Friday, August 04, 2006

A Dog In Philly, A God In New York


So I decided to catch a little Yankees action on the tube today, and that’s easy enough, as the only ballgames ESPN chooses to show are those in which either New York or Boston are involved.

The national deification of Bobby Abreu is well underway now that he is no longer a Phillie. And in much the same way his critics understated his abilities, today’s broadcast team overstated his strengths.

Former Mets General Manager Steve Phillips, the “color man” for the game, said when Abreu failed to drive in runners for the Phils, nobody else did, implying that’s why the team has sucked this year. Let that thought wash over you for a second or two. Then take a look at his network’s web page with all the stats under “Ryan Howard” and tell me who picked up the slack for our old three-hole hitter who’d rather take a walk than hit a baseball. It’s remarkable how he could ignore the National League’s second-leading RBI guy. But hey, I know people in Manhattan who think working two jobs just to survive is called “portfolio diversification.”

I don’t expect much from Phillips, a failed turd with a thin portfolio who last year had about the strangest “fantasy” show on television that featured Phillips as Phillips making believe he had his baseball job again. He was a blustery windbag who couldn’t pull that gig off as a fake, either, and he’s worse behind a mike calling a game. But I’m sure his broker has invested his paychecks wisely in index funds.

The Yankees won, 8-1, behind the Greatest Pitcher in the History of the World, Cory Lidle, who probably is too paranoid to be in the clubhouse alone anymore during games after Arthur Rhodes exposed him as an Internet porno and gambling junkie who doesn’t give a fuck what his teammates do between his starts. This revelation came to us miserable fans after Lidle had the gall to complain about the Phillies millionaire club’s legendary apathy after his trade. Funny how he retracted the comment after the larger and angrier Rhodes outed him as a jerk off. Now I’m sorry I ever lauded the asshole after he spoke up about his distaste for Barry Bonds – but as they say, it takes one to know one. And I will say this for Bonds: He never crossed a picket line as a scab to play under a pseudonym like Lidle. So here’s to you, “Fuller Star” or whatever the fuck your name is: There are still lots of Teamsters in the Big Apple who are expert in sabotage.

I didn’t watch the entire Yankees game against the Blue Jays – yes, there are other teams in baseball – because they built up a big lead midway through the game (Comedulce went 3-for-5) and I still had a Phillies game to watch. Or, as it’s starting to look like, a new Phillies team to watch.

Since Les Invisibles gave the go-ahead to Pat Gillick to exorcise the Abreu albatross, the team is 4-1, scoring runs easily, and, for the most part, getting good efforts from the young starters. Last night, Team Shook-Up completed a sweep of the vaunted St. Louis Cardinals. Cole Hamels was masterful, allowing but one run on two hits, striking out 12 in seven innings. The Phils won, 8-1, and their whole vibe just seems…perky.

Maybe getting rid of Abreu is like dumping a chick who’s a great fuck but is wrecking your life – you miss the pussy at first, but in the long run, you’re better off.

Consider:

The offense has hummed since Abreu’s discarding. David Dellucci, seeing the lion’s share of the playing time in right field, entered the game last night with an identical slugging percentage as Ryan Howard, who has been splendid as usual and is on a pace for 144 RBIs. And let’s not jinx Chase Utley’s 35-game hitting streak by talking about it, so let’s contemplate Chris Coste’s seven-gamer. He went 4-for-5 last night, is hitting a robost .375, and with runners in scoring position, has delivered at an otherwordly rate, getting hits more than half the time ducks are on the pond. With his stick batting seventh, he has taken up most of the slack for Baby Girl Burrell or the inconsistent Aaron Rowand. He’s done a steady job calling games behind the plate and has nailed five of 11 runners who have dared to consider stealing on a catcher with healthy knees who gives a damn, as opposed to Mike Lieberthal, who will limp away from us soon and has apparently never given a shit about winning, seeing how he’s unusually perturbed by Lidle’s accusations.

And lo and behold, even bottom-feeders like Jelly Roll have been hitting. But let’s not get into the leadoff thing while the going’s good, because except for fat pig Jon Lieber’s 15-2 thrashing on Monday, things have been so hunky-dory and productive since Abreu, Lidle, David Bell and Rheal Cormier have been traded (not to mention Ryan Franklin’s demotion) that I can’t wait for Lieberthal to disappear or Burrell to be traded for a toothless hooker. I think the Team Succubus left with these guys for different climes, and a hooker is a lot better for morale than watching Burrell do his thing.

4 Comments:

Anonymous ChuckM said...

The best part of reading the papers with breakfast was Cole Hamels quote re Pujols: "I do know he is a good hitter, but when I step on the mound its my game...". Gotta like that kind of mindset. I would say that the Phillies offensive surge isnt as much to do with Abreu leaving the team as in it has created a situation by default where the logical 3-4 hitters are now batting in those positions. In the baseball animal kingdom, Bobby is a very good beta-male, but Chase and Howard are the alpha-males and that is what you must have in your 3-4 slots. How many times have we seen "Abreu BB" with men on base, followed up with "Burrell called out on strikes" to end an inning?. Dellucci is showing himself to be a smart disciplined 2-hole batter where can both bring hits and take BBs (3 last night) when faced with a jackass who cant find the plate. Nice beatdown of the Cards this week, but I'm not going to be waving the wildcard rally towel until the Phillies get through their 10 games this month with the Mutts. As far as this weekend in Queens, I will accept a bare minimum of not getting swept and kicked to the curb (i.e at least a win and the losses be respectable, rather than humiliating). If the Phils hold their own against the Mets this month and find themselves at/above .500 by Labor Day, then its a matter of which team has the best (or least mediocre) September.

4/8/06 11:44 AM  
Blogger Tacony Lou said...

There was more to the Abreu move than a salary dump. I'm thinking Gillick did it so the remainder of the team could correct themselves with a little group therapy without somebody moping about because he's not hitting third anymore. Maybe all the trades were anti-psychotic medicine.

4/8/06 1:56 PM  
Anonymous ChuckM said...

Even with the misconfigured lineups, the Phillies were near the top in NL teams run scored even before the recent outburst. The big question to me is if the starting pitching that has been the real reason the Phillies are where they are right now is going to step up. After Hamels breakout game last night and Myers pitching very well recently, if Randy Wolf at least replicates Lidles 6-7 innings/3-5 runs outings, Mathieson be an upgrade over Madson and Jon Lieber....uhh go on a frigging diet and get into shape, the Phils rotation actually may have a leg up in the NL stumblebum sweepstakes if they dont get steamrolled by the Mutts this month.

4/8/06 2:27 PM  
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