna lose tonight?

Howard: Fuck this.

Bell: I know, coach!

Chollie: Alrighty, David – shoot!

Bell: Here’s the winner. We get involved in one of those 18-inning marathons. You’ve used the entire pitching staff and bench, except for that old, fat shit Rick Wright. Old Double Zero Wright comes into the game. He collapses after his third inning of work from exhaustion. Because you can’t count, or think, or make provisions for a disaster like that, we no longer can put nine men on the field. FORFEIT!

(Chollie smiles and his patented “Aw Shucks” look is painted across his face).

Chollie: You know, Dingdong, I sure is gonna miss yer ass after ya sign to play with yer Daddy in Kansas City. You da losin’ winna.

(Sal Fasano storms up to Chollie’s podium and demands to be heard).

Fasano: But I didn’t get a chance! I wanna play! I wanna play!

Chollie: Shut yer trap, paisano, you’re nothing but a mascot here. We just keepin’ ya to sell tickets to Sal’s Pals. But don’ get yer ganda up. You always be a loser to me.

(Chollie leaves the podium and approaches rookie hurler Cole Hamels, fresh off his latest failed outing. Hamels addresses the manager).

Hamels: Seriously, I suck. I suck more today than yesterday.

Chollie: Now don’t ya worry yer skinny ass, son. Aftuh a season up here wid da Phils, y’all er git yer feet wet and be a career loser ‘for ya know it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


“You know, buddy, I really blew it this time.”

Brett Myers unbuckled his seatbelt and tightly squeezed the recline button on the armrest. He mashed the back of his waxed, bald head against the headrest. He fidgeted. He squirmed. Then he screamed.

“Why couldn’t the bitch just listen to me, Ryan! She just can never stop sucking from a bottle when we step out. Yackety-yackety-yackin’ with every guy in the bar. Making me look like a goddamn fucking fool.”

Poor Ryan Madson. He’d never seen his best friend this despondent. He thought everything was fine between Brett and Kim after four years and two kids, just as he and his beau were blissful. Appearances sure can be deceiving. And pity the poor woman who is a Phillies wife this year. But even at that, it’s only unhappiness about the job. This…this was a criminal ordeal. And the whole world now had mentally convicted Myers as a wife-beater. A dirty little secret revealed could hardly be worse.

Backwoods Chollie -- fresh from the four-day, three-game torture in Boston that not only saw the team swept again but unexpectedly forced them to switch hotels – lumbered over to the pair of seats where his two hulking hurlers were sitting. This was manager’s work.

“Brett,” the hillbilly started, “Now looky here. Bad things happen to all of us…then ‘fore y’all know it, things get set straight and narrah, and, hell, that’s jus’ life, is what it is.”

Myers shot a laser beam gaze into Chollie’s eyes with the same raging madman gusto he visited upon his darling wife on Friday morning. Chollie, befuddled as usual, stood silent.

“You obese pig farmer,” Myers said, “If I wanted your opinion about anything, I’d do just as well to ask the little faggot serving the drinks on this flight.”

That turned Chollie’s face a hue of magenta. He was a porker, for sure, and he had a healthy respect for the American farmer. But to have his manhood questioned by his wife-beating ace was downright humiliating – and within full earshot of the team, it made a mockery of his job’s inherent dignity.

“Why, you bald-headed asshole,” Chollie said, “I’ll tell y’all what. A faggot wouldn’t hit himself a woman. Those homos got more class than dat. Ya gots no class. And ya gots no brains. A real man walks away from a fight.”

A voice from the back of the plane pierced the tension.

“Hit ‘em coach! Hit ‘em!”

It was the inimitable Jelly Roll, fresh off his 3-for-6 performance yesterday. “Clock that cracker motherfucker!”

Chollie was taken aback by the invective being hurled up the aisle.

“Now who y’all callin’ a cracker, Mr. Hip Hop,” Chollie shouted back. He got his answer in short order.

“The motherfuckin’ wife-beater, that’s who, coach,” Jelly Roll informed.

Shouts filled the plane and little bags of peanuts littered the floor. Bruce, the steward, ran toward the cockpit to escape the fray. Peace needed to be restored, but on this loser team without leaders, there was nary a voice of reason to be found. The din in the coach became unbearable, and from the front of the plane a large figure began making his way down the aisle. It was General Manager Pat Gillick. He put his two pinkies in his mouth and let loose a shrill whistle. Then he spoke.

“Settle down, boys, or I’ll have the pilot take this jet to Kansas City.”


“Now listen up. I am almost 69 years old and value my nap time, so I’ll say this just once. We’re going to try our best to make believe this whole nightmare of a weekend never happened. We’re going to go to Baltimore and play competitive baseball. Nothing more. All the wives are back in Philadelphia, or at least not where we are. We need to focus on baseball between the lines. The wild card is still attainable. You are professionals. Behave accordingly.”

A gentle voice rose up with a question. It was Bobby Abreu.

“Can you trade me to Detroit, boss?” the Candy Eater asked Gillick.

“No, I will not trade you to Detroit,” Gillick said without hesitation. “You will play in Philadelphia for the term of your contract, just as Brett will remain in his marriage with Kim till death do them part. And remember everyone, he is innocent until proven guilty.”

“He’s about as innocent as Barry Bonds,” Abreu said. “Did you see that mean look he gave me last week after I dropped a fly ball?”

“No,” Gillick said. “And nobody else did. The fans are stupid. Bobby – everybody – you guys need to understand this. Life is not perfect. You have to take your lumps and move on. The important thing is to keep a lid on things. What people don’t know won’t hurt them. Now Brett – make nice with Chollie or I’m shipping you out.”

Myers, Chollie, Jelly Roll and the Candy Eater all calmed down, and the serene, muffled silence of a night flight quickly flushed over the plane. Chollie stuck a chaw in his cheek. Jelly Roll slept rhythmically to R. Kelly, and Abreu, of course, sucked on a lollipop.

The important thing was to keep a lid on things. Sage advice, Ryan Madson thought, as he reached for Myers’ hand and whispered, “I can’t quit you.”

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Joe Krakowski heard the latest bad news about the Phillies and decided somebody had to step up. This shit has got to stop, he concluded, so he bought a ticket at the Greyhound Bus and headed to Boston Saturday morning.

Krakowski was guilt-ridden. It was his fault, as he saw it: He had booed Mike Schmidt for years and was now hurling invective nightly at Bobby Abreu. When Brett Myers got clocked for those six runs against the Mets, he was there at the ballyard in Section 304 and was sure he heard him when he yelled “Pussy” as he trudged back to the dugout.

It was all his fault. The reporter said so. He unfolded his Friday Inquirer and there it was, in black and white:

“The fault, dear Phillies fans, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

It's not just lousy pitching, sloppy defense and boneheaded strategy that have caused this and other Phillies teams to underachieve.

It's us.”

That’s all Krakowski needed after he heard how Brett Myers clocked his girlfriend outside a Boston bar with a right cross. It was his fault. Worse, he kept telling himself, he had fucked up Myers’ marriage. The line from the story kept running through his head:

“We can make players' lives - and, though most of us will never recognize the link, our own lives - miserable.”

Yes, Joe thought, he was miserable. Had he forgotten his own humanity? Or Myers’ own human frailty? What had he done? If Myers were just another guy at the Rohm & Haas plant, he’d never be a wife-beater. He’d work his shift, huff his chemicals and punch a time card instead of his wife. He’d have the good life. Fragile psyche? He wouldn’t have a psyche to worry about. He would be free. But no. Now he would become a wreck like Corky Abreu. Just like the story said.

“Look at what we've done to Abreu.

His psyche is as messed up as his swing. We've stripped him of his aggressiveness. Right now, he's a shell of the player he has been throughout his career.”

Well, Joe had had enough. He was seeing the Boston District Attorney and ending this madness. “If the Phils ever want to make the playoffs,” he said to himself, “Brett Myers cannot be stripped of his aggressiveness.”

The bus pulled into the station in Bean Town and hissed to a stop. Joe slung his pink Mother’s Day Phillies knapsack over his back and asked a cop for the address to the courthouse. After he overcame the local language barrier, he hailed a cab and was on his way.

“District attorney’s office!” the told the cabdriver with the raw authority of a kielbasa butcher.

The hack gazed at Joe’s pink bag with the Phillies logo and thought he’d give himself an interesting ride. His local boys shellacked the Phils, 10-2, the previous evening and a series sweep looked promising with a bailed-out wife-beater taking the hill against Schilling.

“Are you gonna plead no contest on behalf of your Phillies?” the cabbie deadpanned.

“As a matter of fact,” Joe said, “I’m gonna beg the court’s mercy to drop the charges against Brett Myers.”

“You mean the wife-beater?”

“No, he’s a victim, and I’m responsible.”

“What – you got him drunk last night?” the driver said, trying to follow Joe’s logic, if any was to be found with that reasoning.

“No, but I booed him and called him a 'pussy' last week, and damaged his frail psyche.”

The cabbie let out a long laugh, content in the knowledge that Phillies fans had to be damaged goods. “Damaged his frail psyche? Booing damages a player’s psyche? I’d trade a damaged psyche for what they make any day of the week.”

Joe sat and listened. He was in enemy territory, and the enemy was driving.

“C’mon, pal,” the driver continued. “That’s weak. We’ve booed some of the greats here in Boston, and we was cursed, besides. Ted Williams? He got booed. He never won nothin’. Carl Yastrzemski? Same thing. Loser who never won nothin'. But a Red Sox for life. Carlton Fisk? Loser and turncoat. Roger Clemens? Shithead Yankee traitor. And our latest Judas, Johnny Damon. Same shit. Cunt Yankee cocksucker. And we booed him when he was here, too.”

“But the media says it’s our fault in Philly the team can’t win,” Joe said. “Now I’m convinced they’re right. Even worse, dude, is now it’s making them beat their wives. The D.A. needs to understand this. It’s a Philly thing.”

“A Philly thing?” the cabbie said. “It’s an American thing. Nobody likes a loser. Do you know what it feels like to wait 85 years to win a World Series again?”

The cabbie made the same error of omission baseball fans continue to chronically commit. And it’s comedic – Philadelphia can’t even get proper credit for being the worst at something, let alone the best.

“Do you know what it’s like to wait 98 years for your team to win their first one?” said Joe, referring to the Phils’ monumental run of futility. Both men, of course, were not alive for the entire course of each team’s dry spells. Pain is measurable only among the living, however, and the longest alive and still-suffering fans could only be those of the Cubs and that's pushing it. It’s been 98 years since their last one, but they have won one more than the Phils.

“Yeah, alright, the Phils are the suckingest team of all-time,” the hack said. “But you don’t have the market cornered on booing or heckling. And you sure as shit aren’t responsible for that pitcher beating his wife. Believe me, he's a head case all on his own. That’s fucking ridiculous. Do yourself a favor and don’t bother with the D.A. He’ll laugh you out of the building.”

“You think so?” Joe said.

“I know so. And you know what else?”


“Ozzie Guillen was right about that Jay Mariotti character. He is a fag.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Madman Off His Record

“Off the record? I think the Phillies are a bunch of Bush League pussies.”

Larry Bowa stirred his gin and tonic and bit on the thin red straw. He hadn’t been back to this familiar crime scene in a couple years. The Holiday Inn had been the setting for many a post-game ho-down during his playing days. The lounge inside the hotel, just a short walk from the sports complex, was and still is like a home away from home -- and away from the wife -- for many an athlete in Philly. For the aging madman, it was like a renegade professor returning to his collegiate frat house for a kegger.

Sure, there still are the hookers, the benders, the wagers. Ballplayers have always been whores for a good time. But as Bowa tells it, the oldtimers from his era were different. They knew more than just how to play the game. They played to win.

“We covered each other’s backs back in my playing days,” Bowa continued. “If Pete (Rose) hit the trifecta, the bartender would hold his money for him, not because he was his bookie, but he was a friend. If Lefty needed a little speed, somebody in the kitchen here would hand-deliver it, not because he was a dealer, but he was a friend. You needed to get laid after a game? One phone call and the girl was there with a driver. That’s what I call teamwork. You don’t see that anymore.”

It was an ethos Bowa tried to instill during his tenure as Phillies manager, but his attempt at indoctrination failed.

“It wasn’t my fault those teams never jelled,” Bowa said. “I tried. Believe me, I tried. But I couldn’t get them to do infield practice together, let alone bringing them here after the game. It was the players’ lack of desire. I never liked any of them. Jimmy Rollins is a bad joke as a leadoff hitter and has no balls. And he looked more fly with the dreadlocks. Burrell is a playboy who’d rather get his dick sucked than play ball. Don’t get me wrong – I like a good hummer as much as the next guy. But why does he waste his time in Olde City nightclubs? The skank is good enough right here; it’s Grade A Gambino gash. And Abreu would rather pad his stats with walks than drive in runs. When he’s done with the game, he has a good time with Jesus and his sweet tooth. He’s a real barrel of monkeys.”

So why’s he wearing Abreu’s Number 53 as a Yankee?

“Just to fuck with his mind,” the old shortstop explained. “And when The Boss trades for him, I’m not giving it up, just like Daulton wouldn’t give me my Number 10 when I came back to Philly as a coach. Fuck these guys.”

Longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas walked through the lounge door and gazed at the gassed Bowa. He waived, then tucked into a booth and sat alone. Time for his post-game Jack Daniels.

“And that shithead Kalas,” Bowa said in a hushed tone. “You know I kicked his ass in the runway at the Vet back in ’75. Last time he ever asked me what I thought about Dave Concepcion. For that, he gets a goddamn bar named after him at the new park.”

A rotund figure walked toward us. It was The Bull, Greg Luzinski. He had a wet, greasy paper bag with him.

“Bull! Missed any meals lately?” Bowa jibed.

“Look, Larry,” the meaty outfielder-turned-barbeque-chef began. “All I ask is that you eat a little before you take these.”

Luzinski passed Bowa a handful of pills, a grab bag of Xanax, Zoloft, Amphetamine and Viagra. Losing hurts, and the Yankees have done their share of that lately. The old shortstop downed the tablets and washed it down with the gin and tonic.

“That’s the ticket,” he said, the relief written all over his weathered mug. “I’ll be happy and hard in no time.”

Frowning, Luzinski began to eat from the bag. Things never change between friends.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


John Vukovich cracked open the door to Ruben Amaro Jr.’s office and peered inside.

“Did you find one?” he asked the assistant general manager.

“Yeah, I just got back from Kensington,” Amaro said. “Here she is.”

A petite, haggard figure emerged from behind a desk. She wore a tube top and flashed a toothless smile. Like always, she was ready to work.

“Meet Consuela!”

Vukovich took a gander at the hooker and shot a look back at the other ex-Phillies utility player. Then he hung his head.

“What’s up?” Amaro asked. “She’s not good enough?”

Vukovich grabbed Amaro by the arm and pulled him closer to the door. Consuela, sensing opportunity, lifted a gold memento from Amaro’s desk.

“Maybe for Larry Bowa,” Vuke said. “But Randy Johnson? Don’t you think she’s a bit…short?”

“What the fuck difference does it make? She’s gonna work, you know, manually.”

“Jesus Christ.”

Vukovich grabbed Consuela by the wrist and leaned down close to her scabby face. “Look. Just do exactly what I tell you. And don’t act like a freak. Here, take this.”

He pulled a glassine envelope from his pocket filled with beige powder and handed it to Consuela.

“Now you’re talking, boss,” she said, relieved.

“Now let’s go, and keep your mouth shut,” Vukovich sternly advised.

They made their way stealthily to the visitor’s clubhouse, hoping to avoid the media horde in town for the Yankees series. But no such luck. New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick was standing in front of the closed door.

“Hey, Vuke!” he said, eyeing the whore. “How’s the triplets? Think any of ‘em can exceed your career .161 average?”

“There’s triple trouble all around,” he replied, laughing nervously. “And how’s your wife and kids?”

“Couldn’t be better. Say, who’s the, uh, lady?”

“Old friend of Randy’s,” Vuke stammered. “Matter of fact, we’re gonna see him right now.”

“I don’t know about that,” the scribe said. “He’s in one of those moods. He’s always in one of those moods. You guys sure pulled a rabbit out of the hat tonight.”

Vukovich had been secretly hoping Johnson would have beaten the Phils last night, or at least left the game with a lead. No such luck. The only consolation was that he pitched well enough to win, but Brett Myers pitched better. Now, the locker room was silent after a 4-2 loss to Team Vomit. Quiet, that is, except for one Yankee.

Vukovich looked inside and espied the gigantic Johnson sitting in front of his locker still in his scivvies and unshowered. He rocked back and forth, shouting “Fuck” in a rhythmic rage. The other players, undoubtedly used to his post-game ritual, left him alone in his misery.

“Man, I thought Jim Eisenreich was bad,” Vuke said under his breath, referring to the former Phil who suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. “This is downright psychotic.”

“What’s that about The Third Reich?” Mushnick asked.

“Never mind,” Vuke told him, and tiptoed inside toward The Big Unit.

“Who the fuck are you!?” Johnson screamed.

“Hi, Randy. It’s me – John Vukovich. We’ve crossed paths before from my old home in the coach’s box, and now I’m in the front office here.”

“Yeah, and the oldtimers tell me you were a worse hitter than Mario Mendoza. You’re a real baseball man. You sure must have kissed some asses to get where you are,” Johnson said. “Fuck! What the fuck do you want anyhow?”

“Well, Randy, Mr. Unit, I have a business proposition for you.”

Johnson scowled at Vukovich’s Croatian countenance as if he were Slobodan Milosevic’s Minister of Ethnic Cleansing. He considered the level of his temerity to dare talk business – let alone to even talk to him – after a loss to his team of mediocrities. Still, he was curious, and, after all, baseball is a business, and he listened to any and all propositions to make more money. Even if this guy were the devil in a Balkan disguise, he could be no worse than the Satanic Steinbrenner.

“Okay, cocksucker, talk.”

Vuckovich considered the irony of that expression in light of his mission. Phillies GM Pat Gillick had just seeded five young heifers with the spunk of Steve Carlton, but he wanted some breeders in the bullpen in case the progeny turned to the bottle or joined an Idaho militia. Lefty was cooked by the time he was 40; Johnson, on the other hand, was pitching effectively at 42, and from all accounts, was only a madman on the mound and in the locker room. A more diversified stock was desirable. And Vukovich was selected to collect the seed.

“Well, Randy,” Vuke started, “how would like to make $10 million in two minutes?”

Johnson was sure this had to be a joke. It will take him all season to make $16 million – and it took him a whole career to make $140 mill -- and here was this jester with his skanky paramour insulting him at his locker. And why was the woman with him, he thought? He decided to let Vuke make his pitch.

“I’m listening.”

“We just want a sperm sample…that’s all,” Vuke said nervously. “And we’ve brought along a real pro to extract it any way you prefer. Take two minutes or two hours, it’s up to you. But after she gives me the cup o’ cum, I have a cashier’s check with your name on it.”

Johnson got that Serbian look about him again, and asked, “And what, may I inquire, do you plan to do with my semen?”

“That’s obvious. We’re trying to build a pitching staff.”

Johnson stood up, all six feet and ten inches of him, and burst in an almost epileptic laughter. Vukovich smiled apprehensively and Consuela, who had been twitching, began to rub her biceps in self-admiration.

It took Johnson a few minutes to stop cackling in mirth. Then he gave his answer.

“You want my jism!? For the Phillies!? Here, come and get it.”

He dropped his jock and stood naked before all in the locker room. The players always wondered why he showered alone, and now they knew. It was gone. There was nothing there. Johnson had no balls. Johnson had no johnson. He was No-Rod. The Big Eunuch!

“Damn! I’ve never seen that shit before!” Consuela said in awe.

Vuckovich’s jaw remained dropped as he gathered the hooker up and hustled out of the locker room. This had to be a bad dream, he thought. He should have known better.

As he made haste, The Eunuch shouted euphorically, “The Boss beat you to it, dickwads!”

Vuckovich just wanted to lose the bitch, get in his car, go home, have a warm milk and latke, and suck his thumb. How could he have been snookered into doing this?

“Hey, slick,” Consuela said. “This ain’t no heroin you gave me. You guys dragged me all the way down to South Philly, and I need the real deal, asshole.”

“It’s human growth hormone, bitch,” Vuke informed. “Now go home and grow something.”

Monday, June 19, 2006



Hamstrung by budget constraints and seeing nothing but a black hole of mediocrity in the future, Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick revealed today the “limited partners” have approved a bold, new strategy to reinvigorate their historically ineffective pitching once and for all.

Codenamed “Jism of Lefty,” the plan calls for seeding tall, left-handed, right-thinking farm girls from Red States with the sperm of Hall of Fame southpaw Steve Carlton. The hope is to produce as many kooky, hard-throwing pitchers as possible just as the limited partners shrivel up and become too aged to count their shrinking millions – a charitable legacy to Philadelphia, if you will.

Like their father, these test tube Cy Young Award winners are guaranteed to be competitive and injury-free, according to Gillick. Sure to be wine connoisseurs with a penchant for wild conspiracy theories, these young hurlers, who are a mere 20 years away from their collective debut, will also be naturally allergic to the media – the root cause of all the Phillies problems, as the partners see it.

“When I hired Pat, I told you scum in the press we have a proven winner with a vision for making Phillies baseball competitive for years to come,” said Dave Montgomery, who, beside Bill Giles, is the owners’ only visible face. “I think Pat’s idea of mating Lefty’s spunk with stock descended from milk-fed veal-eaters is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need to ascend to the next level. It’s all the more better they won’t be saying a word to you guys.”

Carlton, who these days tends to his ranch in Durango, Colorado and shamelessly sells his legacy over the internet, was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, and surely one of the greatest hurlers to grace the mound for the Phillies.

One other Phillies great was considered for the project.

“We tried to convince Robin Roberts to donate to the cause, as it were,” Gillick said, “but he was, uh, shall we say, a little stiff from overuse. The bullpen was not an option, so we went for Lefty.”

For his part, Carlton was no easy sell himself. He spends his days in deep study of political philosophy, and tearing him away from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The Unabomber Manifesto was a hard task. But Gillick wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.

“Look,” Gillick explained, “the guy does nothing but yank his pud up in the mountains anyhow. He never wanted to retire, really. So here’s a chance to contribute again.”

At what cost?

“Lefty is a donor,” Gillick said. “Go ask the sperm bank what they offer for a lefthander these days.”

Montgomery tried to allay fears that the clubhouse would one day be populated with a pitching staff harboring bizarre ideas between starts. After all, the current roster has perfected the art of ignorance on the field -- not off. It’s baseball the Phillies way.

“You know, Lefty regrets breaking down years ago and talking to that shit from Philadelphia Magazine about the so-called ‘international Jewish banking conspiracy’,” Montgomery said. “It’s nothing but a bunch of nonsense. Everybody knows the Red Chinese are really running the show, anyhow. They hold most of the notes that cover the national debt. Now the Unabomber stuff, that’s a little more innocent. Back-to-nature stuff, really. Did you know that guy fertilized his vegetable garden in Montana with his own caca?”

But getting back to earth: How can we expect these new Lefties will do? And when can we buy tickets for the 2026 season?

“Well, the fans know how to be patient,” Gillick said. “By the time the staff is rounded out with five Numbers 32s, I’ll be in my late eighties. So will the limited partners. But baseball is a kid’s game. If you have an eight-year-old son, he’ll have a winner by the time he’s 35, 40. We’re looking at maybe 50, 55 years since the last championship. Sure, you guys might be dead, but how many fans croaked while it took us 98 years to win the first one? What a legacy we’re leaving the kids!”

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lunching With Les Invisibles

It was a shade past noon, and I was late for my lunch with the Phillies “limited partnership” at the Union League. I stumbled on the way up the S-curved steps and tore a hole in the knee of my trousers. It was a bad start to my big day on Mt. Olympus.

I was ushered in by a gay waiter who cast a sideward glance at my crumpled attire and harumphed his way with me over to the awaiting table. There they were! The limited partnership! But…only two were visible. There was Dave Montgomery and Bill Giles alright, but…where were the others? What about Claire S. Betz? Where were the Buck Brothers, Alexander, J. Mahlon and William? And what of the bluest blood of all, John Middleton? Wait…a glass of water was being lifted – by what? There was no hand, no wire. What kind of trickery was at work here?

What had I gotten myself into?

“Sit down,” Montgomery told me – commanded me, really. He didn’t seem too chipper. Giles sat there, silent, and stared at me like an old Soviet KBG chief. Then he spoke.

“Hello there, asshole. I love misery, too.”


“Mr. Tacony Lou – or shall we call you Tacony?” Montgomery asked.

“Well, Giles prefers ‘asshole.’ Just go with that.”

“Okay, asshole,” Monty said. “I think that’s fitting, too. After all, Mr. Giles and I are one and the same person, after all.”

A loud cackle of laughter broke out around the table. That’s an eerie sound coming from invisible owners, let me tell you, but it’s more than most people have heard from them. I could see one of them was working on a Waldorf salad. Maybe one of the Bucks.

“Asshole,” Monty started in, “we feel your pain. Believe me, we do. But you’re a little out of hand with this blog thing. Where do you get off saying we’re bottom-feeders? We all have Ivy League degrees except for Mr. Giles - and he’s a baseball pedigree. Did you know his father was the President of the National League and the General Manager of the Reds?”

I was about to remind him what a resounding failure the Reds were during his ’46-’51 tenure, but it was clear it’d be difficult to get a word in edgewise during our little confab. I waived the waiter over to place my order.

“Separate checks,” Monty told the servant.

“Gimme a cheesesteak wid,” I said.

Again, laughter around the table.

“A what?” the waiter asked.

“Oh. Let me clarify that. I’ll have a steak sandwich with provolone cheese and fried onions. Put some hot peppers in a monkey dish on the side.”

“Sir, we take orders in French. This is the Union League. When placing your order, please speak French.”

It was obvious Joe Vento was not a member of this club.

“Sure,” I said. “Un sandwich à la viande avec du fromage de provolone et les oignons frits.”

I couldn’t tell whether it was one of the Bucks or Middleton – maybe it was Betz -- but one of Les Invisibles gasped and spilled his water over the linen.

“Right away, sir,” the waiter replied, and bounced away from the table.

“Look,” Giles started in, “what do you expect from us? A miracle? We provide entertainment. Baseball is a business. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. My job is to put fannies in the seats. We sign players who are popular with the fans. In this age of free agency, we are a small market club. Red means go. Green means stop. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery…”

“Stop,” I told him. “You’re going to hurt yourself – wait a minute, that’s what you want, right?

“No. That’s what you want.”

“I want to hurt you?”

“No. You’re the one who says he’s a masochist.”

“But how else do you explain my willingness to root for the horseshit team you put out there, year after year?”

“You’re a fan. A fan doesn’t criticize – he accepts his fate.”

“But our fate is and always has been, with few notable exceptions, mediocrity.”

“That’s the media’s fault, the way you think.”

At that point, Giles lost me and the argument at the same time. It’s the media’s fault. That’s news to me. I’ve known my fair share of sports writers and television hacks, and if anything, they prefer to cover a winner. The second best subject to report on is an awful team, if only for the comedy and rebuilding storylines. But a mediocre team like the Phillies is banishment to purgatory, and even a nun would agree that waiting to be uplifted to heaven can be worse than hell. And, in terms of dollars and cents, newspapers sell more copies and get more clicks when the local team is a winner. That’s a fact as publicly available as the Phils' current 33-35 record.

“Let me ask you something,” I said to the two visible members of the limited partnership. “Do you take the fan base here to be idiots?”

“Yes,” the chorus came back from all.


The chorus returned, as if rehearsed: “Because we make more money than they do.”

“So you’re laughing all the way to the bank, then?”

“Well, we get a good chuckle watching the team play at the ballpark, if that’s “The Bank” you mean,” said Betz.

The waiter came with my cheesesteak and the check. It was $65 for the sandwich. “Eat up and get out,” he instructed.

“Sixty-five bucks for a cheesesteak?” I moaned.

“They’re a steal for $10 at the ballpark,” Giles said. “And you can order in English there.”

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Abandoning All Hope

Despite my deeply irreligious nature, I do harbor superstitions and believe in magical gnomes and space aliens.

With that in mind, and my Little Red Phillies Book tucked in the back pocket of my People’s Revolutionary Army trousers, I headed to My Corner Bar to change the Phillies’ run of bad luck.

Maybe I should never have renounced The Baltimore Catechism, because Team Vomit got ass-raped again last night, 10-4, the dynastic Devil Rays playing the parish priest to these altar boys. Again, the details were the same – get behind early, surrender soon thereafter – as Cole Hamels, the alleged Savior, played the part of the Anti-Christ for the fans.

It had been a month since I had watched a game at the bar, and it was revelatory. There are some hardcore Phillies fans that are evidently there every night. They sounded as if they had lost their faith.

“There goes the game in the first inning again,” I said to an ambivalently friendly, old leprechaun sitting next to me.

“I’m a Mets fan,” he said, an obvious change in his allegiance from weeks ago. “The Phillies suck.”

By the time it was 7-0 in the 5th inning, The Stat Man came in. He’s a virtual walking baseball encyclopedia, and goes back far enough to remember the Whiz Kids.

“So what’s wrong with the Phils?” I asked him, fully expecting a statistical evaluation and historical comparison. But it wasn’t forthcoming.

Fuck the Phillies,” he said. “When do the Iggles start training?”

And, of course, there was My Bartender, who attended his first game at Yankee Stadium in April. As the Rays piled up the runs, he just shook his head and cranked up the jukebox. The good news for him is that he’s probably slinging more drinks to assuage the pain – baseball and otherwise.

But the worst news for Dave Montgomery and the rest of the intellectual bottom-feeders that own and run this team is that after their sold-out Yankees and Red Sox series, there’s going to be a lot of empty blue seats. This is not a guess. I know enough people who attend on a regular basis to accurately gauge interest is descending quickly in watching this roster of failures flail away and flounder in the standings.

Father’s Day is tomorrow, and I will be watching from the easy chair in my living room. My Co-Defendant will be at the game. It will be the last he attends this season. Wrote my old friend in an e-mail:

What a mess this Phillies team is, eh? For fuck’s sake, they get swept by the fucking Mets. They are truly pathetic. Unfortunately, my Mom bought tickets for Sunday so my brother and I could go to the game with my Dad. Not that I don't want to hang with my Dad, it's having to be at a Phillies game while doing so that ain't so appealing. At least they're giving hats away. That should be the last game I see at CBP this year.

If Pat Gillick isn’t already reading this – and why wouldn’t he? He’s got to be a masochist, too – maybe I’ll forward that message to him. I’m sure I’ll get a chuckle from the canned response.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


About a dozen years ago, the Gallup Pollsters had a vision of clarity when they described Philadelphia as “Hostile City, U.S.A.”

It was a fitting appellation, and it stuck. Psychotic writers and punk rockers celebrated it in prose and song. New Yorkers sneered in jealousy. Californians shrugged their shoulders and passed the joint.

Back then, the baseball team’s roster handled their environment well. They had responded to the relentless Philly pressure to win, and, by hook or by crook, landed in the World Series in 1993. That came out of nowhere, and the fans were delighted, even if Mitch Williams blew it all in the end – they fought to the finish, and this is undeniably a city of fighters. The Fightin’ Phils were back. But not for long.

It has been a 13-year funeral dirge of deathly boring baseball since the days of Dykstra, Daulton and Kruk. Worse, the latest version, even when they manage to go on a winning run, play with all the enthusiasm of an office softball team. They lost again today, 5-4, for the same uninspired reasons. I don’t need to go into the details today. I have another agenda. I have the medicine for what ails them.

We need more brawls.

When’s the last time this team had a good beanball war? This is Philly, man. The fans would love it – the fans need it. Why do you think this city was rated the best hockey city in North America? The fights. Why do you think this city is honored every time a boxer is described a “Philly Fighter?” Because we love to fight.

Aggression reigns from cradle to grave here like no other place. Infants scream louder and oldtimers are crankier. In between, the kids fight in grade school and the adults fight at bars. I’m not talking about gunplay – I’m talking about a “Put your dukes up and let’s go at it, motherfucker” life aesthetic. Who you callin’ an asshole? Fuck you. BAM!

A few months back, I was driving down a side street in Mayfair, a stable, low-crime neighborhood favored as home by police and firefighters. Outside a small pizza shop, I saw a tussle between two dudes over – what else – a chick. It was good enough to keep watching, and I’d say it was a draw. No guns. No shanks. Just fists. Then they walked their separate ways. They probably both had shiners the next day; I wonder who got the girl.

I wonder how many women are trapped inside Team Vomit’s bodies. Who do you think would fight? Brett Myers was a boxer. Ryan Howard almost got into it with Josh Beckett in spring training. But really, can you imagine Corky Abreu or Baby Girl Burrell in fisticuffs? Shit, Burrell would be too busy protecting his drinking elbow. And “Comedulce” Abreu would fear losing his sweet tooth.

The players like to say they’re in the business of entertainment. I won’t argue with that one. But considering the low grade of amusement they provide playing the game, they might want to consider a side show. They don’t need to worry about offending us. In a city of fighters, it’s the pussies who get no respect.

So Many Ways To Be Annihilated

Volcanoes. Tsunamis. Space aliens. Global warming. Thermonuclear war. Rain delays sure are fun.

Before the next disaster at the ballpark tonight, somehow I landed on the Sci-Fi channel for a heaping dose of apocalypse. “The Day After,” an eschatological classic from 1983, started about an hour before tonight’s telecast, and I have to admit, I was tempted to skip the game and wax nostalgic about the good old Cold War’s last days.

What an interesting time! Ronnie Reagan was rattling his old bones and sword at the crumbling Evil Empire. Anita Bryant was pitching orange juice and condemning gay people to hell. Jerry Falwell was in his heyday, sent to Earth as in a fairytale to straighten the rest of us heathens out. The nuclear arsenal was cocked and ready to go. And the Phillies made it to the World Series for the second time in four years.

Then the game started midway through the movie and all hell broke loose with as much immediacy as Mutually Assured Destruction – except in this case, only one side got bombed. Brett Myers, The Man Who Would Be Ace, melted down as quickly as you can say “Three Mile Island,” and the Mets were up 6-0. Chollie pulled our once and future king after 2 2/3 innings. Myers’ ERA in his last two starts is 17.46.

At that point, I asked myself what would be a better use of my masochistic time: Agonize with Jason Robards over the nuclear winter and mentally help him pick his radiation scabs or continue to flog myself with the cat o’ nine tails Comcast was providing courtesy of Team Vomit? The rain delay made that decision for me.

I have to say the movie gave me some irradiated food for thought. Here it was, 1983, and the characters’ hometown team, the Kansas City Royals, had yet to win a World Series. Even the nuked Philly fans could say they saw the Fightins’ win one before they croaked their untimely death back then. At least that’s what I thought the first time I saw the flick – that and how easy it would be to fuck all the surviving women possible, considering we were all going to die anyway and nobody would be scared off by Falwell anymore. Yee-hah!

The movie ended, and the rain delay continued for an hour, so I watched the next feature, “Countdown to Doomsday.” Suffice it to say Matt Lauer was the host of the alleged documentary detailing all the various ways humanity can be annihilated. Of course, there was always death by mediocre baseball, and for that, I thankfully clicked back to the game and gainfully accepted the rest of tonight’s punishment, a 9-3 shellacking at the hands of the hated Mutts, fully resplendent in their mastery of Team Schizo at their second home in Philly.

The usual suspects emerged. Suffering flashbacks from his previous seasons of immaturity, Myers stormed off the mound repeatedly after disagreeing with the nitpicking umpire’s calls on balls and strikes. His agitation had to be egged along by the geometrically-increasing incompetence of Dingdong David Bell in the field, who racked up another run-scoring error tonight. And then there was our beloved Gold-Gloved rightfielder, the legendary Corky Abreu, who misplayed two more balls over his head, an ongoing deficiency his apologists write off as a mere annoyance, considering his potent offensive skills. Ironically, he was charged with his first error tonight; it seems he’s committed a dozen or more, and no doubt has benefited from charitable scoring. His glove, if golden, is a cake of cement.

And so it goes for the bumbling Phils, a ragtag bunch of nouveau rich n’er-do-wells who can rest assured that while Doomsday may not come courtesy of the Soviet Union, it’s more likely to happen when they are shipped to an underfunded, hopelessly lost baseball outpost like Kansas City, where those vacant missile silos can be rented as domiciles and make for impenetrable protection against hostile fans.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reaping What You Begat

Ryan Madson strode to the mound to take on the Mets last night. He was there because the Phils are short on starting pitching. Anything could happen, and everybody knew that. But what I didn’t expect was the acid flashback I had as the game started.

The current crisis became crystal clear after an imp appeared dressed in candy stripes and sat on the sofa. He began to shake and dance. There was nothing I could do, so I turned inward and contemplated the inter-connectedness of it all.

They are short on starting pitching because two of last year’s hurlers are injured and another was shipped to Texas. His name was Vicente Padilla.

In exchange for Padilla, new general manager Pat Gillick received Ricardo Rodriguez, a complete failure who was released before the season started. The reason the Phils had Padilla was because Curt Schilling demanded a trade. That exorcism was performed in July, 2000. There are no players remaining from that trade on the team.

The imp chuckled, shaked and danced. The lead changed hands a couple times. It was 4-4 in the sixth inning…

Despite the looming shortage of pitchers this season, no additions with any notable tenure in the major leagues were made to the rotation. Gavin Floyd, scared shitless, tried and failed comprehensively. Ryan Madson, a proven middle reliever with one start in the bigs, was tried, failed, and put back in the pen. He was reinstated as a starter after Floyd fucked a tree and another rookie, Cole Hamels, was briefly disabled. Then Jon Lieber got injured. Madson made two serviceable starts after that and got to stay in the rotation. Tonight, he failed again, looking more lost than ever.

As usual, there are reasons for the specific ineptitude of tonight’s 9-7 loss. Madson got clocked because he served up too many plum pickins’ to the best-hitting team in the National League, and the Phils’ defense did everything they’ve been doing wrong all season again in the sixth inning.

As David Wright homered to left to start the inning, a kaleidoscope of colors spun around my living room as I envisioned how nice it must be to have a third baseman for the future, because the Fightless sure don’t. He’s there because their team had the foresight to draft a third baseman instead of relying on free-agent mediocrity like the Phils did when they signed Dingdong David Bell. They will need to find another team’s reject next season; there are no third baggers anywhere near close to being ready in the entire minor league system. The worst part about that is that Dingdong might be the Fightless’ best option.

Dingdong committed his tenth error last night in that five-run inning, and for a little psychedelic perspective, I was just thinking what could have been from a multitude of angles. He was at third base because the Phils needed somebody after Scott Rolen demanded a trade and was dealt in 2002. Rolen wanted out because the team looked as if they weren’t serious about winning – especially after the Schilling trade. Rolen was soon a Cardinal, and still is. There are no players remaining from that trade on the team, either. The last one, Placido Polanco, was able to play both second and third base, and was traded for the madman with a machete, Uggie Urbina, who had taken up residence in a Venezuelan jail in the offseason. He's still there. Maybe forever. Polanco’s replacement at second, Chase Utley, made his sixth error in the fateful sixth tonight after he threw a ball he caught off Julio Franco’s bat ten feet wide of first base attempting to perform a double play.

Julio Franco is a Met because there is a Fountain of Youth in his backyard in the Dominican Republic. He was once a Phillie, too. After 29 major league at-bats, he was traded with four other players for Von Hayes in 1982. Hayes retired in 1992 after 12 seasons at 34-years-old. Franco is in his 25th professional season and will turn 48 in August. He plans to play next year, too.

Von Hayes was billed as the next Ted Williams. If you ask me, he was the next Elton John. The guy who was deluded into thinking such disordered thoughts was Bill Giles, who had begun disassembling the team’s future in 1982 by sending Larry Bowa and future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs for the incomparable Ivan DeJesus. Sandberg was the throw-in.

Giles is like the Owsley of this whole, bad acid trip also known as being a Phillies fan – his retarded baseball sense has been awesome and far-reaching in its impact. His father used to be the president of the National League. In traditional nepotistic fashion, he set Billy up in baseball, and after apprenticing in Houston, the young idiot became a Phillies “vice-president” public relations flack responsible for such bread and circuses at the ballpark like Kiteman, the World’s Highest-Jumping Easter Bunny and the Phillie Phanatic.

The man will do anything for a buck. Why else would he have Karl Wallenda perform a high-wire act from one end of Veterans Stadium to the other without a safety net between games of a doubleheader? I was one of the 65,000 who went to see him do that. I remembered asking my father if they would play the second game if they had to clean his splattered guts off the Astroturf.

“Hope he didn’t drink too many Schmidts before he got on that wire,” some guy in the row in front of us said.

“Hell, if he makes it, he should down a case,” my Dad joked nervously.

Giles begat Giles, for sure, and Junior begat all the horseshit that has been Phillies baseball since he somehow cobbled together an alliance of filthy rich bluebloods to buy the club from Ruly Carpenter and install himself as GM by default in 1981. The Phils fate has been sealed and par-boiled in failure since.

Giles gave up the GM title but never the duties. After a thorough reaming of the fans in the early 80s – imagine a middle infield of Franco and Sandberg -- he brought in Woody Woodward to be his front man. Then he brought in Lee Thomas. And, in a move as stunningly idiotic as risking Wallenda’s life above a packed stadium – the guy eventually fell to his death in Puerto Rico – he hired Ed Wade, who, with Uncle Bill’s assent, proferred all those big, fat multi-year contracts for players that can’t beat the Mets this year, couldn’t beat the Braves the last three, and whose presence precludes the acquisition of pitchers that might give fans a reason to go to the games and not be swallowed by a sea of orange-and-blue jerseys inhabited by smirking fans with New York accents.

What a bummer Wallenda fell off his wire.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Be They Ever So Humbled

I question whether the Fightless consider Philadelphia home sweet home. Here they are, coming off a 20-game run with no rest, a stretch that yielded ten wins and ten losses, culminating in an 11-game transcontinental road trip. Do you think they must be bone-tired and longing for the familiar clime of Hostile City?

Yeah, right. Granted, it’s good to come home and play hide the salami with the wife or paramour, but then they have to head back out into the June jungle when they leave the manses. The cholesterol-fed, blue-collar bred fans will stare at them and point. They will not be able to order a Geno’s cheesesteak in Spanish (not to mention whatever language Chollie speaks). They will click on the car radio and, in the spirit of the megalopolis dweller, will listen to the maladroit musings of New York sports talk show hosts seeking ways to trade them to the Yankees, or worse, tune into the local version and hear how much we want Dontrelle Willis and who should be exiled to the Marlins to get him in a trade.

That must be painful.

When they have finished collecting themselves tomorrow on their off day and ponder how they managed to get shut out in Washington, 6-0, on only three hits against an also-ran with a reconstructed shoulder, I’m sure they’ll attribute it to the drain of the road. But let’s face it. The locals here are harder on this team than any Angelino or Phoenician are on theirs, and with damn good reason.

They are consistently, frustratingly, teasingly, tragically fucking MEDIOCRE.

Let’s hope they find the right elixir in Philly, because Team Vomit goes right back to work against the Mets and Tom Glavine Tuesday. The ongoing experiment that is Ryan Madson squares off against an old master who has seemed to respond to the Mets’ reinvigorated offense with a 9-2 record. Matter of fact, he’s hitting .300 himself.

Meanwhile, the clock – or maybe the time bomb – is ticking.

After the Mets series, a three-game sequence that, if they are swept, could find the Phils in a deep ten-game hole in the loss column, they are slated to play six of the next nine games against the Yanks and the Red Sox. The Devil Rays offer (hopefully) comic relief after the Mets series, but with this team, nothing is a gimme.

And that’s just the problem when you have bad starting pitching. Today against the Gnats, Cole Hamels had his worst start of the year, surrendering a few ill-timed walks which put runners on for the top of the not D.C. lineup, which proceeded to score them with two doubles. Hamels is a rookie and I’ll write it off to experience, but it’s a shutout loss nonetheless against a nobody pitcher and a shaky bullpen. Of course, it didn’t help having Baby Girl Burrell misjudge a liner that screamed over his glove.

Which leads us back to the burning question this season: Would you trade one of the outfielders for a pitcher?

Welcome home, guys. Now say “Cheesesteak wid” or leave town.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Lasorda Probes Anus; Myers Unwitting Victim

I am a godless fuck, but while I was subjected to a full inning’s worth of Tommy Lasorda during the game telecast tonight, something preternatural crept over me, and I knew Brett Myers was doomed to failure against the Nationals.

It’s a good thing the loquacious Lasorda is not a made member of La Cosa Nostra, because he can’t keep his mouth shut -- rarely is omerta observed when there’s a microphone or an audience to be had near him.

The rotund Slim Fast shill blathered on about himself and his opaque accomplishments: About how an asteroid and a heart institute were named after him; about how six honorary doctorates were bestowed upon him; about how he’d pitch Ryan Howard nothing but curveballs; and, just for a little old-fashioned ethnic tension, about how the kosher Sandy Koufax told him if Dodger manager Walter Alston wanted to win Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, he had “better give the ball to a Jew.”

Did I tell you how happy I am being a godless fuck?

Meanwhile, just as Howard banged a fastball for another opposite field homer in the third frame to tie what turned out to be a 12-inning, 9-8 marathon loss, Lasorda continued to praise convicted racketeer and Junk Bond King Michael Milken (crime pays – he’s still worth $2 billion) about his work fundraising on behalf of curing prostate cancer. After that ass kiss, I half expected him to say the glatt-fed Milken shared Koufax’s sentiments about who should get the ball on that one.

My thoughts drifted away from the game, as I’m certain countless thousands of viewers’ eyes glazed over during this unfortunate lecture and interlude about our mortality. Sure, it’s a worthwhile cause, curing cancer. But do we need to be reminded of disease during the ballgame when for two years between innings we’ve been subjected to that old lady’s asshole cancer story as she’s passing the plate around her dinner table? I’m thinking about cancer, I am! I am! Honest! Now let me enjoy the fucking baseball game!

The Phils’ half of the third inning ended, but fans no doubt were distressed to learn Old Meatball would be back for a second helping of grief in the bottom half. That’s when I knew Myers was doomed and a loss was imminent. Of all things, Lasorda began talking about the game. He confirmed his assumed supernatural abilities when he claimed the ball Corky Abreu misplayed in right the previous inning caused Myers to lose his head and melt down for six earned runs the next inning. Sorry, Tommy. No matter how many informercials you do, even the housewives aren’t buying your telekinetic powers. That’s not this season’s version of Myers, anyhow. You were up in the booth the whole time putting one of those Sicilian curses on Team Psycho, weren’t you? How else do you explain his shortest outing in a year and a half? And after all that, you want me to send Milken money?

The fat fuck’s vexing hex lasted until the seventh inning, when the Fightless got back on their feet and fought back to get the lead in the seventh, keyed by two taters from Chase Utley and Pat Burrell.

Just to make it interesting, the Gnats came back to tie in the bottom half, because what the hell, why not have a few extra innings to clear Lasorda’s garlic-infused hot air out of the place so the Team Succubus can get her groove back on with Team Schizo?

Predictably, in a rare night in which Myers had a bad outing, the Phils lost. But the seventh inning comeback was admirable, if only to get my mind off a bladder problem that still seems to require a probing finger up the poop shoot to verify.

I’m sure Lasorda has had ample opportunities to perfect the technique.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another Washington Charity Case

The Old Lady and I stepped out on the town last night and had to leave the house before the official end of the game.

It usually devastates me to miss the sadistic exploits of Team Psycho, as I am a sick man and enjoy the regular beatings they inflict upon my corrupted, punishable being. But Eude Brito was pitching, and I was ravaged swiftly and severely.

Brito, you may recall, awoke with a boner the day of his last failed effort in Los Angeles Saturday, and after a hooker relieved him of his tension, he proceeded to spurt gobs of dead-center strikes to the Dodgers, who deposited his love into the alleys at their decrepit home in a ravine.

Brito found himself in a D.C. chasm last night. In a town where charity is dispensed for a price to benefactors the world over, Brito spent Philly fans’ emotional capital generously on the Nationals, an East Division rival that was glad to take all the help it could get. Like any other Washington whore, the Gnats accepted his contributions in exchange for party favors and a House intern keen on fellating someone important.

Brito will not be important too much longer. Not after these two sick showings.

He was done after 4 2/3 innings, and so were the Phils, who bitched and moaned about how the devastating five-hour flight from the West Coast affected their game disposition. Funny. Didn’t Chollie rest three of the regulars in the rubber game at Arizona?

Flight or no flight, Brito allowed the Gnats to reclaim the lead, 4-2, in the fifth inning, and it was done as quick as you can say “Clay Condrey.” The Fightless could manage only four hits against the immortal Mike O’Conner, and, for comic effect, brought in Ryan Franklin to relieve Condrey to start the bottom of the seventh.

As Mrs. Tacony Lou and I saddled up in Olde City for a drinky-poo, we watched in misery as Franklin faced his first batter, Alfonso Soriano, who smacked asshole’s third pitch far away through the cavernous park and over the outfield wall, his 23rd homer - and another reason this guy should be an All-Star despite his reluctance to play left field.

Soriano was a shit-disturber all night. He had the kind of boxscore line that you’d see Rickey Henderson or Tony Gwynn compile – one official at-bat, FOUR RUNS SCORED, and one hit, the homer. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch. He scored every time he stepped to the plate. I'd say that's called "production."

When’s the last time Jelly Roll did that?

Aside from Franklin, the bullpen fared well once again. Condrey permitted but two hits in relief of Brito, and Aaron Fultz was perfect in the eighth in relief of asshole.

Brito and Franklin: The stiff and the asshole. How much longer, Pat Gillick?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

D-Backs Lose Snake Oil Salesman, Then Game

Could it be a coincidence that the Diamondbacks can’t win after Jason Grimsley, their veteran reliever, had his home raided yesterday by federal agents looking for all traces of the “human growth hormone” he confessed to abusing?

Worse for the Snakes, who released Grimsley after that embarrassment, he ratted out unnamed ex-teammates he’s had since 1989 as he slid down the abyss that likely will end his unremarkable career.

Don’t mind my schadenfreude, because this couldn’t happen to a scummier bunch of ninnies. Any organization that holds up Luis Gonzalez as the exemplar of the franchise’s early accomplishments should have its collective head examined as well as a mass blood-testing.

Gonzalez, you may recall, was a solid outfielder who got better results after he adjusted his batting stance and learned how to pull the ball. In eight seasons before being traded to Arizona for the forgettable Karim Garcia, he averaged just over 13 homers and hit about .275. But the next three seasons with the Snakes, he slugged 26, 31 and 57 – FIFTY SEVEN – homers, an unnatural accomplishment for somebody who once was a skinny kid from Florida. He’s listed as 6’ 2” and 180, but to look at his photo celebrating his lucky hit that won the 2001 World Series, his arms looked like he was injecting some kind of dope.

That’s why it was laughable to see “Gonzo” flailing away this series against Team Psycho. He hasn’t homered in more than 150 ABs this season, and covers his damaged pumps with that homo-erotic purple team tee-shirt. Against Cole Hamels, he looked washed up. Today against Ryan Madson, he got two meaningless singles – in fact, all but one of the eight against Madson were singles, and the Phils cruised to a 7-3 victory, sweeping the D-backs and flying happily back East to D.C. to face the Nationals tomorrow.

Madson looks as if that seven-inning extra-inning effort against the Mets last month might have straightened his shit out. Like Hamels the night before, Madson was in command until he was lifted after 7 2/3 innings. If Myers, Hamels and Madson can become the staff horses, the Fightless might have a shot at the playoffs, because the old-timers on the Mets’ roster are beginning to break down. Wonder who their dealer is?

The Phils must have friends in the federal government beside Supreme Court Justice Alito (an admitted fan), because the timing of the raid on Grimsley’s house couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite splitting the series in Los Angeles, they could have begun swooning again in the desert. The D-backs had just swept the Braves in Atlanta, and their staff ace awaited the Fightless in Phoenix.

Instead, there were 25 players waiting and wondering if their digs in Scottsdale would be the site of the next raid, and maybe edgy about the date of their last injection to recover from those nagging injuries. By the time they play their series in Philly, their asses might be sagging as badly as Chollie’s.

De-Fanging Da D-Backs

Cole Hamels stepped on the mound last night at the airplane hanger they call a ballpark in Phoenix.

It’s a hill of dirt that had been called home by two of the best pitchers of the last 20 years, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, after the nascent Diamondbacks franchise opened up its checkbook for Johnson and convinced the Phillies to spread their buttcheeks as they stole Schilling in a one-for-four-losers trade.

Signing Johnson, the ugliest motherfucker in baseball history, was some of the best free agent money ever spent, especially considering that Kevin Brown was the other “prize” dangling on the open market in 1999 and the D-backs pursued him as hard as Johnson. But the Dodgers left Johnson on the market after they signed Brown, and Johnson opened up space on his shelf in Paradise Valley for four Cy Young Awards he earned in Arizona.

Schilling, on the other hand, was highway robbery courtesy of dumbshit Phillies GM Ed Wade. How can Miserable fans in Philly forget that one? He traded him in July, 2000 for the hapless quartet of Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla.

The results were not surprising. The D-backs brought Arizona its first sports championship in 2001 behind the two aces, again proving that while good pitching wins games, it helps to have an unexposed steroid freak like Luis Gonzalez hit 57 homers. As for the Phils, who proceeded to trade Scott Rolen in 2002 to assure the Cardinals' still-bright future, there is not a single player acquired from the two trades remaining on their major- or minor-league rosters.

The idiots who live in the hell that is Phoenix got lots of giggles over that deal. Who wouldn’t? In a city where most of the residents come from somewhere else, and where it seems the natives come from both financial and intellectual poverty, the World Series victory galvanized the city and bonded together its residents for…about a week. But it was a nice way to forget about 9/11 a month after it happened.

I’m sure Hamels, a Southern Californian, had none of this on his mind when he started the game last night. He should keep his head that way. With the roof at the stadium now called “Chase Field” closed, he pitched his best game of the three he’s hurled in the majors, commanding his pitches to befuddle the hot-hitting Snakes into a 10-1 submission, a sterling performance at the site of many masterful efforts in the stadium’s short history. It was his first of hopefully 300 victories in the bigs.

The game was over in the first inning. Baby Girl Burrell homered to stake the Fightless to a 2-0 lead, and that’s all Hamels needed. He threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball and left with a 6-1 lead. The bullpen shut Arizona down, as it had in the previous victory against the D-backs' new ace, Brandon Webb.

Last night’s win came against Russ Ortiz, a shamefully fat remnant of his former self who should call it a career. He threw 41 pitches in the first inning alone, and even after he settled in, he had written his own warrant for an early removal from the game.

For the Fightless to fly in to Phoenix and take the first two games is no small feat. They looked their old schizo selves in Los Angeles, and miraculously came away with a 2-2 split in that series.

Arizona has rebuilt itself after Johnson and Schilling requested trades to escape the deep hole the team dug for itself by shelling out wasted millions on multi-year contracts for washed-up veterans who had one good fuck left in them. Fans were fooled into believing Matt Williams, Jay Bell, Mark Grace and Tony Womack, who were “generous” enough to take deferred payments on their outsize contracts, would last more than three seasons. None of them did, and the team is still paying. That’s the cost of instant gratification.

What the D-backs need is about 98 years of going without to appreciate a losing franchise; somehow it doesn’t seem fair they’re competitive again. But the novelty has worn off in Phoenix, and the fans have shown their true colors, barely able to assemble 25,000-strong most nights in their air-conditioned playpen.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Google's Blogger Boner

If you’re wondering or care in the least bit, anyone who’s been trying to post in Blogger has had about the same results as Gavin Floyd on the mound.

Yeah, you can get a post up – if you try 40 times. Pictures? Forget about it. You running ads? You don’t need no stinking ads.

At first, I thought the bigwigs at Google were bloviating about the Brito Boner story, but after checking a help group, whether you were posting horrible pictures of naked goth kids like a MySpace whore or writing satire about a pitcher’s erection problem, you were screwed a google different ways trying to post it.

So hang in there, fellow Miserables. I used to live in Phoenix, and my contacts have clued me in on what the Fightless did in celebration of their come-from-behind win last night.

When its 105 degrees, that’s a cool day in the Valley of the Sun.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Brito's Boner

Eude Brito woke up at the Pasadena Ritz-Carlton this morning with a little friend. He picked up the phone on the nightstand and called Chollie the Manager.

Hefe,” he said, flush with excitement. “Come up to my room! There’s something I want you to see. Andele! Andele!”

When you’re 62-years-old and hungover, that’s not any easy trick, but Chollie threw some trousers on and hurried to his starting pitcher’s room.

“Just what I needed,” Old Backwoods huffed as he shoved $400 in his Armenian hooker’s hand and hustled her out to the hot East Valley air. “It’s not like I don’t already sing lullabies to Jelly Roll every night. Now I’s gotta burp my Brito.”

Little did Chollie know what was in store for his gentile West Virginny eyes. There in his bed lied Brito, naked, with an erection that looked like a shiitake mushroom cap.

“Look, hefe, look! I’m ready to pitch.”

“Oh, no you ain’t,” Chollie said, knowing full well that boners are best handled long before game time. “Now do something about that damn stiffy before I do.”

Chollie scrunched his face and thought for a moment about what he had just encouraged.

“Wait one Dominican minute,” he told Brito. “Git some clothes on and y’all come with me…uh, I mean go with me in a cab to Dodge-a Stadium”

The cabdrivers outside the Ritz-Carlton are a lively lot, so Chollie was sure he could pull this one off – or have his driver find someone who could. They approached a garish Crown Victoria outside the lobby door and tapped on the shaded window. It rolled down to reveal the happy countenance of Park-soon Kim. Despite playing six seasons in Japan, Chollie still couldn’t tell the difference between a Japanese and Korean.

Ko-nazi wah,” he stammered, trying to recall the few words he learned as a Yakult Swallow.

“I speak English, you dumb fucking hick,” the driver answered, a little annoyed to have his morning kim-chi and ginseng break interrupted by a hairy barbarian. “What the fuck you want? I only go to the airport. And I don’t haul fags.”

Chollie, realizing his politically incorrect boo-boo, figured a little diplomacy was in order. He took two hundred dollar bills out of his pocket and threw them in the front seat.

“Good morning, sir,” Kim said. “And what may I do for you today?”

“Find me a hooker,” Chollie told him.

Old Backwoods pushed Brito into the back seat and jumped in beside him. The clanky cab busted down the 110 Freeway south to downtown Los Angeles. At 5th and Main, in the heart of Skid Row, they found their tonic. There, standing in front of a portable toilet, was a Senorita plying her wares in the hot morning sun.

“How much?” Chollie asked. No answer.

Hefe, this is L.A.,” Brito said. “Nobody speaks English. Let me try.”

Brito turned to the skinny sperm depository with the doorag on her head.

Cuando cuesta?” he asked. That did the trick.

“Well what she say, Bright-O?” Chollie asked his pitcher.

“Twenty bucks and a rock,” Brito explained.

“Gaw-dang!” Chollie blurted. “For what I paid last night, I coulda had twenty a her!” he said, peeling off a twenty.

“I need ten for the rock, hefe,” Brito said to Chollie’s consternation. “Fuck, Ew-day. You better not smoke that shit. Do you?”

“Only Cuban cigars, on occasion,” the rookie replied. “Now let me do my trabajo.”

Brito and the Senorita entered the Johnny-On-The-Spot and closed the door. After about a minute, Brito re-emerged, smiling and no longer hard.

“Now let’s go to the game,” Chollie said. “Kimmy-san – take us to the ballpark.”

Once there, the manager headed for Rick Dubee's bottle and Brito to his locker stall. He pulled on his uniform, then became aghast after he noticed a cumstain had bled through his jockstrap. His teammates refused to switch trousers with him. (Worse, after the game began, they refused to hit for him). Despite his sartorial faux pas, the Dominican set to get going with his warmups. Sans erection, and a little buzzed from the second-hand smoke in the Johnny, he told Chollie he was ready to go.

Brito took to the mound and proceeded to get shredded: four innings, six runs on nine hits and two walks to boot. Needless to say, Team Vomit lost the game, and could muster only two hits against Brad Penny and two unremarkable relievers. It was 4-0 by the end of the first inning, and it was effectively over. By the end of seven, it was 8-0 and a downright embarrassment beamed regionally by national television.

Brito was seen leaving the clubhouse and walking toward a taxi in the parking lot. It wasn’t headed toward the hotel.

Phils Win, Conduct Post-Game Gang Bang

Scared Shitless was exiled to Scranton yesterday, and just to tempt his own fate, Ryan Madson regressed into his peckerwood routine.

The former reliever cum starter cum reliever cum starter fucked the Phils with fives last night, as in five innings, five earned runs, five hits and five walks. He was pulled with the Fightless behind, 5-3. He sat on the bench in a confused sweat, wondering how long he’d last as the fifth starter.

As the heavens opened and a hard rain fell back in Philly, things looked as ominous in the sun-ravaged ravine in Los Angeles for Team Vomit. After knocking out former Mets’ nemesis Jae Seo after the fourth inning for a 3-0 lead, the Phils faced Dodger basket case Odalis Perez. The demoted starter worked out of a jam in the fifth, and yielded to Fatboy Jonathan Broxton, who chewed through the bottom of the lineup the next inning. It wasn’t pretty, as the Psychotic Candystripers looked as if they were about to call it a night. Bar denizens here in Hostile City were clamoring for a Friday Night Fight in a mud puddle, considering that the local baseball team seemed incapable of punching its way out of LaLa Land.

But the Dodgers made the mistake of sending Danys Baez to the mound to face the top of the order in the seventh. Knowing full well that the chicks at White Lotus in Hollywood only fuck you after a win – well, at least on Fridays - Team Psycho mounted a rare comeback to insure they would likewise ride saddle on a blonde Valley whore by the insanely early 2 a.m. last call mandated at L.A. hotspots. With these drinking restrictions, I have to say Larry Flynt had a lotta nerve comparing the place to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Surprisingly, Jelly Roll started the whole thing with a single to center, the ball taking an uncharacteristic hop up the middle, as opposed to the usual in-air trajectory which his swing demands. A walk to Chase Utley (who had four hits), then a single by Corky Abreu, and all of a sudden, the bases were loaded for Baby Girl Burrell, exactly what a cleanup hitter craves – and in Burrell’s case, almost as much as all that poontang out there.

As Voice of God Harry Kalas likes to describe it, Baby Girl “fisted” a ball (!) to center, scoring two runs. All of a sudden, the game was tied, and Burrell was smiling at first, tripping the light fantastic with Nomar Garciaparra. Just as he asked him if chicks dig Latino vatos with reversed names, Ryan The Howitzer, who earlier had hit his 19th homer, walked to load the bases. That brought Crash Rowand to the batter’s box.

Team Psycho has had a magnificently pathetic track record with the bases loaded, but in all fairness to Crash, he has not been part of the cancer afflicting this club. Further cementing his keeper status, he scored two more runs with a double down the line. After Dingdong David Bell – one of the few hitters batting well with baserunners - scored Howard with a sacrifice fly, it was 8-5 Phillies, and the game was essentially over. As expected, mediocre setup man Arthur Rhodes allowed a run to cross during his inning of relief, but Flash Gordon shut them down in the ninth.

No thanks to Madson, the team won only because it scored all those runs, a rarity because the lineup has imposed too much pressure on itself to compensate for the pitching weaknesses that pockmark this staff like an incurable disease.

So inconsistent are four of five starters that the injured Jon Lieber’s replacement, lefthander Eude Brito, should offer a better competitve balance, if only that Team Vomit has started only two games with a lefty – Cole Hamels – and the jury is still out on whether Our Personal Jesus can hack a season without a debilitating injury.

The Dodgers, by the way, are opposing our 27-year-old rookie with Brad Penny, a hard thrower who drew some interest on the Phils’ trade front in the off-season. If that bad shoulder is troubling him, his 5-1 record and 2.87 ERA sure belies that point.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Scared Shitless' Mexican Standoff

Old Backwoods Chollie sucked in the stew of pollutants in the Los Angeles, Mexico air and declared an impossible expectation for the 11-game road trip, their longest of the season.

“We gotta play .500 ball,” he said, demonstrating not only his ignorance of mathematics, but his inability to accept his team’s numerous frailties, not the least of which was Gavin Floyd’s disaster of a season.

Chollie trotted out Scared Shitless to the mound in Chavez Latrine, an aging, derelict pit populated by rich whores in the box seats, tattooed gangbangers in the mezzanine and illegal aliens surrounding them from all sides. As this Aztlan polyglot of misguided leftist idiots chomped on foul Dodger Dogs and shitty sushi, their ballclub, a reconstituted alphabet soup of oft-injured veterans and unproven newcomers, feasted on the terrified Floyd’s undercooked offerings and turned Team Vomit’s night into a regurgitated upchuck.

Scared Shitless, who has a league-worst 7.29 ERA, just might have punched his ticket back to the minors after his clueless showing last night. He was done before the clock struck midnight in Philly and certainly most fans kissed their wife goodnight after watching enough after four innings. Why lose sleep in the hope of watching the Fightless climb out of a 7-0 hole?

Well, I did, and they didn’t. But I saw enough after Clueless surrendered three homers, the first a three-run shot to rookie Matt Kemp in his twelfth major league at-bat. It was worth three runs because Floyd continued this year’s team obligation to allow the opposing pitcher fat pitches to get hits. After Derek Lowe, his opposite number, smacked a double off the blue center-field wall for a two-out double, he walked Rafael Furcal and characteristically lost his mind to Kemp, the next hitter.

The Dodgers smelled blood, and they jumped on Floyd again in the fourth. He allowed a solo shot to rookie Russell Martin before recording two outs to set up the coup de grace – a three-run dinger to the hated J.D. Drew to seal the deal. It was 7-0, and I began searching the drawers for a large battery to throw – not at Drew, at Floyd.

This kid needs to be sent away NOW. Enough is enough. And Team Psycho has plenty of SoCal connections – Utley, Lieberthal and Rowand in the starting lineup and tonight’s starting pitcher, Ryan Madson, to name a few – so maybe somebody’s mother can take them to her tit and wet nurse them. Or maybe Chollie can hail an Armenian cab from the hotel to tour Skid Row and drink a pint with a bum. Something, anything to focus their sorry asses.

Scared Shitless' Mexican Standoff

Old Backwoods Chollie sucked in the stew of pollutants in the Los Angeles, Mexico air and declared an impossible expectation for the 11-game road trip, their longest of the season.

“We gotta play .500 ball,” he said, demonstrating not only his ignorance of mathematics, but his inability to accept his team’s numerous frailties, not the least of which was Gavin Floyd’s disaster of a season.

Chollie trotted out Scared Shitless to the mound in Chavez Latrine, an aging, derelict pit populated by rich whores in the box seats, tattooed gangbangers in the mezzanine and illegal aliens surrounding them from all sides. As this Aztlan polyglot of misguided leftist idiots chomped on foul Dodger Dogs and shitty sushi, their ballclub, a reconstituted alphabet soup of oft-injured veterans and unproven newcomers, feasted on the terrified Floyd’s undercooked offerings and turned Team Vomit’s night into a regurgitated upchuck.

Scared Shitless, who has a league-worst 7.29 ERA, just might have punched his ticket back to the minors after his clueless showing last night. He was done before the clock struck midnight in Philly and certainly most fans kissed their wife goodnight after watching enough after four innings. Why lose sleep in the hope of watching the Fightless climb out of a 7-0 hole?

Well, I did, and they didn’t. But I saw enough after Clueless surrendered three homers, the first a three-run shot to rookie Matt Kemp in his twelfth major league at-bat. It was worth three runs because Floyd continued this year’s team obligation to allow the opposing pitcher fat pitches to get hits. After Derek Lowe, his opposite number, smacked a double off the blue center-field wall for a two-out double, he walked Rafael Furcal and characteristically lost his mind to Kemp, the next hitter.

The Dodgers smelled blood, and they jumped on Floyd again in the fourth. He allowed a solo shot to rookie Russell Martin before recording two outs to set up the coup de grace – a three-run dinger to the hated J.D. Drew to seal the deal. It was 7-0, and I began searching the drawers for a large battery to throw – not at Drew, at Floyd.

This kid needs to be sent away NOW. Enough is enough. And Team Psycho has plenty of SoCal connections – Utley, Lieberthal and Rowand in the starting lineup and tonight’s starting pitcher, Ryan Madson, to name a few – so maybe somebody’s mother can take them to her tit and wet nurse them. Or maybe Chollie can hail an Armenian cab from the hotel to tour Skid Row and drink a pint with a bum. Something, anything to focus their sorry asses.