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.”


Anonymous JG said...


25/6/06 2:13 PM  

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