Iggles To Phils: Choke's On Us
Philadelphia was on the verge of mass suicide or riot yesterday, and most of the credit for averting this horror can be attributed to Flash Gordon.
Talk about a save. Not that Gordon mowed the Astros down in the ninth – he made it exciting by allowing two base runners – but if he didn’t finish the job at the same time the Giants were finishing off our pathetic, heartless choke artists who call themselves a football team, there would not have been enough room in the morgue for the dead or holding cells for barroom combatants. (Why didn’t the Iggles build a large jail at the Linc? The cinder block cells were charming at the Vet, and rarely empty).
As Tom Gordon’s deep counts paralleled Eli Manning’s long tosses over the suddenly inept Iggles secondary, I involuntarily began making gurgling noises and grabbed my neck with my left hand as I punched the toggle button on the remote. The Old Lady ran into the living room to see what was wrong. I pointed at the television. She had her answer as Gordon went 3-0 to Brad Ausmus. But for some reason, the veteran catcher defied conventional wisdom and swung at the next pitch despite the two runners on base, his team down to its last out, down two runs, and down against the Phillies - their bitch, their property, their submissive visitor who had gone three years without beating them in Houston until this series.
You have to wonder what Ausmus was thinking. This is the kind of game the Phillies were born to lose. But in that regard, our football heroes didn’t disappoint.
Question: Why are the Iggles so loved, so spared the caustic bile projected at Team Vomit? After all, it’s been FORTY SIX YEARS since they last won a championship. The baseball team has kept us waiting a mere twenty-six. In between, both teams have been bridesmaids twice. So what gives? Why all the warm fuzzies for the Iggles? If you look at management, as downright Appalachian as Chollie is, Andy Reid has an air of the bumbling idiot about him as well.
Today at his day-after press conference, Reid looked like a fatter, balder Mike Ditka, hungover without the booze, hoping his Mormon angel Moroni might somehow heal his failure of a team, physically and emotionally. It’s the same old shit with this lobworm: The loss is my responsibility. The team can take something from the loss and learn. The veterans will use the experience and get the kids straightened out. Yeah, right. Have another donut, Andy. I’d rather have an inarticulate hick like Chollie be honest with me than listen to your bullshit.
I’d like to see Reid come down to the local tavern and shoot the shit with the Philly faithful after a game like Sunday's catastrophe. That’s what I did after watching the carnage. The authenticity would have made for good reality television. I went down to the Shamrock 13 bar and Billy the Iggle fanatic was two sheets to the leprechaun wind.
“Let me end it all right now,” he moaned theatrically, a plastic knife denting his wrist.
“It’s okay, Billy,” I counseled. “The Phillies won today.”
“Fuck the Phillies,” he shouted. “They’ll never win anything.”
“It’s been a lot longer since the Iggles won the big one,” I countered.
“The Iggles are different,” he said, pushing a basket of bar munchies toward me. I chewed on a pretzel and indulged him. “We won the division four years runnin’ baby, and last year with the T.O. thing and shit was, howya call it… an apparition! But every fucking year the Phillies are an apparition.”
I ordered up a Ying and began looking for images of Ryan Howard on the potato chips in the basket. I could have sworn I detected Chuck Bednarik on a Ruffle, but I was hungry and ate it.
It was stale.