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.


Anonymous JG said...

Right on. If you're going down, may as well beat some ass along the way.

16/6/06 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the undercard features Harry vs. Wheels from the Felt Forum of the broadcast booth.

16/6/06 11:00 AM  
Blogger Tacony Lou said...

You know Harry would love to slug Wheeler -- it's palpable over the airwaves. Come to think of it, it would be a great way for Harry to retire. I can see it now on the pre-game: "I'm passing the mike you've hovered over like a vulture for years to you, Wheels. All I ask is to just shut the fuck up today, idiot!" BAM!

16/6/06 12:49 PM  
Anonymous ChuckM said...

Lou, I was down at Fridays nights numb-a-thon. Cole Hamels is a work in progress (and will be very good) so I'm not going to harp on his outing other than to say that when he gave up a HR to the very first batter of the game in his home debut, I figured that the proverbial baseball gods had made up their mind
after Ruly Carpenter cashed in that any team owned by an undeserving effwit like Bill Giles will be cursed for as long as Giles is associated with them. As far as the bats, there is a formula in effect where a team can send their no-name rookie to the hill and watch the Phillies feebly flail and lunge at off-speed pitches. Chase Utley needs to rest one game this weekend.

All in all, this was a bottoming out. Thankfully I only spent $12 on my ticket and had one Coke. With upcomings series against the Bankees, Sox and BooHays, the Phillies will be very lucky if they are not more than 5 games under .500 by the break.

17/6/06 1:30 PM  

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